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Twenty-seven minutes as Superman

My name is Mike, and you'll find me on iam.bmezine.com as hypermike. Before I tell about my suspension, let me explain why I wanted to do this. In January 2003, I was diagnosed with a degenerative nerve disease called Multiple Sclerosis. While I'm on some great therapy, the past eight months have been a lot of "can't do" experiences. I can't over-exert myself. I shouldn't put on any more weight. I have to be more careful in some situations because I have a lack of balance at times and might fall. Frankly, I was tired of being afraid, and I needed to do something that told me 'If I can do this, I can do anything." A suspension was just that thing.
My first suspension experience started as I became friends with Frank from the Rites of Passage group. He invited me to go to their BBQ in Pittsfield, MA. That's where the fun began. The BBQ is another experience in itself, but in a very short period of time, I met a lot of great people, and the people who were going to be working my suspension were nothing short of exceptional.
I waited for my turn, trying to keep myself relatively calm. Because the crew was using multiple rigs, multiple suspensions could be done at once. The ROP guys are really organized, allowing them to set up the next person while one person is suspending.
Fortunately for me, there was a guy ahead of me doing a two-point chest suspension. That meant I could do my suspension from the tree with a smaller audience. I didn't want to see the guy doing the two-point chest suspension, for fear of seeing him tear or bleeding excessively. For that reason, I stayed back from the crowd. As I was waiting, trying to get to some inner peace, Frank came to get me, telling me it was my turn. I was a little concerned because it was getting dark and cold, and I'd be suspending wearing just a pair of shorts. I didn't want to get cold while suspending.
Because I was being suspended by the Rites of Passage group, I probably don't need to explain how important proper sterilization protocols are to these guys, but it's worth highlighting. No risk of contamination, cross-contamination, or infection was taken. They almost border on obsessive compulsive in terms of sterilization. I saw the hooks and needles come out of the autoclave pouches, and gloves were changed every time someone touched something that wasn't sterile.
I was thrilled to learn that my hooks were going to be "thrown" by Brian (iam: XpureX), Emrys (iam: along those lines), and my friend Frank. (iam: frank_prov) Two of these guys are outstanding piercers, and one is a trusted friend. I knew that the insertion of my hooks was not going to be a problem.
I was doing a superman suspension, meaning I'd have ten hooks in me. Six were in my back, two in my calves, and two in my hamstrings. That meant the first set of three hooks were pierced and places into my legs, the second set was three in my back, the third set was two in my back and the last one in my leg, and the fourth set was tenth hook that went into my back.
As the first set of hooks were about to be thrown, Frank gave me the choice of the first or second breath. I opted for the second. He asked if I was ready, and my response was "Hell, yeah!" He lead me through the breathing, "first breath in, let it out, second breath in, let it out and pierce." On the word pierce, the first set of hooks went in, and Emrys announced "We have a bleeder!" That's not really a problem, other than the crew needs to be more alert to prevent blood dripping, which could cause unwanted contamination on the table or surrounding floor.
After each set of hooks was thrown, Frank would ask me how I was doing. While I know he cares, his main concern was that I hadn't gone into shock. I handled the piercings well, not screaming or making any noise. Since I was face-down on a message table, he couldn't see my face, meaning he had to ask.
After all ten hooks were in place, they started rigging me. I know they were putting parachute rope through all my hooks and the rigging apparatus. Since I was face-down, I couldn't really see what was going on. I felt some pressure, but no pain. Once I was properly rigged, no less than two other people double-checked the work. Finally, it was told it was time to go.
I was suspending from a tree, and the the pulleys were secured into a very large trust at least 20 feet from the ground. Nature added a random element to my suspension. When I was expecting to be still, the wind would pick up and lift me or move me. That made my suspension much more interesting.
As Cere started to hoist me up gently, I was told to expect a burning sensation around my hooks. Fortunately, I had no burning, just pressure. Frank asked if I was okay. I was fine. Cere inched me up a little more. There was no pain, just pressure. We repeated this until I was no longer being supported by the table. I had been warned ahead of time that the removal of the table can be problematic because you're only about two feet from the ground.
As soon as I was lifted off the table, I got a little weak in the stomach. I yelled for Cere to get me away from the ground. I closed my eyes and he brought me up to about five or six feet. Leo (iam: oddbod666) kept me steady at first.
I was doing it! I was actually being suspended. I called out for Cere to lift me up some more. He took me up to about ten feet. I loved it. I was really cold, but I was doing okay. Having been about halfway up, I decided it was time to go to the top. I asked Cere to take me clear to the top. He did so, but he was gentle about it.

While at the top, I realized that I was still feeling some pressure, my 175 pounds were taking its toll. But it was pressure, not pain. I tried to just let go and relax, trying to lose myself in the moment. I wanted to be at complete peace. However, it was just too cold. Cere brought me back down to about six feet, and Frank pushed me a little bit, allowing me to swing. I really did feel
like I was flying. Oddly, I can recall so much detail of the preparation, but while I was in the air, so much is blurry. I do recall my mind just wandering a bit. Ultimately, it was time to come down. It was dark, and I was just too cold. They put the table down under me, and brought me down gently onto the table. I told Frank that I was kind of disappointed because I had to come down so soon. I felt like I had only been up for about ten minutes. He told me that I was actually up for half an hour. In reviewing the pictures from my suspension, it appears that I was first pulled up at 9:21, and they set me back down on the
table at 9:48. They say you lose all sense of time during a suspension. What I thought was ten minutes turned out to be 27 minutes. My disappointment quickly evaporated. Frank quickly removed my hooks, got me cleaned up, and put my "bloody shirt" on me. I just giggled. I had done it.

In retrospect, that suspension was a mountain. I didn't just climb that mountain. I feel like I planted a flag on the summit of that mountain. I owe a great deal of thanks to the guys from Rites of Passage, especially Frank. How much did I enjoy the experience? It was so amazing that I did a four-point knee suspension the next day.

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submitted by: Mike
on: 03 Sept. 2003
in Ritual

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