Harley Newman is a one-nail kind of man.
The sideshow star, who calls himself a “professional lunatic,” told HuffPost Weird he started lying on beds of nails about 30 years ago, but opted to push the limits of his body even farther.
Newman, 67, says he can now support his entire body on the point of one 10-inch long nail. He fashions the nail himself from a bolt, cutting off the head and sharpening it to a point.
“It hurts. It can hurt a lot. It’s just a question of how I manage it in my head,” he told HuffPost.
Newman says that the men in the photo are only holding his arms and legs to help him balance, and that all of his body weight is resting on the spike.
He says his ability to perform the stunt — along with others like fire-eating, walking on glass shards, and stopping a fan with his tongue — comes mostly from his ability to cast aside the “socially learned” fear of of pain and failure people pick up as kids.
“Little babies, basically little kids — think of them learning to stand up,” he said. “They stand up, fall down, stand up, fall down. They have a wonderful time until their primary caregiver comes and starts panicking and screaming, ‘Oh no! You’re falling down!'”
See Newman set aside the fear of pain at Thursday night’s “King Of The Sideshow” party at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn, NY, a collaboration between HuffPost Weird News and The Morbid Anatomy Museum. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., free of charge.