Man with world's longest nails finally cuts them after 66 years in a nail clipping ceremony

Ripley's Believe It or Not recently held a 'nail clipping ceremony' where the massive nails were removed from his hand and are displayed at the museum

                            Man with world's longest nails finally cuts them after 66 years in a nail clipping ceremony
(Source:Getty Images)

There are many strange and bizarre world records but none had an ending quite as strange as this one. Shridhar Chillal, an octogenarian from Pune, India, had the record for the longest nails in the world by any living person. Ripley's Believe It or Not, located in New York's Times Square, recently held a "nail clipping ceremony" where the massive nails were removed from his hand and are now proudly displayed at the museum.

The nails had to be cut off using a rotary tool by a technician. When people look at the images of Chillal's enormous 66-year-old nails, a bunch of question go through their head. How did he manage to grow it for so long? Why did he decide to grow the nails in the first place?

According to Ripley's, When Chillal was 14-years-old and a student in 1952, he was goofing around with his friend when he broke a teacher's nail by accident. In many parts of India, the country Chillal is from, growing one long nail on the hand is considered a status symbol, one that shows that the person does not do any manual labor.

This accident in Chillal's teen years awarded him a scolding from the teacher because it did not occur to him that breaking the nail was an issue because he had never seen a task through till that point, reported the The yelling he received from his teacher in school that day seemed to have had a profound effect on Chillal because it is after that that he decided to grow out his nails to epic proportions.

Many years of caring for the fingernails on his left had followed but his right hand stayed immaculate with perfectly trimmed nails. Years after he started growing his nails and finally got the reputation of the person with the longest nail ever recorded, he spoke to Sky News and said: "I don’t know whether the teacher is dead now or not but I would definitely like to say that the thing for which you scolded me, I took it as a challenge and I have completed the challenge and, now, I am here."

In spite of the fame that came with being in the Guinness Book of World Records and having extremely long nails, on one hand, the outlet was able to report that the man had a relatively normal life; or as normal as it can be in any case.

He married a woman whom he loved, they had two wonderful children and he is now a proud grandparent to three children. Chillal also used to work as a press photographer for the government where he had to use a special handle on his camera that would be able to go around his large nails.

His first appearance in the Guinness World Records in 1979 proved that he had the longest nails on a single hand ever and he appeared on the show again in 2015. With all of the accolades attached to the talons, however, there were also some issues that came along with it. Here was a man who was able to get into any place he wanted without waiting in line because the award made him a celebrity but his nails were quite brittle so this made sleeping difficult.

He said: "I can’t move much, so every half an hour or so I wake up and move my hand to the other side of the bed." The older he got, the longer his nails grew and, after a point, they became a burden.

Chillal had problems not only when the day was particularly windy, but all the years of carrying around his heavy nails also gave him a permanent disability on his left hand; one in which he can never open up his hand or flex his fingers.

He told David Stubbings from Guinness in an interview: "I am in pain. With every heartbeat, all five fingers, my wrist, elbow, and shoulder are hurting a lot and at the tip of the nail there’s a burning sensation always."

Chillal obviously did not want to just cut the nails and throw them away after years of his life spent on taking care of them. Suzanna Smagala-Potts, a spokesperson for Ripley's, told Jennings Brown from Gizmodo: "He approached us when he was ready to cut his nails. He wasn’t just going to sell his nails to anybody. He wanted them to be memorialized in a museum." 

Chillal wanted to make sure that his nails were well-taken care off and that he would get a sizeable amount from Ripley's to basically serve as his retirement money. Smagala-Potts said: "[I] will say it was a hefty figure and it will be enough for Mr. Chillal to retire.

Growing your nails as a retirement plan—who knew?" Ripley's has also mentioned that now that the nails can be laid flat and on display, their full length of 31 feet can be viewed by members of the public in the museum.

The octogenarian Indian man was not the only one who loved growing fingernails to unbelievable lengths. Lee Redmond from Salt Lake City, Utah, used to have the women's record for the longest nails on both hands but then she tragically lost the claws in a car accident a few years ago. The late Melvin Boothe from the USA still holds the men's record for long nails on both hands. Ayanna Williams from Houston, Texas, is the current world record holder for the longest fingernails on both hands (female) ever.