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Real or Fake: picture of Hindu man with knife sticking through his neck

A picture taken by Reuters photographer Rupak De Chowdhuri. The Reuters caption states:
A Hindu devotee with his neck pierced with a knife attends the "Chadak" ritual at Krishanadevpur village, north of Kolkata April 13, 2012. Hundreds of Hindu devotees attend the ritual, held to worship the Hindu deity of destruction Lord Shiva, on the last day of the Bengali calendar year. The photographer was unable to check the veracity of the action of this devotee.

The options are:
  1. This guy really does have a large knife sticking through his neck. In which case, he must have been in pretty bad shape whenever he pulled the knife out.
  2. It's one of those fake magician's prop knives.
I don't have a definitive answer, but given that the knife coming out of his neck is bent at a different angle than the knife going into his neck, I think fake' is the correct answer.
Photos/Videos
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 15, 2012


Definately fake.

As noted, the blade emerges at a different angle.

The 'blood' looks surprisingly thick, chunky, and a bit too bright red.

The man's turban extends to the back edge of the knife.

So: fake knife, with the supporting wire looping around under the back edge of his turban where it won't show.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Sun Apr 15, 2012  at  06:15 PM
It looks to me as if the blade (more of a sword than a knife) is running behind his neck, or maybe just piercing under a flap of skin (a fairly common fakir demonstration), rather than through the meat of his neck.
Posted by Carl Fink  on  Sun Apr 15, 2012  at  08:09 PM
Nah.. if you look at the bottom edge of the blade, it's got at least an inch or so of neck behind it. That's a LOT of important stuff there, and even if you just hit the muscles of the back of the neck you're not passing anything through that without problems.

I'm pretty certain it's not just bent around - my money is on it's cut in half, with a C-shaped section of iron bar welded in along the top edge, so it can pass around the neck. Since his turban covers the back of his neck /all the way to the top edge of the blade/ this thinner piece of metal would not be immediately obvious from the back.

Looking at the knife itself also supports this. It's not built to be a machete, and a knife of that shape and size would be unwieldy for daily use.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Sun Apr 15, 2012  at  08:43 PM
Well, it is pretty scary, I have seen the pic at a bigger size in other website, and the hoax is not clear at all at first glance (cut-offs, montages, etc..) :/

1)It's true that the blade emerges at a different angle, but that might be due to the curvature of the own knife.

2)The blood and flesh falling over the neck and shoulders is a bit weird (color and consistency). Besides, the neck has vital features (larynx, pharynx, vertebral spine, jugular veins) and it seems really difficult to insert that knife between all of them without injure any of them.

3)The knife on its emerging side is cleaned-up of blood (?).
Posted by rintoo  in  spain  on  Mon Apr 16, 2012  at  12:48 PM
Oh, it's real, he just practices a LOT! 8P
Posted by Kerry Maxwell  in  Belmont, MA  on  Mon Apr 16, 2012  at  01:43 PM
In that region, having machete-type knives with a wavy S-curve to the blade is common. They sort of curve up away from the cutting edge, then down towards it again, and then back away from it yet again. Kind of like a less extreme version of a kukri. It gives it a bit more chopping ability in some ways. In this photo, I can't tell if it is a knife that has that sort of a blade (which would make it look all wonky and fakely angled if you think it is a straight blade), or if it is a fake straight-shaped blade that has the one half of it put on at the wrong angle.

The blood or whatever it is on his neck and shoulders is just weird looking. It looks more like some sort of a paste. . .which would fit in with the idea of it being a fake knife.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Apr 19, 2012  at  11:30 PM
The 'blood' seems to come too far round the front of his neck, as if it's been sloshed on rather than flowing from a wound.
Posted by Mr Henderson  in  Teddington UK  on  Mon Apr 23, 2012  at  05:28 PM
This is classic Indian street magic. Penn and Teller did a show about it back in 2003 that you should check out. It's called Penn and Teller's Magic and Mystery Tour.
Posted by Daniel Cecil  in  Indianapolis  on  Thu Apr 26, 2012  at  07:25 AM
me version of a kukri. It gives it a bit more chopping ability in some ways. In this photo, I can't tell if it is a knife that has that sort of a blade (which would make it look all wonky and fakely angled if you think it is a strai
Posted by mathew  on  Mon Nov 05, 2012  at  04:04 AM
Well I say it's fake. Why? Because there's no blood on the end that "pierced" his neck... Unless he took the time to wipe it off! Also I'm pretty sure you wouldn't see body chunks on the side that penetrated his neck.
Posted by Melissa D.  in  Cold Lake  on  Mon Jan 07, 2013  at  06:22 PM
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