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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Artist Creates Hauntingly Realistic Portraits with Tulle Netting

The tulle is that netting fabric you usually see on wedding dresses and other pompous gowns, but British artist Benjamin Shine folds and presses it to create these incredible portraits that look almost three-dimensional.

Armed with a household iron, Benjamin Shine uses a single piece of tulle, sometimes as long as 50 meters to make his mind-blowing masterpieces. He uses the transparent qualities of the netting to create tones and shadows that make his portraits look like photographs when seen from afar. While paints and pencils can also be used to create that illusion of a three-dimensional artwork, the tulle really gives a portrait more texture and depth, as you can see in the photos below. We’ve seen the old clothes iron used as an art tool just a few months ago,  but Benjamin Shine is on a completely different level.

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Brazilian Company Offers Fake Facebook Girlfriends for $20

Do you want to make your ex-girlfriend by hooking up with a hot chick on Facebook? Are your parents pressuring you to go out and get a date? Are you tired of being teased about not having a girlfriend? If any of this sounds familiar, know that there’s hope for you yet. It’s called Namoro Fake, and it’s a Brazilian company that offers fake Facebook girlfriends, for a fee.

Just because you couldn’t get a girlfriend if your life depended on it, doesn’t mean all your friends have to know about it. What if you could make it seem like you’re dating this beautiful woman, who seems crazy about you that she leave romantic comments on your profile every single day? That would probably make you look cool in front of your friends and maybe even score some points with the ladies in real life, right? Well, that’s probably all the guys that are using Namoro Fake’s services are thinking, anyway. The Brazilian company offers guys the chance at a fake virtual relationship for as little as $10. The relationship may not be real, but the girls behind the profiles certainly are. Namoro Fake hires female Facebook users to act as girlfriends, and apparently splits the proceeds with them. Since you’ll be sending them the exact messages you want posted on your Wall, all they have to do is paste the messages and keep their profiles active to make them seem more real. If you purchase the expensive packages, they’ll even list you in their relationship status. Users can choose their girlfriend from various Facebook profiles listed on the company’s website.

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Sci-Fi Speed Dating – Because Geeks Need Love Too

It’s hard out there for a geek, especially when it comes to finding a date, but thanks to events like Sci-Fi Speed Dating, comic-book and video game enthusiasts actually have a chance of finding a special someone who shares their interests.

Sci-Fi Speed Dating is an event that takes place at Comic Cons around the USA, giving geeks the chance to meet like-minded members of the opposite sex, and hopefully lay the foundation for a real relationship. Ryan Glitch, the man who came up with the idea for Sci-Fi Speed dating, actually met his girlfriend at one of these events and is now on a mission to help fellow geeks find their Princess Leia, Catwoman, or whatever other fictional character they might fancy. He travels the country attending Comic Con events looking for single male and female attendants willing to give his speed dating session a try. His idea was so popular that Sci-Fi Speed Dating actually got its on series on TLC, called “Geek Love”.

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The Amazing Rice Grain Artworks of Chen Forng-Shean

Taiwanese artist Chen Forng-Shean uses little things like grains of rice and sand to create awe-inspiring miniature artworks. The self-taught artist spends up to several months in front of a magnifying glass, working on a single piece.

Chen Forng-Shean has gained international recognition for his amazing talent of making incredible works of art out of the simplest and tiniest things, but the 58-year-old Taiwanese wasn’t always a miniature artist. Although he had an interest in the arts from a very young age and developed an interest in drawing and calligraphy, after his military service Chen got a job at the Central Engraving and Printing Plant, a division of Central Bank of China. It wasn’t a dream job, but it introduced him to various engraving tools he would later use in his artistic career. Each day after work, for 10 years, Chen Forng-Shean ran into his art studio, located on the second floor of his house, where he would work on his miniatures. Since miniature making was a disappearing art, he had no masters to consult with and learn from, so he had to not only develop his own tools and techniques, but also his very own style. It was a painstaking and time-consuming practice, but Chen slowly started to create amazing works of art, and the world began to notice.

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Indian Student Invents Electrifying Alarm Clock that Shocks You Out of Bed

Tired of waking up very late and missing his university lectures, Indian student Sankalp Sinha decided to do something about his problem – he invented a special alarm clock that “rewards” the owner with an electric shock if he tries to press the snooze button.

19-year-old Sankalp Sinha came up with the idea for his shocking alarm clock a couple of years ago, when he was having trouble getting up in the morning to attend university classes. He had developed a habit of hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep, so he started thinking about a solution that would force him out of bed. A student of automobile engineering at Sharda University in Uttar Pradesh, India, Sinha came up with an idea for an alarm clock that administers a small electric shock via the very popular snooze button. “The shock it administers is harmless but is enough to energize you”, the young inventor says, adding that users will be able to adjust how strong the electric shock they get is. He added that the power of his Good Morning Sing N Shock clock will be a fraction of the 50,000 volts delivered by the standard Taser gun. Pretty weak, but you want the thing to wake you up, not put you to sleep, right?

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Dog Attends Daily Mass at Church Where Dead Owner Used to Go

Ciccio, a 12-year-old German shepherd, whose owner passed away two months ago, visits the church she used to frequent and where her funeral was celebrated, patiently waiting for her to return.

The people attending the church of Santa Maria Assunta in San Donaci, Italy have received a lesson in love and loyalty from a dog that for the past two months has been coming in for the daily mass, hoping his beloved owner would return. Local Maria Margherita Lochi, 57, had adopted Ciccio years ago, after she found him abandoned in the fields near her home. She was an animal lover who had taken in several stray cats and dogs, but her connection with Ciccio was special. Apparently he felt the same way, as even though Maria died two months ago, the dog keeps coming back to the place he last saw her. She would walk with him to the church, for the daily Mass, and the priest would allow him to wait patiently at her feet. He was even there with Maria’s loved ones at her funeral. But Ciccio seems to have a tough time letting go, and he comes back into the church each day, as soon as he hears the bells calling in the faithful for the Holy Mass. He just sits by the side of the altar, quietly, hoping Maria will come back…

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Return of the Invisible Man – New Stunning Camouflage Works by Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin, the man who took the international art world by storm, in 2009, with his incredible ability to merge with the environment, has returned with a new series that makes him even harder to spot.

Nicknamed the “Invisible Man”, Liu Bolin is a master of camouflage art who spends up to 10 hours blending into various backdrops, with the help of paint. He puts on a suit and waits patiently as his helpers cover him in paint matching the colors of the background, until he becomes almost impossible to spot. Passionate about his art, this human chameleon he tries to get every little detail, every crack and crevice just right for that one perfect snapshot.  His latest exhibition, Hiding in the City, at New York’s Eli Klein Art Gallery, features some of his best works yet. It wasn’t for the shoes sticking out of the backdrops, I probably would have needed to really look at the photos to figure out where he was hiding. My favorites are the panda camouflage, the magazine stand and the toy aisle, but every one of his creation is simply mind-blowing.

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Ugly Model Agency Redefines Fashion Business Standards

Every model agency has strict criteria based on which they select their workforce, and so does the Ugly Models Agency. As the name suggests, of course, you have to be ugly. Well, ‘unusual-looking’, to be more specific. Ugly Models is one of the world’s biggest character model agencies based out of London. The bold and unique company has managed to place its models in some top assignments, including James Bond films and Marks and Spencer ads. Literally anyone can apply at Ugly Models, ranging from size 6 to 30, and 18 to 100 years old.

Case-in-point is Dell, one of the top models at Ugly Models. He got into the modeling business only a few years back, totally by accident. He was actually delivering a package at the agency when owner Marc French spotted him and asked for a few test shots. And everything just snowballed from there. According to Marc, “Dell is not a conventional good-looking boy, you know, he’s got buck teeth, sticking out ears, he’s not what people say is normal-looking, because he’s quite ugly, really. But ugly in a great way and I love his features. I mean, I think he’s quite striking.” Sure enough, Dell is not the kind of guy you would expect to see on a catwalk. “I don’t see myself as ugly,” he says. “I see myself as tall, dark and handsome. I’m a model, innit? When I was growing up, I never thought I was going to be a model. People just made fun of me when I was young and all that.”

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Milagros Caninos – A Haven for Mexico’s Disabled and Tortured Dogs

Milagros Caninos, or Miracle Dogs, is a very special canine shelter in Mexico City. For years it has been a true paradise for dogs suffering from terminal illnesses, are blind, paralyzed or have been tortured and abandoned on the streets of Mexico’s capital.

Patricia Ruiz, the founder of Milagros Caninos lost her pet dachshund, Clavo (Spanish for “Nail”) in 2004. She knew the meaning of his life – to love her and her family, to play with her children, to bring joy to their lives – but she couldn’t understand the meaning of his death. Like she would have done for any lost member of the family, Patricia posted a eulogy in the newspaper as a symbol of the love and respect she had for Clavo. After that, she started getting all these emails from like-minded people, who shared her pain at the loss of their four-legged companions, and that motivated her to become involved in rescuing animals. She first rescued one dog, then another, and so on, to the point where she needed a place to keep them all. Her eyes and ears were always focused on pain, so she ended up with a number of animals suffering from severe illnesses like cancer, were paralyzed, or had been tortured or drugged by humans who didn’t share her compassion. So she founded Milagros Caninos, a haven for dogs in extreme situations, in need of special care and attention. That’s when she understood the meaning of Clavo’s passing…

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Self-Taught Ninja Slices Soda Cans with Plastic Playing Cards

A man from China’s Hubei Province has recently become an internet celebrity of sorts, after a video of him throwing plastic playing cards at soda cans and actually putting holes in them, went viral.

Who says there’s no such thing as comic-book-like superpowers? And I’m not talking about the funny ones you can buy at the Superhero Store, but real superpowers that actually capture people’s imagination. Take 23-year-old Feng Yangxu, from Xishui county, Hubei Province, China, who can throw plain playing cards with such speed and accuracy that they slice even full aluminum cans. In a video that recently went viral on the Chinese internet, Feng wows his young audience by launching cards at hanging cucumbers and slicing them to pieces, as a warm-up for his most impressive trick – puncturing soda cans from three feet away. Now that may not seem like a big distance, but keep in mind this guy is putting wholes in metal containers with flimsy plastic cards. His fellow countrymen were so impressed with his feat that they’ve given him a cool nickname – Awesome Flying Cutter. And you thought “Batman” was a cool superhero name…

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The Fattening Farms of Mauritania – Force-Feeding Young Girls in the name of Beauty

While the whole world is obsessed over getting thin, it seems there are far-flung places in the world today where fat is still considered a thing of beauty. Not in a good way, though. In the West African nation of Mauritania, it is so important for girls to be fat that they are sent away to fat camp – the opposite of the western version – during school holidays, to put on oodles of weight.

According to women’s rights campaigner Mint Ely, girls as young as five are subjected to the tradition known as Leblouh each year. Leblouh is an attempt to groom young girls for potential suitors, involving the consumption of gargantuan amounts of food; even vomit, if it refuses to stay down. Ely says that in Mauritania, a woman’s size indicates the space she occupies in her husband’s heart. So to make sure no other woman can ever have room, girls are sent away for Leblouh at special farms where older women will administer the necessary diet. It’s rather appalling to know that 5, 7 and 9-year-olds are expected to consume a daily diet of two kilos of pounded millet mixed with two cups of butter and 20 liters of camel’s milk. Their daily consumption comes up to a whopping 16,000 calories.

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