Mirin Dajo

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Mirin Dajo
Mirin Dajo promotional.jpg
Promotional photograph of Mirin Dajo showing a rapier piercing his thorax from back to front
Arnold Gerrit Henskes

6 August 1912
Died26 May 1948(1948-05-26) (aged 35)
Known forBody piercing

Arnold Gerrit Henskes (6 August 1912 – 26 May 1948), known by the pseudonym Mirin Dajo, was a Dutch performer.[1] He became famous for radically piercing his body with all kinds of objects and apparently without injury, even astounding the medical community at the time.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Rotterdam. He started out trying a career in the Beaux Arts. He headed a design firm in his twenties. During his earlier years he had had all sorts of dreams and "paranormal" experiences. When he turned 33, he claimed to realize that his body was "invulnerable." As a result he left his job and went to Amsterdam. Hanging around pubs, he made money by letting people pierce his body with "dagger-like objects." He also swallowed glass and razor blades.[1]


Promotional photo showing Mirin Dajo jogging with a rapier through his abdomen.

Notorious for his radical “body piercings” Dajo was not able to explain, or preach, his views of reality.[2] As he saw it people should abandon the materialistic world view and accept there was a higher force, the Source. God was using him, through his invulnerability, to show us there was something better out there. His conviction was that materialism only resulted in misery and war.[1]

At that time he adopted his stage name Mirin Dajo, Esperanto for "wonder" (the right form should be mirindaĵo – wonder, abstract substantive derived from adjective mirinda – wonderful). He saw the use of Esperanto  – one language to be used around the world – as a way of uniting mankind, his primary goal. Because he needed a licence to perform in public he was taken to Professor Carp, Dr. Bertholt and Dr. Stokvis of the University of Leiden. His act was allowed but not his concomitant lecture, thereby hindering the "mission" to inform the world of his message of "love and peace".[1]

Although not as widely documented as his sword piercing feats, there were claims that his invulnerability had been proven by numerous means. In an interview in Time magazine, he also declared his invulnerability having been tested with burning irons, boiling water and having been shot through the head from half a yard distance on two occasions. He supported this by exhibiting two scars allegedly from the shots, one in the center of the forehead and the other above his right eye.[citation needed]

Move to Switzerland, death[edit]

X-Ray of his abdomen on May 12, 1948 showing the needle he swallowed

In 1947, he moved to Switzerland and initially was only granted a licence to perform without the ability to speak to the public. In his performances Dajo used several assistants but, after many disappointments, he paired up with Jan Dirk de Groot who was his Dutch neighbor. According to De Groot, Dajo had several guardian angels, was telepathic, and could heal people.[1] Time magazine reported on an appearance at the Corso Theatre in Zürich. The article alleged "that Dajo had 'proved' to Zurich doctors that his act was not based on fakery."[3]

He was allegedly instructed by voices to eat a steel needle which was to be surgically removed. He did so on May 11, 1948. It was surgically removed on May 13, 1948. During recovery in the hospital he requested a lot of water for recovery which was only granted if he took full responsibility. To demonstrate his health he walked through Zurich directly after being released. Ten days later, when De Groot picked up his wife from the airport, Dajo lay down on a bed and went into a trance-like state. On arrival De Groot's wife was not comfortable with someone lying down as if dead, and asked De Groot to check his health. On the third day De Groot's wife asked him to check again. This time his neck felt cold.[4] The medical examiner announced he had been dead for a day. The autopsy revealed Dajo had died of an aortic rupture, though this was contested by De Groot and the aforementioned surgeon.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Mirin Dajo: Wonderman". Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved 2007-06-27.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) by Philip Coppens
  2. ^ Deliberately Caused Bodily Damage: A Different Perspective
  3. ^ Miracle Man Time, June 23, 1947
  4. ^ [1] Book De onkwetsbare profeet (Dutch) by Jan Dirk de Groot

External links[edit]