Can you say "stylites"?
Or, to be more explicit, saint-on-a-pole.
Very popular in the Byzantine Empire around the EMA (early Middle Ages).
Apparently, Indian fakirs aren't the only holy folk who feel the need to mortify the flesh, but it's an impulse that is utterly alien to me. Why would God desire self-inflicted pain from his creatures? How do you get so deep into your own belief system that this sounds like a good idea?
I don't mean to offend any rockin' stylites out there. I'm just asking.