Hysterical or Superhuman Strength


Hysterical or Superhuman Strength is something that has been on my mind for a few weeks since I discovered this phenomenon on Wikipedia.

I know I have heard of stories where a mother has been able to lift a car to free her trapped child from certain death. But that is exactly what it was – a story. Until the Wikipedia article started to list some more details, but not hard facts and science. One reason I feel this may be is that the situation are real life and difficult to replicate in a lab.

So lets first look at some examples, before moving on to different theories. Finally looking at my own hypotheses and how it relates to a very well known mind training technique, which may help in replicating this for scientific proof.

Example 1
Marie Payton’s granddaughter attempt to stop the runaway ride on mower ended in her being trapped beneath it with blades spinning. Payton freed her granddaughter by simply throwing it away. Something she has never been able to get close to replicating since.
Source – howstuffworks

Example 2
A fathers arms was released from underneath a 3000 pound tractor by his two daughters aged 14 and 16 lifting it up enough for him to escape.

Source – foxnews.com

What makes Hysterical Strength interesting from a power of the mind perspective is that physically and in any normal situation the person(s) would not be able to lift or move the object. So what changes?

In the video above, for me, there is a big clue at 1 min 20sec and that is based around the word desire. The focus and desire to achieve the aim is so high that any thoughts of doubt may not exist. In the Silva System it is stated that mentally for a task or goal to be completed a person needs Desire, Belief and Expectancy.

So lets break these three points down to see if the Silva Method can help explain Hysterical Strength:

Desire – Develop a deep desire for your goal.
Do the people carrying out these amazing feats wish to free or help a loved one/person to survive a life threatening situation? You bet they have the desire. So the desire is very high.

Whole-heartedly believe that this goal is possible.
Does a person generally believe they could lift a heavy item, like a car, the answer here is no. But do they believe a car can be lifted of the ground, most definitely. And the more we hear examples of others being able to do these feats the more easily we can set our belief, that in the correct situation we would be able to do it. A real life example of this is the sub 4 minute mile, it was believed to be physically impossible, that was until Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier. Once he did, others had the belief and quite a few people broke the 4 minute barrier in quick concession.

Fully expect this goal to happen.
Do the lifters have the expectation of freeing the trapped person, I would argue, in their intense situation, they would be thinking of nothing else. All they can see in there mind is the person free from suffering and that is a motivating factor to achieving the outcome.

I would argue that there is most definatly a change in the mindset of the helpers in these situations, is there any more evidence that can back this up to change the physical capabilities of the rescuers? One study which comes to mind is that of people with Multiple Personalities who when in one persona have one illness or eye prescription, but in their other persona have perfect vision and no illness1. Showing that the mind can change the bodies physical attributes by nothing more than the chemicals and electrical charges it produces.

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So what does the body need to do to allow people to perform these superhuman strengths? Discovery Health explains it like this:

When adrenaline is released by the adrenal medulla — an interior region of the adrenal glands, which are located just above your kidneys — it allows blood to flow more easily to your muscles. This means that more oxygen is carried to your muscles by the extra blood, which allows your muscles to function at elevated levels. Skeletal muscles — those attached to bones by tendons — are activated by electrical impulses from the nervous system. When they’re stimulated, muscles contract, meaning they shorten and tighten. This is what happens when you lift an object, run or throw a punch. Adrenaline also facilitates the conversion of the body’s fuel source (glycogen) into its fuel (glucose). This carbohydrate gives energy to muscles, and a sudden burst of glucose also allows muscles to strengthen further.
Source – http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/bodily-feats/adrenaline-strength1.htm

Another example, that to me really has merit, of what might be happening to the body is the suggestion that the rescuer(s) have subconsciously sent stronger bolts of electricity to the muscles, perhaps from their focused intention or new superhuman persona:

You’ve heard of people being thrown across rooms by shocks, or their hands clamping down on live wires so hard they can’t be loosed? It’s not the current that causes it, but our muscles’ reaction to the current. If nothing else, it demonstrates the potential for muscle use that’s not normally available to us.
Source – http://mentalfloss.com/article/27333/does-hysterical-strength-really-exist

So is it the Desire, Belief and Expectancy, or something else all together that pushes the body into the state of releasing superhuman strength, only more research will give us the answers. I, for one, am looking forward to reading the studies, to see if they can help us extend our abilities of mind power even further.

1 Source http://listverse.com/2013/05/21/10-amazing-examples-of-mind-over-matter/

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