Welcome to The Weird World of Competitive Worm Charming…

Hey, Thoughty2 here You’ve heard of snake charming; you may have even hypnotised a chicken, but I bet you’ve never heard of worm charming

In what may be one of the most British events in existence, every year the little village of Willaston in Northern England hosts the World Worm Charming Championships And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like, charming worms out of the ground From chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill to racing snails the British really do know how to turn any old crap into a competitive sport Every year hundreds of thrill-seekers gather in the picturesque little village of Willaston to compete in an intense championship of global proportions The World Worm Charming Championships began in 1980, when some village locals were so bored that they decided to challenge each other to coercing worms out of the ground by rapidly tapping on the grass

They thought it was so thrilling they made a competition out of it and it has since grown massively in popularity, some people travel from all over Europe to attend So how does one charm a worm? The basic idea is to create vibrations in the ground which scares the worms to the surface Once they wiggle out of the ground, they must be picked and placed into a plastic cup, this is more difficult than it seems, if they’re picked too soon or too fast, then it’s easy to snap the worm in two Incomplete worms won’t be counted by the judges Vibrations are created by all kinds of methods, one of the most popular is jamming a pitchfork into the soil and repeatedly hitting it to send shockwaves into the ground

Others opt for more unusual techniques such as imitating the sound of rain, which worms are naturally drawn towards, and even playing the sound of rainfall into the soil Others simply resort to whacking the ground with any random object that takes their fancy There was once a woman, who’s genuine technique was to tap dance to the Star Wars theme song, but she wasn’t able to turn them from the dark side Aside from creating vibrations, moisture is also a well-used technique Wetting the ground with things such as sugar water, beer and even urine can help to coerce the worms to the surface

People create all kinds of strange mixtures to use during the competition However, there’s a rule, nothing toxic is allowed to be used and anyone using a liquid must first take a gulp of it in front of the competition’s official judge, the “Worm Master”, before using it in the competition Nevertheless, people do still use urine Speaking of rules there are 18 of them in worm charming, including: “Each competitor is given a 3×3 metre plot”, “No digging or forking is allowed” and “All worms must be returned unharmed to the ground after the competition” Each team is made up of three people: a Charmerer, a Pickerer and a Counterer, and no I haven’t said those wrongly, I’m fairly sure you can guess what each of their roles are

The current world record holder is a 10-year-old girl, who charmed 567 worms from the ground during the World Worm Charming Championships in 2009 But the weird world of worm charming isn’t just reserved to an eccentric village in the North of England, believe it or not there’s another British village that is totally obsessed with worm charming Every year Blackawton, a village stuck to the bottom of Britain’s big toe, otherwise known as Devon, hosts a worm-charming festival The Blackawton International Festival of Wormcharming is similar to its Northern brother but festivities include live music all weekend and unlike the 3 square metres provided at the World Championships, contestants at Blackawton only get a measly 1 square metre to do their charming Fancy dress is also not an uncommon sight at the festival

The Blackawton festival also has an “Official Cheat” who’s job is to encourage and even help others to cheat, often selling “black market” worms to contestants, to boost their score Despite the fact that the rules state “any competitor caught cheating will be publically humiliated and disqualified” One competitor was banned for life because he concealed worms up his trouser leg before the event, so he could sprinkle them onto the ground You’ve really got to admire someone who would risk worms sliming up their most personal of spaces, just to win a village competition Thanks for watching

About Thoughty2

Thoughty2 (Arran) is a British YouTuber and gatekeeper of useless facts. Thoughty2 creates mind-blowing factual videos, on the weirdest, wackiest and most interesting topics. Combining fascinating lists with answers to life's biggest questions.

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