Courtesy of Jared Anderson
Colorful tattoos, gauged ears and horns are all physical modifications that grace the body of 32-year-old Jared Anderson.
If you passed Anderson on High Street, you might be quick to judge the horns implanted on his head as satanic in nature, but you’d probably be off-base. He’s not going to steal your kid’s candy or even open the gate to the underworld. Anderson will, however, fascinate you with his hobby: suspension.
Suspension performers hang themselves from hooks that pierce through the skin in various places.
Anderson blames his mom for his interest in suspension.
“One day my mom called me downstairs when I was 12 years old and told me to check out this special on rituals,” Anderson said.
The show enlightened viewers on tribal rituals of the Thaipusam festival celebrated in India. Anderson said when he watched people spear their body with hooks and perform suspension, he was mesmerized.
“It was pure strength and endurance,” Anderson said.
Anderson started off as a piercing apprentice at Swag Body Piercing in Las Vegas before he became an experienced practitioner in the suspension world. He traveled across the country and eventually came to Columbus.
Anderson often performs solo, but sometimes does suspensions with his girlfriend Jamie Cattell, who goes by the stage name Jamie Mayhem. The two met when their suspension acts were featured at the same tattoo convention.
Cattell, who has been performing for more than five years with suspension groups ihung and Only Flesh, said it is comforting to perform with Anderson.
“He always puts me at ease and makes me feel relaxed before suspending, as well as making other people we suspend feel comfortable,” Cattell said.
Andserson said viewers’ first suspension experience can range from watching someone hang from 10 hooks to seeing one of his cut-and-drop acts.
This means Anderson is hung from four hooks, hooked to his skin, from the ceiling, then free falls about six feet.
Colin O’Shaughnessy-Wiese, an apprentice at Evolved, a tattoo and piercing shop at 1880 N. High St., said while suspension can be intriguing, people tend to build up the hype to unfathomable levels.
“It’s interesting, but the most irritating part is (suspension’s) portrayal on TV,” O’Shaughnessy-Wiese said.
O’Shaughnessy said suspension often looks more dramatic on TV or in films, including the 1998 film “Strangeland,” which he said “makes suspension look like a torturous thing.”
Still, O’Shaughnessy said everyone can walk away from suspension performances having taken something different from the act.
“Suspension is like a piece of art work; you get out of it what you want,” O’Shaughnessy said.
Cattell said Anderson is hardcore at taking hooks, but more importantly, he is extremely knowledgeable on piercing, rigging and other things that go into setting up suspensions for other people.
Yet, despite his hardcore hobby and outward appearance, Anderson said he’s still a regular guy at heart, a “simple guy, not the party type.”