A Russian boy electrocuted by lamp post acquires magnetic powers.
12-year-old who suffered electric shock develops Superpowers like X-Men’s Magneto.
Hoax or Fact:
Pictures and messages circulating heavily online claim to show that a 12-year-old Russian boy acquired 'Magnetic Power' that makes metal objects stick to his body and that it happened after he suffered an electric shock from a lamp post. It is portrayed as a 'superpower' like what X-Men’s Magneto possessed. The story detailed below is possibly hoax.
The 12-year-old Russian schoolboy Nikolai Kryaglyachenko was supposedly walking back home from school when he lent briefly against a lamp post that was live from a faulty wire; which blasted him across the pavement. Nikolai claims that the next day he woke up to see some coins lying on his mattress had stuck to his body, and later during breakfast, a spoon he dropped stuck to his chest.
The boy, who is a keen fan of comics, believes that maybe he had developed some kind of super magnetic power to attract metal like X-Men’s Magneto. When he is older, the boy wants to be a superhero. Shown in the first video is a brief record of the Russian 'magnetic' boy.
'Human Magnets' Not New
These stories about 'human magnets' also called as 'living magnets' are not new; they started to appear at least in the middle of the 19th century. In 1990, after a young woman Marinela Brankova demonstrated the 'magnetic' potential on television by holding 7 kg of metal on her vertical palm, around 300 of these "living magnet" people gathered at a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 2011, media reported about Bogdan, a 7-year-old Serbian boy with apparent 'Magnetic' ability to attract all kinds of things. Liew Thow Lin, an old man in Malaysia is called "Magnetic Man" for similar abilities and was even featured in Discovery Channel's program, One Step Beyond.
Reasons Behind 'Magnetism'
The people who have this ability to attract metal items are usually called as 'magnets', but many of them can also hold wood, plastic, paper and glass items on their body. This is mostly because -- they have unusually sticky skin. Note that the metals, glass, plastic and paper items all of them have very smooth surfaces. Human skin is also very elastic (which is why they call it “plastic surgery”) that tends to conform to objects it comes in contact with. You can notice this on hot days when your bare skin attaches itself to leather or plastic seats. Moreover, some people have very little hair on their bodies, making way for the skin to stick easily. Few people exhibiting these magnetic abilities to hold objects on their bodies tend to lean back slightly to allow their bodies support them. In fact practitioners say that such a 'power' can be fortified through practice and increased concentration. As shown in the second video, James Randi once demonstrated that "magnetic" people's miraculous powers disperse when talcum powder is applied over their skin. This is because the talcum powder counters the greasy effect of the sticky skin, and does not interfere with magnetic field, if any.
In case of seven-year-old Bogdan, he is an adolescent with certainly less hair on skin, and skeptics pointed he did not have any magnetism in his body; only a sticky skin. Experts tested the Malaysian old man Liew Thow Lin and found no magnetic field in his body, and that his skin exhibits very high levels of friction that provides a "suction effect". They also added that the trait is perhaps genetic, because it also appears in Liew's grandchildren sometimes. Coming to the Russian boy Nikolai Kryaglyachenko, along with the aforementioned possibilities, you can see he is a bit chubby, so some of the weight of the spoons and other objects on his chest can even rest on the upper part of his protruding stomach. Moreover, according to Dr. Ipsita Roy, a specialist in microbial biotechnology at the University of Westminster, there's no way the boy could become magnetic after an electric shock, because electricity cannot magnetize the body. So the claims that he has acquired magnetic powers after electrocution are possibly hoax.