Moses Lanham Jr., known as the "Backwards Feet Man" and "Mr. Elastic," has the unique ability to rotate his feet behind him. This week, the 49-year-old tax accountant and theater usher from Monroe, Mich., is heading overseas to Rome to set two new records on the Guinness World Records Show.
For the first, Guinness adjudicators will measure just how far he can twist his feet.
Should there be another person walking the planet who can break the record, Backwards Feet Man is confident he'll be able to take the record right back.
His second record attempt will clock how fast he can walk 20 meters with his feet turned backward. Lanham is aiming for a 30-second jaunt.
Both will be newly created records.
While it sounds like something that would crack a few bones, Lanham insists it's completely painless and requires no warm-up routine. "A lot of times when I'm sitting down I'll put my feet in a twisted position because it's more comfortable for me," he said.
Joining him on the show will be his 17-year-old son, Trey, who can also turn his feet backward. However, he won't be challenging Dad's records. Trey's feet aren't quite as flexible, and he's unable to walk with them turned. Unlike his father, he feels some discomfort after several minutes in the position.
"It's a shame because I was hoping I could retire and be his manager," Lanham said.
Lanham first discovered his ability by accident at the age of 14 during a rope climbing exercise in gym class. On his way up, he lost his grip, fell nearly 18 feet and landed in what appeared to be a frightening position.
"They thought something was dislocated," Lanham said. "But I stood up and was fine."
He quickly embraced his abilities. In high school he turned heads walking with his backward feet. In college, he enhanced the effect by putting his clothes on backward to match the direction of his feet, giving the appearance that his head was on backward.
It was a sight that caught plenty of attention.
Not only did Lanham become well known throughout his small home town, but over the years he began making television appearances on such shows as the original "Candid Camera" with Alan Funt, "Ripley's Believe It or Not!," "America's Funniest Home Videos," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and the Discovery Channel's "Medical Incredible."
His Guinness World Records debut is scheduled to air in Italy on March 30.
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