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French Artist Gives Insect Larvae the Chance to Make Their Own Jewelry

French artist Hubert Duprat supplies Caddisfly larvae with precious materials like gold flakes, opal, turquoise, rubies, and pearls which they use to build protective casings which can be strung and worn as unique pieces of jewelry.

Caddisfly larvae live in rivers and streams, where they collect natural materials like gravel, sand, twigs and just about anything else they can carry to build elaborate armors that provide protection from various threats. The larvae glue all the debris with silk excreted through salivary glands located near their mouths. Using this knowledge, Hubert Duprat places the Caddisfly larvae in climate-controlled tanks and replaces their usual building supplies with precious and semi-precious materials and lets nature take its course. This unique collaboration between art and nature yields impressive results in the form of one-of-a-kind gilded sculptures that sometimes look a lot better than some designer jewels. The French artist views his intriguing project as a collaborative effort, and says “it is their work as much as it is mine”.

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Fashion Designer Gets Married in Dress Made from 100,000 Bread Tags

Australian fashion designer Stephanie Wilson married her high-school sweetheart in a unique dress made from 100,000 plastic bread tags she had collected over the last 10 years.

Stephanie Wilson and Will Wapling met and became friends while attending Belmont High School in Geelong. After completing Year 12, the two became a couple and moved in together. Stephanie remembers there was a pile of bread tags on the window sill of their home which they kept adding to. She and Will used to joke that when there were enough tags to make a wedding dress they would get married. It may have been a joke to them, but as soon as people found out about their plan they started collecting bread tags and giving them to the lovebirds. At one point, they were getting so many that Stephanie had to get bigger jars to store them in. Then, 10 years later, they realized their idea wasn’t so crazy after all, and decided to go through with it. Having dozens of jars full of plastic tags sitting in their home, Stephanie and Will were sure they had enough bread tags to make the dress. It turned out they were wrong, but luckily the groom-to-be had a baker cousin who came to the rescue with rolls of fresh tags.

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Skilled Race Car Fan Builds His Very Own Street Legal Formula 1 Car

Mišo Kuzmanović, a mechanic from Bosnia, has spent two years and over $30,000 building his very own Formula One car. The 150hp vehicle doesn’t reach the top speeds of real race cars, but it’s still a sight to behold.

A big fan of motor sports Mišo Kuzmanović had always dreamed of driving a Formula 1 race car, but living in Bosnia, he never really got the opportunity. One day, the skilled mechanic from Prnjavor decided he was going to build his dream car from scratch, and two years ago he put his plan into motion. He bought an original Volkswagen engine, a gearbox but made a lot of the other car parts, the frame and the body himself, in his workshop . Some friends helped him with the paint job and sound system installation, but he did most of the work on the car himself. It required a lot of money, effort, patience and knowledge to complete, but Mišo says the moment he was finally able to get behind the driver’s seat and cruise around town in his bright Red Formula 1 car was one of the happiest of his life. He put around 1,000 hours of work into his dream, but it all paid off in the end. Kuzmanović’s hand-made Formula 1 vehicle leaves no neck unturned when it passes by, and he loves answering questions about his masterpiece wherever he goes.

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Man Leaves Water On All Winter Creating Spectacular Frozen Waterfall

This amazing waterfall seen frozen on the side of a building in Jilin City, Eastern China, is the work of 58-year-old Wen Hsu, the only remaining resident, who left the tap on all winter to make sure his uninsulated pipes didn’t freeze.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you left the water on for an entire winter, here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for – a giant frozen waterfall. The bizarre sight looks like an original work of art, but it was actually born from one man’s fear of being left without running water. 58-year-old Wen Hsu has been living in the same apartment building for the last 35 years. As was the case in many other cities around China, the property was recently scheduled for demolition, to make room for a new shopping center. Developers tried to settle the matter by offering apartment owners a sum of money so they could buy another home some place else, but Hsu says he refused their offer because it wasn’t enough to get a decent place, so even after all the neighbors moved out, he remained in his old apartment. The loneliness was hard enough to deal with, but this past winter he had a bigger problem to deal with. The cold temperatures threatened to freeze the water in the building unisulated pipes, leaving him without running water, and with no other choice than to leave. But he’s not one to give up easily, so he came up with a weird plan…

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Batman Fanatic Has His Own Batcave

38-year-old Chris Weir is so fascinated with Batman that he spent around $100,000 transforming his large basement into a veritable Batcave, complete with a custom home-theater, a secret entrance and even a life-size Batman suit used by the Dark Knight in the latest trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.

Chris’ fascination with the caped crusader started at age three, when he and his uncle played Batman and Robin in the yard. Like many other young boys, he spent his childhood years playing with action figures from the Batman universe, and at 14 he bough his first comic book “The Legends of The Dark Knight”, and continued paying for a monthly subscription with his pocket money. Nothing unusual for a young boy, but Weir never really grew out of it. Even as an adult, he kept buying comics, action figures and posters of his favorite superhero, only at one point it just wasn’t enough anymore. He wanted to take his passion for everything Batman to a new level, and when he and his wife decided to look for a new house, Chris got the opportunity he had been waiting for. Weir wanted his very one Batcave so bad that when shopping for houses the deciding factor was always whether their future home would have enough basement space for his dream. In the end, he gave his wife Joanna two options to choose from, one of which happens to be their current home.

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Man Replaces Solid Food with Nutritious Drink Called Soylent

Rob Rhinehart, a 24-year-old software engineer from Atlanta, has been living on a liquid diet for the past three months and says he has never felt better. He has combined all the nutrients he needs in a shake-like drink named Soylent which allegedly contains just a third of the calories and no toxins or cancer-causing substances.

You might be tempted to believe that Rob switched from solid foods to Soylent to lose weight, but that’s only one of his reasons. After realizing he was spending around 2 hours every day cooking food, the young software engineer decided something had to be done to make eating and all the work it involves less time-consuming. Conventional food was also affecting his finances and physical strength, so being the experimental person he is he started looking for a better alternative to common food. Reading biology books made him think that the cells of the human body don’t really know the difference between nutrients from a carrot and those from a powder, so he started scouring the Internet for every essential nutrient in powdered form. Soon, his kitchen looked more like a chemistry lab in which he experimented with various quantities of powders until he found the mix that worked for him. For the past three months he has lived on Soylent alone, and says he has noticed a massive boost to my focus, stamina, physique, and free time.

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It’s No Joke – Man Charges $15 to Sharpen Your Pencil by Hand

David Rees, a cartoonist, humor writer and self-proclaimed pencil sharpening artisan runs a truly unique business. He charges customers $15 to sharpen their pencils to perfections, using a variety of tools, from pocket knives to sandpaper.

I know what you’re thinking – is this a joke? The 39-year-old entrepreneur gets asked that question a lot, so to clarify everything he even created a special section on his Artisanal Pencil Sharpening website telling everyone that he’s actually providing a real service: “If you start a pencil-sharpening business, you can expect to hear this question a lot. The short answer? No, this is not a joke. You pay David Rees money and he sharpens your pencils. It actually happens.” You can supply your own pencil or you can have Rees sharpen his one of his favorite #2 pencils and ship it to you in a in a display tube with the shavings in a separate bag along with a certificate of authenticity that just happens to mention the pencil is so sharp it is considered a dangerous object. To achieve the desired result, the master sharpener uses all kinds of tools, including general sandpaper, pocket knives and even a special $450 sharpening machine. “It depends on what the client wants to use their pencil for,’’ he says. “That determines the most appropriate pencil technique. Some buy them as inspirational tokens, and others for nostalgic memories of classic No. 2 pencils. There also are journalists who prefer my pencils to pens especially in really cold weather because a pen will freeze up, whereas a pencil won’t.’’

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Eyeball Scraping – The Vanishing Trade Practiced by Sichuan Barbers

Barbers in China’s Sichuan Province have practiced the art of eye-cleaning with a sharp blade for centuries. Like many other ancient traditions, this dangerous trade is slowly vanishing, but you can still find a few barbers willing to scrape your eyeballs with a knife for as little as RMB5 ($0.80).

According to an old Sichuan saying, cleaning the eyes makes the beauty of life more visible, and some people are prepared to go under the knife to make sure they don’t miss a thing. Nicknamed “knife-blade eye cleaning”, the practice of scraping a person’s eyeballs and eyelids with sharp utensils has been a part of Chinese culture ever since ancient times. The craft was supposedly popularized by brothers Zhou Chengfu and Zhou Chengyin, who followed their father’s footsteps and excelled in the technique of servicing the eyeballs, ears and necks of clients, but in recent years it has almost died out. Still, if you look hard enough, you can still find eye-cleaning stands even in modern cities like Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu. 53-year-old Liu Deyuan has been successfully running his small eye-cleaning business for 7 years, offering a head shave and an eye scrape for just RMB5. With many long-term clients lining up to get their eyes cleaned every month, the skilled barber says business is still pretty good. Read More »

The Fake Christian Priests of Japan – A Booming Business

Christians make up only 1.4% of Japan’s 127 million population, but Western “white weddings” now account for around three quarters of all bridal ceremonies, which means Christian priests are in high demand. To meet their clients’ expectations bridal companies have given up on trying to find ordained ministers and have kept requirements to a minimal – men looking foreign-enough to pass as Christians who can speak a little Japanese and perform the ceremony in 20 minutes.

Japan’s love affair with Christian wedding is believed to have started in the 1980s with the televised weddings of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and was fueled by the nuptials of Japanese pop star Momoe Yamaguchi. People, women especially, were attracted by the idea of celebrating their marriage through a ritual that revolved around love and that elevates the bride to the status of princess even for a short while. Traditional Shinto weddings, on the other hand, encase women in a wig and kimono, and are focused more on the merger of two families. The Japanese simply  fell in love with the sharp dress code, the kiss and the overall image of Western weddings over their centuries-old traditions. But in order to have a genuine-looking ceremony, they wanted Christian priests, which were pretty hard to find. That started the now famous “foreign fake pastors” trend that saw companies and hotels hiring average foreign gentlemen with minimal knowledge of the Japanese language to perform Christian weddings.

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Keng Lye’s Three-Dimensional Resin Paintings Look Incredibly Life-Like

Singapore-based artist Keng Lye uses his phenomenal sense of perspective to create incredibly realistic animals by painting in layers of epoxy resin and acrylic paint. His series, called Alive Without Breath, features stunning works that blur the line between what is real and what is not.

The time-consuming process used by Keng Lye to create his stunningly-realistic artworks involves filling bowls, buckets, and boxes with numerous layers of lye, and painting the detailed creatures with acrylics and epoxy resin. Each piece consists of several layers, and just one little mistake can compromise weeks, even months-worth of work. This laborious technique requires the utmost patience and attention to detail, but executed to perfection it gives the artwork great depth and an overall life-like look. The art of painting/sculpting in layers of lye was made famous by Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori, whose exceptional masterpieces we featured on Oddity Central in the past, but Keng Lye added his own unique touch by incorporating physical elements into his art pieces to make them look even more real. For his mind-blowing octopus he used a small pebble, and to make the turtle’s shell he made great use of an egg shell extruding from the resin. But even without these accessories, his fish and crustaceans look ready to jump out of the water.

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Frog Whisperer Helps Keep Hawaii’s Coqui Population Under Control

The tiny coqui frog may seem harmless, but as night falls over the islands of Hawaii, thousands of these coin-sized critters start terrorizing the local population with their unrelenting mating calls that can reach up to 90 decibels. Luckily, frog whisperer Keevin Meenami speaks their language and can draw the females out when they become to much to bear.

“ko-KEE-ko-KEE-ko-KEE” – that’s the sound that has disrupted countless hours of sleep and scared away both potential home buyers and tourists from several parts of the Hawaiian archipelago, including the Big Island. Originally from Puerto Rico, the tiny coqui frogs have been arriving to Hawaii as cargo-ship stowaways ever since the late 1980s. With no natural predators to trouble them, they have been multiplying rapidly, eluding eradication crews by camouflaging themselves with a brown or yellow coloring that blends into Hawaiian vegetation.  In 2004, authorities declared war on the coqui and came up with several plans to wipe them out them from the Big island, which had become their headquarters of sorts, and from where they constantly escaped to neighboring islands. They tried just about everything, but in 2010 they announced nothing could be done to get rid of or even contain the coqui population. These days county, state and private groups are doing everything in their power to prevent the invasive frogs from taking over Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island. Every time there’s a report of coqui chirping anywhere on the island, intervention teams are deployed to localize and neutralize the threat. Most times the frogs are whacked on the spot, but one man has come up with a non-violent way of dealing with the frogs – he just talks to them.

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Man Wraps Himself in Plastic Bag to Protect Religious Purity Aboard Plane

A photo of an Ultra Orthodox Jewish man wrapped in a life-size plastic bag aboard an airplane recently went viral on news-sharing site Reddit, sparking an intense debate concerning his motives.

At first it was believed that the man had donned the bizarre see-through garb to distance himself from women, as some Ultra-Orthodox Jews obey strict rules of gender segregation in public. Now, however, it is believed the man dressed entirely in black and wearing a Jewish skullcap or “kippah” may be a member of the Kohanim, who believe they are descended from the priests of ancient Israel and cannot come in close contact with dead in order to protect their higher-than-average kedushah (holiness). Apparently, the strict religious code prohibits visiting cemeteries except for the funerals of close relatives, and even flying over burial grounds. However, the Haaretz newspaper reports that Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, leader of the Lithuanian Haredi community in Israel, has recently “found a solution to this issue, ruling that wrapping oneself in thick plastic bags while the plane crossed over the cemetery is permissible”, which would explain the man’s bizarre protective travel gear.

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Picture-Perfect Pencil Drawn Portraits by Olga Larionova

In this digital era, it’s amazing to see artists like Olga “Melamory” Larionova using a primitive tool like the graphite pencil to create stunning portraits that rival high-resolution black-and-white photographs.

I’ve always been fascinated by hyperrealist art, but the level of detail in Olga Larionova’s pencil artworks just blew me away. Getting every little feature and reflection just right with glossy paint is impressive enough, but doing it with a simple graphite pencil seems borderline impossible. Yet this young artist from Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod proves it can be done. The uber-talented Melamory has been drawing ever since she can remember. She started by coloring the drawings her mother used to create for her, and as the years went by she began drawing the shapes herself. You’d never guess by looking at her incredible creations, but Olga never went to art school. She did read some books on academic drawing and that helped her develop some basic techniques, but she thinks being a self-taught artist and not having to follow a strict set of rules has actually helped her develop her own unique style. Having graduated from the University of Architecture, Melamory now works as an interior designer, but hyperrealist art remains her greatest passion.

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The Great Stalacpipe Organ Plays Real Rock Music

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is a unique musical instrument that produces tones of symphonic quality by tapping stalactites in Virginia’s Luray Caverns with electronically-operated rubber mallets.

Recognized as the world’s largest musical instrument, the Great Stalacpipe Organ was created by Leland W. Sprinkle, a mathematician and electronics scientist at the Pentagon. After visiting Luray Caverns with his son and experiencing the organ like sounds of ancient stalactites being tapped, Sprinkle felt inspired to build a one-of-a-kind contraption that could turn these natural tones into playable music. After doing extensive research, he came up with a complex plan for a stalactite tapping instrument, and spent three years just examining each of the caverns’s thousands of hanging limestone columns, looking for the ones that produced specific notes. Only two stalactites were found to be in tune naturally, so he needed to carefully shave thirty-five others to precisely match the musical scale. He then wired a rubber-tipped mallet to each of the selected stalactites and linked them to a four-keyboard console built by the Klann Organ Supply Company of Waynesboro, Virginia, to meet the peculiar needs of this subterranean installation. The music-playing stalactites are spread over 3.5 acres (14,000 m2) of the caverns, so Sprinkle used over five miles of wiring to connect them to the organ console.

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Man Has Been Wearing a Deer Head Mask Every Day for Four Years

Luo Dan, a painter and designer from Chonqing, China has been wearing a big deer mask over his head every day since 2009. He claims the bizarre accessory has helped him find inner peace and release the deer within.

Finding artistic inspiration can be pretty tough for an artist, but for 32-year-old Luo Dan it’s as easy as putting on a mask, literally. The young painter says he started wearing his weird deer head in 2009, and quickly got used to putting it on while working and in his spare time. “The deer is a tame animal,” he explained. “Wearing its mask, I could find a long-missing inner peace. When I wear the mask, I feel I am a deer from within.” The fake animal head has also influenced his art, taking a center role in most of his works. Dan doesn’t know exactly how long he’ll keep wearing the deer head, but considering the therapeutic powers he attributes to the mask it’s unlikely he will be taking it off anytime soon. I can understand keeping it on in the privacy of his home, but this guy seems to take the head with him everywhere he goes. I wonder how people react when he comes up to them wearing the ridiculous disguise? It must be really difficult to take a guy wearing an animal mask seriously…I always knew artists were a little cooky, but this is too much.

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