Liew Thow Lin – Magneto Man – Superhuman 66

We often fantasize about developing superpowers.

Anyone who endured the seemingly endless drudgery of elementary school has, at one point or another, passed at least six of their required eight hours by imagining themselves with astonishing superhuman abilities.

From flight to super-strength to invisibility, we have all tried on at least a dozen superhero hats. But we are willing to bet you never imagined yourself to possess the same ability as a Malaysian man who goes by Magneto Man, Magnet Man, or Mr. Magnetism– and no, we’re not talking about a magnetic personality!

Magneto Man has baffled scientists the world over with his strange physical ‘ability’: metal inexplicably sticks to his skin. So, who is Magneto Man?

Image: Flickr

Image: Flickr

Early History/Date of Birth

The peculiar person we know as Magneto Man was born Liew Thow Lin in 1930. A former contractor, he discovered his superpower at the age of 60, when his tools started getting stuck to his body. He lived in Malaysia his entire life.

Superpower- Details

When we say that metal ‘sticks to his skin’, we are not just talking about small amounts of metal shavings sticking to his fingertips. Liew Thow Lin can stick metal objects that weigh several POUNDS to almost any part of his body, and they will not fall off!

During his life, he showcased his bizarre talent (can we call it a talent if it requires no skill? Of course we can– it’s plain cool) at a variety of charity events. He was known to stick forks, spoons and knives (flat side to his skin, of course) to his chest.

We have no confirmation on whether or not this ability saddled him with the job of setting the table at every family gathering he attended, but we would not have blamed his family if that were the case! Imagine being able to set out everyone’s salad forks, dinner forks, various spoons, and handful of knives in just one trip.

As you can see, we are all about practical application here. Suffice it to say: if any of us ever develop astonishing supernatural powers, they will not go unexploited. But we digress!

Not impressed with cutlery? We are not done yet. In addition to serving as an excellent silverware tray, Liew Thow “Magneto Man” Lin regularly stuck hammers, saws, irons (at room temperature, it’s worth noting), and metal plates with heavy objects dangling from them to his chest. One documentary caught him dangling a heavy-looking suitcase via a metal plate stuck to his chest.

As if that were not impressive enough, Magneto Man could even pull an entire one and a half ton vehicle using only a small metal plate stuck to his stomach. No word on whether or not he ever hired himself out for towing services, but we would have paid a pretty penny to watch him at work!

Now comes the interesting part: scientists are not completely sure why the otherwise average Liew Thow Lin could trot around the house with soup spoons stuck firmly to his pectoral muscles. Scientists at the University of Technology in Malaysia brought him in to check for some form of magnetism– which would seem the most obvious answer– but they found that his body didn’t have a magnetic field that was any stronger than the average person’s. So, though he goes by Mr. Magnetism, he’s not magnetic at all!
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What the scientists did find out, upon further testing, was that Liew Thow Lin had abnormally high levels of friction present in his skin. This makes his skin ‘stickier’ than the average person’s, which could be responsible for the strong suction that allowed him to heft his car down the street. His sticky skin, it turns out, is genetic: his three grandchildren all exhibit varying levels of his ability.

What can we learn from him?

Magneto Man was a prime example of the fact that the universe has a sense of humor. His life demonstrates how unique (and slightly bizarre) traits can show up even in the most seemingly average of individuals. He didn’t fall into toxic waste, suffer a radioactive bug bite, or get in a fight with a demigod. The peculiar walked into him without much fuss and endowed him with an ability that baffled us, entertained us, and raised a good amount of money for charity.

What is he doing now?

Liew Thow Lin died at home in April of 2013 at the age of 83.

Magneto Man is proof that you can make your mark on the world just because what you can do is fun and interesting. There was nothing competitive or earth-shattering about his ability, but we still valued it for its level of sheer awesome.

Videos and links

Liew Thow Linon on Wikipedia.

One Step Beyond – Magnetoman

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