1The Woman Who Lives Like She's in the Victorian Era
Sarah Chrisman never wanted to wear a corset, but after her husband gave her one for her 29th birthday, she says that the old-fashioned undergarment changed her life. She was inspired by the corset to delve deeper into wearing women's fashions from the Victorian age, and began to dress that way exclusively.
These days, she and her husband, Gabriel, are committed to living as Victorian a life as possible, within modern-day constraints.
That means she washes herself "with a pitcher and basin every day," hand sews all of her own clothes (from natural fibers), doesn't drive a car, and uses oil lamps for most of the lighting in their Victorian home in Port Townsend, WA. When it comes to cooking, Chrisman uses a book of 19th century recipes. They currently use a refrigerator to store their food, but are hoping to switch to an ice box for even more authenticity down the line.
In her book, "Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present, and Myself," Chrisman offers insight and explains her choice.
2The Man Who Lives as a Dog
Boomer the dog has a bone to pick with the world. He wants to be accepted for his doggie lifestyle.
Born Gary Matthews, the retired technology worker and self-confessed "nerd" thinks that he is a dog. The 48-year-old wears a dog collar, eats dog food from a bowl — his favorite is Pedigree – and loves milk bones and dog cookies. He even barks, chases cars, and digs for bones in the backyard like any other canine.
The guy sleeps in his own indoor doghouse which, according to him, is much more comfortable than a human bed. Boomer, who resides in Pennsylvania, adopted his canine persona after watching the NBC hit show Here's Boomer when he was only a child. The popular TV series was about a mixed-breed stray named Boomer who travels around helping people in trouble. This idea appealed to Mathews, and soon his fascination with dogs, specifically the star of the show, took a life of its own and became his ultimate obsession.
There are other people like Boomer who identify with various animals; they are called furries and are a subculture that was first recognized in the United States in the 1980s. Furries believe that they are anthropomorphic animals with human characteristics such as high intelligence, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, make facial expressions, and so on. Dressing up in animal costumes is a hobby to most of them, but Boomer has taken it to the extreme, making his furry fandom the focus of his life.
3The North Carolina Woman Who Lived Inside an Iron Lung for 61 Years
Martha Mason was an extraordinary human being who spent over 60 years of her life immobilized in an Iron Lung after becoming paralyzed in her childhood years as a result of polio. Despite her seemingly desperate situation, Martha lived a fulfilling life, graduating from high school and college with the highest honors, hosting many dinner parties, and even writing a book called “Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung,” in which she portrayed the challenges and joys of her life. She is the only person on this list who didn't choose to live this life; the greatness of her achievement earned her a spot here.
Martha was born on May 31, 1937 in Lattimore, a small town about 50 miles from Charlotte. She became paralyzed when she was just 11 years old after suffering from polio, very shortly after the disease had killed her brother Gaston. After her brother had been buried, it is said that she realized that she also had the symptoms, but she kept her fears to herself to avoid upsetting her parents.
However, she soon found herself immobilized in an iron lung, dependent on it to do the breathing for her. “Iron lung” is only a colloquial term used to describe a pressure ventilator, a type of medical device which helps paralyzed people breathe by decreasing and increasing air pressure inside a large iron tank.
Ms. Mason lived almost her entire life in such a tank, with the pressure contracting and expanding her lungs when her weak muscles couldn't. Doctors told Martha's parents to take her home and make her happy for a year, since that was how long she had left to live. She outlived them both thanks to an avid curiosity and a desire to learn about the world.
She died in 2009.
4The Man Who has Spent the Last 26 Years of His Life Traveling the World with a Giant Crucifix on His Shoulder to Talk about Jesus
60-year-old Lindsay Hamon has spent the past 26 years of his life hauling a giant crucifix all around the world and talking about Jesus to anyone who will listen. He has literally carried his faith on his shoulders, trekking across 19 countries including New Zealand, Romania, India, and Sri Lanka. During the course of his amazing journey he has had some truly spectacular moments, as well as some pretty rough ones. In spite of being attacked and shot at in Bangladesh and thrown out of St Peter's Square in Rome, Hamon has no plans to stop his work any time soon.
Hamon took up the mission of carrying the huge cross around the world in 1987, and he has rarely put it down ever since. The cross itself is made of cedar wood and measures 12 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide. It has a wheel at its base to make it easier to drag around, and he actually carries it over his shoulder for up to 12 hours a day, without having the faintest idea of where he will spend the night. The father-of-two and part-time care worker receives donations from supporters that help him stay committed to his role as a Christian Evangelist. But he does need to stop at his home town in Cornwall every once in a while to work and pay his family's bills.
5The Healthy Woman Who Lives as a Person Who is Paralyzed from the Waist Down and Dreams of Becoming One
Being stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives is most people's idea of hell, but not for Chloe Jennings-White. A 57-year-old chemist from Salt Lake City, Utah, she has an unnatural desire to become a paraplegic (paralyzed from the waist down).
Chloe lives the life of a disabled person. She moves around in a wheelchair and wears long leg braces that lock at the knee to enable her to ambulate with crutches. But when she needs to go up or down a flight of stairs, she simply stands up, removes her braces, and walks like a normal person. Like most paralyzed people, she loves outdoor activities, only instead of using specialized equipment to enable such activities, she simply goes on 12-hour hikes in the woods, skies down dangerous slopes, and climbs mountain peaks like a normal person.
Chloe Jennings-White isn't physically impaired, she just likes to feel like she is. In 2008, doctors diagnosed her with BIID (Body Integrity identity Disorder), a serious psychological disorder that causes sufferers to feel as if they would be happier living as amputees or paraplegics. To resist the urges of damaging her spine and fulfilling her desire of becoming paralyzed, doctors suggested that she use a wheelchair and special braces. Being able to spend most of her time as a paraplegic has been a massive relief for Chloe, but she admits to sometimes fantasizing about being in an accident or a car crash that would truly damage her legs.
The BIID sufferer says that she gets all kinds of angry comments from people who consider her a fraud, but they don't fully understand her condition. Using the wheelchair despite her ability to move like a normal person saved her life.
6The Man Who is Thrilled to Live with Cockroaches
Unlike many people, Kyle Kandilian, a university student from Dearborn, Michigan, is not only unafraid of cockroaches, but he lives with tens of thousands of these insects; he estimates that he currently keeps about 200,000 in his home.
The 20-year-old man collects and breeds cockroaches both for fun and profit. Apparently, this unusual hobby is helping him pay for an education at the Michigan-Dearborn University.
The cockroaches are priced from “a dime a dozen” for common breeds to US$200 for the “Macropanesthia rhinoceros,” which can live up to 15 years. He has a wide range of customers, including people with pets that eat cockroaches and universities who buy the insects for research purposes.
While he loves his roaches, living with 200,000 of them does present its problems, especially for his parents. One morning at about 4 or 5am, Kandilian was awakened by his mother, who took him to the bathroom. "Kyle, we need to stop this," she said, as she pointed to the hissing cockroach that was relaxing on the toilet paper roll.
His room is filled with stacked-up boxes of cockroach colonies—in all, he has reared about 130 varieties. After almost eight years of raising roaches, he is still awed by all the variety in the species.
7The Woman Who Lives with Her Husband and Her Lover Under the Same Roof
When mother-of-two Maria Butzki left her husband Paul for another man, she didn't realize how much she'd miss him. At the same time, she couldn't imagine living without her new lover Peter Gruman.
So when the two men struck up an extraordinary friendship, she came up with the perfect solution... and moved Peter into the family home in Barking, East London. Now Maria, 33, Paul, 37, their two children, Laura, 16, and Amy, 12, and Peter, 36, live as one big happy family.
In 2012, they all moved in ¬together after three years of ¬Maria to-ing and fro-ing between her husband and lover. Peter sleeps on the sofa while Paul has a room ¬upstairs. Maria shares a bedroom with her eldest daughter.
Maria claims that the three of them never share a bed. Although she has a sexual relationship with each man, that side is kept very private.
She also says that there are huge benefits to living together. The children benefit from three adults who are able to help with school work or give them lifts. It also makes sense financially since the bills are split three ways.
8The Family Who Lives Like It's 1986
If you ever need to know who the prime minister was in 1960 and you're willing to wait 10 minutes for the answer, Blair McMillan is your man. He'll take his time carefully thumbing through a volume of his vintage encyclopedia set, which was donated by a bewildered soul who probably wondered why the 26-year-old father of two couldn't just get an Internet connection. The thing is that Blair and his girlfriend Morgan, 27, from Canada are pretending that it's 1986.
They're doing it because their kids – Trey, 5, and Denton, 2 – wouldn't look up from their parents' iPhones and iPads long enough to kick a ball around the backyard. That's why their house has banned any technology that is post-1986, the year when the couple was born.
They have no computers, no tablets, no smart phones, no fancy coffee machines, no Internet, no cable, and, from the point of view of many tech-dependent folks, no life. They are parenting their kids the same way that they were parented just to see what it's like.
They do their banking in person instead of online. They develop rolls of film for $20 each instead of Instagramming their sons' antics.
They recently traveled across the United States using paper maps and entertaining their screaming kids with coloring books and stickers, passing car after car with TVs embedded in the headrests and content infants seated in the back. The only exception to their downgraded lifestyle is their car, which is a 2010 Kia minus a GPS.
9The Woman Who Lives with 700 Cats
Meet the ultimate cat lady, a woman with more than 700 cats.
All Lynea Lattanzio wanted was a cat when she was little, but her mother didn't approve. So now she lives alone with hundreds of felines on her 12-acre spread in Parlier, California, where she runs a huge cat sanctuary.
She began rescuing the animals after her divorce in 1981, and has saved almost 19,000 felines. However, she insists that she is not a crazy cat lady. The Cat House on the Kings is California's largest no-cage, no-kill cat sanctuary. Its mission is to place rescued cats and kittens into permanent homes and to prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering.
There are at least 700 cats in her care, she says, as well as 15 dogs. She survives thanks to donations and grants.
10The Woman Who Lives with a Dozen False Widow Spiders
All over the country, people are gripped by False Widow spider terror, avoiding their sheds and basements in fear of coming across the eight-legged creatures. But one woman, Jay Reich, is desperately trying to collect the venomous spiders, and even says that she wants to be bitten by one to prove how harmless they are.
Jay lives in Bracknell with a growing collection of the creatures; she currently has three adult False Widow spiders and ten babies.
Jay has named the mother Cilla, and says that she is impressed by how "sweet" the spider is.
The publicized recent panic, including a school that was closed down in Gloucestershire because of an infestation, angers the 26-year-old woman. "That school got shut down for absolutely no reason - if they shut a school because there was a wasp's nest no one would stand for it. These spiders are just getting bad press."
In an incredible feat of dedication, Jay plans to let herself be bitten by a False Widow spider to prove that they are harmless.