In 1979, two Vancouver businessmen, Orst Perry and Adolf Schiel, set a world record for traveling around the world on commercial airlines. They started in Vancouver and ended up in Vancouver. They did this in 54 hours, 42 minutes. It cost them $7000 each.
I can think of a lot better ways to spend $7000 than sitting on a plane for several days. But it seems that others have pursued this same record. A press release from Nov 2016 says that Brother Michael Bartlett set a new record for flying around the world on commercial airlines by doing it in 57 hours, 17 minutes.
That's slower than the time set in 1979, but I'm guessing that Bartlett must have adhered to stricter rules. It says that he had to "cross the equator and land at points that are approximately 108 degrees apart and roughly on the same north–south longitude."
Back in 1937, Rev. A. Earl Lee set a record for preaching the longest sermon ever, preaching continuously for 21 hours. "He ate regular meals, preaching between bites, changed his clothes, and even took a bath while continuing the sermon by talking into a portable microphone."
Bradford Evening Star - June 29, 1937
However, it seems that world's longest sermon has been a hotly contested record. Today the record is up to 53 hours and 11 minutes. That record was set in 2014 by Florida pastor Zach Zehnder. Although it seems that he took some brief breaks for power naps. Is that allowed? Apparently so. In the video below you can watch the last 11 minutes of his sermon — and most of the rest of it is on YouTube if, for some reason, you want to sit through it.
One of the world records that Guinness no longer tracks is that for "most pills swallowed." But from the late 1970s to the 1990s it consistently awarded this to one C.H.A. Kilner of Malawi (or perhaps Zimbabwe — accounts differ), who apparently took A LOT of pills following a pancreatectomy (removal of his pancreas) on June 9, 1967.
The exact number of pills taken by Kilner progressively increased over time. The 1978 edition of Guinness put it at 280,131 pills. A year later it had reached 311,136. By 1981 it was 359,061. And Kilner finally stopped taking pills on June 19, 1988, having reached a total of 565,939 pills.
Later reports did the math and figured out that this worked out to 73 pills a day, and that "if all the pills he had taken were laid out end to end they would form an unbroken line two miles 186 yards long."
Where exactly was Guinness getting this information from? I have no idea, because they seem to be the only source for it. I can't find any record of this Kilner guy in medical journals.
Brent Fraser hopes that he is now the official record holder for this achievement after mouth-catching a grape dropped from a balloon 101-feet high. He's submitted all the necessary documentation to Guinness and is awaiting their decision.
He began dreaming of claiming this record after realizing that he had a "natural knack" for catching things with his mouth. He practiced by having grapes slingshot at high speed at his face.
In 1978, Thomas Crowder set a record for "time spent aboard commercial planes" by traveling back and forth between 91 U.S. cities for 21 days. He never spent more than three hours on layovers between flights.
As far as I can tell, Guinness never recognized this record. Nor can I find evidence that anyone has ever tried to top it.
I know that Guinness tries not to track records that encourage unhealthy or life-endangering acts. So maybe Crowder's record fell foul of this policy. Because spending 21 days sitting on commercial flights seems like a great way to develop deep vein thrombosis.
Raymond Tac begins attempt to set world record for fasting
February 1931: Fifty days into a fasting contest, Alf Wilson, of England, had to withdraw from the contest on the advice of his doctor. This left Raymond Tac, of New Zealand, the winner.
However, Tac was eager to keep fasting. So soon after he launched into an attempt to break his personal record of going ninety days and four hours without food — which apparently, at the time, was also a world record.
Tac sealed himself behind a glass wall, through which spectators could view him, having announced that he would live for over three months with mineral water and cigarettes as his only nourishment.
Unfortunately I don't know if Tac succeeded in his attempt to break his record. I haven't been able to find any reports about it. In fact, it's difficult to know what the world record for fasting is since Guinness doesn't maintain an official record for that activity, and there's a number of different claims to the title.
In Boobies, Peckers, and Tits Olaf Danielson documents his quest to obtain the world record for nude birdwatching. He managed to see 594 North American species in one year, while in his birthday suit.
It doesn't seem that there was a world record for this activity before Danielson decided to obtain it. So he had to invent his own official rules, which include the following.
You have to be nude to count the bird. Hats and footwear are fine but nothing else.
You have to had left naked to go birding (or for another nude activity) to count the bird. Seeing a turkey vulture while playing nude volleyball is acceptable, while driving along in a car or walking textile, seeing a bird, and then slipping off your clothing does not count. In fact, being in car doesn’t count ever. To count a bird, you will have to go back to car, or house, undress and then return unclothed. For legality reasons, leaving a car walking around a corner and disrobing is acceptable, as long as it wasn’t because you saw a new bird.
You cannot be inside an enclosed boat, house, or car/ truck for it to count. A bird blind must be open to a degree any birder would consider it open. Being naked on an ATV if you left naked on an ATV or even a snowmobile (burr!) is acceptable.
23-year-old Silvana Shamuon recently established a new Guinness world record in the category of "Most items kicked off people's heads in one minute."
She kicked 59 American footballs off people's heads.
According to the rules, her foot had to touch the floor between each kick, and the people with the footballs on their heads had to have a minimum height of 5' 4.1". And they couldn't be bending their knees too much to lower their height.
Shamuon beat the previous record of 57 items (plastic cones) established by Gaurav Goley last year.
As I watch the video I'm pretty sure that Shamuon got in a few good kicks direct to people's heads (which moved their head enough to cause the ball to fall). Also, it seems to me that some of the footballs fell before Shamuon even raised her leg. I don't know if those got included in the final count.
May 15, 1964: the students of Wakefield College in England attempted to set a record for the most people piled in one bed. They were hoping to make it to 50, but when they got to around 47 things started to go wrong. Frazer Cartwright, who was on the bottom, gasped, "Get off... quick... I'm..." Then blood began gushing from his nose, and he passed out. Luckily the audience intervened before he wound up dead. Cartwright vowed never to repeat that experience again.
14-year-old Emma Welch recently set a world record for the "largest teddy bears’ picnic on a mountain summit." She arranged the transport of 135 tedddy bears to the summit of Mount Snowdon in North Wales. All done for a good cause, to help raise money for brain tumor research.
But the reason she had to narrow her world record attempt down to a specific location is because the world record for largest teddy bears' picnic (anywhere) is pretty competitive. The record seems to have been held since 1995 by the Dublin Zoo, for a picnic with 33,573 bears in attendance. That set the bar pretty high, and people have been trying (and failing) to beat it ever since.
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Get WU Posts by Email
Who We Are
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.