They may be able to charm snakes to come out of a basket in India but can they charm 511 out in half an hour. And can they do this under the watchful eyes of Fred the Weatherman. I doubt it.
The International World Worm Charming Championship takes place this year on June 30th in the playing fields of Willaston County Primary School – watched by a large crowd of people and thousands of fascinated local birds. Competitors come from around the world to challenge the highly skilled local worm charmers who usually win.
Rules are simple – teams of up to three in number are randomly allocated a 3 by 3 meter plot of turf. They are not allowed to water the ground but must charm the worms out in half an hour using only music and vibrations. The most common and productive method is to insert a garden fork into the ground and then vibrate it either by hand or by bowing it (a procedure known as ‘twanging’). Unsuccessful methods include singing U2 songs and playing the bongos, both methods drive the worms further underground. If a competitor does not want to handle any emerging worms themselves then they can appoint a second known as a ‘gillie’.
There are prizes for the most charmed and also for the heaviest single specimen (6.6 grams was the largest recorded in 1987). The world record for the the greatest number is 511.