Meet the 50 Real-Life X-Men Who Will Leave You in Awe

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11 Erik Weihenmayer

Erik Weihenmayer

Erik Weihenmayer is an American athlete who is blind and has special glasses that send signals to a device he places on his tongue, which then sends signals to his brain, allowing him to see. On May 25, 2001, he became the only blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

12 Half-hangit Maggie

Half-hangit Maggie

A Scottish woman named Maggie Dickson was sentenced to execution by hanging on September 2, 1724. She survived the hanging and climbed out of her coffin as it was being transported. The courts ruled she was a free woman as the punishment had been carried out. She thus earned the nickname ‘half-hangit Maggie’.

13 Urbach-Wiethe Disease

Urbach-Wiethe Disease

A woman whom the medical journals just call ‘SM’ is literally fearless due to a rare genetic condition known as Urbach-Wiethe disease that hardened her amygdala, part of the brain responsible for the fear response. Researchers exposed her to potentially terrifying experiences, and none of them scared her.

14 Shakuntala Devi

Shakuntala Devi

In 1997, an Indian woman named Shakuntala Devi, who had earned the nickname “the human computer,” gave the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds. The answer (546,372,891) was checked by the UNIVAC 1101 computer at the US Bureau of Standards. A special program had to be written for the computer to be able to do such a big calculation.

15 George Aldrich

George Aldrich

George Aldrich has worked for NASA for more than 45 years, and his job is to smell things. This is to ensure that there are no unpleasant smells on the ISS or the shuttle. His nose also gets calibrated and retested every four months.

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16 Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

When NASA used electronic computers for the first time to calculate John Glenn’s orbit around Earth, officials called on Katherine Johnson to verify the computer’s numbers; Glenn had asked for her specifically and refused to fly unless Johnson verified the calculations.

17 Tarahumara Native Tribe

Tarahumara Native Tribe

There is a Native American tribe of ultra-runners known as the Tarahumara. They can run 200 miles non-stop and play running games that go on for up to 2 days without breaks. They use the toe-strike method of running instead of the traditional heel-strike.

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18 Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes is a man who can run without ever getting tired due to his exponentially high lactate threshold. He was able to run a marathon in the south pole at -25C and run for three consecutive nights before having to stop for sleep.

19 Vesna Vulovic

Vesna Vulovic

Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant from Serbia. When her plane crashed at 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), she fell without a parachute and lived. She suffered many broken bones and was in a coma for 10 days, but eventually made a near-full recovery.

20 Daniel Kish

Daniel Kish

Daniel Kish has been blind since the age of 13 months, but he taught himself to navigate by clicking his tongue and listening for echoes, similar to echolocation in bats. Kish and other researchers believe that echolocation produces images similar to sight. He has taught more than 15,000 blind people to use this hidden human ability.

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