Throughout history people have expressed their passions and their personalities through their collections. But some collectors passions cross the line into obsession. In London, Viktor Wynd fills his home with eccentric arrays of objects ranging from tiny human baby skeletons to shrunken heads. Calling them his children, Viktor is known to kiss them affectionately and converse with them. In the Philippines, Herbert Chavez is the self-proclaimed Filipino Superman, a longtime collector of Superman paraphernalia who, in the last 15 years, has undergone a series of cosmetic surgeries to resemble his super hero. Utah resident Jim Dix has turned his...
Human beings have a natural desire to pair bond, to find a mate. But not all matches are made from one mold
Who decides who is beautiful and who is not? Apparently, we all do. Standards of beauty differ across cultures, but it seems human beings may possess an innate preference for symmetrical faces. But imagine living without a face. In Texas, an electrical accident leaves Dallas Wiens face grossly disfigured, and doctors attempt the first full facial transplant ever in the U.S.
The grimy, nasty filth nobody wants to be around is an everyday sight for these dirty job cleaners. In Minneapolis, a team of heavy-duty house cleaners tackles a truly filthy, foreclosed house. One of the most disgusting basements youll ever seethe laundry is full of cat feces, an appalling fridge freezer, and a backed-up toilet that would test even the strongest stomach. In Guatemala City, a group of men and women known as trash miners spend their working days trawling through a putrid black river, searching for saleable metals. In New York, microbiologist Dwight Bowman devotes his life to ridding the world of parasites.
Love isnt always about romance and roses."Baba" Dez Nichols describes himself as a sexual healer. On a secluded New Zealand island, he leads an interactiveworkshopwhere participants are encouraged to share each others bodies, all in the name of enlightenment. In Arkansas, piano teacher Dave is a loonera person who has a fetish for balloons. Hes collected 65,000 of them.
Marriage is as old as civilisation, but today, some weddings turn their back on tradition. In Jamaica, nine couples tie the knot au naturale. While in California, the bride and groom are dressed, but its even more bizarre - theyre dogs
They are a happily married couple. Yet, all is not what it seems. When they met and fell in love, Ashley was a man...and Tony was a woman. Chris Tina Bruce calls herself a hybrid...neither male nor female. Call her Gender X or Gender Fuzzy, she is part of a gender revolution. Hes athletic, masculine and would give most male models a run for their money. Balian Buschbaum is all man...except for one thing. He used to be a woman.
Many in the West practice body modification to some degree whether its ear-piercing or breast implants. But when people go to extremes with body modification, they provoke fear and disbelief. Take for example, the worlds most pierced woman, Elaine Davidson with her 8000+ piercings; Mary Jose Cristerna, with horn implants, pointed teeth, body tattoos; pumped up female bodybuilders, worshipped by some men for their strength and physique; and Japans adventurous bagelheads, having saline injected into their foreheads for a temporary mutant thrill.
Devils And Demons+
Many cultures around the world believe evil can manifest in demonic spirits that enter a persons body. For some who believe, the only solution is an exorcism. In Phoenix, Arizona, a battle for the souls of those said to be possessed is being waged, not by priests, but by five teenage girls.
A woman eats mountains of junk food but cant put on weight. A young mans body is huge on one side and skinny on the other. Their looks and behavior seem bizarre to many and some treat them as taboo.
Most people in the West share certain common perceptions about what childhood should be like: A child should be free to play, to explore, and to make mistakes. But sometimes childhood is complicated. In small town America, a teenage girl makes a decision that has irreversible consequences - she wants to become a man. In India, a young boy is destined for a trade that is both dangerous and illegal - snake charming. In Greece, the legal age for driving a car is 16, but 9-year-old Stavros Grillis has been at the wheel of high-performance race cars since he was 5. Young girls are sometimes labelled little princesses, but in Nepal, some girls are worshipped...
Collecting can be a harmless hobby, or it can become an obsession. In this episode we look at extreme collectors: people that collect such vast quantities of unusual things that it impacts their lives, their relationships and their livelihood. Take the Las Vegas retired neurosurgeon whos spent over 30 years filling two houses and a huge back yard with a weird mix of unusual items.
Death comes inevitably to us all. How societies celebrate their loved ones passing varies dramatically from place to place. In Gurgaon, India a 82-year-old nun voluntarily fasts to the death in a religious ritual, attended by her children; a Taiwanese man honors his dead father with exotic dancers gyrating at the graveside; an octogenarian in San Francisco lives with death every day amongst his vast collections of skeletal remains; and in Stockton, Alabama, a widow remembers her husband with a patriotic gun salute using bullets loaded with his ashes.
For most, the ideal spouse tends to be similar in age, social status, and physical appearance. But some marriages stray so far from this ideal, they might be considered …odd. Taboo examines some of these unconventional relationships. We'll meet a woman who's in love with a man nearly three times her height. We'll find out why a man hides his homosexuality, promising to love and obey his wife. And we'll delve inside the inner workings of a marriage made up of three partners.
Do we really know who our co-workers, loved ones and friends are? Maybe not as well as we think. NGC opens a window into the lives of individuals leading a double life with surprising secrets. Chloe is a Ph.D. chemist in Utah who lives as a paraplegic in a wheelchair. However, Chloe isn't paraplegic. She has body integrity identity disorder; a condition that makes her want to be paralyzed, but still enjoys - and is fully capable of - walking. Todd is a married successful businessman in Minnesota with two grown children and a million-dollar home. But, he is also known as Adman, a homeless man living along the railroad. And, Courtenay, a psychology...
In the west, medicine is based on science, research and technology. But in cultures around the world, many still put their health in the hands of monks, mystics and magic potions. Some are willing to go to the ultimate limits for a cure. Heroin addicts purge their habit literally in a brutal detox. Half a million faithful swallow a whole, live animal in a bid to treat asthma. Shamans practice animal sacrifice for pain relief. A couple so desperate to conceive drink the undrinkable. When people abandon conventional medicine and put their faith in extreme cures, healing can become taboo.
In every society, there are unwritten rules of behaviour - codes of conduct that allow people to co-exist. When individuals break those rules, they may find themselves shunned. In Scotland, a father's constant cursing makes him an outcast. In Idaho, a young woman is stigmatised by self-harm. In England, a man is judged lazy because he's always asleep. And in Vermont, two friends are thought strange, even threatening. Each has a condition they can not control, yet society treats them as taboo.
Humans have an inherit urge to fight. In some cultures, the boundaries of what is considered acceptable violence are extremely different. In Bolivia, Jose and his family kill a goat, then scatter its blood to the Gods. These Quechua Indians believe blood spilled violently on the ground will fertilize the earth and ensure a good harvest. In Florida, Jill participates in cage fighting, a sport that is illegal for women and men in six states in the U.S. When in the cage, the fighting crosses all boundaries-it's raw and visceral. In Nigeria, Shagon Shano participates in in a traditional fight known as Dambe. Boxers can strike anywhere on the body,...
Girls around the globe begin having sex at different ages and for different reasons. In Cambodia, the Kreung people encourage the sexual independence of their daughters by building separate huts to sleep in. In these "love huts," the girls meet with boys for social interaction and sex with the hope of finding a good husband. In Australia, Carina has conceived at 13 years of age. Whether ready or not for the responsibility of becoming a mother, more and more teens in Australia are having sex at a young age. However, in Mississippi, Camille and Emily are taking part in the purity ball where daughters pledge their sexual purity to their fathers and...
It's mankind's oldest intoxicant. But alcohol is also the drug that kills more people than any other. From Labor Day weekend parties in Arizona to binge-drinking resorts in Spain, alcohol shapes the lives of those who drink it in ways that can be heart-breaking and deadly.
Living With The Dead+
In the west, we're no longer accustomed to handling, or even seeing, dead bodies. As a result, we view it as taboo, feeling disgust and fear around the dead, insisting on rituals like burials and cremations which allow us to keep a safe distance. Yet, around the world, there are people who deal with death as a matter of course and even gain satisfaction from it: meet a family of skull cleaners from Oklahoma city, a couple of body-collecting contractors from Maryland, a Florida man who trades in serial killer souvenirs, and Madagascans who regularly lug the remains of their dead relatives from their tombs.
Addiction doesn't always involve substances. From sex to adrenaline, gaming to shopping, any behavior can become addictive - and taboo. We follow four people through their destructive practices and learn what it might take for them to finally break their cycles of dependency.
We live in a society that worships consumption, but most of us know when enough is enough. But for some people there is no such thing as too many possessions. In London, Mark must remove 15 years of junk in three days-or be evicted. When his sisters come to clean up, he threatens to sabotage the process altogether. 70-year-old Sylvia has hoarded herself out of her English flat, and she's trying a new therapy to see if she can finally live a clean life. Jerry Webber owns two million records-and buys thousands more each month. Music enthusiast or obsessive hoarder? Finally, Pig Tales Animal Sanctuary in Florida is home to 389 diseased and starving...
While most people fall in love, get married and have children, that relationship model is not for everyone. Some people choose non-human lovers to be the object of their desires, such as the man who is in love with his car, and the woman who is having an intense affair with the Berlin Wall. Others break the reproduction taboo by marrying someone three decades older than themselves, and one woman has paid sex with hundreds of her clients in the name if therapy.
Since the beginning of time, humans have indulged in fantasy. But in today's fast-paced and anonymous societies, fantasy lives often begin to verge on the taboo. In this episode, a grown man chooses to role-play as a diaper-wearing baby. A Florida woman treats a vinyl doll like a real infant, caring meticulously for its every need. A Japanese kickboxer cross-dresses as female anime characters. And a suburban father breaks a moral code by keeping one family in reality and another in a virtual world. This is a rarely glimpsed journey into the mysterious world where real life collides with fantasy-and enters into the taboo.
When people are imprisoned they lose their freedom and their rights. But human beings are persistent creatures, and love - and sex - can penetrate the thickest of prison walls. Should convicted felons be allowed the pleasures of life that have been denied to their victims?
Make Me Beautiful+
Many women feel enormous pressure to change the way they look. For most, this involves cosmetics and beauty treatments. But for some, it goes further, driving them to extreme measures that can be excruciating, unhealthy, and even fatal. When women begin mutilating and disfiguring their bodies, they break taboos and make us question what it means to be beautiful.
In this episode we step into the hidden world of prostitution. Said to be one of the world's oldest professions… and it's most taboo. Prostitution - Its been called the world's oldest profession. Yet around the globe exchanging sex for money is considered taboo. And those who sell themselves are labelled Hookers and whores. This episode explores the factors that define the sex industry in the 21st century in order to understand why prostitution remains Taboo.
In all societies there are those who find themselves isolated from their fellow humans but they all have one thing in common… They're outsiders, misfits, and to live outside the walls of society is seen as taboo. In all societies there are those who find themselves isolated from their fellow humans. In Australia, a man's belief that his right leg is not part of his body, has devastating consequences. In Bangladesh an entire community is mistrusted, and cast adrift on the country's waterways. In England, a man rejects his society's rules on food by choosing to eat road kill. They all have one thing in common. They are outsiders, misfits … taboo.
In an industrialised world, where the body beautiful is a thin one, we ask why two thirds of the population are now overweight…. and why is fatness seen as taboo?
While some societies wage a war on drugs, other cultures embrace them for their medicinal, spiritual or even religious benefits. Despite their long history, drugs remain highly controversial. In one culture a drug may be sacred whilst in another that same drug can be taboo. In the United States, marijuana is illegal if taken for recreational purposes, but others are legally allowed to buy, prepare and take marijuana for medicinal purposes. Deep in the Amazon forest followers of the Santo Daime church believe that ayahuasca - a jungle hallucinogen used for centuries by shaman - is a holy sacrament that paves a spiritual pathway to enlightenment....
For many people a relationship means a man and a woman in love and legally married. But for some, this kind of bond is not enough. Human relationships can bring safety, security and love… but sometimes they can also be taboo. In Australia a couple stay faithful by having sex with strangers. In poverty stricken Nepal love is lost when a seven year-old child is sold as a bride. In the United Kingdom a man defies one of his country's strictest taboos by marrying seven women. And in the United States we witness a relationship that is hardly human at all when a man falls in love with a sex doll.
Beyond The Grave+
Death comes to us all, yet we deal with it in different ways. Enter a place where the world of the living crosses over with the world of the dead, beyond the grave. Each of us walks through life stalked by the same shadow: mortality. Some day, we will all die. In an effort to cope with death, we shroud it in ritual and surround it with taboos. And what one culture sees as a normal way to deal with the dead, for another might be forbidden. In Nepal, a body is burned beside a sacred river. In America, a corpse is beautified for an open casket funeral. In Germany, human bodies are plastinated and put on public display, and in Korea, workers get a...
The topic of death is a taboo for most, so meet those whose job confronts it every day, from collecting car crash victims to dissecting corpses.
Enter the realm of alternative cures, a place of shamans, spirits and demonic possession.
In order to please their gods, some people push themselves to the limits. Their faith goes beyond prayer and into a bloody realm of suffering.
The human body is sacred for most, so meet those who ritually abuse theirs, from ingesting bodily waste to forming disturbing bonds with animals.
Featuring three-year-olds in a boxing ring and young sons cutting themselves to prove religious devotion, this is childhood at its most shocking.
Trial By Fire+
Humans have a traditional desire to belong. Every tribe and culture has its tests, proving grounds to measure an individual's worth.
Whether it's feasting on the world's largest spider or devouring an animal's penis, when it comes to cuisine some like theirs extreme.
Drug-taking is widely practised around the world but condemned by most societies. This episode examines cultural differences in attitudes.
Around the world some people live on society's fringes. Examine why leprosy sufferers are shunned in Nepal and rat catchers are avoided in India.
The Third Sex+
On the Indian sub-continent a group of outcast transsexuals called the Hijra cut off their genitals and live as women to form a third gender.
In every society there are strong taboos about sex, yet some people break the norm of marital monogamy by sharing their spouse with others.
Law-breaking demands punishment but this episode examines the extremes, from open prisons for murderers in India to the American walk of shame.
Humans consume animals for food globally but this episode examines why some cultures opt to slaughter them in public and not behind closed doors.
To stand out from the crowd there are those who choose to modify and even plunder the human body, to alter what they were born with.
All societies have their rituals but this episode examines some of the more extreme, from dangerous tower leaps to facial disfigurement.