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Indian Priests Smash Coconuts on Devotees’ Heads in Bizarre Good Luck Ritual

Every year, thousands of devotees travel to a remote village in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu to put themselves through a gruesome ritual that they hope will bring them good health and success. Believe it or not, men, women and even children willingly permit priests to smash hard coconuts on their skulls!

Breaking coconuts on a sacred stone as an offering to the deity is a common practice in South Indian temples. But breaking them on one’s own head is quite rare, and viewed as an extreme display of devotion. Several devotees squat on the floor in a line, waiting patiently as the temple priests approach with a sack of coconuts. One priest holds the heads firmly, while the other one brings down the coconuts without hesitation. The whole process is completed in a matter of minutes.

Some devotees can be seen wincing in pain as the coconuts come crashing on to their heads. Some massage their heads, while others promptly collect the broken pieces as holy offerings. Surprisingly, there are a few who don’t flinch at all – these people are often in a deep meditative state of prayer. Nonetheless, medical staff are always present to tend to serious injuries. Read More »

Panamanian Mr. T Is a Coconut Peeling Machine

I pity the fool who would dare try to compete with 64-year-old Andres Gardin in a coconut peeling contest. The Mr T. lookalike has been using his strong teeth to peel off the fruit’s hardened shell for over 50 years, but he is till waiting for Guinness to add his name to their famous record book.

The B.A. Baracus fan from Rio Alexander, a small and humble town in the province of Colon, Panama, has been entertaining neighbors and colleagues with his amazing talent for over half a century. While most men his age are thinking about retirement and playing with their grandchildren, Andres Gardin is busy using his vice-like jaws to peel off coconuts. He’s been doing it since he was just 11 years old, after seeing his own father use his teeth to angrily bite through a coconut that had fallen on his head, knocking him unconscious. He reckons he has since then peeled off over 100,000 coconuts, and claims his dentures are as strong as they’ve ever been. Still, he says ripping off the fruit’s tough shell is not as easy as it looks; it requires strong jaws and teeth, as well as the power of God. Gardin’s biggest wish is to have his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. He says he can peel 500 coconuts in just six and a half ours, more than enough to beat any who would dare challenge him, yet no official has ever come to verify his feats.

Andres-Gardin

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