Sword Swallowers - The Return

QUESTION:  Can a person with no expert training swallow swords?
A). No
B). Absolutely not
C). Never never never
D). Sure, why not?

The American Treasure Tour honors the fame and notoriety of the Circus Sideshow - it was where people would go in the days of old to see displays of all sorts of unusual creatures such as the Feejee Mermaid - some completely invented, others tragic abnormalities.  Then there were the live performances by men and women, living people who either had physical characteristics that made them unlike everyone else or did highly unusual stunts. Sword swallowing is one of the latter, and certainly one of the more dangerous feats a sideshow performer could do. Sure, they make it look easy, but one mistake could mean the puncture of an internal organ.

There are currently very few schools in the United States where an aspiring sword swallower could learn the trade. Most notable is the Coney Island USA Sideshow School and Burlesque Master Class, located in New York City's favorite beach front amusement center. Although their schedule is a little light during the winter months, they do offer events prior to the beginning of the season. But pay attention, because you can become one of the greats through their lessons!  


ANSWER:  If you selected either A), B), or C) as your answer, you were right.  If you selected D), then please refer to A), B), or C).

Sword Swallowers

QUESTION:  "The Sword of Swords," created by Thomas Blackthorne, achieved recognition by the Guinness Book of world Records for having what distinction?
A)  It is the longest sword ever swallowed
B)  It is the heaviest sword ever swallowed
C)  It was swallowed by more people than any other
D)  It was the oldest sword ever swallowed

The American Treasure Tour has a finger on so many different pulses, it requires multiple hands to do justice to everything in the collection. A few months ago, we had the high honor of hosting a repeat visit by a professionally-trained sword swallower and his family.  Oh sure, swallowing swords sounds like a fun thing to do after school, but please DO NOT try this at home. In fact, we recommend considering this activity only after being trained by a professional - and the best professional school is in Coney Island, New York. As we explore the wonderful world of sword swallowing, we will delve deeper into this school and the art they teach later, but we at the blog like to start our stories at the beginning.  In this instance, the beginning is right around four millennia old, and located in ancient India.

The practice was one of a number of methods used by Indian fakirs to display their invulnerability, along with hot coal walking and snake charming. Through these activities, they showed their connection to God. These amazing feats left an imprint on all who witnessed them, and they lasted. Spreading through China, Greece, Rome, and the rest of the world, sword swallowers tended to wander from town to town, performing for alms. They were not uncommon in Europe during the Middle Ages, but fell out of favor during the nineteenth century to such an extent that they were outlawed in Sweden in 1893, along with all sorts of variety shows. Fortunately, Sweden did not inspire similar actions by governments around the world….

ANSWER:  C)  It was swallowed by more people than any other. Forty to date.