More than 30 sword swallowers will be “dropping swords” at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums worldwide at 2:25 p.m. on February 25, in celebration of the 6th annual World Sword Swallower’s Day. In excess of 125 feet of solid steel is set to go down the hatch – hopefully without a scratch!
Have a look at the places where this sword-swallowing feast is taking place. There might be one near you!? New York City; Hollywood, CA; Orlando and St. Augustine in FL; Grand Prairie, TX; San Francisco, CA; Gatlinburg, TN; Branson, MO Niagara Falls, Canada as well as London, England.
Performances typically start around 2 pm local time and culminate with an official “swallow” that will take place at 2:25 p.m to coincide with the 2/25/12 date.
“We established World Sword Swallower’s Day to honor this ancient art and recognize the few people in the world who can do this,” explains Dan Meyer, a sword swallower whose amazing feats have been chronicled by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. “We also raise awareness of the contributions sword swallowers have made to the fields of medicine and science and raise money for esophageal cancer research.”
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has a long history of highlighting the death-defying achievements of sword swallowers. “Sword swallowers were a big part of the very first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933,” said Tim O’Brien, VP of Communications for Ripley Entertainment Inc. “There, three performers, two of whom were women, mesmerized the huge crowds. Ripley’s has been home to sword swallowers around the world ever since.”
The art of sword swallowing began more than 4,000 years ago in India, and requires the practitioner to use mind-over-matter techniques to control the body and repress natural reflexes to insert solid steel blades from 15 to 25 inches down the esophagus and into the stomach. With the demise of the traveling circus sideshow over the past several decades, there are currently less than a few dozen full-time professional sword swallowers actively performing the deadly art around the world today.