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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Sword Swallowing, fire eating, and nail in nose. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Derkomai
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I'm just learning random skills as a hobby and I would like to try sword swallowing. I've tried sticking my hand down my throat and noticed that I naturally have very good control of my gag reflex, I haven't gaged once from my hand. So how dangerous of a trick is sword swallowing? Are there any good books out there that teach it? And ditto qestions about fire eating.

Also, I'm curious about the nail in the nose trick, is this dangerous? Or, is it just a little uncomfortable to stick a nail up your nose?

Dorian
jennieprice
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Go here. There's a lot of information on swords, fire & nails.
http://www.sideshow-freaks.com/sideshow_......ault.htm

Jennieprice Smile
DavidEscapes
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Hi Dorian

Firstly, sword swallowing takes a huge commitment that would make it out of reach to anyone but the most focused and patient, believe me! I am learning it right now and if it was just a hobby I would have given up long long ago. It is a messy, nasty, disgusting and painful process. It is also very dangerous. The main gag reaction comes from places you can't reach with your hand by the way Smile

Blockhead is a fair bit easier, though still not without its risks and difficulties, fire the same. All three can get you killed or at least badly injured. In fact all of them will injure you at the absolute best. Anyone who has done them for even a short length of time will have stories to tell.

Please please please don't try and learn from a book, find someone to teach you in person, and even then be careful who's advice you take.

There has been at least one good discussion here on blockhead, try a search. And some good, though far from complete, advice to be found on all three at Slims DG (see Jennioes link above. And at the sideshow and escapology disscusion group at:

http://com2.akheva.com/bthesideshowcommunity

Take care.

David Straitjacket
David Victor - The artist formally (and still occasionally) known as David Straitjacket.

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Derkomai
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Who says a hobby can't take a lot of focus and patience? I guessed they were dangerous, that's why I asked first. I wouldn't do anything unless I was certain I was safe, I'm a big chicken really.

I believe you completely about the sword swallowing, but I think maybe the dangers of fire eating are over-hyped, not that I'm going to run out and give it a go. I have a friend who is a professional fire eater for about 17 years and he doesn't have any horror stories. Probably because he almost died from a horrible burn from a stove as a child so to him a scorched lip is nothing. I've even seen him teach another variety comedian while they were just goofing around on stage. And do a triple tongue transfer with an audience member who has never eaten fire before.

Even if I'm not going to do it, I'm still interested in learning about it.

Dorian
DavidEscapes
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Hi Dorian

I never said that a hobby can't take focus and patience, many, if not most hobbies do! I just said that if I had been learning sword swallowing as a hobby I would have given up a long time ago. I think most people who are either learning, or who have successfully learned would agree with that. I was just giving fair and realistic warning of the dangers and trials ahead if you decide to learn. Sword swallowing just doesn't strike me as something to do for a hobby I guess Smile

Fire eating is certainly not as dangerous as sword swallowing, but don't get me started on fire breathing. That can really kill you, and how! But if you are going to learn then you at least have a friend on hand to teach you. I would warn you of the dangers of using certain fuels, and tell you which ones will keep you as safe as it is possible to be, but I would get banned from the Café if I did. keeping you safe with fuel advice is against Café policy.
I do have a couple of horror stories about blockhead I could share, one in particular, but personally I have only suffered minor blisters at worse from fire eating. However there are those with worse stories to tell. Get back to me in a few years though when I have had my first Pluresy or Liver problems, from the accumilation of carcinagenic toxins and fuel vapours.

The point I am making in this melodramatic fashion is, take care! Sure you may not know anyone who has died in a car crash (and my apologies if you do) but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, and that you can safely take your eyes off the road.

Hope this helps

David Straitjacket
David Victor - The artist formally (and still occasionally) known as David Straitjacket.

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Derkomai
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I already know about what fuels are safe from my fire eating friend, and he doesn't do fire breathing, he can, but doesn't because it is so dangerous. About the pluresy or liver problems, that's why I would never do it often, I enjoy the learning process and getting a new skill. I wasn't going to try it unless my friend shows me how.

Dorian
EricHenning
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My sister Charon is one of the few female sword-swallowers in the world (no jokes, please). You can see her at
http://www.oddangel.com

Cheers,

Eric Henning Smile
Slim Price
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Slim and Krista teach all the acts at no cost in our home. You are our guest for up to three days, can crash in our messy, cluttered home, be fed and taught the acts, including some Fakir acts that have long ago disappeared.

We are just outside San Diego, CA. We do expect you to share some of the food costs. I have 50 years experience directly with sideshows and Krista worked with Ward Hall. Recently, I'm proud to say I was about in "Shocked & Amazed..." sanscan@4dcomm.com

Slim Price
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"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
djvirtualreality
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The first time I tried Human Blockhead (about two months ago) I went half way in because I was doing it wrong then I got information from my friend's dad (an EMT) not to go UP but go diagonal.

I thought the nose goes almost straight up, now I know that it goes pretty much straight back. Weird...now I use a six-inch nail about one inch circumference. Not that bad, people still flip to see it.
Life is an illusion, death is reality.
Reis O'Brien
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I just finished reading Memoirs of a Sword Swallower by Mannix. If you haven't read it, well...good luck finding a copy...but if you find a copy, read it! Mannix goes into gory detail about what can go wrong with these types of performances.

I was kicking around the idea of sword swallowing but have since vowed to take up knitting or model trains instead. Very dangerous!

Blockhead is easier, but still demands respect. So I'll stick with Blockhead and escapes for now and leave anything to do with fire or sword to you crazy carnies!
Smile
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Victor Brisbin
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There is a good reason they say, "Don't try this at home!" Read all about it, watch and be amazed, but my unsolicited advice is to leave it to the experts. Having said that, if you DO have an opportunity like the generous one above by professionals like Slim and Krista, then by all means...

While I have not availed myself of the opportunity to perform in a ten-in-one, I have more than a passing interest in these acts. If you have an opportunity, you should see the Midway Marvels Volume 2 video which includes a fascinating interview with Captain Don Leslie. (This is not a commercial plug.)

Recognize that there are real risks involved. Even fire-eaters, at the very least, get the equivalent of a bad pizza burn every time they do it.
"It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi
Slim Price
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Please note: Mannix, Rose and even Houdini have written about the acts with glaring errors. It's as though Mannix was writing fiction and Rose and Houdini were trying to kill off the competition! Same for Tahir Shah...

Get a teacher if only to watch your work and see where you can improve. You will get hurt at any rate, but the risks can be reduced. If you are not totally committed to absolute, lifetime focus on the acts, stay away! The dangers are also cumulative, damaging and poisoning your body. These are NOT parlor tricks or something neat to do for the guys at the bar.

If you have an act of some sort, think long about whether the value is worth the risk. I started at 14 or so, and am pushing 70. That's a long time, and...I paid a high price.

Krista and I will make it difficult for you, scare you if we can, and then teach you the best ways we know how.
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"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
Gracy_hm
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I too want to learn sword swallowing. Even with this amount of people performing these effects I would love to see a rebirth of sideshows. It is my goal to not only learn and perfect these effects but also perform them in a nabber which will promote the growth of sideshows. Too many generations have grown-up without the honor of seeing a sideshow live.

I only know Blockhead and that's only because I started trying with a plastic nail from an old magic kit (not sharp at all) then I used a screw driver, now a nail.

I aim to entertain and also educate the people on the art so I usually give a little history of how it and where this effect may be performed. I live a great distance from California but I desperately want to learn the art of sword swallowing and fire eating, any suggestions?

Thanks,
Kyle
Slim Price
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At Coney Island, NY, Todd Robbins holds an excellent school twice a year. I think if you explore you will find those who will teach you in almost any area of the country. Just ask, offer compensation, and do your homework! Ask here:

http://www.sideshow-freaks.com or http://com2.akheva.com/bthesideshowcommunity

As far as travel, my best student came from England.
sanscan@tds.net



"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
Gracy_hm
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OK, thank you!

I will start my research and I very well may be traveling a bit after school if all goes as planned.

Thanks,
Kyle
Chrystal
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Reading this post I wish I could remember the url of a story of a fire swallower. The main reason for his story, was of his experiences as a fire swallower who was trying to warn others of the health hazards of doing this effect over a long period of time.

Once your lungs are destroyed there is not much you can do about it but wait for a lung transplant. Just be cautious.

Yikes! I sound like a public service announcement. I'm thinking sword swallowing is the better choice. Smile
m.s.magic
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You know the nail in nose, is that real or a trick?
Best regards, Tom
What is real and what is an illusion ? it all depends on your perception, reality is only limited by the boundries of the imagination, and imagination can defy the laws of everything - Criss Angel
Todd Robbins
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It's real.
m.s.magic
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If it's real, what's the point?
Best regards, Tom
What is real and what is an illusion ? it all depends on your perception, reality is only limited by the boundries of the imagination, and imagination can defy the laws of everything - Criss Angel
Tantrik
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Quote:
On 2004-01-19 12:36, m.s.magic wrote:
If it's real, what's the point?
Best regards, Tom



If you look at a well-designed web page and think, "Wow! I wish I could do that!" then you're amazed at something that is real but which you can't do. If you see someone bungee-jumping off a bridge, you might that the person is adventuresome, brave, or a moron, but still be amazed because it's something you wouldn't do.

People look at someone pounding a nail into his/her nose. They may think it's real or a trick. They may think the person doing it is adventuresome, brave, or a moron. They either would like to try it (if they know how) or wouldn't do it.

But as with the viewing of a nice web page or a bungee-jumper, they're still amazed.
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