Secret Behind Micheal Jackson's Gravity-Defying Tilt

Published : 5/22/2018

Here is the secret behind the one move that stunned the watching world: the gravity-defying tilt he debuted in his 1988 music video for "Smooth Criminal."

"It's not really possible physically to do it," said neurosurgeon Dr. Nishant Yagnick, a longtime Jackson fan who practices at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. "He was cheating gravity."

"You can bend a maximum of 25 or 30 degrees forward before you fall on your face," added his colleague Dr. Manjul Tripathi, another fan. "I tried to do it, and I fell."

Fascinated by Jackson and his seemingly inhuman abilities, Yagnick and Tripathi began to investigate just how the pop legend was able to accomplish his feat. Along with another colleague, Dr. Sandeep Mohindra, they published their observations from a neurosurgeon's point of view on Tuesday in the Journal of Neurosurgery: "How did Michael Jackson challenge our understanding of spine biomechanics?"

Though Jackson was in marvelous shape, even he couldn't do the maneuver without help. So he and his team invented a special shoe that would anchor him to the floor during the tilt.

Patented on October 26, 1993, the shoes "have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged" with a "hitch" (such as a nail) projected through the stage surface "by simply sliding the shoe wearer's foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member," according to the US Patent Office description.

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