World’s Top Sword Swallowers Attempt to Break World Record



WILKES-BARRE, PA -- At midnight Friday, September 2nd, 2005, top sword swallowers from around the world will attempt to break the Guinness World's Record for the "Most Swords Swallowed by Multiple Sword Swallowers" under the auspices of the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) at the 4th Annual Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers Convention in Wilkes-Barre, PA.


Veteran sideshow owners, historians, fans and performers including fire-eaters, sword swallowers, fakirs, human blockheads, and other top variety performers from around the world will assemble over Labor Day weekend for the 4th Annual Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers’ Convention in Wilkes-Barre, PA.   Held September 1-4, 2005 in conjunction with the 12th Annual Inkin’ the Valley Tattoo Show at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Wilkes-Barre, the combined events are expected to attract more than 5,000 attendees and approximately half of the less than 40 remaining professional sword swallowers left performing around the world today.


The world's record for multiple sword swallowers swallowing multiple swords was initially set on Friday, August 20, 2002 during SSAI’s first “Big Swallow” at the first Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers Convention when 19 of the world’s top sword swallowers simultaneously swallowed 46 swords before an audience of sideshow industry experts, historians, performers, fans and international 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 current standing world's record.


While helping set the group world record, belly dancing sword swallower Natasha Veruschka from New York set the individual women's record by swallowing 11 swords at once, while Dai Andrews from Baltimore set the men's individual record by swallowing 11 swords in one swallow. The number of sword swallowers and swords was audited by a local accounting firm, verified by veteran sideshow owner Ward Hall, and confirmed by sideshow historian James Taylor.  The historic event was filmed by Shocked and Amazed TV for the Travel Channel, and witnessed by attendees, media and CNN viewers around the world on CNN International.


In August 2003 at the 2nd Annual Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers Convention, SSAI unsuccessfully attempted to break its previous record, with only 17 sword swallowers successfully swallowing a total of 32 swords at the same time.  Natasha Veruschka broke her previous women's record to set her personal best by simultaneously swallowing 12 swords at once.  The event was witnessed by sideshow industry experts and fans, and filmed for the television documentary "Stomachs of Steel" which aired on the Discovery Channel in July 2004. 


On Friday, September 2nd, SSAI members will again attempt to break the current SSAI and Guinness World Record at the 4th Annual Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers Convention. Several new and veteran sword swallowers are slated to attend and attempt to break the standing world record before an audience of fellow sideshow industry performers, historians, and fans. “We're excited about the response this year, and we're optimistic about breaking the 2002 world records, as well as hopefully setting several new sword swallowing records never attempted before!” says SSAI Executive Director, Dan Meyer. Additional individual world record attempts will be made on Sunday afternoon, September 4th for those sword swallowers and other sideshow performers who would like to attempt to set or break their own personal records.


The art of sword swallowing developed 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 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 left 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:   (SSAI)   (General Info)   (Events)   (Convention)    (Records)


Media contact:

Dan Meyer

Executive Director

Sword Swallowers Association Int'l

1+(615) 969-2568

Frank Kossa

The Sideshow Gathering

Inkin’ the Valley Tattoo Convention


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