National Geographic Channel Takes You To The HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE

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[Press Release – Released by National Geographic]

THEY DEFY THE LIMITS OF HUMAN CAPABILITIES. NOW NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL TAKES YOU INSIDE THE BODIES OF PEOPLE WHO ACHIEVE THE HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE

Using Science and Modern Technology, NGC Investigates Incredible Acts in Real Time, Including a Man Who Swallows a Jackhammer, the Human Blockhead and World-Record Firewalker

Humanly Impossible Premieres Sunday, December 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

(WASHINGTON, D.C. — November 24, 2009) Extreme performers such as sword swallowers, contortionists and suspension artists defy the laws of nature — pushing the human body to extraordinary limits. But how do they do it? Why do some people exhibit unique characteristics that allow them to accomplish shocking feats?

In the two-part special, Humanly Impossible, airing Sunday, December 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, National Geographic Channel (NGC) follows a team of doctors and scientists as they examine the physiology behind bizarre and dangerous stunts that surpass average human capability. See how a man hammers a several-inch-long nail into his nose without puncturing his brain, even as another “swallows” an active jackhammer. Find out how a woman stays underwater for more than six minutes on a single breath, or a man holds back a speeding car without harm. See inside a speed eater who can devour 20 hamburgers in just five minutes without rupturing his stomach. Using advanced medical imaging and a range of other scientific tests that measure strength and pain, our experts uncover how and why these feats are defying what is Humanly Impossible.

Humanly Impossible: Beyond Bizarre
Sunday, December 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Meet Jared Rydelek, aka the Human Blockhead, known for inserting screwdrivers and nails up his nose — without damage. Using an endoscope and CAT scan, our medical team examines Jared’s nasal cavities while he pushes a screwdriver up his nose and into his head, revealing whether there’s something unusual about his anatomy. Next, we move toward the other end of the human body to examine the feet of world-record firewalker Trever McGhee, who can walk over more than a football field length of burning coals. Does he use his mental powers to prevent his feet from searing on 900-degree coals?!

Then we submerge with Jessica Wilson, who defies human lung capacity by staying under water for more than six minutes on a single breath. To find out what keeps Jessica from drowning, we first test her lungs to see if they are capable of holding more oxygen than normal. Then, we measure her blood oxygen level as it drops astoundingly low as she accomplishes her incredible stunt.

And finally, it’s man versus machine as strongman Franz Müllner holds back a 605-horsepower Mustang as its engine accelerates at full throttle. To understand how Franz accomplishes this amazing task without dislocating his joints or tearing his muscles, we test his physical strength, and then wire both Franz and the car to a device that reveals how much force Franz is holding back. But it takes a live performance for experts to understand just how Franz pulls off this incredible feat … without pulling off his arms.

Humanly Impossible: Indestructible
Sunday, December 6, at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Meet Thomas Blackthorne, who pushes the boundaries by swallowing a jackhammer while it’s turned on! Our team uses an endoscope, a tiny camera, to look inside Blackthorne’s throat to try to understand how he walks away unhurt.

How does Iona Luvsandorj, a world-famous contortionist, manage to bend her legs over her head while supporting her body from a rod inside her mouth? Our team X-rays Iona’s hip joints to see if Iona dislocates her hips to achieve this amazing level of flexibility. To understand the strain on Iona’s spine, we use a battery of special devices to measure her skeleton as she handles this backbreaking feat.

Bella Veiovis is a body suspension practitioner who hangs from hooks in her back. Incredibly, she feels pleasure. We monitor and record her stress responses to see if her body has grown accustomed to this pain, as our experts decipher how she feels genuine physical pleasure from the experience.

Pete Czerwinski and Will Millender are speed eaters who can down more than 20 hamburgers in five minutes. These elite competitors are capable of eating up to three times the amount of food that someone with a normal stomach could handle. Using a real-time X-ray device, Humanly Impossible takes a look inside their bodies to uncover the secrets behind their gastrointestinal prowess.

Humanly Impossible is produced by Atlas Media Corp. for the National Geographic Channel. For Atlas Media Corp., executive producers are Bruce David Klein and Cheryl Miller Houser and writer/producer is Bill McClane. For the National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Michael Welsh; senior vice president of production is Michael Cascio; and executive vice president of content is Steve Burns.