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This Man Had Bees on His Face for Longer Than Anyone Else on Record

Juan Carlos Noguez Ortiz set a world “bee beard” record by wearing the insects for 61 minutes.

Can you think of something you did yesterday that lasted about an hour? Maybe it was a meeting, or a workout, or your lunch break. Maybe you had a long conversation with a friend, or took a solid chunk of time to finish a good book.

Okay, ready to feel jealous? Yesterday—August 30th, 2017—Juan Carlos Noguez Ortiz of Toronto, Canada sat in a plastic bubble on a public street and let 100,000 bees crawl all over his face for exactly 61 minutes, setting a world record in the process.

“I wanted to show people that they don’t have to be scared of the bees,” Ortiz, who works at Dickey Bee Honey Farm in nearby Cookstown, told CBC News.

In the outlet’s video of the stunt (which you can see here), Ortiz sits very still as bees are poured over his head, forming a wriggling wig and sideburns and eventually covering his entire face. “Hey Juan, you good?” someone shouts at one point, prompting Ortiz to give a slow double thumbs-up. A countdown clock runs beside him, letting a growing crowd know as he inches towards the existing record—53 and a half minutes—and then sprints past it.

“Bee-bearding,” as this practice is called, works like this: first, you put a colony’s queen in a small cage. Then, you hang the cage from your chin and release the rest of the colony. The worker bees will smell their queen and huddle around her, forming a full, luscious insect beard.

Bee-bearding dates back to 1830, when an innovative Ukranian apiarist named Petro Prokopovych began encouraging his charges to settle on his chin in order to market his beekeeping products.

This particular bee beard was also a promotional stunt: it was staged to market the film Blood Honey, a psychological thriller about a woman who becomes “stuck in a life threatening nightmare” after returning to her childhood home. As the Toronto Star reports, at some point during the film, the main character, Jenibel, is apparently similarly covered in bees.

And now that you know the secret, you can, too! Hey, it beats (most) meetings.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.