In the Spider-Man comics and movies, mild-mannered Peter Parker finds himself able to climb up the side of buildings after being bitten by a radioactive spider.
In real life, enterprising scientist Jem Stansfield got the same effect from two vacuum cleaners he bought at Tesco.
He adapted the household appliances’ motors into giant sucker pads, then used them to crawl up a 30ft wall. …
Festival organiser Richard Robinson admitted he thought the stunt would flop when he was told about it.
He said: ‘We all laughed. We didn’t think it would ever work, then we turned around and he was climbing a wall.’
Before becoming a TV presenter, Mr Stansfield created special effects for films including Lost In Space and Van Helsing, and produced exhibits for the Science Museum and Royal Observatory.
He invented the world’s first air-powered motorbike, and won a New Scientist prize for boots that walk on water.
More recently he succeeded in making a rocket run on toffee by filling a tube with the sweet and firing nitrous oxide down a hole in the middle of it.
It was capable of powering a bicycle ridden by Mr Stansfield at a test base.
For his next trick, he hopes to drive a car all the way from London to Manchester, powered only by coffee beans.