humans we see ourselves to be quite fragile but throughout history, there have been some people that seemed to be pulled out of science fiction movies for their incredible abilities. Frank Richards, although forgotten today, became popular in the 20th century for taking a cannonball straight to the abdomen without feeling much nor any damage.
Richards was born in 1887 as a normal and healthy child that loved to be the center of attention. In his teenage years, he realized that he didn’t feel much pain when hit in the abdomen. He never trained or worked out meaning that he was born with really strong stomach muscles that were able to absorb any hits he took to the abdomen.
To put this to the test he started a trend where many of his friends would punch him in the abdomen upon seeing him. He began to be known by everyone in Minneapolis, his hometown, so much so that he soon attracted the whole state of Kansas to see him take hit after hit without flinching.
There would be days when Frank took over 1000 blows and his abdomen would still not bruise, just showing how unique he was and explaining why he felt so little pain. As he was acclaimed by many people around America, in the early 1900s he joined the circus and toured around the United States, showing off his capabilities by being hit with sledgehammers in the abdomen.
Discovering his true talent
After a few years in the circus, he decided to go solo and tour around America on his own. By that time he was well renowned by the whole of America for his amazing ability. His stunts were becoming more and more dangerous with people literally jumping on his abdomen.
The media loved to see Frank being hit by heavyweight boxers without being affected but actually asking for more as if he was some kind of masochist.
In 1932, he wanted to step it up a notch by taking a cannon and firing a 47-kilogram (104lb) cannonball straight into his stomach. Most people would have had their organs crushed by the huge pressure of the cannonball but Richards was barely scratched by it. That is how he got his nickname “the cannon man.”
Thousands of people would gather every day to see Richards being hit by the cannonball as no one actually believe that his ability was true so they had to see it for themselves. In an interview taken by a journalist from the New York Times, Richards mentioned that he did feel the pain brought by the velocity of the cannonball but he could take it as he enjoyed the adrenaline rush.
He also mentioned that the impact was very exhausting, which is why he only performed the trick two times a day. He was in love with the crowd and hearing their acclaim made him never stop.
If you cannot believe it here is a video that will that shows his best performance.