Body Modifications have a long history with human beings, although they are fairly new to us here in America. Earrings are ubiquitous, but what about other body modifications? Color, magnets, suspensions, even microchips. The pierced belly button has come a long way in the last twenty years, and now there are people with forked tongues, bodies covered in tattoos and all kinds of options that may terrify, delight, horrify or amuse you: take a look!
It’s really hard to comprehend that some people not only let their eyeballs be altered but ask for it! Eyeball tattoos are extremely dangerous, because someone with less than surgically skilled hands could blind you or somehow obstruct your vision. There are very few tattoo artists in the entire world who can do this work. which is completed through injections where the colors are spread over the sclera of the eye, avoiding entirely the pupil area. Similar results could be obtained from eyeball contacts, without risking either a change of mind or permanent and unalterable eyesight damage, so that is the road that most people would take.
Nipple piercings are done by licensed tattoo shops. A person getting a nipple piercing can have a topical anesthetic applied beforehand if they are worried about the pain, which is rubbed into the skin fifteen to twenty minutes before the piercing is done. Nipple piercings take a long time to fully heal, up to an entire year. In addition, they can be easily aggravated or upset if the nipple ring is yanked on or accidentally pulled, causing inflammation and tearing to the skin. Women also might find that their nipple piercings hurt during their period, as the breasts can swell at this time of month and press against the nipple piercing.
Dr. Jon Perlman is a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon for 25 years and told CBS News that he has turned down requests for procedures he found disturbing, specifically saying that the tongue “is a very functional part of the human body affecting speech and eating. I think anyone who wants this should undergo psychological evaluation to explain such a strong drive to stand-out from the norm, and I consider myself a fairly open-minded individual.”
This procedure can be done by various methods, including cutting with a scalpel, cauterizing and tying off. The healing time for this splitting is only a few weeks, much shorter than the nipple piercing!
This body modification is credited to Steve Haworth who had a piercing shop in Phoenix, AZ. A customer came in asking for a bracelet tattoo. Haworth then suggested that instead, he could implant a row of beads beneath the woman’s wrists to create a true bracelet effect. After this, many well-known body modification artists began experimenting with this practice. A dermatologist told CBS News that any time the skin is opened up there is the potential for infection – and the risk is heightened when a permanent foreign object is introduced, so the greatest of care and skill is necessary for any procedure such as this.
Corset piercing is the creation of a corset on the center of the back. This starts with the creation of piercings going down either side of the spine. After those piercings heal, they can be laced with ribbons and then pulled tight. Any opening of the skin offers a space that can lead to infection, and corset piercings can be especially difficult to keep clean because they are on the back and difficult to reach. The piercings also leave large scars if the person wishes to no longer have the corset on their back. Healing time can be lengthy, and the risk of the body rejecting the piercings is high because of the number of the piercings.
Saline injections are temporary body modifications that swell up surrounding skin and then deflate. “Injecting yourself with saline would have a temporary effect,” Dr. Perlman says to CBS News. He also noted that the swelling lasts only an hour or so when the saline is then absorbed by the body. Saline injections can be dangerous if the saline is contaminated or if it were accidentally injected into a blood vessel. “You could severely damage skin and tissue,” Dr. Perlman said to CBS News. This body modification is popular among young people who go clubbing at night and frequent places where the visitors have many body mods.
Skin stretching is considered relatively safe and one of the safest procedures of body modifications to get. The person uses an object to stretch the skin out more and more over a period of time, gradually increasing the size of the object to increase the stress and pressure on the skin so that it continues stretching. Once the skin is stretched to a certain point, it does not bounce back. The only way to make the skin look as it did before is to have it surgically removed. Skin stretching is one of the oldest forms of body modifications, with ancient tribes performing this dramatic change to the skin using rudimentary piercings and carved wooden or stone inserts.
Suspension looks incredibly painful: it is the process of piercing parts of the body such as the arms, legs, back and buttocks, and then pulling wire through the piercings and hanging the person from those piercings. One person who practices this told Huffington Post, “With every single suspension, I go through something where I grow, and I can feel a spot in my mind,” she says. “I find that spot. I get into it. It bounces around, and I stay up until I lock down and feel like I’ve experienced what I need to do.” Although suspension looks very painful, many report that while they do find it somewhat painful, it’s nowhere near as hurtful as it appears.
In 2012, getting elf ears became the newest body modification craze. The official name of the procedure is actually elfin ears, which (get ready, it’s queasy) involves slitting open the top of the ear and then stitching the open portions together, folding the helix rim up into a point. Dermatologic surgeons agree that this procedure has the potential for scarring, permanent damage of ear cartilage, infection, and additional ear deformities and often will not perform the surgery. The ear and the hearing of the patient could be permanently scarred or obliverated if there was an infection. This is a more serious and permanent form of body modification.
In Papua New Guinea there are many extremely old and interesting tribal customs, but the most painful custom might just be the body modification of crocodile scarification. In the tradition, the young men of the tribe are inflicted with “hundreds of deep cuts in cascading patterns down their backs, arms, chest and buttocks to give their skin the look and feel of a crocodile’s body. All of this work is done with a sliver of bamboo,” according to Ranker. The raw wounds come with the same risk of infection that any wound does, and because there are so many wounds at once the concern for infection is greater.
Magnetic finger implants might be a great idea for a magician, who would then seemingly levitate many small objects with just her fingers. For the rest of us, MRI’s and airports would be a challenge. This body modification consists of having a small magnet surgically inserted into a part of the hand, usually the fingertip area, so that the person can then magnetize small metal objects. They also are rumored to give the wearer the ability to sense electromagnetic shifts around them, although that is not proven. The procedure can be reversed if the magnet is surgically removed, although if there is much build up of scar tissue it could be disfiguring to the finger.
The Most Piercings in the World
The most pierced woman in the world, Elaine Davidson, was counted as the “Most Pierced Woman” according to the Guinness World Records. A Guinness World Record official examined Davidson in May 2000, and at that time she had 462 piercings, with 192 in her face alone.has 6,925 piercings, with some piercings weighing up to seven pounds. In 2011 she married a man who has no (visible, at least) piercings or tattoos. Elaine received her first piercing in 1997 and became obsessed with it after this. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland married to her husband. ““People see the piercings but I see the amazing personality underneath,” said her husband, Douglas.
Fringe members of the tech world are melding their bodies with their obsessions. Science and body modification techniques have combined with biohackers who have begun to have microchips installed into bodies. The microchip can send data to smart phones and other devices, as well as open specialized doors. Neil Harbisson is a colorblind artist who had an antenna installed in his head that converts color into sounds waves so he can “hear” the hues. There have been no studies of any kind done on the effect of this on the human body or what long-term implications could be, and scar tissue can build up around the implant.
Katzen Hobbes knew she wanted to be covered head to toe in tiger stripes from the time she was very young. So from the ages of 18-28 she had her entire body tattooed to look like a tiger, with big, thick, black stripes across her entire body. At one point she even had cat whiskers installed, but this only lasted for a short period of time as they interfered with her field of vision. Katzen is a tattoo artist and stage performer. She is now covered over 90% of her body in the tattooed stripes. Katzen has appeared in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not for her extreme body modification procedure to become the Tiger Lady.
Erik Sprague is a pioneering figure in body modification and the modern sideshow carnival: he has turned himself into the Lizard Man through extreme body modifications, including the split tongue, forehead implants, green, scale tattoos all over his body, and skin extension in his ears. He has performed with his mods for over twenty years around the world. He is a Guinness World Record Holder and Ripley’s Believe it or Not has statues of The Lizardman in their museums all over the world. At one point, Erik Sprauge was a PhD candidate and now he is The Lizardman- that’s quite a leap in life! Body modifications definitely changed Sprague’s life.
The Giraffe Woman
Sydney V. Smith became obsessed with the women of the Kayan Lahwi tribes of Thailand and Burma who encase their necks in brass rings, so at twenty-eight, she began wearing brass rings around her neck in an attempt to elongate it. She encased her neck in 15 copper rings. However, “I got it up to 9 or 10 inches,” Smith told The Huffington Post. “But I started missing the things I used to do before, like hiking, running and swimming. With these rings, I can only go in waist deep [in the pool].” Smith now says she is considered designing a line of giraffe neck rings for women, to pursue her entrepreneurial side, as her showbiz side has been satiated.
Henry Damon was a Venezuelan fan of fictional Nazis and decided he wanted to take his obsession to the most extreme possible degree with body modifications. He has now undergone body modifications all over his body and especially his face in order to make himself look like the Captain America villain, Red Skull. Henry Damon removed his nose, and had his face tattooed red and black, as well as having his eyes tattooed black. He now has been photographed wearing the Nazi uniform of Red Skull and is famous worldwide for his frightening body modification change into a fictional character.
Marcus Boykin started out with some piercings inspired by Shaka Zulu. He now is covered in tattoos and piercings and is called The Creature. Boykin told AMC, “My inspiration came from The Great Omi [professional sideshow performer Horace Ridler], seeing his story. It was different and peculiar. I wanted that to be a part of my life. And I wanted to do it myself. Art has always been a part of my life since I was very young. So what better way to express myself? I’ve got the art, I’ve got the body. I had to be headstrong about it. Because I knew once I got into it, I’d be tattooing my face and all the extremities of my body.”
The Enigma is a sideshow performer who has also taken body modification to the extreme: he went through a jigsaw puzzle-related transformation in 1992, and is still transforming. The Enigma tours as a freak sideshow act called Show Devils, where you can see him and his cohort Serena Rose both do various magic-type acts and a chainsaw act called The Kiss of Death. He has had numerous mods including horn implants, ear reshaping, multiple body piercings, and of course the full-body jigsaw-puzzle tattoo. He also makes music and released a DVD called Electric Acid Theatre which he makes available at his shows.
Ted Richards is from Bristol, England. In an extreme body modification procedure, he underwent a six-hour surgery procedure to have both of his ears removed, so that he could look more like his parrots. Richards has ten tattoos, fifty piercings and a split tongue. He has taken this obsession even further and is planning on having his nose surgically changed into a beak. Richards also has a peace sign branded on his left shoulder with a 750 degrees centigrade hot iron and two magnets implanted in his hands. Richards is currently looking for a surgeon who is willing to do the surgery on his nose in order to alter the appearance to that of a beak, like his beloved parrots.
While not the most extreme modification, this young woman has clearly had a breast augmentation to make her cup size larger. Judging by her abs, this woman seemingly has the perfect body after her elective surgery. However you have to wonder why she isn’t flaunting her new size in a bathing suit top, in that tropical paradise!
Heidi Montag’s Surgery Addiction
Reality TV star Heidi Montag, formerly of The Hills has taken plastic surgery way too far. She said that she’s had her ten plastic surgeries done in order to improve her self-confidence. At just 27 years old, Montag has had a brow lift, nose job, her ears pinned, chin shaved, breast enhancements, her back scooped out, fat injected into her cheekbones, and liposuction on her thighs. Wow! Rumor has it that she has spent a whopping $10 million on her surgeries. Hopefully she’s hit a stopping point!