Man Says He’s Been to Heaven Four Times, Draws Map

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No offence to 64-year-old Sibusiso Mthembu, but hearing his story just made me laugh out loud. Of course, the South African from KwaZulu-Natal tells it in all seriousness. And who knows, he may even be telling the truth about having visited heaven four times, so far. The first time was in 1998, and subsequent visits were made in 2004, 2006 and 2008. It all started in 1993, when a white man (an angel, apparently) paid him a visit and told him he was needed in heaven. And now, after several visits, he’s drawing a map to make sure the rest of us ‘unlucky’ ones get what he’s talking about.

But it’s not the fact that he took a few vacations to heaven or even that he’s drawing a map that amuses me. It’s more to do with the stuff he says he’s seen and done there. According to Mthembu, there are 11 heavens in all, and he was taken to the fifth one, Crista, first. It was there, in a city called Sharmoy, that he claims to have met Jesus. The main heaven is Salem, he says, where God’s temple is located. God is apparently in his youth, and of a Grayish complexion. Jesus is white. He saw God for the first time during his second trip, on a planet called Jadalem that’s mostly covered in water and ice.

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Hula Hoop Helps Woman Lose Massive Weight

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Who knew that an old childhood pastime could actually help adults lose weight. And I’m talking massive weight here. 31-year-old Jen Moore simply hula-hooped her way from a huge 288lbs to a trim 145lbs. Now she’s a fitness trainer with the very same company that helped her shed it all. Sure does sound like a dream come true.

Jen couldn’t hula hoop when she first got started. Not surprising really, looking at her before pictures. But what’s admirable is that she stuck to it, and within two weeks she was able to keep the hoop spinning around her waist. There’s been no looking back since then. Within just three months of learning the skill, she ended up losing 40lbs of body fat. Take a look at Jen’s ‘after’ pictures and you would never believe she was once obese. “I would go to my local YMCA and stake out a little corner on the court while the guys played basketball and snickered,” she says. “From day one, I felt a tremendous difference in my core strength, confidence and energy just from the workout involved in dropping, bending over and picking up the hoop.”

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The Hikikomori – Japan’s Social Outcasts

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Hikikomori (Japanese for “pull in”) is a term that refers to reclusive adolescents and young adults who choose to isolate themselves from social life. With about a million people in Japan suffering from Hikikomori, I suppose you could call it an epidemic of sorts. Except, the condition is not spread through physical means, it’s purely psychological. It is a phenomenon of social withdrawal that’s pretty much swept the nation in the past few years. About 80% of hikikomori are male, in their teens or twenties, and do not leave the confines of their rooms. They don’t go to school or to work, spending their days in the homes of their parents, reading, watching TV or surfing the internet, consuming meals left for them at the door.

A good example of a typical hikikomori is this boy I’ve been reading about. His mother supposedly refused to reveal his name, fearing social retribution for the boy. The 17-year-old was a normal child, but began to hate school about three years ago. This was after he became a victim to bullying and anonymous hate letters. One day, he suddenly returned home and locked himself in the kitchen. He’s been in there ever since, refusing to come out or let anyone in. The family’s response to this most unusual condition is even more strange. They have simply ‘moved on’, accepting the boy’s behavior as something he will eventually grow out of. They’ve built a new kitchen in the house, and his mother takes meals to his door three times a day. In fact, this is the manner in which most Japanese respond to hikikomori – with utmost tolerance.

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Strange Addictions: Woman Addicted to Drinking Her Own Urine

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It’s disgusting, funny and sad all at once, what 53-year-old Carrie from Colorado Springs goes through. She has been addicted to drinking her own urine for over four years now. Her urine intake amounts to about 80 ounces a day, and since she began she has consumed over 900 gallons. “I drink almost all the urine that comes out of my body. It tastes like water for me,” she says.

What makes Carrie’s condition all the more weird is that she doesn’t just drink urine from a glass. I watched this video of a program about her on the TLC channel, where she gathers up the courage to confess her habit to her friend Denise. During the confession, she describes in detail exactly what  she does with the urine. Some of it goes in the regular way, through a glass. But then she puts some of it in a Neti pot and drinks it nasally. And some, she actually drinks through her eyes using an eye cup. She even brushes her teeth with it, and saves some so that she can rub aged urine all over her skin. Carrie says that it’s the nasal drinking that hurts the most. “The pain is different than any pain you’ve experienced.”

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Weird Chinese Massage Therapy Involves Meat Cleavers

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If a man came at you with a meat cleaver, your first instinct would obviously be to run for your life. But  not for the people of Hsinchu, in northern Taiwan. Because for them, being tapped with the sharp end of a cleaver is actually a form of therapy that is known to cure many ailments. They line up in large numbers to meet the therapist, who prepares by sharpening the instrument on a wet stone and rubbing iodine all over the blade.

The Chinese knife massage is probably a treatment you’d only expect in hell, but in reality it’s said to increase blood flow, release the body’s stored energy and wash away harmful toxins. The treatment itself is pretty simple: all the therapist does is hold a couple of cleavers and strike the patient repeatedly with the sharp edge. No, don’t be horrified, there’s no blood involved. The trick is to bring down the cleaver with just the right amount of force, and then to not push or pull it once it touches skin. The up-and-down movement of the cleaver is said to release static energy, which leads to self- cure. “Chop, chop, chop, and the pain will go away,” is the motto that the knife therapists use to convince clients.

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Artist Uses Lovers as Living Paintbrushes

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Alexander Esguerra,  a New York-based artist, has invented the perfect recipe for love and art to go hand in hand. The couples who participate in his sessions not only get to make love, they also get to take a great souvenir home – a piece of art born from their sensual ‘act’.

Esguerra invites couples to cover themselves in non-toxic, water based paint and then ‘do as they please’ on a canvas on the floor. At the end of the love-making session, what results is a wonderful painting for the world to admire. It’s just like making babies I guess, equally messy, but without any diapers to be changed later. The concept has caught on pretty well, and is turning out to be quite popular. So much, that he’s actually converted it to a business called ‘Love and Paint’. The art packages are provided at luxury hotels, starting at $2,500. There have been fifty couple participants so far.

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Chinese Family Turn Abandoned Toilet into Cozy Home

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“There’s no place like home!”, I believe the saying goes, and this modest migrant family from China proves it applies even when home is an abandoned public toilet in the city of Shenyang.

Zeng Lingjun was born in a small village, in the Jilin Province of Northeastern China. As a boy, he dreamed of one day attending college, but because his family was too poor he had to abandon his dream and settle for becoming a cobbler and repair shoes for a living. But just because he couldn’t afford to go to college, didn’t mean he was willing to spend the rest of his life in his village. He had bigger plans for himself, so one day, with just 50 yuan ($8) in his pocket, he left for Shenyang, the biggest city in northeast China. Being a hard worker and a skilled cobbler helped Zeng make a living in the big city, and he was soon earning around 2,000 yuan (315) per month. But this wasn’t enough for him to get his own place.

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The Real Ghostwriter? Mysterious Emails from Beyond the Grave

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Looks like the dead have left behind Ouija boards and upgraded to e-mail communication. That is, if the story of Jack Froese is to be believed. The 32-year-old from Dunmore, PA, died last June from a heart arrhythmia. But last November, a couple of people received e-mail messages from him containing personal information that only he could know.

For instance, Tim Hart, his childhood buddy got this message: “Did you hear me? I’m at your house. Clean your f-cking attic!!!” The subject line read, “I’m watching.” Now, according to Tim, only Jack could have sent a message like this, because they had had a conversation about what to do with the attic space shortly before Jack’s death. Jack’s cousin, Jimmy McGraw, also received a similar e-mail, warning him about an ankle injury that he’d suffered after Jack’s death. “I knew you were going to break your ankle, tried to warn you, gotta be careful.” Mc Graw believes the message to be a sign that Jack is trying to connect with him, telling him to move along and feel better.

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Dutch Man Can’t Stop Laughing After Hip Surgery He Had 2 Years Ago

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The path to gaining eternal happiness has long since eluded man, but apparently it can be achieved through something as simple as a hip surgery. Meet Huug Bosse, a Dutch man who had hip surgery a couple of years ago, and hasn’t stopped laughing since. His wife finds it annoying, his brother and daughter have become exasperated, but all Mr. Bosse can do in response is slap his knee and laugh uncontrollably.

His laughter is infectious, I myself started to giggle aloud after watching the video about him. But it does get a little silly after a while. And imagine having to live with a person laughing in the house all the time. It must be impossible to hold serious conversations with the man, and that must be quite taxing for his family. The cause for his condition isn’t exactly clear, but it’s probably due to the anesthesia he was placed under, during the operation. In spite of all the mirth, there still is one thing that can move Mr. Bosse to tears. He calls it the most beautiful song – the Dutch national anthem. Perhaps they should have it playing in the background whenever they want to get a serious word out of the man.

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Woman Lies Upside-Down for 75 Days to Save Her Unborn Babies

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Child labor is arguably one of the most painful experiences in the world, and women who endure a few days of it are considered heroes. Going by this, a woman who went through 75 days of labor has got to be nothing short of super-human. I guess it goes to show how just much pain a woman would be willing to withstand, to save her babies.

31-year-old Joanna Krzysztonek was pregnant with triplets when she went into labor at just 21 weeks. When the first baby came out prematurely, it was too weak to survive. In a bid to save the other two babies, doctors at the neo-natal clinic in Wroclaw, Poland, decided to act fast – they stopped the contractions with medications and got Joanna to lie down on a tilted bed at a 30 degree angle, to avoid them starting up again. The umbilical cord was tied up and placed back in the uterus. What followed for Joanna were probably the toughest two-and-a-half months of her life. She had to remain upside down 24×7 with no break whatsoever, not even to use the bathroom. She wasn’t allowed to move one bit, and the hospital staff made sure she was bathed and fed everyday. “I had to be very disciplined as I was not allowed to move out of the bed for the whole 75 days,” she says. “This was very uncomfortable, but the staff kept me going.”

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Yet Another Real-Life Batman – This One Brings Order to Slovakia

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Batman is in the news again, this time from Slovakia. Unlike his Brazilian counterpart, the Slovak Batman hasn’t been hired by the police, he’s self-appointed. 26-year-old Zoltan Kohari, from the southern Slovak town of Dunajska Streda, has donned a leather Batman suit that he’s stitched together himself, in an attempt to help the people of the town. He goes around cleaning the streets, helping the old, and calling the police when he spots something suspicious.

Incidentally, Kohari was a petty criminal prior to his superhero-avatar; he had spent eight months in jail last year and also attempted suicide just after his release. This was before he realized that he had a larger mission – to make life in his community better. “I have decided to do good for the people. I take care of order and help clean up the environment so we can keep living on this planet,” he says. Since Kohari doesn’t really have a full time job, he’s moved into an abandoned apartment in a dilapidated building on the edge of town. He has no electricity or water supply, but the place serves the purpose of a Batcave perfectly, to conduct his town patrols from.

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Man Decides He Can’t Get a Real Woman, Settles for Realistic-Looking Dolls

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55-year-old Everard Cunion, from Dorset, UK couldn’t seem to be able to get a real woman, so at one point in his life he decided to get an artificial one. He had always been fond of shop mannequins, but since they’re as hard as rock, he decided to go for something that looked as good as that, but was more flexible. He now lives with nine realistic dolls

Everard bought Rebecca, his first artificial woman, in 2000. It wasn’t until 2004 that he decided to get his second doll, not because he had been trying to stay faithful to his first, but he simply couldn’t afford to buy another one until then. In fact, the man admits that when he first saw the price tags on these things he almost fell off his chair, but he goes on to say that this kind of dolls are the best things that you can buy, for any amount of money. Still, the £5,000 he paid for his first dolls was a little steep. But what’s important is he didn’t let a trivial thing as money come between him and his third doll, Louis, which he bought in 2005.

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Interviews Before Execution – China’s Successful Death Row Show

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A creepy show capturing the last moments of criminals on death row – that might sound like the worst kind of reality TV, but “Interviews Before Execution” has been hugely popular in China, where it was first aired on Henan Legal Channel on 18th November, 2006. After over 5 years, the show ended last Friday.

As a part of the reality show, journalist Ding Yu would interview a person on death row every week in almost cruel detail. So yes, every person featured on the show was a hardened criminal, whose fate had already been sealed – in death. Sometimes, the criminals were recorded speaking just minutes before their execution, many describing the details of their crimes, displaying remorse and even begging for forgiveness at times. It sure does sound like an unnecessary exploitation of people who are about to die, but the creators of the show have a different perspective. Lu Pejin, the director of the Legal Channel says that the purpose of the show was to warn audiences. “If they are warned, tragedies might be averted. That is good for society.”

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A-Team Fan Spends $50,000 to Convert His Van into Iconic Transport

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A 40-year-old businessman, Tag Majid, has done something that will make A-Team fans the world over both proud and jealous. He’s actually spent $50,000 to convert an old and bashed-up 1985 GMC Vandura Van into a replica of the legendary vehicle driven by B.A. Baracus on the show. It took him over eight months to complete the project and the vehicle is now decked out in all the colors and features of the original show van. Of course, there are a few of the latest conveniences added as well.

Majid, from Dudley, West Midlands, owns a car rental firm called Just For Hire West Midlands. He actually started the renovation of the van over a year ago, and spent a good amount of time just searching the internet for parts. He wanted to make sure that every detail down to the wing mirror, wheels and even the aerial was exactly the same as on the original. He also added a 26-inch LCD TV, a DVD player and a sound system, to play the A-Team theme tune on loop. It blares out through a speaker behind the front grille.

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Vaportrim Makes Cupcakes Inhalable, Cuts Calories to Zero

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Don’t you ever wish you could stuff your face with all kinds of delicious treats without feeling guilty about putting on weight? I know I have, and it seems now, thanks to some simple inhalers from a company called Vaportrim, we’ll be able to do just that.

Are you familiar with electronic cigarettes? They are ingenious cigarette-like gadgets designed as an alternative for smokers who just can’t shake the habit. Basically they turn a nicotine-containing liquid into vapor that is allegedly a lot safer than tobacco smoke. US-based company Vaportrim was apparently inspired by e-cigarette technology to create a similar device that is meant to help people lose weight. Their particular health-aids apparently allow users to inhale delicious sweets like vanilla cupcakes or blueberry muffins without the many calories that usually come with them. The US-based company is actually advertising its product as the world’s first calorie-free dessert. That sounds great in theory, but does it really work?

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