Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers hot. Concentrated in pepper seeds, it aggravates mammalian flesh, causing intense burning. According to a 2006 article in Nature, tarantula spider venom stimulates the body's capsaicin receptor in the same way chili peppers do.
But despite nature's numerous red flags, somewhere along the way, humans became hot-pepper masochists. Nowhere is that more evident than Superb Sushi's Demon's Delight Challenge.
The challenge works like this: you have 10 minutes to consume one bowl of miso soup from hell--wasabi powder, sriracha sauce, Hot Streak death sauce, cayenne pepper, sesame oil, diced habanero pepper--followed by a Demon's Delight sushi roll with a side of death sauce infused with habanero. No water, no puking.
If you make it through the first round, you get your meal for free, a Superb Sushi T-shirt and your picture on the wall of flame. But if you really want to bring on the pain, you can elect to continue on to the Hot Streak Challenge--two spicy-tuna hand rolls with two sides of ghost pepper-infused Hot Streak death sauce, topped with two diced habaneros. The Naga Jolokia pepper, or ghost pepper, is just below law enforcement grade pepper spray on the Scoville heat unit scale.
BW sent reporter Andrew Crisp to attempt the challenge. Watch Crisp fight back tears while muttering questions like, "Has anyone died of spice poisoning?" below.