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Celebrating Sword Swallowers Day

- February 23rd, 2010

Sword Swallower
Courtesy Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Believe it or not, Feb. 27 is World Sword Swallowers Day.

Shows at more than a dozen Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditoriums in four countries are planned to celebrate the daredevils for whom swallowing a weapon is all in a day’s work.

“We sword swallowers risk our lives every time we swallow swords, but many people don’t believe it’s real, or they think the art has died out,” Dan Meyer, a sword swallower who has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, explained in a press release. “We established World Sword Swallower’s Day to raise awareness of the medical contributions sword swallowers have made to the fields of medicine and science, to honor veteran performers, to raise funds for esophageal cancer research and the Injured Sword Swallower’s Relief Fund, and to correct myths by putting on sword swallowing demonstrations for the public and media around the world.”

The Ripley’s Odditorium in Niagara Falls, Ont. is taking part in the spectacle, with swallower Vanessa Neil scheduled to perform at 2:27 p.m. Locations in Australia, Mexico, New York, California, Florida, and Texas will also put on shows at 2:27, symbolic of the show occurring on the 27th day of the second month.

Featured acts internationally include an attempt to swallow a record 52 swords at once in Atlantic City, an attempt to swallow hedge clippers in Grand Prairie, Texas, and even a bid to swallow a 120 degree curved sword in Ocean City, Maryland.

Sword swallowing originated 4,000 years ago in India, though today, just a few dozen full-time sword swallowers exist.

“It’s a huge honor for us to carry on the great tradition of sword swallowers who have performed at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums over the years!” said Meyer. “In light of this, [Sword Swallowers Association International] is sending out an open invitation to all sword swallowers around the world to contact us and join us in swallowing swords at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums and other locations on the 27th!”

This is definitely a job for the professionals.

- Nicole Feenstra

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