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Hanging around....

I had been interested in the more ritualistic side of body modification for quite some time, mainly since having my ampallang done. Once I had fallen in love with body piercing I knew I was slowly working my way to an amp, so once I'd achieved that goal I knew I'd need something else to work up to. Originally I'd got it into my head that I wanted to perform a Sundance ritual, but for some reason this never came to fruition. A few years ago a very good friend of mine asked me if I'd be prepared to suspend him from sixteen hooks, and seeing as he was working for the Wildcat collection at the time with easy access to all the equipment required, I agreed with very little persuasion required!

After a couple of weeks of discussion and planning it dawned on me that I had the oppurtunity to suspend myself as well as Roger, so I decided to take the plunge and order another sixteen hooks. After all, I figured that if I was hanging someone from hooks I'd better find out what it feels like for myself! Roger arranged a venue that we could use for the festivities and we decided on a date. As Friday the 13th was coming up, we thought the date was rather fitting, so 13:09:02 it was.

Roger wanted to go first, and it didn't seem sensible for me to hang and then try and focus on Rogers requirements while still digesting what I'd been through. I'll skip that bit for now as Roger is planning to write his own experience, and move on to my experience.

For the first of the sixteen piercings we decided to use the more traditional technique and simply push the hook through the skin on my left shoulder blade. The hooks used were all 2.4mm thick, and were reasonably sharp. Unfortunately, it seemed they weren't as sharp as we'd hoped and the hook took a good thirty seconds to pass through my skin, so we decided on using needle blades for the other fifteen piercings! I'm usually quite relaxed whilst being pierced, but I must confess that I kind of overlooked the piercings and was concerned only with the suspension. Logic would indicate that sixteen 2.4mm piercings down the length of my body would be a little stingy, but logic wasn't really on my mind at the time! I must admit that I did find the piercings rather uncomfortable, though certainly not unbearable. When we got to my legs Warren suggested piercing the backs of my knees to offer a bit of support to that area. I really wasn't too keen on this idea, and was fairly vocal about my uncertainty! Thankfully Wazz revealed that he was joking, and feeling alot better we moved on to the other piercings, until we got to my Achilles tendon. Wazz suggested piercing the skin above my Achilles tendon, and assuming that he was joking I simply laughed it off. However, he was serious this time! I've always got a bit of a funny feeling about this particular area of my body, ever since seeing Stephen King's film "Pet Cemetary" as a youngster. Towards the end of the film, the main character gets both his tendons sliced, and I've felt queasy about this area of the body ever since. After some debate, I bowed to Warrens wisdom. The piercings were both done at the same time so we could get them out of the way, and they were easily the worst of the bunch. I'm fairly confident that most of the sensation came from my preconceptions, but I was glad to have faced up to a fairly large fear, even though they were probably the most uncomfortable piercings I'd ever had.

With all sixteen hooks in place, it was time to attach me to the gallowes. They were a fairly imposing sight, taking up a large amount of space in the centre of the room. Once I had negotiated my way underneath them we began tying the hooks to the frame, and I began to feel very nervous. As each hook was connected to the gallowes I started to feel more nervous/excited, until it was announced that I was fully connected to the frame and we could start to lift. Roger knelt in front of me and gave me his hands to help support my front end as I went up, and Warren began to turn the winch. I don't think I'll ever forget the sound of the winch clicking, I was aware that with every little click I heard I was getting higher and higher. The sensation of being pulled off the ground was initially quite an uncomfortable one, it felt as though the skin on my back and legs was being pulled from my body. However, once I had become accustomed to the feeling and I was completely off the ground the feeling was indescribable. I was aware of mild discomfort at first, but after that subsided I was left with a feeling of weightlessness. I knew that I could turn the pain back on very easily, I guess my body was just ignoring the sensation. After a few minutes and several questions about my well being from my girlfriend I was left to it, floating off into my own little world! You can see from the photos elsewhere on the site how peaceful I was finding it, all of lifes little (or not so little) problems simply did not exist to me at that time. The only things that mattered at that time were me, sixteen hooks and the two feet of oxygen seperating me and the ground. Roger began gently swinging me, and the feeling of the air rushing against my body were sublime to say the least. I think every nerve ending on my body was alive at the time, I don't think I've ever experienced so much sensation in my life.

After a while, I felt a warm sensation around my shoulder and neck. At first I assumed it was sweat, but when I opened my eyes I realised that one of the piercings was bleeding quite a bit. The blood was collecting on my Adam's apple, then slowly dripping onto the canvas below me. Roger's flat mate at the time was an artist, who had donated some blank canvases to us on the off chance he'd end up with something he could use, thankfully he wasn't disappointed! After we'd had a bit of a play moving the canvas around beneath me, I decided I had achieved everything I had set out to and was happy to come down. Some more unsettling clicking from the winch, and I was on terra firma again. Being on the ground again took a bit of getting used to, once I was untied from the gallowes a cigarette helped to bring me back down to earth.

Since hanging I've said that it was the best and most powerful experience I've been through so far in life, just over two years later that hasn't changed at all.


submitted by: Pathogen
on: 16 Dec. 2004
in Ritual

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Artist: Warren+Deane
Studio: MetaFlesh+Ltd
Location: Brighton%2C+UK

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