National Sword Swallower's Day is coming up.
Kinda makes me gag just thinking about it.
(Although, I am rather skilled at inserting my foot into my mouth...)
The art of sword swallowing has been around prior to 2000 BC. Originating in India, it became a symbol of power and a demonstration of divine union. Later, the Japanese and Europeans incorporated it into their theatrics and acrobatics. This feat was added to tightrope walking, fire eating and juggling as a means of entertainment and delight for large crowds.
However, during the Middle Ages, these sword swallowers became the targets of religious persecution, being taunted as witches and heretics because of their practice.
My research claims that:
" As recorded in the 2006 study by Brian Whitcombe, radiologist, and Dan Meyer, Chief Executive Director of Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI), this is accomplished through practice with putting fingers and other objects down the throat, such as spoons, knitting needles, and plastic tubes, before eventually graduating to a wire coat-hanger. Performers must prepare mentally as well as physically, steeling themselves against unpleasant sensations, relaxing the mind and body, and focusing carefully on proper technique. According to swordswallow.com, a site run by SSAI, the art takes "about three to seven years to learn and approximately five [more] to master." Most swallowers surveyed for the Whitcombe-Meyer study were self-taught. "