Last night, ABC aired the television special, "David Blaine: Real or Magic". That guy can do some pretty incredible stuff! He pulled an alligator out of Katy Perry's purse and cut Harrison Ford's card out of an orange. Impressive stuff, no doubt. Even the highly esteemed Dr. Steven Hawking called Blaine 'amazing'. Yet one of his more awe inspiring skills was learned from a man in Africa who used it not to entertain, but rather to survive.
According to the show, a young boy in Africa learned to control the muscles around his abdomen in order to contain and transport water within his own body. He was then able to expel the water for later use. The consumption of contaminated water can lead to a host of lethal illnesses, with children being the most susceptible. So when clean water was available, it was critical to keep as much as possible.
However, the ingestion of such large amounts of water is not without its own risks. Hyperhydration, a condition in which the body's electrolytes are thrown out of balance can cause disorientation, seizures and even lead to death. Rather ironic to be in danger of over hydrating one's body in an area known for severe water insecurity. And sadly, nearly 1 billion people in the world today are living without access to a safe water supply.
Luckily, the boy grew up and his life circumstance no longer requires him to be a human water tank. He posted a video on YouTube showcasing his unique ability, which is how Mr. Blaine came to meet him. Hopefully, his water ingestion/expulsion technique will serve only for landing the occasional television guest appearance or tutoring an illusionist.