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Topic: Fire Eating!
Message: Posted by: Mike Giusti (Sep 8, 2001 12:00AM)
Ever wanted to eat fire and add that spectacular "extra" to your shows that no one else is doing? In my opinion, throw every book you have on the subject in the trash! There are so many errors, dangerous misrepresentations, and life-threatening words written on paper about the topic in almost every book I have read on the topic!



My advice is to hire a professional to teach you how to do it. I was fortunate to learn under Brian Brushwood from Austin, TX, a consummate, safe, and concerned professional. It was the best money to-date I have spent on adding something to my show no one (at least in my area) is doing...
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Sep 8, 2001 12:50AM)
The closest thing to fire eating I've done is watching Gene Simmons. Ouch! :mad:



As a side note, I have laid on a bed of nails! :)
Message: Posted by: Mike Giusti (Sep 11, 2001 11:34PM)
I got the point, Steve... :kermit:
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Oct 16, 2001 09:48AM)
Fire eating...well, would anyone be surprised to hear that I have been taught how to do this? :nod: I was taught by someone who learned it from Gene Simmons. I have not yet found an opportunity to use it in a show, however. I was also told that camp stove fuel is the best stuff, but it tastes horrible! Is there a better alternative that doesn't quite taste so bad?



OK, so NOW, everyone realizes just how strange I am!!! :goof: Hey! I admit it! Just imagine how my brother and sister turned out...I was the "normal and sane" one amongst us growing up!



Margarette
Message: Posted by: Bengi (Nov 4, 2001 05:16AM)
No.... I donít eat fire. But I was in another magic forum awhile back. Someone asked if anyone had ever tried lighting flashpaper in their mouth, and would it be safe to do so.



I think he should try another profession... whatta ya think?



I was in a discussion awhile back...

the question was... "Is fire eating really magic?"



I think it is.... as it requires the knowledge and skill.... and itís entertainment. I believe good, entertaining fire eating would add a lot to my shows, but would have to get up the nerve to try it for the first time.



Bengi :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: Magicman0323 (Nov 4, 2001 08:50AM)
I value my facial hair too much to try it :)
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Nov 4, 2001 11:01AM)
I would have to say fire eating is not magic. Glass eating and razor blade chewing is not magic. Swallowing and regurgitating objects is not magic. Nails thru tongues are not magic....ad nauseum.



They might be entertaining, but they are not magic.
Message: Posted by: Mike Giusti (Nov 4, 2001 02:46PM)
I prefer to call it geek magic -- a kind of magic in its own right, IMO. :wow:
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Nov 4, 2001 02:55PM)
Sounds redundant :rotf:



Tom
Message: Posted by: Bengi (Nov 5, 2001 03:41PM)
D :rotf: UBLE that!



Bengi
Message: Posted by: Prophet (Dec 5, 2001 10:07PM)
Margarette

I use Lighter Fluid on my torches. I was "trained" with that and have never tried anything else I donít think it tastes that bad, but I also eat at a place whose big seller is called a garbage plate (for good reason) also you may want to check out http://www.geocities.com/masterfyretr/

Heís a great guy and known as the master. Lots of great tips. Last I knew the site was down for construction. If you want Iíve made a little booklet from his site I could mail to you.



:smoke:



_________________

Yours In Magic

Mike
Message: Posted by: dorbolo (Dec 27, 2001 09:37PM)
Tom,



You write;

"I would have to say fire eating is not magic. Glass eating and razor blade chewing is not magic. Swallowing and regurgitating objects is not magic. Nails thru tongues are not magic....ad nauseum. They might be entertaining, but they are not magic."



I wonder what your reasons for excluding those effects from magic? I am interested in your reasoning about this.



Do you include "Needle through arm" and "Disecto" in this distinction?



In good spirit,



Jon
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Dec 28, 2001 11:43AM)
I would have to agree with Tomís list. These thing are not magical in nature. Magic by definition is an apparent breaking of the laws of the physical universe.

Putting a nail through your tongue is not magical. However, if there is no hole afterwards--thatís magic (weird, but magical) Eating razor blades and then regurgitating them is not magical. It is a great demonstration of bodily control.

Now, swallow a string too, and bring the whole works back tied together--thatís magic. There is no way to physically do this.

Penetration without a hole, cut and restored (e.g.. Disecto), levitation, these are magic because they seem to defy the natural.

If something appears merely difficult, but possible with the correct training, it is not magic. Although, as Tom stated it could be entertaining.


Scott ;)
_________________

Levitating somewhere over Wisconsin
Message: Posted by: dorbolo (Feb 17, 2002 04:19PM)
Thanks for the explanation Scott. You have an interesting and important point.

I think it important because the role that performance magic has in the culture is partly determined by how the performing magician's idea of magic coincides with or diverges from the common public idea of magic.

It is possible for the performing community and the common public to operate with very different conceptions of what is magical. If that were to occur, then the craft would suffer in the public view.

The distinction of points of view is seen in Robert Houdin's assertion "a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician."
In that statement there seems to be two magicians: the magician as performer (the actor) and the magician as role.

In order to successfully play the magician-role, the actor must have a well-developed conception of what a magician-role is and does. I believe that the strongest conception of a magician-role is developed in conformity with what people (non-magicians) commonly believe magic to be.

Your definition, Scott; "Magic by definition is an apparent breaking of the laws of the physical universe" may make a good definition of magic for the magician-actor; useful in building repertoire and creating effects.

I do not think, however, that this is an adequate definition of magic as is required in the magician-role or the common conception. That is, we might substitute this definition for the magician-actor term of Houdin's claim, but not for the magician-role.

Perhaps: Someone who appears to break the laws of the physical universe is an actor playing the part of a magician.

But not: A magician is an actor who plays the part of someone who appears to break the physical laws of the universe.

I think that as magicians we don't want to play the part of someone who makes appearances, we want to play the part of someone who actually does have power over nature.

Indeed, I think it is broader than physical laws, because much magic involves assumptions about mathematics, perception, probability, supernatural, psychic, and other principles that are not covered by physics.

In "Strong Magic" Darwin Oritz's offers;
"The illusion of impossibility is as good a definition of what constitutes magic as I can imagine" (p.22). Oritz is here giving the magician-performer side of the picture.

To the audience and common conception, magic would be the creation of impossibility; the performance of the impossible (not just the performance of the illusion of the impossible). Such is the nature of magic that when the audience is aware that they are experiencing an illusion, their experience of the magical is diminished.

It is important where we draw the line in allowing what does and does not count as magic. My view is that a sufficient condition of magic is the audience experience of something as magical. That is, what the audience regards as impossible determines what can be seen as magical.

An audience-centered performance will begin with the spectator's conception of the impossible.

If I am on track so far, then it does seem to me that an audience may well view effects such as eating fire, swallowing swords, fire-walking, and the like as the performance of impossible acts, and so with the right presentation these could be given as magical effects.

When I was in graduate school a fellow showed up in Western Oregon and set up an operation to demonstrate fire-walking. He burned a bonfire and raked the coals into a 12 ft pit. Then he led groups of people through a meditative process that culminated in them walking barefoot across the 12 ft of red-hot coals without being burned.

Many people were convinced that this fellow had tapped into a higher power that allows us to transcend danger and perform the impossible. Professors and students from my department were baffled by this phenomenon. They saw it as inexplicable.

My interest in magic gave me assurance that there were likely many practical ways to explain and produce such an effect (even though I did not know what). My attempts to convince them otherwise only fueled their conviction that something very weird and powerful was afoot.

None spoke of "magic" directly, but many signed up for the fire-walking workshops (at considerable cost). For myself, as I aim to produce an impact in spectators to my performance, the reaction of my peers to the fire-walking is as good a model as I can find.

If such phenomena do not count as "magic" from the performer's perspective, then it is a good idea for more of us to expand our scope beyond that realm.
Message: Posted by: WR (Apr 27, 2002 12:19PM)
Never thought I would hear the name Gene Simmons and magic together. What next Spitting blood :P ... Kinda a hot subject though. I Eat small fires, Book of matches, flaming sticks etc... Where is such an expert to be found to get into eating BIG stuff??
MPost magically yours,
WR :angry:
Message: Posted by: Dolini (Jul 12, 2002 08:39PM)
dorbolo,

Magic as you say is in the eyes of the audience. I agree. No one mentioned the knife that cuts the arm with blood (no harm done). The guillotine that does not cut your head off. What about the swords through the box. What about the classic sawing a women in half. One of my favorite magical moments. If the audience perceives it as magic it is.

Dolini
Message: Posted by: Cetch (Aug 6, 2002 01:11AM)
I agree with jester_juggler. Kerosine is the best fuel. So long as you don't ingest any of it. Also I think it burns at a lower temp( maybe just seems that way to me)
Message: Posted by: Paul Jester (Aug 14, 2002 06:18PM)
I think Fire Eating is Magic... Kind of a "Now you see it, now you don't" with Fire!!!
:rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
:jesterhat: Jester :clown:
(I love Smileys!!!:))
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Aug 24, 2002 08:33AM)
Hi all

Scott.. you said ...

"These thing are not magical in nature. Magic by definition is an apparent breaking of the laws of the physical universe."

I would disagree with you on this one. While I agree totally with the above statement I feel that fire eating, from an audiences point of view does involve breaking the laws of the physical universe. After all, fire burns, yet the fire performer, if he /she is doing their job correctly, is not burned. Just my two cents.

Have fun

Duncan
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Aug 24, 2002 06:01PM)
I tend to agree with Straightjack Guy. If we have forgotten that putting fire in our mouths and blasting it out is NOT supposed to be impossible, then we have been magicians too long. It is an easy trap to fall into, especially in these times when information is so much more abundant. But if performed correctly (assuming the role of the true magician), then almost any effect can be true magic.

Sable
:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: Luke Kerr (Aug 26, 2002 07:32PM)
I've ever wondered about "what is the thing that you spit when you fire breath?"
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Aug 26, 2002 08:38PM)
Hi Sable

Someone who agrees with me? This is unusual and hard to take in! I think I need to lie down.

Duncan
Message: Posted by: Paul Jester (Aug 27, 2002 06:06AM)
Luke Kerr, it's usually good old parafin, the fire performers best friend :)
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Aug 27, 2002 12:50PM)
Yep, and only use parafin/ pure kerosene. Otherwise things will go very wrong. There is still a risk of course - it tastes gross, and you can't avoid swallowing a tiny amount each time you blow - over a sustained period, this can settle in your lungs. Nice. Know the facts and make your own choice. Some useful fire info can be found at http://www.homeofpoi.com.

I'm happy to accept the risks, but that's just me. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. And, if you're a street performer, nothing draws a crowd like fire. Except nudity. And it's too cold in Scotland for that. Even in summer.
Message: Posted by: Rhandolph - the wandering wizard (Aug 28, 2002 07:41PM)
I have incorporated fire eating as the highlight of my show for over 15 years.

I consider it magic, but add the use of a dove pan loaded with candy. After lighting the pan with my last torch, I complete the show with the candy.

For billowing fire from my mouth Butane has worked as a good friend. It is simple, direct and clean. I have found it works well in close quarters and is most predictable.

However I would be interested to know what fuel others use for this aspect of the effect.
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Aug 29, 2002 02:29AM)
I always use parafin/ kerosene for the blow. Less chance of a blow-back.

For eating I use either parafin or Coleman fuel (white gas - bit more expensive).

ML
Message: Posted by: Rhandolph - the wandering wizard (Aug 29, 2002 03:55PM)
Thanks! When you say parafin/ kerosene is this like would be purchased for use in kerosene heaters?

Re: Coleman Fuel I personally have found no difference between that and Regular Unleaded gasoline. Just my penny pinching observation.
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Aug 29, 2002 04:26PM)
Hi all

Please, PLEASE! Don't ever use regular gasoline/petrol/diesel/aviation fluid for any reason other than powering the internal combustion engine. They are very toxic indeed, they burn hotter than heck, they are liable to cause huge explosions and even a slight mistake with them could:

A - Kill you
B - Permanently scar you throughout your entire body
C - Collapse one or both lungs
D - Cause pleurisy and mechanical pneumonia
E - A lot of other nasty stuff...and...
F - All of the above.

That is not to say that any flammable liquid cannot have the above effects, they can, all of them. However the ones listed are among the worst. Never ever use them.

My apologies to the vast majority of people here. I know you know this stuff, I know I am coming over like a patronising know it all. I don't mean to. Its just that there is always the chance that some curious kiddie, or even foolish adult has dropped by this way and thought, umm.. fire eating.. sounds like fun. I just thought someone ought to warn them.

I have been eating, spitting and otherwise messing with fire as a performance for the best part of ten years now and the safest fluid I know of is purified paraffin. Though as said above, safety is just a matter of degrees. It may be safer than petrol but it is still a lot more dangerous than not doing it at all!

Have fun and take a lot of care.

Duncan
Message: Posted by: iluznst (Aug 29, 2002 08:01PM)
Good God!

And I thought I wouldn't discuss eating glass in a public forum. :shrug:

Better to educate than keep it shrouded in misinformation.

DA
Message: Posted by: Bascomb Grecian (Sep 3, 2002 12:52AM)
I have one question.

Do you think you would pay more for life insurance if you disclosed that you eat fire?


Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Sep 3, 2002 02:27AM)
Yes! I even had to pay more when the insurer discovered that I juggled knives (Dube knives - look sharp but are pretty safe).

Cheers

ML
Message: Posted by: MagicBrent (Oct 7, 2002 06:18PM)
I would recommend the "illusion" of fire eating which is just as cool (in a comical way). Check out Mac King's book or send me a message and I'll tell you about it. It's a good impromptu where you appear to eat a flame and then burp up smoke. :wow:
Message: Posted by: Xiqual (Oct 10, 2002 12:29AM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-27 13:50, Missing_Link wrote:
Yep, and only use parafin/pure kerosene. Otherwise things will go very wrong. There is still a risk of course - it tastes gross, and you can't avoid swallowing a tiny amount each time you blow - over a sustained period, this can settle in your lungs.
[/quote]

I think the worst thing about doing the Fire blow is burping up kerosene for hours after the show. Yuchhh.

I also seem to get bronchitis if I perform this in the winter.

Cheers,
James
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Oct 10, 2002 02:34AM)
Kero burps are pretty gross - ask my wife! After a show, I usually eat something starchy, like pasta or a sandwich. It helps clear the aftertaste from my mouth.

ML
Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Oct 10, 2002 11:01AM)
Directly after I do a fire blast I exit stage as my partner takes over. I rinse, spit and repeat with water. Several times. This has cut down on the burps.

I have noticed I tend to get colds more in the winter if I am doing the fire blasts. Of course I always wondered if it was the Blockhead causing it?

Sillily, Will
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Oct 27, 2002 10:19PM)
I have a book on fire eating. I can also control my gag reflex. However, I have never actually attempted to eat fire.

Is there someone in the Chicago area (or within a few hours drive) who would be willing to teach me? :bigsmile:
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 28, 2002 09:48AM)
Learning Fire eating from a book can get you hurt in a hurry. You have the right idea to try and find someone to teach you hands on. Try going [url=http://www.sideshow-freaks.com/sideshow_discussion1/default.htm]Here![/url] and put up a post.

Hope this helps,
Don
Message: Posted by: Mike Giusti (Oct 28, 2002 10:56AM)
Wow! It's been awhile since I visited last, and I'm impressed by the number of posts and responses this topic has generated.

Don's right, gang! Fire Eating is like magic, in that it takes a lifetime to achieve perfection, although perfection is never met. Even the most consummate of professionals still gets burned. Check out the folowing web site if you are serious about learning and you are okay with the associated risks:

http://www.shwood.com

Brian's the best there is next to Todd Robbins!
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Nov 12, 2002 03:16PM)
BTW A question of taste...

Not all naptha based products taste the same. Coleman fuel tastes awful. In my experience, and to most of the other fire eaters I have talked with, Ronsonal lighter fluid tastes better than anything else. Any other comments on this?

BTW, the greatest danger of fire-eating that I didn't see mentioned here, is to the liver.

The chemicals used in both the torches and the blowout (unless grain alcohol) are all absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth as well as swallowed and can cause accumulating damage to the liver.
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Nov 13, 2002 03:50AM)
Funny, I never could stand the taste of Ronsonal either. I like unscented lamp oil the best. I guess everyone's taste is different.

Sable
:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Nov 13, 2002 04:47AM)
I use paraffin or Coleman's for eating, and always paraffin for the blow.

Let's face it, neither are exactly going to win prizes for yummiest taste in the world. You get used to both.

But persuading my wife to get used to paraffin breath is a far harder task!

Cheers

ML
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Nov 16, 2002 11:32PM)
[quote]
BTW, the greatest danger of fire-eating that I didn't see mentioned here, is to the liver.

The chemicals used in both the torches and the blowout (unless grain alcohol) are all absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth as well as swallowed and can cause accumulating damage to the liver.

[/quote]

Alcohol will also be absorbed, with the added risk of getting drunk while playing with fire.
Not too many old fire eaters out there...hmmm.
Message: Posted by: Prophet (Nov 18, 2002 08:27PM)
I just thought I would post this story I found at sideshow-freaks.com. It's pretty interesting and helps state a great point when learning to eat....you will get burned!!

Story by our Master of Ceremonies.... Plus a Plug
From: Crispy
Date: 14 Nov 2002
Time: 11:59:34
Remote Name: 12-254-44-249.client.attbi.com


Comments
Disclaimer: This is a little long and a blatant plug.

This is journal entry he read us during rehearsal that I asked he allow me to post.

Confessions of a Reluctant Sideshow Performer By Ukulele Loki, Master of Ceremonies, Crispy Family Carnival Spectacular

Fire is hot. Fire is hot enough to turn raw meat into food. We call this process cooking. Meat is dead muscle. We are made of muscle. As mostly muscle, we instinctively avoid coming in contact with fire because we know instinctively that when live muscle comes in contact with fire, pain is associated. We call this process burning.

I was reminded of these facts in a very dramatic way tonight. I was also reminded that fire was not intended to be orally inserted. I think you can see where this is going. The basic understanding of these principles of fire is the primary reason people respond with such awe to the fire eating arts. And, as emcee for Colorado's only working sideshow, I've witnessed this response first hand. It's usually a mixture of horror and awe -- with a few parts surprise, confusion and delight thrown in for good measure.

Now, people who work in restaurants that specialize in delicacies often forget that such delicacies are special, after all they're surrounded by them. I've been surrounded by fire eaters for some time and I guess I sort of forgot to appreciate the product. "Sure," I thought, "I can try fire eating." After all, I've read about it. I've even been shown a thing or two on the topic by my good friend and colleague, Crispy -- undoubtedly Colorado's most skilled fire-eater. Why not give it a try? So, I tried.

Going through the basic routine as outlined by wisened experts, I snuffed a lit torch in my mouth. And... I actually snuffed it. Wow! It made my body shudder like an epileptic but, I snuffed it. The next night, during a lull in our street show, I tried again and, again, I succeeded. At this point, a couple of girls came over to observe what we were doing. I was so pleased with myself I completely forgot that I was in the process of LEARNING to eat fire and simply placed a hot, flaming torch in my mouth. Naturally, I burned the entire inside of my mouth in an instant. To make matters worse, my body received the signal that I had burned the entire inside of my mouth just an instant before the signal reached my brain and I gasped. In other words, I breathed in. Breathing in with a lit torch in your mouth is what you never, ever do.

Fortunately, and by some stroke of tremendous luck, the little bit of training I had received kicked in and forced me to extinguish the torch before I gasped. Otherwise my throat and lungs would have been licked by a tremendous and hot flame. Instead, my throat and lungs were licked by a toxic mixture of kerosene, carbon monoxide, and sooty vapour. I smiled at the girls as though I were pleased with the result and turned to where Crispy was preparing a torch. "Crispy," I whispered "I think I burned myself." --

"Yeah, that happens."

-- "No but Crispy, I think I burned myself." Crispy looked up and, with the slow, and private gaze that is his trademark, he paused long enough to light a cigarette. He calmly exhaled his own mixture of carbon monoxide and sooty vapour. "Yeah. That happens."

This was the point at which the light bulb clicked on with a resounding: "ah-ha!" See, I was never one to practice feats of strength and physical endurance. I was always given over to verbal acrobatics. In layman's terms, I've never been a daredevil. I've always been a smartass. I decided then and there that I should stick to what I'm good at. I'll do the talking and leave the maniacal pyrotechnics and exuberant self-torture to the experts.

To find out more about the smart-ass and the experts in The Crispy Family Carnival Spectacular, log on to http://www.crispyfamily.com

:firedevil:
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Nov 22, 2002 12:12AM)
[quote]
On 2002-04-27 13:19, WR wrote:
Never thought I would hear the name Gene Simmons and magic together. What next Spitting blood :P ... Kinda a hot subject though. I Eat small fires, Book of matches, flaming sticks etc... Where is such an expert to be found to get into eating BIG stuff??
MPost magically yours,
WR :angry:
[/quote]
Simple....http://www.sideshow-freaks.com/sideshow_discussion1/disc1_tocf.htm
Message: Posted by: tiptophat (Nov 30, 2002 03:00AM)
May I suggest Coleman fuel, or better known as white gas. It does not burn with the same intensity as other fuels.

I would recommend learning from someone who does a fire eating act, as much information in books is incorrect.

I learned how to do it from a working pro and he even had an accident once. So be very, very, very careful.
Message: Posted by: tim_mantis (Dec 12, 2002 05:08PM)
It is not as simple as choosing a fuel to use for all fire eating stunts, each has its own use.

If you are just extinguishing flames, then it won't make much difference, but many advanced techniques are not possible without the correct fuel.

I have just resurrected the superb act of deceased fire-eater Jon Gresham, and in short these are the fuels I use:

Torches for extinguishing, flame retension and flame transfer - Lighter Fuel (Coleman fuel?)
Cotton wool balls - paraffin
Blow out and blow out torch - paraffin

Some performers use mixtures of fuel when working on stage or outside to give better visibility through flame brightness, colour and smoke production. I have never used mixes.

Tim

PS if anybody wants a video of the act from the IBM British ring convention performance email me tim_mantis@hotmail.com ;)
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jan 15, 2003 02:14AM)
[quote]
On 2001-09-08 01:00, Mike Giusti wrote:
Ever wanted to eat fire and add that spectacular "extra" to your shows that no one else is doing? In my opinion, throw every book you have on the subject in the trash! There are so many errors, dangerous misrepresentations, and life-threatening words written on paper about the topic in almost every book I have read on the topic!



My advice is to hire a professional to teach you how to do it. I was fortunate to learn under Brian Brushwood from Austin, TX, a consummate, safe, and concerned professional. It was the best money to-date I have spent on adding something to my show no one (at least in my area) is doing...

There are some current posts on our Discussion group that I think are worth reading, one from a newbie with sense and replys from the highest levels. Read the pro's comments...
.http://www.sideshow-freaks.com/sideshow_discussion1/disc1_tocf.htm
Slim/sanscan
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Feb 3, 2003 09:26PM)
Check my burned skin post under the regular fire topic. Anyone doing these types of things should know about this.