The power of human endurance is a fascinating thing but something we may not actually know the lengths to which the body can bear anything extreme.
While thousands gathered to see a Taoist medium in Malaysia throw all caution to the winds and perform a death-defying feat, little did they know that they would actually be witnessing death. 68-year-old Taoist medium Lim Ba (also known as a magician ) had been performing such daredevilry for the past 10 years. It was only recently that he had developed some heart problems.
Lim was habituated to performing in front of packed crowds. This particular stunt called the human steaming involved him sitting on a bubbling hot container which is closed with a metal lid. The stunt, also involved food items such as sweet corn and buns being cooked in the container while Lim sat on the lid. It was an example of his physical endurance capabilities.
On October 23, as part of the Taoist "Nine Emperor Gods Festival", Lim performed the stunt as usual but suddenly it took a horribly turn. Lim was known to sit in the metal case for upto 75 minutes. But on that day, half an hour into the stunt people started hearing intermittent banging noises from the container, on opening it they found the Taoist unconscious. He had suffered a lot of burns from the water and died while being taking to the hospital.
The cause of death along with the pressure of the stunt was a heart attack. Lim had undergone a heart operation last year and was in no position to do such a stunt. His family members advised him against it but he ignored their requests and finally his heart did him in.
The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is a nine day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is observed primarily in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and also the Riau Islands.Spirit medium possessions and the fire-walking purification ritual are associated with the celebration of this festival as well.