Rasmus Nielson, the Scandinavian Strong Man, was a tattooed performer in the 1930's. In addition to his bodysuit of tattoos, Rasmus had a number of large piercings which he used for lifting objects (such as an anvil from his chest). Rasmus told a fictitious story of abduction and forcible tattooing like many others and explained his piercings as the result of a torturous suspension at the hands of the South Seas Islanders who had allegedly captured him.
One reader wrote to add:
- Rasmus Nielson was a blacksmith — that's why you see pictures of him lifting anvils and sledge hammers. There is a good chance he made his own nipple rings. This is a job where some one is testing their endurance and strength every day. It's also a job where one gets scarred and burned quite a bit... I know because I am one!