People dressed as furry animals

Thursdays 2200, from 21 November (2100 BKK/JJKT, 2300 KUL)

FORBIDDEN delves into the bizarre world of peculiar and unorthodox underground lifestyles, subcultures and beliefs from across the globe. This groundbreaking series crosses over from the ordinary to the unorthodox to showcase the complex and often blurred dynamic between mainstream and counter-cultures, as told firsthand by those who live them. 

From men who pretend to be pregnant and vacationers who swap hotels for pigpens to experience living like animals, to adventurous eaters with a taste for roadkill and a chef who cooks with dirt, the series seeks to explain the science, psychological motivation and historical context behind a panoply of seemingly odd characters and behaviours.
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Did You Know...?

... About 90 per cent of self-identified mummification enthusiasts are male. Women also have a role in mummification play but often it is as the mummifier.

... Furry fandom – a subculture interested in fictional animal characters with human personalities and characteristics – is a global phenomenon but more than two thirds of all furries live in the US.

... Eating sheep testicles goes back 2,000 years to the Olympic Games where some athletes consumed sheep and/or bull testicles to benefit from the testosterone they contained.  It was essentially a form of training with steroids.


... The science of why some men simulate pregnancy is not well understood. Some academics believe the desire is linked to gender identity not sexual orientation.

... Objectum sexual individuals claim to be in mutual loving relationships with things as diverse as a fence, the American flag, and the Eiffel Tower. Around 200 people worldwide identify as objectum sexual.

... The Maradonian Church has its own priests and prayers. They drink Maradona’s favourite wine as part of the sacrament and even have their own ten commandments. They celebrate Christmas on October 30 – Maradona’s birthday.


Episode Guide

Enter the worlds of people who live double lives. In America, meet a salesman who moonlights as a mummy, wrapped up from head to toe in duct tape, restricting him from movement in this mummified state for up to 12 hours. In Australia, an IT professional finds happiness living as a pony and loves to play at the races. In England, an ex-biker believes he is the ancient King Arthur reborn to fulfill his historic mission to save Britain. And finally, a shy Mexican man becomes wild when he finds his furry identity within. 

Examine radical relief through twisted treatments with a Russian psychologist who beats his patients; regardless of the problem, his method remains the same. A doctor in India has his own way of beating the blues – watching old Charlie Chaplin movies and dressing up like the actor. It is a “cure” so effective that it has inspired an entire town of impersonators. In Denmark, we enter a bootcamp for men who want to reboot their mojo with controversial remedies that include being strapped naked to the roof of a speeding car and mock crucifixion. Next, we visit the Matron’s House, a clinic for men with a surgery fetish. Matron supplies all the tools of the trade, even yards of animal entrails, to ensure her customers have a stimulating stay. 

Society has long worshipped gods, but the rituals are getting increasingly weird. In Argentina, the Maradonian Church prays at the altar of soccer legend Diego Maradona. In America, Apostle Daryl Davis tackles the demons of drug addiction with exorcism. In India, bovine worship is taken to a new level: utilising cow dung tooth powder, cow dung soap, and cow urine as medicine. In Brazil, beating is a rite of passage for one young penitent.

With increasingly modern technology, people are now able to transform who they are, both inside and out. The desire to be different is common, but some desires take extreme to a different level.  In America, a young man hopes to do what no man has done before – become pregnant. In England, a group of people enthusiastically transform into blood-sucking zombies. And in Denmark, a young woman immerses herself in role play, known as Nordic Live Action Role Play (LARP), in order to live someone else’s life.  

What is a delicacy to some can be disgusting to others. Adventurous eating is a growing fad, but these foodies take exotic to a new level. Standard fare just will not cut it for these appetites – they prefer roadkill, insects, and in some cases, dirt.  In the picturesque farmlands of New Zealand, rams’ testicles are gulped down at a food festival. In Japan, a culinary revolution is unearthed when a chef cooks with topsoil. In Scotland, a foraging family chooses a diet rich in foods from the wild – berries, mushrooms, and roadkill.

While most humans consider themselves at the top of the food chain, some are out to prove we are not so different from animals. In New Zealand, a man teaches stray dogs to drive a car.  In England, vacationers swap hotels for horse stables and pigpens to live like animals on a human farm. In Brazil, a meddling mother of the bride plans a wedding for her adopted daughter, who just happens to be a dog.

For some, risky business is a lifestyle. In America, a woman caters to people who are allured by flames in a dangerous game called ‘Fireplay’. Later, visit an Australian man who wrestles the planet’s most deadly animals for thrills. In Missouri, performers pierce their flesh with giant hooks and hang suspended in the air for hours in a subculture called ‘Flesh Hook Suspension’.  These games may seem dangerous to some, but for others, the fear is part of the fun.

Definitions of masculinity are ever evolving, but some push the boundaries to breaking point. In Australia, a university professor nurses nostalgia by taking his plush animals out with him to dinner. In America, a husband swaps his legs for a tail and joins other “merfolk” by swimming in mermaid costumes. Over in England, an out-of-work actor transforms into a London lion and prowls the streets dressed as an animal. And in Italy, a man finds it thrilling to be physically overpowered by muscular women.

For some, fear and fun are interchangeable experiences. In Sweden, foreigners and tourists alike do their best to swallow their fear and eat one of the world’s foulest smelling foods, for guts and glory. Over in England, a fan of graveyards and morbid images decorates his house with mementos of death to best appreciate life. In Poland, an innovative chef creates creepy-crawly cuisine with a menu of insects. In the United Kingdom, a dentist turns cop for a day and finds herself at the front line of a violent mob – all for the thrill of the fight.

In America, broken bones and severed fingers are part of the fun for fans of medieval combat re-enactments. In Australia, a man likes nothing more than lying around the house, as long as there are women on hand to stand on him. In Florida, we enter the warm fuzzy world of woolly lovers who are addicted to the feel of fleece. In Thailand, a husband prefers to share his bed with his pets – a stinging, biting nest of scorpions.

The bizarre is often closer than you think with people deriving pleasure from pain. Marcos and Violet would seem to be an everyday American couple, but one look inside their bedroom says otherwise… In Australia, a man called Doctor Rev literally puts himself into his artwork, painting with his own blood, pumped straight out of his veins and onto the canvas. In the Netherlands, a man professes his insatiable love for bicycles. And in America, we meet Gabi, who – weighing 622 pounds (over 282 kilogrammes) – dreams of getting even bigger; we follow her journey as a “gainer” trying to find her dream partner, a man who will fulfill her fantasy and become her “feeder”.

Love, sex, desire – these are some of the key forces that drive human life. In California, a sexologist wants to change all that and help the world unleash erotic ecstasy. Meanwhile, in Denmark, young lovers celebrate their fetish for each other by using balloons. Down south in Brazil, a strange aphrodisiac helps a couple find stamina for their love whereas in Tennessee, a professional engineer spends his spare time suited, booted and masked up… as a rubber doll.