The Miraculous Magnetic Boy, and the Truth Behind His Superpowers


Comic books are popular in the cultural lexicon for a reason. The idea of suddenly having powers and being able to make a difference is one that many kids dream of. Some kids even go so far as to test their ability to “fly” by jumping off tall objects. But what would happen if a little boy suddenly found himself in possession of a truly odd and surprising power?

A Little Boy Zapped

This very scenario happened to a little boy out of Russia, 12-year-old Nikolai Kryaglyachenko. He was walking home from school one day when he stopped to lean against a lamppost. Unfortunately, the lamp post had a faulty wire and a jolt of electricity blasted him across the street.

Source: Europics

He was a little groggy when he came to, but generally okay. He went home and told his mother what had happened, and the next morning when he woke up, he found that some coins that had been lying on his mattress were stuck to his body!

Stick, Stick, Stick

As he went along his day, Nikolai discovered that more things stuck to him, not just the coins. When he dropped his spoon during breakfast, the object also stuck to his skin. He set about testing his new power, which was very similar to the comic book character Magneto.

Source: Europics

What Nikolai discovered was that he didn’t have a great deal of control over his new “power,” and that it wasn’t just limited to metal objects. He claimed that once, he attracted a glass towards him even without wanting to.

Not The First Magnetic Story

Nikolai’s classmates were, of course, fascinated by his new powers. He even discovered that his powers were transferable! One of his classmates, Vika Balandina, suddenly found themselves with the ability to hang a spoon on the end of their nose.

Source: Europics

Nikolai is far from the first person to find themself with miraculous magnetic powers. A year after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, an entire family suddenly found themselves able to stick metal objects to their body. An investigation by Russian and Japanese scientists confirmed their “genuine” powers, but was there more going on?

A Skeptical Perspective

Stories such as Nikolai’s often bring out skeptics. The idea of someone undergoing an “event” of some kind and walking away with powers is a plot of fiction, not real life. No matter the evidence that’s provided, there are always people who won’t believe what they see with their own eyes, convinced that there’s something more going on.

Source: Europics

Oftentimes, these skeptics are unfortunately right. There is almost always a rational, scientific explanation for “unexplained” phenomena like Nikolai the Magnetic Boy. Another occurrence of a boy “attracting” metal drew an investigation, looking into the science of humans suddenly creating a magnetic field.

More “Magnetic” Children

In 2011, news of a young boy out of Croatia surfaced, claiming that he was a “magnetic” boy who anything would stick to. Photos of Ivan with various objects stuck to his body went viral, and the skeptics came out of the woodworks.

Source: Europics

The first clue that something else was up was the fact that that Ivan was not just attracting metal objects. Photos of cell phones, remote controls, and even a large frying pan sticking to the boy were cause for suspicion.

Plastic Doesn’t Have a Magnetic Surface

As many people know, cell phones and remote controls are not just made out of metal. They’re largely made out of a plastic casing with electronics inside, with a very small amount of metal to power the electronics. The fact that plastic was sticking to Ivan in videos was the first cause for disbelief.


More than that, according to Benjamin Radford, the managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer, there are other hints as to what is going on in the video. Ivan was leaning back in much of the video rather than forward, hinting that gravity was the cause of his unusual magnetism rather than a true magnetic field.

Digging Into The Science

The true facts of these people who claim to be magnetic ends up being very simple. It’s a matter of objects with smooth surfaces sticking to skin, which is naturally a little sticky. And some people have skin that is stickier than others.

Source: Youtube

Skin is covered in oils and dirt, and even after it’s cleaned the surface oils return almost immediately. Therein lies the science of metals sticking to skin. The oil is weakly bonded together on an atom scale, and metal is strongly bonded together. This leads to the friction that can cause metal to stick to the oil on skin.

Sweat Increases the Stick

Furthermore, the amount of smooth surface that an object has to stick to skin increases how it adheres. The more contact, the stickier it is. This is compounded when the skin is sweaty, as wet skin is softer and has lower stored energy levels.

Source: Youtube

All these facts of magnetism lead to the conclusion that these children who claim to be magnetic are, more often than not, just children with smooth, particularly sticky skin. The viral nature of these videos doesn’t reveal the science, creating the illusion of supernatural or superhuman abilities.

Nikolai’s Magnetic Ability

As far as Nikolai and his surprising magnetism, the electric shock that he endured may have contributed a small factor. Beyond the mild daze that he endured, blood vessels carry a certain magnetism between them, and applying electricity can have biological effects.

Source: Europics

Without further research, though, it is likely that Nikolai is much like the other children who have claimed to be magnetic. Smooth skin and smooth surfaces of other objects contribute to a phenomenon that while entertaining, is by no means exceptional.

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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