Pole-sitting is the practice of sitting on a pole for extended lengths of time, generally used as a test of endurance. A small platform is often placed at the top of the pole.
Pole-sitting is related to the ancient ascetic discipline of Stylitism, or column-sitting. St Simeon Stylites the Elder (c. 388-459) of Antioch (now Turkey) was a column-sitter who sat on a column for 37 years.
Flagpole-sitting was a fad in the early 20th century. The fad was begun by stunt actor and former sailor Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly, who sat on a flagpole, either on a dare by a friend, or as a publicity stunt. Shipwreck's initial 1924 sit lasted 13 hours and 13 minutes. It soon became a fad with other contestants setting records of 12, 17 and 21 days. In 1929, Shipwreck decided to reclaim the title. He sat on a flagpole for 49 days in Atlantic City, New Jersey, setting a new record. The following year, 1930, his record was broken by Bill Penfield in Strawberry Point, Iowa who sat on a flag pole for 51 days and 20 hours, until a thunderstorm forced him down. From 1933 to 1963 Richard "Dixie" Blandy claimed various records as champion at 77, 78 and 125 days until he died in 1974 when his pole was snapped in half at the Dixie Square Mall. For the most part, pole sitting died out after 1929, with the onset of the Depression.
H. David Werder sat on a pole for 439 days, 11 hours, and 6 minutes from November 1982 to 21 January 1984 to protest against the price of gasoline. Daniel Baraniuk, from Gdańsk, Poland, sat on a 16-by-24-inch platform on an 8-foot pole for 196 days from May 15, 2002 to November 26, 2002. He had a ten minute break every two hours.
Peggy (Townsend) Clark held the record from 1964 till 1989 with a record holding 217 days solid on the pole in Gadsden, Al.
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