This was originally published on WeirdThings.com (check it out!) in May 2009, but since Brian Dunning mentioned it during Dragon*Con 2010, I thought I'd republish it here. And I just like its creepiness.
Arnold Gerritt Henske was a Dutch artist and designer with a paranormal bent. In 1933, he changed his name to Mirin Dajo (Esperanto for “Amazing Dajo”) and took the stage. His performance? Having his assistant impale his hypnotized body with swords and rapiers. What at first glance looks like a striking version of an Andrew Mayne illusion, was actually something quite different.
It was real.