Sound of Silence CD Sold by Church Proves Big Hit

St Peter’s Church, in East Sussex, England, has found a novel way to found its repairs – selling CDs with the sound of silence recorded inside the 800-year-old house of worship.

Believe it or not, the 30-minute recording featuring only dull sounds like squeaking pews, soft footsteps and the hum of distant traffic proved a hit not only with local parishioners eager to contribute to the repair fund, but also peace and quiet lovers from countries like Germany, Austria and even Ghana. It seems that in this day and age, chill-out music like Buddha Bar just doesn’t cut it anymore. People have such busy and noisy lives they often feel the need for simple silence.  “There are a few noises here and there – if it was total silence people might get bored,” said one East Sussex churchgoer. “Those who have bought it have enjoyed it.”

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The Pain of Growing Up – Being Stung by Hundreds of Bullet Ants in the Amazon Rain-Forest

Among the most bizarre coming-of-age rites we’ve ever featured is the one followed by the Satere-Mawe Tribe, an indigenous tribe from the Amazon rain forest, Brazil. What a boy has to do to become a man in this tribal community is painful, to say the least – he has to withstand being stung by not one, but a swarm of Bullet Ants. In case you’e not familiar with this exotic insect, here’s an interesting fact: the Bullet Ant claims the number one spot on the SSPI (Schmidt Sting Pain Index), a scale created by Justin Schmidt that rates the pain caused by different Hymenopteran stings. Some say the ant’s sting is just as agonizing as being shot by a bullet.

In preparation for the initiation rite, the elders of the tribe collect the ants from the jungle. These ants are drugged and placed stinger- first into special gloves woven from leaves. As the drug wears off, the ants become increasingly agitated and are raring to sting. This is when the boy puts on the gloves and lets the bullet ants work their magic, for 10 whole minutes, no less. “It’s the same as having your hands on fire,” says one Satere man. But the real pain starts once the gloves come off, and the venom starts to take effect. As the pain continues to rise, the hands become paralyzed and look like stumps. But just one attempt is usually not enough to turn a Stare boy into a man. He must go through this ritual as many times as it takes for him not to cry during the process. The day he doesn’t shed a single tear, is when he becomes a real man. Sometimes, this can take up to 20 attempts.

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You Thought Reborn Babies Were Creepy? How About Vampire Reborn Babies?

Reborn baby dolls have been around for a few years now, and while some people love them so much they actually treat them like real babies, their ultra-realistic look creep a lot of people out. But one artist has managed to make these thing even creepier by making vampire reborn babies.

After seeing Chucky the killer doll in those cheesy 90s horror movies, I’ve never looked at dolls the same way I used to. So it’s fair to say the first time I saw photos of reborn baby dolls, I freaked out a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the skill and patience of artists who spend hours on end sculpting these realistic newborns and applying several layers of paint just to make their skin look more natural, but i wouldn’t want to have one of them in my house. And just when I though reborn babies couldn’t get any creepier, I discovered artist Bean Shanine, who creates vampire and zombie reborn babies.

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Friends in Real Life – Man Opens Iconic Sitcom Cafe in Beijing

If you were a fan of the hugely popular sitcom Friends, you surely remember their favorite meeting place, the Central Perk Cafe. Tired of just seeing the characters experience the coziness of that soft orange couch, one Chinese fan decided to create his own Friends cafe, in Beijing.

Like so many of us, Du Xin loved Friends. “I’m crazy about Friends. For me, it’s like a religion. It’s my life,” he told NPR. After watching the show, he started searching around Beijing for a place where he could actually sit on an orange couch just like the one his favorite heroes relaxed on in the sitcom. When he couldn’t find a Central Perk, he decided to create it himself. And he wasn’t going to settle for something similar, he wanted a place that looked exactly like what he’d seen on TV all those years, down to the tiniest details. Tucked away on the sixth-floor of the Chaowai Soho complex, this replica of Central Perk has the coveted couch, the same windows and doorway as the original, the brick interior and even the same hand written snack items featured on Friends. In order to nail all the things he wanted, Du studied thousands of photos of the show’s set and watched endless reruns, and five months later he had the cafe of his dreams.

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Artist Creates Incredible 25-Foot-Tall Castles from Icicles

50-year-old Brent Christensen, an artist from Alpine, Utah, creates extraordinary structures that I thought only existed in my imagination and really cool fantasy stories. For the past four years, Christensen has spent his time perfecting the craft of making structures as tall as 20 to 25 ft, using nothing but intertwining icicles as building blocks. He developed an interest in the unique craft began way back in 2000, when he and his family moved from sunny California to chilly Utah, and he was looking for some fun outdoor activities.

“We started off doing winter stuff in the yard, playing around with the kids, making igloos, ice forts and slides and stuff,” he says. “And it just evolved. One year I stumbled upon the concept of doing icicles by spraying water. We made one with a big wooden frame under it, and when it melted in the spring it was a huge mess with a pile of soaking wood. The following year I didn’t use any wood so it would just cleanly melt away. During the course of that winter I stumbled upon the concept of fusing icicles together to make a lattice to spray water on and build upon.” It was then that Chirstensen began building his magnificent ice fortresses. Utah locals would often stop by his house to gawk at the castles. Once he got pretty good at making icicle castles, he approached a few resorts nearby and asked if they would be interested in displaying his work for their guests. It took a while before the manager of a small local spa and resort agreed, in 2009, but this small opening got him into the public eye and there was no looking back from there.

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French Haunted House Auctioned Off on eBay for Just 1 Euro

A listing on the French version of eBay recently went viral after being picked up by major news outlets. Apparently, someone is selling a haunted house in Arbresle, Rhône-Alpes region, for just 1 euro.

It’s true that the place doesn’t look like much, if the photos are anything to go by, but still 1 euro for a 110 square meter home and a 350 square meter piece of land is really cheap. Maud69620, the person who listed the house does have her reasons for basically giving away the house for free. According to the description on eBay, a horrible murder took place there sometime during the 1950s, and now it’s haunted by troubled spirits. Paranormal phenomena observed inside the house include knocks on windows, strange voices and murmurs, weird noises and moving objects. All that’s missing from a complete haunted house package is a ghost. But Maud is not in the mood for jokes. In fact she specifically asks those who think her listing is a fake not to contact her, as the ad is only addressed to those who believe in the spirit world.

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The Stunningly Beautiful Porcelain Flowers of Vladimir Kanevsky

Ukrainian-born artist Vladimir Kanevsky creates exquisitely handcrafted porcelain flowers that look perfectly natural, but never die.

From hyacinths and chrysanthemums to clematis and hollyhocks, Vladimir Kanevsky makes botanically-perfect flowers from porcelain. Inspired mostly by 17th- and 18th-century European botanical prints, but also by the glass flower collection at Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History, the talented artisan has managed to take this old craft to new heights. He not only models the delicate porcelain himself, but also does all the painstaking painting himself, often adding tiny imperfections like bent stems,spots or insect bites to make his creations look even more realistic. “He’s one of the few people I know who can almost compete with Mother Nature,” longtime collector Caroline Roehm says about Kanevsky.

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Downsize Fitness – The Gym That Only Accepts People Who Are At Least 50 Pounds Overweight

Have you been wanting to join a gym, but hesitated because it feels weird to work out among all those super-fit people? Well, what you need is a place exactly like Downsize Fitness, the gym chain that only accepts clients who are at least 50lbs overweight. With branches in Chicago, Las Vegas and Dallas, the gym chain was inspired by the hit TV show The Biggest Loser, and aims to reduce the insecurities that larger people go through at regular gyms. So the only skinny people allowed at Downsize Fitness are the trainers.

And it doesn’t stop just there. The gym has gone a great length to ensure that its clients do not feel bad about themselves and stay motivated to come back every day. The facility has no mirrors lining the walls, and the windows are frosted so that passers-by cannot look inside. The machines are also specifically designed to suit those who are chronically overweight and obese. 39-year-old Francis Wisniewski, the owner of Downsize Fitness, was once overweight himself, so he knows exactly what it feels like to enter a gym filled with trip and super-fit people. When he finally shed his extra pounds, he identified the gap in the market. He is now the perfect ambassador to promote the business, having lost 60 lbs in the past year with the help of his team at Downsize Fitness. “Large clubs make you feel on display,” he said in an interview. “I’ve been big my whole life, and small incidents probably make it seem worse than it really is. But at the gym, it’s all out there for everyone to see. I was embarrassed to go the gym myself, it’s intimidating to go in when you can’t do all the exercises, when you feel like people are going to be staring at you and people are going to be judging you. And I know if I’m feeling it, overweight women feel worse. ”

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Japanese Restaurant Uses Dirt as the Main Ingredient for Its Expensive Dishes

While most chefs work hard to make sure no dirt winds up in their food, at French restaurant Ne Quittez Pas, in Tokyo, Japan, dirt is actually used as a key ingredient.

Mind you, this isn’t just any kind of dirt. It’s a special black soil from Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, that’s actually been tested for safety, but it’s still the thing most people use to grow plants in. So how did dirt wind up on the menu of this respectable venue? Apparently, Chef Toshio Tanabe once won a cooking competition with his signature dirt sauce, and from that point on he put together an entire menu based on the unusual ingredient. Now the restaurant is offering dishes priced as high as $110 with Kanuma dirt in them.

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Vernon Spicer’s Incredible Pasta Paintings

Self-taught artist Vernon Spicer, from Alabama, uses pasta like spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna and noodles to create his detailed paintings.

I’ve seen some pretty unusual materials used in paintings, but pasta is definitely a first for me. 71-year-old Vernon Spicer, a Vietnam veteran and pastor at a church in Selma, Alabama, got the idea of using the brittle material from a dream he had one night. It woke me up one night,” he told the Montgomery Advertiser. “In it, I could see something that had a three-dimensional design, one that involved me using sticks to create.” Instead telling him to get over it, wife Audrey encouraged him to pursue the vision and suggested he replace the sticks with uncooked spaghetti. That’s how Vernon’s career as an amateur pasta artist began. Now, six years later, Spicer can create some pretty amazing works of art.

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Family Is Literally Living under a Rock in the Mexican Desert

For the last three decades, Benito Hernandez and his wife have been living under a huge rock, in Mexico’s Coahuila Desert, 80 kilometers from the US border.

Benito Hernandez started visiting the 40 meter diameter rock that now serves as a roof for his sun-dried brick home when he was just eight years old. He liked it so much that he decided to one day make it his home. Many 8-year-olds have crazy dreams, but Benito’s followed him into adulthood. 55 years ago, when he and his family first discovered the remote rock formation, a man could claim a piece of land by settling on it for long periods of time, so during the many years they spent working in the area harvesting the Candelilla plant, he beat off other who would claim the rock for themselves and 20 years later he finally became its legal owner. He could finally build his dream house under the boulder that fascinated him all this time.

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Designer Covers $500,000 Gold Ring with a Piece of His Own Skin

The Forget Me Knot gold ring created by Icelandic fashion designer Sruli Recht is not your usual piece of luxury jewelry. The artist had a strip of his own skin surgically removed and mounted on a 24-karat-gold band.

We’ve featured some pretty bizarre jewelry on Oddity Central in the past, like the human-bone accessories of Columbine Phoenix, the finger and toe nail-clipping jewels of Rachel Betty Case, or the human hair necklaces of Kerry Howley, but Sruli Recht has managed to one up them all with his human skin ring. The eccentric designer shocked everyone when he decided to undergo surgery and have a strip of skin removed from his abdomen, to use on his very unique Forget Me Knot ring. After the operation, the 110 by 10 millimeters piece of skin, with the hair still intact, was salted and tanned before being mounted on the gold piece of jewelry. You can own this little part of Sruli Recht for the “small” price of €350,000.

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Italian Artist Turns River Stones into Life-Like Works of Art

River rocks may not seem very interesting to you, but once you see what Italian rock painter Ernestina Gallina can do with them, I’ll bet you’ll see them in a new light.

Ernestina Gallina, from Cenestino, Italy has had a thing for the arts ever since she was just a child. She loved painting, drawing and modelling, but because her family never encouraged her to develop her skills, she never attended art school and she only exercised her artistic talents as a hobby. In 1987, she and her family moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where she discovered a yet unknown world – that of nature and animals. Then, one day at the library, she stumbled upon a book on rock painting, and became intrigued about how simple river stones could be transformed into nature-inspired works of art. It gave her the chance to combine her passion for the arts with her love of wildlife, so she started rock painting and never looked back.

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French Company Offers Thrill-Seekers the Chance to Be Kidnapped

A basic abduction package in France will cost you about $1,300. No, not the ransom, but actually getting yourself kidnapped.

If you’re looking for an experience straight out of a Hollywood movie, Eastern France is the place you need to be, where a small company called Ultime Realite provides the unique service. The basic package consists of being seized by strangers, bound, gagged and bundled into a car, and kept in a dark cellar for four hours. Advanced packages include tailor-made services such as boat chases, helicopter escapes, and being kept for longer periods of time.

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Male TV Hosts Go Through the Agony of Giving Birth

Two male Dutch TV hosts known for performing outlandish stunts on their program, “Proefkonijnen” (Guinea Pigs), have recently experienced agonizing pain similar to that of labor, by strapping electrode emitting machines to their abdomens.

Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno first caused international controversy in 2011, when they consumed cooked pieces of each other’s flesh, on live television. Now, they’re back with another crazy experiment. Not satisfied with just sympathizing with women who go through labor, the two crazy hosts wanted to go through the same experience, to see what it feels like. And since actually giving birth was out of the question, they went for the next best thing – strapping a number of electrodes to their bellies, which sent electrical charges meant to simulate cramps and contractions. The controlled experiment lasted two hours and had the two crazy men screaming, groaning and curling into the fetal position from the pain.

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