Sword Swallowers Set Multiple World Records

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In a small sleepy town in upstate Pennsylvania, nine sword swallowers broke the Guinness World Record by swallowing a total of 52 swords at one time.

WILKES-BARRE, PA (PRWEB) September 8, 2005 -- In a small sleepy town in upstate Pennsylvania, nine sword swallower members of the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) broke the 2002 SSAI and Guinness World Records by swallowing a total of 52 swords at one time at midnight September 3, 2005 at the 4th Annual Sideshow Gathering and SSAI "Big Swallow" in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

The previous world's record for multiple sword swallowers swallowing multiple swords had initially been set during SSAI’s first "Big Swallow" at the first Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers Convention on August 30, 2002 when 19 sword swallowers simultaneously swallowed 46 swords before an audience of sideshow industry experts, historians, performers, fans and media. The group’s mass record was broken a few minutes later when the 19 sword swallowers successfully gulped down a total of 50 blades simultaneously on their second attempt, thereby setting the 2002 world’s record.

Some of the participants who broke the world’s record this weekend were veteran sword swallowers, while others have been swallowing swords for only a few months. "I’m proud to have been part of this historical record-breaking event. Just being on stage with legends like Natasha Veruschka, Red Stuart and Keith Nelson was very humbling. To actually be part of helping break a world record was the event of a lifetime," beamed Travis Fessler who set his personal best by swallowing two swords. "The old record that I wasn't part of was 50, the new record I am part of is 52; I swallowed my own record of two swords, so it makes me feel like my participation really helped!"

The sword swallowers who broke the world’s records this year were Red Stuart of Philadelphia, PA swallowing 25 swords, Natasha Veruschka of New York, NY (11 swords), Dan Meyer of Nashville, TN (7 swords), Keith Nelson of New York (3 swords), Travis Fessler of Florence, KY (2 swords), Roderick Russell from Vermont (1 sword), Matthew Cassiere of Rhodes Island (1 sword), Charles "Crispy" Knight of Denver, Colorado (1 sword), and John Metz who made the long drive from Iowa (1 sword). The number of swords and swallowers was audited by a local accounting firm, verified by veteran sideshow owners Chris Christ and Slim Price, and confirmed by sideshow historian James Taylor.

During the event, Dan Meyer of Nashville, TN set his own personal record by swallowing 7 swords at once, with blades measuring 16 to 24 inches in length and 3/4 to 1 inch in width. New York Belly dancer Natasha Veruschka swallowed a whopping 11 swords, and was ready to add two more to match her own Guinness World Record of swallowing 13 swords in 2004. But sideshow veteran Red Stuart of Philadelphia, PA topped everyone by setting his own personal record and swallowing 25 swords at once -- a 32 inch broadsword along with 24 other swords measuring at least 18 inches long by one half inch in width. SSAI regulations require the blades to be at least 15 inches in length and one half inch in width.

Stuart’s accomplishment will also be submitted to Guinness as an individual world record. “The closest any one person has come to swallowing that many swords was when Edith Clifford was reported to have swallowed 20 swords in 1900...” explains SSAI Director and Historian Dan Meyer. “What an honor it was to be standing next to Red and watch him make history by breaking a 105-year-old record!”

On Sunday afternoon, September 5, 2005, Travis Fessler set another personal record by cracking a bull whip 17 consecutive times while swallowing a sword to set a new SSAI record for "Whip Cracking While Sword Swallowing". Besides being recognized as an SSAI World Record, this record will also be submitted to Guinness World Records for consideration as a new Guinness World Record, as well as be sent to the Alternative World Records in Leipzig, Germany to be added to their record books.

At Sunday morning's awards brunch, sword swallowers Count Desmond, Red Stuart, and Natasha Veruschka were honored with SSAI Lifetime Achievement Awards. An SSAI Certificate of Appreciation award was given to Franco Kossa in appreciation of his dedication to supporting and promoting the art of sword swallowing and other sideshow arts by sponsoring the Sideshow Gathering over the past four years.

The art of sword swallowing began over 4000 years ago in India and the Middle East, and requires the practitioner to use mind-over-matter techniques to control the body and repress natural reflexes in order to insert up 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 thirty years, there are currently less than forty full-time professional sword swallowers actively performing the ancient but deadly art of sword swallowing around the world today.

The Sword Swallowers Association International is based in Nashville, TN and is comprised of sword swallower members from around the world.

For more information:

http://www.swordswallow.org (SSAI)

http://www.swordswallow.com (General Info)

http://www.swordswallow.com/records.php (Records)

Media contact:

Dan Meyer

Executive Director

Sword Swallowers Association Int'l

1-(615) 969-2568

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