Pierced man hangs from hot air balloon

In body modification circles, a "suspension" is the practice of hanging from hooks pierced through the body. Zane Whitmore, 34, of Seattle, took suspension to, er, new heights when he hung from his skin below a hot air balloon that lifted him more than 10,000 feet into the air. The suspension was for a feature-length documentary called "Feet Off The Ground" currently in production by Precarious Egg. From KATU:
(Whitmore) was pierced four times across his shoulder blades and the balloon was released over California's Long Valley Caldera. The flight, which was on Saturday, lasted about 75 minutes.

"I felt like I was flying," Whitmore said in the press release. "It was amazing to have a perspective on a landscape that no one has had before. As I drifted down low I was struck by the movement I saw on the ground, by how much life exists in the desert. It was actually a very peaceful experience."

"Seattle man takes hot air balloon flight suspended by his skin" (via Fortean Times)


  1. “suspension” is the practice of hanging from hooks attached to body piercings

    Just to be clear, the hooks are not attached to anything but flesh.

  2. I don’t understand why these folks don’t just use harnesses. Piercing the skin seems overly complicated and skin can tear which, in this case, would lead to death.

    I once went to some kind of sex/bondage/fetish event and there were people swinging around overhead from their piercings. I suppose I should have asked them, but I was too distracted by the guy blowing up his penis with firecrackers while his girlfriend was grinding (sexually) on broken glass.

    1. By “these folks” do you mean these balloon people in particular, or body suspension people in general? Because the whole point of suspension is hooks through flesh, not harnesses.

      That said, I suspect this is the kind of thing that Fakir Musafar would object to: suspension as a stunt. And I only say that because he showed up in a thread over at BME some time ago, and was (heavily paraphrasing now) rather disappointed in what the kids these days are doing. It was a little dissonant: someone so physiologically radical, yet conservative. Hearkening back to the shamanic roots of it all, that sort of thing.

      I’ve got no skin in this specific game, myself (har), but I can kind of see his point. What was once somewhat esoteric has moved into the mainstream, perhaps losing some of its potency.

  3. The misrepresentation stated in the press release exists because the practice of “suspension” is not truly necessary to achieve this experience.
    Couldn’t someone get the same experience while hang gliding, parachuting, riding in the basket of the balloon, or even suspended from ropes but not hooks or piercings?
    If it’s a statement on pain being beautiful, then you wouldn’t necessarily need the hot air balloon ride either, if pain is in itself beautiful.

    Do what you want, as long as you don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.

  4. Watch Ichi the Killer. The scene where Kakihara has that guy hanging from hooks and then sticks that needle through his face and pours hot fryer grease on his back is BRUTAL!

    Ah, I can’t handle s&m, I don’t understand what makes someone enjoy physical pain!

    1. @8 (shart tsung):

      i love that movie. it is one of the most brutal films i ever watched, but the violence serves a purpose and does so with a strange kind of humour. there’s something behind the details of the story that is stronger than the brutality.


    2. I’m often distressed by violence in films, but the violence in Koroshiya 1 was so cartoonish that it didn’t bother me. I find that scene less disturbing than any word that comes out of Dennis Hopper’s mouth in Blue Velvet. Plus, Asano Tadanobu is dreamy, even with the sliced up face.

  5. 1) Chris Angel did this via a helicopter years ago.

    2) WTF is that HUGE ass watch he is wearing?

    1. Chris Angel wasn’t the first person to suspend from a helicopter, he’s just the first guy who was enough of an attention whore to put it on tv.

  6. So, I’ve suspended before.

    Suspending like this is incredibly irresponsible. While this particular position is relatively straightforward and safe as suspensions go, it is not by any means rare for either skin to tear or rope to break. I’ve seen both happen. This guy is lucky he’s not dead.

    1. This is a silly over-reaction, saying he’s lucky to be alive. Pause the video and take a look at the hooks and rigging being used. It’s clear that appropriate safety precautions have been taken.

      Just because you have suspended doesn’t mean that you’re an authority on the technical issues.

  7. I know someone who’s into suspension. She describes it with words like “bright” and “clean.” I can understand how the sensation of dangling by meat hooks might have be mentally purifying in the fact that your brain shuts-out all thoughts except “WE ARE HANGING FROM MEAT HOOKS WHY THE HELL ARE WE HANGING FROM MEAT HOOKS”

    I’d rather enjoy clean bedsheets, fresh air and the gentle touch of a woman I love and trust. I’ve had enough dark and painful crap in this life. Oddly enough, you don’t see too many love fetishists out there.

  8. Hey there… the guy in the pic is me. All opinions aside, I do want to say that I was wearing a low profile safety harness under my pants and was under the supervision of Allen Falkner and stunt specialist Kai Shelton. (IMDB him- amazing guy) It actually isn’t as painful as many would think and I had been waiting to do it since we started shooting the movie 2 years ago. If anyone is interested in more info on the film you can go to: [www.youtube.com] and if you are interested in learning about suspension you can go to suspension.org

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