#1
Old 08-16-2013, 02:41 PM
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Sword Swallowing

As Cecil says, sword swallowing is real and, like fire eating, only takes nerve and practice.
The swallowing of the long rubber balloon is, however, an easy magic trick that the sword swallower added in as a clever additional effect. With a little bit of practice on timing, you can make it appear you're swallowing the balloon as you seem to "force" it down your throat.
#2
Old 08-16-2013, 06:36 PM
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Link to column: https://academicpursuits.us/columns/...owers-for-real

It's helpful to other readers if you provide a link when you start a thread. Saves searching time, and helps keep us on the same page (avoids repetitions, we hope.)
#3
Old 08-16-2013, 08:07 PM
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So are you saying the balloon (unlike the swords) is not really going down? What is happening to it?
#4
Old 08-17-2013, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
So are you saying the balloon (unlike the swords) is not really going down? What is happening to it?
It's burst in the mouth, then the release of air is carefully controlled (presumably by the tongue) so it deflates at the same rate it's pushed in. Quality modelling ballons can be burst in a very controlled manner with a bit of practice. I've not tried it myself, but I have friends who perform this trick, and have seen it multiple times at circus conventions. In front of the somewhat more sceptical crowd there, they tend to finish by pulling the little deflated bit out at the end, and openly acknowledging it as a trick. It can look very realistic though.

I can't see how it would be possible to safely push a modelling balloon down your throat- they deform too easily and unpredictably under the pressure that would be required, and could too easily block the airway. All the objects legitimately 'swallowed', though some are dangerous, are at least solid.

Incidently, I do also know a few actual sword swallowers (oddly including my Grandad, which I didn't find out until years after I got interested in circus- he worked for an oil company, and never showed any signs of a secret showbiz past), and most do not learn with a blunt sword as Cecil implied- something flexible and hollow centred like a hosepipe or silicone tubing is the normal thing to 'get over the gag reflex' with, as that still allows to you breath, regardless of throat spasms. Not that I recommend trying it either way.
#5
Old 08-17-2013, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert View Post
It's burst in the mouth, then the release of air is carefully controlled (presumably by the tongue) so it deflates at the same rate it's pushed in.
Frankly, that sounds a lot harder than swallowing it. Anyway, even if you could control the rate at which the air escapes with your tongue (which I doubt), balloons do not deflate just by getting shorter, they lose width and rigidity all along their length.
#6
Old 08-17-2013, 11:23 AM
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Balloon Swallowing
#7
Old 08-17-2013, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Frankly, that sounds a lot harder than swallowing it. Anyway, even if you could control the rate at which the air escapes with your tongue (which I doubt), balloons do not deflate just by getting shorter, they lose width and rigidity all along their length.
Nope, they don't. I don't sword swallow, but I do balloon modelling. If you've ever watched one get blown up, they inflate in a very interesting way- they don't inflate equally along the length, they suddenly pop out to a set width from one end, with the inflating point moving down the balloon. It's hard to explain, but watch any modelling video on youtube if that's unclear. This property is pretty important in balloon modelling, otherwise you'd never get the little bobble on the poodle tail...

If a hole is made in a balloon in a non-expanded part, (if a hole is made in an expanded bit they tend to burst) they deflate in the same way as they inflate, from that end, with the rest of the balloon staying pretty much constant width.

By the way, in the interests of Science, I just tried the trick- it not only works the way I thought, it's laughably easy. The only difficult bit of the whole trick is subtly biting a hole in the balloon at the start.
#8
Old 08-17-2013, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
So are you saying the balloon (unlike the swords) is not really going down? What is happening to it?
Even though I'm an amateur magician, I hate to break the code and tell a trick.
The trick, however, is on-line.
Search: Balloon Swallowing Trick Revealed.
:
(Let us know if you give it a try at a party.)

Last edited by Santa Cruz'n'; 08-17-2013 at 07:50 PM. Reason: Left out a comma.
#9
Old 08-17-2013, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
Link to column: https://academicpursuits.us/columns/...owers-for-real

It's helpful to other readers if you provide a link when you start a thread. Saves searching time, and helps keep us on the same page (avoids repetitions, we hope.)
I got Cecil's column on this topic and replied the same day. I thought others would get the column the same day as I did and know the topic.
I don't see any link given like you have in your reply.. Where do you find it?
#10
Old 08-18-2013, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Am I the only one that thought...

nm
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#11
Old 08-18-2013, 05:00 AM
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Damn I thought this thread WAS about Lovelace.

Last edited by don't ask; 08-18-2013 at 05:00 AM.
#12
Old 08-19-2013, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
I got Cecil's column on this topic and replied the same day. I thought others would get the column the same day as I did and know the topic.
I don't see any link given like you have in your reply.. Where do you find it?
The day you post the thread, it might be easy enough for others to find it. But threads can sometimes stay active for weeks, months, even years. Weeks from now, it won't be nearly as obvious which column you're referring to, or how to find it.

And I'm not sure what you mean by "where to find" the link. The idea is that you put it in yourself. If you're asking for how to create the link, the simplest way is to simply copy and paste the address of the page you're looking at.
#13
Old 08-20-2013, 02:07 PM
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Balloon swallowing trick revealed
#14
Old 08-21-2013, 11:12 AM
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I read the book when I was eleven years old. IIRC the name was Step Right Up. Among other things, I blistered the inside of my mouth trying to learn how to be a fire eater----the book gave detailed instructions but I never could get it right. It was a fascinating book. Again, IIRC it was featured as a Readers Digest condensed book.
#15
Old 08-21-2013, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
I blistered the inside of my mouth trying to learn how to be a fire eater----the book gave detailed instructions but I never could get it right. It was a fascinating book. Again, IIRC it was featured as a Readers Digest condensed book.
Well there's your problem.
#16
Old 08-21-2013, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Well there's your problem.
I hadn't thought of that----critical info condensed to zero---
#17
Old 08-21-2013, 02:58 PM
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Modern sword-swallowers are apparently constrained by their teachers to take a solemn oath never to “swallow light”, even though there are perfectly safe plastic options nowadays.

Dan Mannix soon left the carny life to become a professional author. He wrote the book that Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound” was derived from, and he was a major figure in Wizard-of-Oz fandom.

In an environment where the audience is all on one side, of course, you can simply fake it by controlling the line of sight. I did that once in a show put on by my Cub Scout pack in the 50s.
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#18
Old 08-21-2013, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy View Post
Modern sword-swallowers are apparently constrained by their teachers to take a solemn oath never to “swallow light”, even though there are perfectly safe plastic options nowadays.
I imagine those LED string sets would work pretty well. Already in a plastic sleave, a somewhat flexible string.
#19
Old 08-21-2013, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa Cruz'n' View Post
I got Cecil's column on this topic and replied the same day. I thought others would get the column the same day as I did and know the topic.
I don't see any link given like you have in your reply.. Where do you find it?
Yes, so anyone who was noticing the email of Cecil's columns would know where/what it was. In a week or two, however, it will fall into the abyss of the archives, so that's why the link is helpful.

You make a link to a column by copying the url and then pasting it into your post. You can do fancier stuff, by typing:
[url="<actual url for column>"]Something you want to call it[/url]
So, for a real example, typing [url="https://academicpursuits.us/columns/read/975/are-sword-swallowers-for-real"]Link to sword-swallowers column[/url] would give you: Link to sword-swallowers column

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 08-21-2013 at 04:33 PM.
#20
Old 08-21-2013, 04:42 PM
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I keep hearing two different things about this:
  • It's all fake.
  • It's all real.

It's sort of like Flea Circuses.
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