It takes a hair-culean effort to pull a four-tonne minibus 100 metres...but imagine doing it twice!
Anastasia IV, one of the stars of the Circus Of Horrors, tackled her latest feat of hair-iffic strength on Blackpool Promenade outside the Pleasure Beach.
The Polish former bio-chemistry student was nearing the end of a world-record worthy 101-metre minibus pull when, by mistake, one of her circus colleagues told her she’d gone the distance.
But the brave performer took a few deep breaths, stretched out and gathered her composure to return to the start line and go again.
Despite a brief stumble, Anastasia completed the task at the second attempt, drawing astonished looks from passers-by and drivers along the Prom with her plaited, waist-length hair attached with a harness to the mini-bus.
Nightly, Anastasia, real name Joanna Sawick, is seen hanging, spinning or swinging high in the air from her hair with the Circus Of Horrors, which is at the Pleasure Beach’s Globe theatre as part of the park’s Halloween celebrations until Saturday night.
She even holds an offical Guinness World Record, for having lifted another person - weighing 117lbs, 11oz - from her hair, while hanging upside down.
Catching her breath, and steadying her legs Anastasia said: “I wish I hadn’t had to do it twice but I’m really happy I did it.
“I always like coming to Blackpool, there’s a great atmosphere and the people who watched were lovely to cheer me on.
“The last time I pulled a van it was 2.5-tonnes and for 20 metres along Shaftesbury Avenue in London, so this was a much bigger challenge. My legs are killing me and they’re a bit shakey.”
She ran away with the circus after watching a performance in London while studying in the capital and has since developed her hair raising skills.
A rigourous conditioning routine keeps Anastasia’s hair strong, and extra coatings of conditioner are applied to a meticulously woven plait which attaches a hook to her head in order to perform.
Her act is just one of the dazzling displays from the Circus of Horrors, including that of her husband Hannibal - a sword swallower.
Circus master Dr Haze said the Blackpool show is the first time Hannibal has performed his neon rod swallowing trick since a death-defying accident more than two years ago when the rod tore a 10cm hole in his oesophagus.
“The accident happened in Bradford, just after our last performanace in Blackpool,” he said.
“He carried on sword swallowing but stopped swallowing the neon rod, until now. These shows are the first time he’s performed this act since then.
“The neon tube is the most dangerous thing he can possibly do; the tube is made of glass, contains mercury and is powered by electricity so if it goes wrong and shatters it’s deadly.
“Our audiences see a lot of feats of human endurance, of all kinds.”