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How's it hangi- oh screw it
June 26, 2007 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Suspension is the act of hanging one’s body from hooks inserted into the flesh. It has its origins in Hindu and Native American rituals, but it’s more recently been adopted by the body modification community, in part thanks to Fakir Mustafar, a leading figure in the movement. Motivations for suspending range from thrill-seeking to spiritual enlightenment, and the possible suspension positions are similarly varied. People have suspended their bodies from electrical towers, luggage carts, and from other people; over waterfalls in the nude (nsfw); even while getting married. Read about how it’s done, or go learn for yourself.
posted by showbiz_liz (81 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was once suspended in grade school.But there was no spiritual enlightenment.
posted by Postroad at 11:02 AM on June 26, 2007


Nuh-uh. Not *even* gonna look. No fuckin' way.
posted by notsnot at 11:04 AM on June 26, 2007


Ouch ouch ouch eww ouch.
posted by amro at 11:05 AM on June 26, 2007


Body modification isn't even all that radical anymore--because piercings and tattoos are so commonplace today, it's lost a lot of its capacity to shock. (Except on Metafilter, apparently. You are a bunch of sissies. I'm tempted to post some REALLY bizarre stuff. You still need your brains fried.)
posted by metasonix at 11:17 AM on June 26, 2007


I lived in Malaysia for a year (about a hundred million years ago) and got to see the incredible Thaipusam festival at a prominent Hindu temple. It's a festival to honour and give thanks to Lord Murugan for boons he granted during the previous year. No one suspends themselves from anything at Thaipusam, but they do suspend things from themselves. I saw one man with several dozen limes on hooks hanging from his back, others had big spear-thingies poked through the cheek, the tongue, and the other cheek, with weights on each end, one guy had vines hooked onto his back and someone else held the free ends and pulled on them like they were reins. Most common, though, were the kavadi , giant metal chariots bedecked in flowers that are held over the body by dozens of rods pierced into the skin. The belief is that if the devotee (usually men, but not always; usually adults, but not always)has properly purified themselves , then the incense and drumming will send them into a trance. If this works, they will feel no pain and experience no bleeding. I didn't see any blood - on the contrary, everyone involved looked pretty blissed out. It's pretty incredible - the heat (this is Malaysia after all!), drumming, chanting, incense, and hundreds of people with metal bars or hooks inserted into them. Then we all proceeded to walk across the city barefoot, along the highways, past shopping malls and schools, to another temple, where we finished the ceremony by walking circles around the sanctum, and gorgeing ourselves on incredible Indian food. Wow.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:17 AM on June 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


Tit torture, body suspension.

I can hardly wait for the butt plug post. "Once you have determined on a proper girth and color, you must of course make one further, crucial decision - horsey tail or no horsey tail?"
posted by yhbc at 11:20 AM on June 26, 2007


I meant to add:
I am not religious but being there in the moment with all this happening around me, I could understand how people could feel a spiritual connection from it. It is, to say the very least, intense. It was exhilarating, there was such a sense of heightened energy and sensitivity.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:22 AM on June 26, 2007


Took me awhile to remember the term, but collective effervescence describes what I felt pretty well.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:25 AM on June 26, 2007


This post is awesome without the img tag.
posted by DU at 11:26 AM on June 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


yhbc- I saw the tit torture post and kicked myself for not posting this earlier.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:26 AM on June 26, 2007


Can I overthink the 'origins' sentence for a second?

While the Hindus and NAs did practice similar things for social and religious reasons, there's no way that it's related at all (and therefore be considered to originate) to the current trend-a-riffic attention-starved 'rebels' who do it. Sure, it predates the current movement, but there's no way that it can be considered anything but lame rationalization using the Fallacy of the Origins.

Look, these people want to hang by hooks, ok? Leave the indians out of it.
posted by unixrat at 11:27 AM on June 26, 2007


I went to The Chamber in Atlanta for New Year's Eve a while ago and instead of a ball dropping, they slowly lower a guy on hooks.
posted by NationalKato at 11:29 AM on June 26, 2007


I guess it's more accurate to say that suspension was inspired by those rituals, then.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:30 AM on June 26, 2007


The suspension of belief is often painful, but rewarding.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:34 AM on June 26, 2007 [2 favorites]



Look, these people want to hang by hooks, ok? Leave the indians out of it.


Blame Fakir. IIRC he's the one who made this kind of thing popular.
posted by Esoquo at 11:48 AM on June 26, 2007


unixrat, what exactly makes you feel qualified to speak on the reasons why people do hook suspension these days? And why do you feel the need to denigrate them?

I've seen flesh hooks and suspension done several times in person. Some of the people did it because they like piercing flesh and they like hooks. Some did it for much more spiritual and ceremonial reasons. Some of the people cherish the idea that there is a cross-cultural tradition of these rites and they are doing their part to bring it into a modern context.

To call it a lame rationalization and engage in name calling means you really don't know what you're talking about. And it probably means you're an jerk. Hopefully I'm wrong on the later part. And yes, I am quite aware that I just engaged in name calling. the difference between the two situations is an exercise left to the student.

I don't do flesh hook suspension myself, but having seen it, I have a great deal of respect for it. And for those that do it. So give them a chance and find out why they do it before you cast aspersions.
posted by afflatus at 11:48 AM on June 26, 2007


A Man Called Horse, 1970, starring Richard Harris, depicts the north american native tradition, but you can watch the gory details on youtube.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:51 AM on June 26, 2007


If you find yourself watching The Last King of Scotland, and this post crosses your mind, and you wonder if they're really gonna go there on camera, they do.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:51 AM on June 26, 2007


I really wonder about the FIRST person to try this...what they were thinking.
posted by agregoli at 11:54 AM on June 26, 2007


One time, my girlfriend and were giving our cat its first ever bath, and, freaking out, he leapt up and attached his claws to the skin on my forearm and was just hanging there. I then freaked out from the appearance of it, but after a moment, it sunk in that it didn't actually hurt. This is what I think of every time someone mentions A Man Called Horse, or hook suspension, (although I suspect there's much more pain involved).
posted by kimota at 12:01 PM on June 26, 2007


yes, these people do want to 'hang by hooks' and some of them do it for the shock value or the thrill or whatever. but for many, it is a spiritual experience.

i love how metafilter always freaks out about the body modification posts. 'ewww, gross. what freaks!'

you want to see some crazy shit? shit that will make you freak the fuck out (i'm sure you will, since you're freaking out about suspensions)? check out the extreme or hard galleries on bmezine. or just check out modblog.bmezine.com. there's extreme stuff on there all the time.

but leave your judgements here.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:01 PM on June 26, 2007


Some of the people cherish the idea that there is a cross-cultural tradition of these rites and they are doing their part to bring it into a modern context.

There is no tradition here. Sure, people have done this sort of thing before, but there's absolutely no way that these are connected. Ancient cavemen may have hit things with clubs, but there's no way that you can say that 'Modern baseball has it's origins in the Neaderthal traditions of killing things to eat.'

These hookings (and hookees) are entirely, utterly, atomically different. Believing that they are related indicates something about the believer, but I can't quite put my finger on what.
posted by unixrat at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2007


A good friend of mine has been involved in this for years. He is (or was) part of a group called Traumatic Stress Discipline (or TSD for short.) I saw them in Chicago a couple of years ago for the House of Wacks show. They did something really neat where they had four people all suspended from a hanging cross. The effect was kind of like a giant kid's mobile, just with people instead of toys.

And it's not like they are just hanging there, there is so much adrenaline in them that they are bouncing around like crazy. It's pretty impressive to see.

TSD got a little bit of fame when they were on Ripley's Believe it or Not, for doing a three or four story mobile kind of suspension. Unfortunately I can't find a video of it.

If you want a lot more information on the culture, you should definately check out suspension.org. It's never been my thing, but I've always found those involved to be an interesting bunch.
posted by quin at 12:08 PM on June 26, 2007


Modern Primitives
posted by ogre at 12:10 PM on June 26, 2007


i love how metafilter always freaks out about the body modification posts. 'ewww, gross. what freaks!'

Who said that? I probably got closest to that by saying, "Eww," but I didn't see anyone calling anyone gross or a freak.
posted by amro at 12:13 PM on June 26, 2007


It goes without saying.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:14 PM on June 26, 2007


It's kind of interesting, really. A friend of mine did it a few years ago. I thought about it. The endorphins must be amazing.
posted by blacklite at 12:15 PM on June 26, 2007


It's interesting to me that someone says, very emphatically, "keep your judgment to yourself" on this thread, which where I come from is far less mainstream than the, "should I keep seeing this married guy for sex," thread, and THAT thread was full of judgment calls.

No real point, other than that I find it interesting how the social mores of where we live influence our own opinions.
posted by misha at 12:19 PM on June 26, 2007


I've been present at a few suspensions, and I too am really glad the IMG tag has been turned off here.

None of the suspendees were bouncing around at the ones I saw (or more to the point, tried to avoid seeing), but at one, there was someone jerking the rope around.
posted by adamrice at 12:24 PM on June 26, 2007


unixrat: there's no way that it's related at all...to the current trend-a-riffic attention-starved 'rebels' who do it

unixrat, you seem very narrow-minded in your dismissal of every person who practices suspension, save for those who you might see in National Geographic, yeah?

What is tradition? By definition, it's a continuing pattern of cultural beliefs and/or practices. Who are you to speak for everyone in this case? How do you claim knowledge of the reasons people suspend themselves? I'm sure there are 'trend-a-riffic' people doing it, but if you honestly believe that encompasses more than a minority of those who practice suspension, I would suggest you get out more often. [NOT HOOKIST]
posted by NationalKato at 12:31 PM on June 26, 2007


Yeah, as a kid in Singapore around the mid 80s I got to see Thaipusam too. It is one completely freaky sight, at least if you're a 10 year old from Indiana.
posted by the dief at 12:37 PM on June 26, 2007


Ouch ouch ouch eww ouch.

This is the most intelligent comment in the thread so far.
Allow me to second it.
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. At all.

But then again, there are a lot of things I don't get.
posted by kbanas at 12:40 PM on June 26, 2007


By definition, it's a continuing pattern of cultural beliefs and/or practices. Who are you to speak for everyone in this case?

While that's a pretty lousy definition of tradition, I'll go with it. These people share zero in culture and zero in beliefs. They may have a practice that's the superficially similar, but that does not equal tradition.

I'm not asking them to stop, I'm just asking them to please stop relating this to Native Americans and/or other rituals. This is currently nothing more than a simple fad. Call me in two hundred years and show me that this has remained a part of the California Rebel lifestyle and I'll print these words out and eat them.
posted by unixrat at 12:48 PM on June 26, 2007


I don't think it's at all out of line to question the seamlessness of the spiritual lineage between the current bod mod suspension practitioners and their putative predecessors. Without rushing too emphatically to unixrat's defense here, consider this parallel: a lot of folks these days absolutely love what they like to call "Kabbalah" and claim kinship and spiritual tutelage from, say, Joseph Caro or Abraham Abulafia. This is infuriating, not because they are not studying the texts of those mystics, but because the modern spiritual lovers of Kabbalah generally lack the education and context (can't, for instance, read a page of Talmud) of actual Jewish mystics, of whom there are precious few, and who probably don't agree that Jewish mysticism is an all-encompassing onelove new age salve. So too with this. No context, no authenticity. And if I were a literal descendant of a tribe who practices suspension, I bet I'd be a little peeved that these folks claim kinship with me because they do something my ancestors used to do.

That said, if you have the desire, dedication and focus to pierce your flesh with hooks and dangle, who the hell am I? It's astonishing to me that anyone would ever want to do this. Halevai, they should live and be well.
posted by kosem at 12:54 PM on June 26, 2007


Kabbalah

Bingo. Perfect example. Thanks.
posted by unixrat at 1:00 PM on June 26, 2007


I am wondering what percentage of the flesh-hook defending folks would walk home to discover their 11 or 12 year old children hanging by flesh hooks and think, "As long as they were not forced to do it and they used the proper safety techniques, then I find this to be totally acceptable."
posted by flarbuse at 1:04 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Praise the lord and pass the antiseptic.
posted by anthill at 1:04 PM on June 26, 2007


The thing is, though, most people who do this aren't claiming to have some sort of spiritual kinship with the people who originally did this. If you're going to compare this to anything, compare it to, say, yoga. Westerners who do yoga acknowledge the spiritual roots of yoga, but the majority of them are in it because it's a good workout. So too with suspension. It was inspired by ancient rituals, but the people in those photos aren't pretending to be performing those rituals. They're taking an idea and playing with it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:07 PM on June 26, 2007


flarbuse- Who would say that about tattooing, drinking, smoking, or driving? In other words, what are you talking about?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:09 PM on June 26, 2007


I'm not asking them to stop, I'm just asking them to please stop relating this to Native Americans and/or other rituals.

But that would dampen their pretensions. People who cut themselves or mark themselves up like white-trash yakuza are, like, more spiritual than you, man! What you feel, they feel times like 50. They're unique snowflakes, and they want to be damn sure that you know it.

That said, people have every right to do anything they want that's not hurting anyone. But I'm with unixrat-- stop saying that you're communing with bronze-age people and just say "I like to have myself strung up like a tuna." Because you can do that just because you want to. Chief Kindle Nofire of the Wampanoags might have liked to get suspended by his balls too, but you're not him.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:09 PM on June 26, 2007


While that's a pretty lousy definition of tradition...

Take it up with Mirriam-Webster.

This is currently nothing more than a simple fad.

Yeah, yeah, just like tattoos and body piercings and GETOFFMYLAWN!
posted by NationalKato at 1:11 PM on June 26, 2007


you want to see some crazy shit? shit that will make you freak the fuck out (i'm sure you will, since you're freaking out about suspensions)?
but leave your judgements here.
posted by misanthropicsarah


Actually, no--I don't want to see some crazy shit. As it is, after having viewed a couple of these web pages, my sphincter has contracted to almost nothing and I feel faint.

And I will take my judgment with me where ever I wish.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:20 PM on June 26, 2007


For the record, I've talked with many people who engage in this activity, and showbiz_liz has it right. Some of them acknowledge that this was a tradition of older cultures, a very very few are weirdos that think they are communing with ancient spirits or some such, but the vast majority are just people who are doing it for fun. No religious, cultural, or spiritual overtones, just a huge adrenaline/ endorphin rush.
posted by quin at 1:20 PM on June 26, 2007


Yeah, yeah, just like tattoos and body piercings and GETOFFMYLAWN!

If I can find a picture of someone with a Tribal Tat, ear disc, and hanging by hooks at the same time, surely I will become Enlightened.

Allahu Hot Topic
posted by unixrat at 1:27 PM on June 26, 2007


STELARC is well known for his suspensions.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:27 PM on June 26, 2007


My guess is that when those ancient tribes practiced suspension and felt spiritually enlightened, it was really just adrenaline/endorphins as well.
posted by NationalKato at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2007


Wouldn't this practice be a continuous source of infection for the body unless the people bathe in hydogen peroxide and tripleantibiotic cream? If the physical body is always in a state of defense and reparation how does it translate spiritually? Is this all tied to personal guilt?
posted by Viomeda at 1:35 PM on June 26, 2007


Viomeda- they only suspend for several minutes at a time, and the piercings are temporary.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:38 PM on June 26, 2007


so it's just a one time thing?
posted by Viomeda at 1:39 PM on June 26, 2007


There is a big issue with the "Modern Primitive Movement" which is of Fakir's making, as a pseudo back to 'primitive' sans spiritual co-option of other peoples cultures.

In other words, they are taking the stuff they like from cultures they think are neat. Its successful and rapid adaptation by the current generation makes me wonder if it is really just filling a need, but without context there is no regulation, as Tabacco was, once removed from the regilious context it was originally cultivated for.

The rise of the mega churchs and the rolling in aisles movement is another symptom of the same thing: people are feeling disconnected more and more in their daily lives and are searching for something to give them meaning, purpose, or atleast relief from themselves.

*and now i end my low blood sugar induced weird ass rant, feel free to ignore if you wish*
posted by mrzarquon at 2:39 PM on June 26, 2007


so it's just a one time thing?

Not really Viomeda. Many people who try suspensions, do them more than once, but it's not a constant thing.

The piercings are temporary. They are unlikely to be in a person's back for more than a couple of hours. When the hooks are put in, it's done by a professional piercer who has a lot of experience in putting metal in a person in a way to prevent infection. The hooks themselves have all been put through an autoclave to ensure their sterility, and alcohol is used on the skin to further mitigate any risks. Remarkably, for the amount of stress they are putting on small patches of skin, there is very little bleeding.

You could liken it to other extreme activities, like base jumping. There is a lot of preparation and planning up front, to make certain that the adrenaline rush is gotten as safely as is reasonably possible.
posted by quin at 2:48 PM on June 26, 2007


Sorry. Too David Blainey for my taste.
posted by found missing at 2:49 PM on June 26, 2007


so it's just a one time thing?

Nope. There was A Man Called Horse, and then there was Return of a Man Called Horse.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:56 PM on June 26, 2007


I see, it sounds so involved for such a momentary rush.

So the Native Americans performed suspension as some kind of right of passage for men. It was a higly spiritual practice and very painful. From what I understand it could last an entire night.

The way it's used today confuses me, is it a experiment for extreme adrenaline junkies who are really searching for something to believe in. I guess I just have a hard time with the word enlightenment these days.

I suppose whatever make one happy....
posted by Viomeda at 3:07 PM on June 26, 2007


This is not shocking. Most of the BM crowd doesn't shock me anymore. The last real thing that shocked the hell out of me was subincision (subincision = there is no God)
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 3:10 PM on June 26, 2007


Some run marathons to get their high, some hang themselves from hooks. Me? Internet porn works fine, as long as it's free.
posted by girard31 at 3:13 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can I interest you in being suspended with hooks from a helicopter?

I didn't click every link of the post, but from the URLs it didn't look like this was one of the links. If it's already here, and you want to call me names about it, please do so in MetaTalk.
posted by The Deej at 4:11 PM on June 26, 2007


These people share zero in culture and zero in beliefs. They may have a practice that's the superficially similar, but that does not equal tradition.

There's always a certain class of people who insist that culture and tradition are real, static, monolithic things that aren't to be trifled with. And when they're confronted with clear evidence that this isn't the case they have no choice to resort to the "but they're just not!" defense of authenticity. I like to think that the reason why marketers are so apt at coopting various cultural forces is precisely because of this fear of change in culture. It's only after people have already taken the step of reducing another culture to a trend that they can then be persuaded that trends are all there is.

I guess I just have a hard time with the word enlightenment these days.

This is the victory condition, the point at which the victim becomes proud of their own small mindedness and is perfectly content to insist the rest of the world is as small as they are.
posted by nixerman at 4:27 PM on June 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


I just find it all very self-indulgent
posted by A189Nut at 5:13 PM on June 26, 2007


Major C,

This isn't much different than having a picture of your cat's bloody testicle on your profile page. You love your cat so much you love his bloody ball. Your proud of his bloody nad. You want others to be proud of his empty sack too. You lay it out on a clean white cloth for the world to see: look, my cats fucking gory nut!

Body mod is same thing. It's absurd, but in a way so is the fact your cat survived getting his ball chopped off. If had not been done deliberately, with care, he mostly wouldn't have. But despite knowing all of this, your cat is bad-ass. Dangling like raw meat from a tree out in the middle of no-where is bad-ass; it's also dumb as shit. You can be both; they're not mutually exclusive.

With natural wounds, survival demands scarring. Body modification is simply a stylized way of capturing the underlying sentiment. Relishing survival is probably the most primitive spiritual experience.
posted by ogre at 5:14 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm going to go with others who have said this is not the freakiest body-mod practice they've seen. Peruse the BMEZine wiki. Do you have any idea what people do to their genitalia There's this (that's a toothbrush in the second picture there!) and this and this and, possibly the worst, this one. All links are NSFW, and may be traumatizing to those of the male persuasion.
posted by schroedinger at 5:19 PM on June 26, 2007


A189Nut: I just find it all very self-indulgent

Fair enough. But when talking about the hobbies and activities of young people, can you think of many things that aren't self-indulgent?

And as long as it doesn't hurt anyone (any more than they want to be hurt, that is) what is wrong with a little self indulgence? It's not like we can spend every moment of our lives trying to help others. Sometimes, people gotta do stuff that makes themselves feel good.
posted by quin at 5:30 PM on June 26, 2007


Naked over a waterfall is just fucking breathtaking. I would disagree with the commenters that she's "at peace"; I'd say she is having an extremely intense experience, which was obviously her purpose in doing the suspension.

I am not into this stuff myself, but I read quite a bit about it in the course of writing a certain infamous web novel. I think this picture is the closest I have ever seen a mortal human who probably has no real death wish come to the kind of surrender my character Caroline likes to experience.
posted by localroger at 5:32 PM on June 26, 2007


Saying the modern incarnation of suspension has sacred roots in ancient cultures is like saying The Wiggles are musical descendents of Ornette Coleman.
posted by basicchannel at 5:52 PM on June 26, 2007


Related, my comment in last night's nipple/breast torture post by goodnewsfortheinsane.
posted by nickyskye at 6:39 PM on June 26, 2007


First tit torture, now this thread. Can't you people do something normal and family-friendly instead of this sick shit, like tattoo your faces?
posted by davy at 6:41 PM on June 26, 2007


I'd use another term than "self-indulgent," A189Nut. When I think of ways to indulge myself slicing my penis open is never on the list.
posted by davy at 6:46 PM on June 26, 2007


Suspended Wedding (quicktime
video), Learning to Fly,
Kassia's first suspension, Helmut's
Suspension
, and Truck Pull [+]
(all self-links, sorry) are a few of the hook-related activities
documented in Lost Art. In every one of them the persons involved were enjoying
themselves. I think its one of the things where one can safely say, "if you
have to ask why, you'll never understand." I wouldn't do it myself, but I
can understand why others seek it, and completely respect it.
posted by ig at 7:14 PM on June 26, 2007


You are talking about extremes here davy. While the people that get into body mods like subdermal implants or 'penis slicing' might also be interested in suspension, it's not fair to assume that it goes the other way.

Much the same way that a casual Catholic probably shouldn't be compared to say, Opus Dei.

Suspensions are the kind of thing you might try and two weeks later there is no evidence that it ever happened. The other stuff is a bit more... permanent.
posted by quin at 7:16 PM on June 26, 2007


I have worked on a few suspensions/ skin separations/ bloodletting performances. It's breathtaking stuff. To be in a room with other warm bodies while someone is showing you their insides, their humors, their sinew -- well.

I for one have been incomparably moved by some of these pieces. Mileage varies.
posted by milquetoast at 7:22 PM on June 26, 2007


I've been to Thaipusam also, as arcticwoman first mentioned. One thing about Thaipusam though is that it isn't incense they are burning, trust me. Which may explain the lack of bleeding/pain.

I went when I was a teenager and started freaking out as I saw someone put a large metal rod through a guy's tongue. We were near all the bonfires and one of my friends told me to just close my eyes and breath in as much smoke as I could. Next two hours were pure bliss. I have no idea exactly what they were burning, definitely some sort of narcotic though.
posted by whoaali at 7:43 PM on June 26, 2007


I don't think you can understand it until you've seen it in person. Probably more so if you've done it, but just seeing it in person helps understand it a lot. I thought a friend that did it was a little out there, but figured what he did was his business. But then I went to a show. They're adrenalin gets pumping, the crowds adrenalin gets pumping. They feed off the crowds energy and the crowd feeds of their energy. I walk out of the show with an adrenalin contact high.

I am surprised reading some comments here. For the most part, mefi is usually "what someone does with their body is their business". I guess unless it squeeks you out.

(And for those of you that are bothered by it, here is some fun imagery. Sometimes they hang from the skin above their knees. That's right, grab that bit right above your knee cap. Right there!)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:57 PM on June 26, 2007


You shouldn't hang me on a hook. My father hung me on a hook once.
...ONCE.


Interesting. All I know about this came from the sundance (and movie The Cell).
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 PM on June 26, 2007


yhbc writes 'I can hardly wait for the butt plug post.'

This post will be on anal dilation, thus legitimizing the posting of goatse man to the front page of the blue.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:13 AM on June 27, 2007


leftcoastbob writes 'As it is, after having viewed a couple of these web pages, my sphincter has contracted to almost nothing and I feel faint.'

Another compelling reason for my anal dilation post.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:16 AM on June 27, 2007


Not everyone does it for the adrenaline rush. I've suspended twice now (Once in a "superman" style, and another in the lotus position) and both times I had no adrenaline rush at all. Major endorphine rush when I came down, but not while I was hanging.

I did it because I've always been intersted in body modification and rights of passage. So when I turned 21 I wanted something to mark the occasion, something more meaningful to myself than going out to the bar. Call it cultural appropriation more than a continuation of tradition, I was inspired by the Native American and Indian rituals.

For the 5 days leading up to my suspension I fasted, having a meal in the morning before I was to be suspended, and a snack right before my suspension. Perhaps it was the fasting, perhaps it was the ritual, but I did reach an altered state of mind. It's an intense pain, more so than anything I've ever felt before. BUT the ordeal is entirely mental; It's being done to you, all you need to do is deal with it. Either you transcend the pain or you get down, it's as simple as that. When I did it I was suspended for around an hour, others only 5 minutes. Each person responds differently.

After a short time the pain didn't affect me anymore. The best way I can describe it is like listening to elevator music. You know you're listening to something, but you're not really listening to it. I knew that my body was experiencing pain, but I didn't acknowledge it anymore, I didn't let myself feel it.

To me, it's kind of an ultimate act of discovering who you are. It took a little while to hit me after I came down the first time, "I actually did that. I did that". Everything else seems so small in comparison now. I know I can accomplish amazing things. How can you know who you really are without testing your limits? You do it all the time, in school, in sports, in everything you compete in. I did it because I want to experience all that it means to live really, to figure out who I am.
posted by swashedbuckles at 4:57 AM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those of you who've done this: does having done this improve your ability to tolerate (whether consciously or perceptually) pain outside of suspension? I.e., due to an unexpected injury or post-surgical pain? I'm curious as to whether there's aspects of this that could be adapted to pain-management procedures, or if it's more just something that happens to you, and the knowledge that you can stop at any time is what keeps it tolerable.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:41 PM on June 27, 2007


A little bit of both; I think it more puts pain into perspective than anything else. When you realize it's a bodily reaction and that you can somewhat ignore it, like getting used to a bad smell, it doesn't seem so bad anymore. Honestly though, it's hard for me to say, because having a high pain tollerance runs in my family. That being said, I still curse like the dickens when I stub my toe.
posted by swashedbuckles at 2:21 PM on June 27, 2007


posted by yhbc I can hardly wait for the butt plug post. "Once you have determined on a proper girth and color, you must of course make one further, crucial decision - horsey tail or no horsey tail?"

Horsey tails are so 1993. SFW.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:55 PM on June 27, 2007


swashedbuckles wrote of suspension: "To me, it's kind of an ultimate act of discovering who you are."

Kind of a "Yes, I really was stupid enough to torture myself like that!" moment, huh? I've had a few epiphanies something like that, but the events were more like people giving me pleasure by fellating my penis, and the pain was the emotional stress and effort I had to go through to get it. (Being young and Romantic really bites.) So skip all the drama, youngster: jump ahead to coke & hookers.
posted by davy at 10:01 PM on June 28, 2007


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