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Do Superheroes Exist? Meet the Modern Day Supers!

With the most recent Avengers film grossing over $900 million, it is fair superhero are pretty popular. But are they really just a work of fiction or could a few caped crusaders be walking among us?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a superhero as “A benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers”. But the possibility of possessing super-human abilities is not just the stuff of fiction. The next Amazing Amazon or Man of Steel is closer than you might think…

Mr Freeze

Wim Hof is the undisputed Iceman, holding over 21 Guinness world records for being submerged in ice.  Your fight and flight responses cannot be effected by someone’s own will, yet Wim has the ability to control his heart rate, breathing and blood flow and can override his body’s automatic response to the cold.

In one experiment, Wim was covered in 700kg of ice cubes. This would cause a normal person to suffer with hypothermia, as their body temperature would fall rapidly. Wim’s body temperature did not change at all and remained at 37°C despite spending over an hour in the ice. He is able to control his heart rate, blood pressure and breathing all through meditation and his own methods which he now teaches to others. But the real question is, are his puns as good as Arnold Schwarzenegger?


Daniel Kish lost both his eyes to cancer when he was an infant and has since developed an method of detection using an echo-location technique. His method is very similar to that used by bats, by making loud clicking noises with his mouth Kish is able to sense obstacles in his path. His parents helped him to develop this process over the years and he is now able to produce an image based on the pattern to which the sound echoes off different surfaces.

He too teaches his ability to others and Kish has given hundreds of blind people the chance to live and active life. Let’s hope he doesn’t run into a Joker or a Bullseye on his travels.

The Flash

Dean Karnazes displays extreme endurance during heavy exercise. He has a specialised physiology where lactic acid removal, which causes fatigue, is rapidly removed from the body.

Karnazes pushed this endurance to the limit by running 350 miles non-stop without sleep and running 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 different states. He has also pushed his running to extreme conditions, whether it be running to the South Pole or running 135 miles non-stop through Death Valley at 49°C. And no Heatwave or Captain Cold to speak of!


Martin Strel also has rapid lactic acid removal but, unlike Dean Karnazes, uses his superhuman abilities in the water. Strel has swam the length of many of the world’s largest rivers including the Danube, Yangtze and the record breaking length of the Amazon.

One of the most impressive endurance tasks Strel has done was swimming for over 84 hours in the Danube River where he swam over 300 miles and lost over 18kg in body weight.

No word yet on his entrance into the Justice League.

The Juggernaut

John Ferraro is a wrestler with a unique feature that gives him special abilities. He has a skull 2.3 times thicker than the average person. Because of this, he is able to hammer nails into metal and bend nails just with his head. A single hammer-head blow would knock an average person unconscious, yet Ferraro remains perfectly fine. Vine Jones could have learned a thing or two from this guy.

Looks like Supers really do walk among us! So the next time you see a someone sporting a dodgy pair of glasses, remember they might just be wearing a cape as well.

Image: flickr/jmv

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