There is a new parlor in town.
Perhaps the newest concept the parlor Almost Famous brings to
Fort Collins is the art of body suspension (in addition to
scarification and branding).
Nathan and Jasmine Smith are owners of Almost Famous, 246 N.
College Ave. The lobby is spacious, the ceiling high and the walls
framed with examples of prospective tattoos for customers.
The Smiths are from Las Vegas, and they are aiming to make their
business a popular demand here in Fort Collins. Nathan Smith hopes
his ink-blotted body canvas, 13 piercings, star-shaped horns, split
tongue and extreme body suspension techniques will make people
notice his shop.
Body suspension is also referred to as hanging; an individual is
pierced, six to eight times, on average, through skin on his or her
back. This is called rigging.
Attached to the pierced rings are hooks that hang from a
high-hung piece of metal. A steel apparatus hangs from the
ceiling’s high support bars. The air-conditioning in the room sways
the clump of metal made up of rings, chains and other metal
The body is then slowly levitated and left to hang only by the
piercing. The skin is stretched, and the body is left dangling.
“It is not like coming in and saying I want my belly-button
pierced,” Smith said.
Smith said he must gain a relationship with a client before he
administers a hanging on someone. He does not charge clients for
the suspension, but he encourages donations, he said. He has been
in the body modification and suspension business for 10 years.
“The professional and ethical way in doing this is always
safety,” Smith said. “If it is done in an appropriate way, the
risks are minimal.”
A close friend of Smith’s watches over every hanging as a
licensed emergency medical technician, he said.
Subjects are usually not hurt or injured, but they may
experience minor tearing in the skin. Although Smith said he uses
very sanitary methods in his shop, no specifications or laws
mandate body suspension.
Doloris McCue, an administrative assistant at the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment, said no laws or
restrictions exist on the books with this type of activity.
“Unfortunately, we have nothing on (body suspension),” McCue
said. “(People doing body suspension) must be on drugs.”
Cindy Parmenter, director of communications for the CDPHE, was
not aware of body suspension.
“Sometimes new things come up that we do not know about and as a
result may not have anything to regulate,” Parmenter said. “This is
something people need to use their best judgment about.”
Around 10 p.m. on most Sunday evenings, Smith conducts a hanging
in front of approximately 100 people, he said. Positions include
the “lotus position” and “superman.”
The reasons volunteers agree to be suspended vary with each
case. Some are curious, some find a spiritual euphoria and some may
find it a sexual experience.
According to Smith, many do it to either have fun or to gain
some type of euphoria.
“The reason people go up is because it’s good times,” Smith
Smith feels there is other aspects of his profession people need
“The American people, in general, need to learn to stop staring
and making fun of people,” Smith said.