World Sword Swallowers Day was founded by the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) and is co-sponsored by Ripley's Believe It or Not! locations around the world.
On World Swallowing Day last year, 22 performers swallowed more than 138 feet of steel at 10 Ripley's Odditoriums.
Why World Sword Swallower's Day? "We sword swallowers risk our lives every time we swallow swords, but many people don't believe it's real, or they think the art has died out," explains Dan Meyer, a sword swallower who has been featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!.
"We established World Sword Swallower's Day to raise awareness of the medical contributions sword swallowers have made to the fields of medicine and science, to honor veteran performers, to raise funds for esophageal cancer research and the Injured Sword Swallower's Relief Fund (with donations matched by Ripley's), and to correct myths by putting on sword swallowing demonstrations for the public and media around the world."
Why is Ripley co-sponsoring it? "Because it's great entertainment," said Tim O'Brien, VP of Communications for Ripley Entertainment Inc. "Sword swallowers and Ripley go way back to the very first Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, set up at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. There, three performers, two of whom were ladies, mesmerized the huge crowds. Ripley's has been home to sword swallowers around the world ever since."
"It's a huge honor for us to carry on the great tradition of sword swallowers who have performed at Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums over the years!" Meyer explains. "In light of this, SSAI is sending out an open invitation to all sword swallowers around the world to contact us and join us in swallowing swords at Ripley's Believe It or Not museums and other locations on the 26th!"
About Sword Swallowing
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.
About the Sword Swallowers Association International
Founded in 2001 to preserve the art of sword swallowing, SSAI (www.swordswallow.org) is comprised of sword swallowers from around the world and maintains a website with general information on sword swallowing for the general public at www.swordswallow.com.
About Ripley Entertainment
Ripley Entertainment Inc. (www.ripleys.com), keepers of the venerable Ripley's Believe It or Not! brand, is a global leader in location-based entertainment, entertaining more than 13 million annually at its 80-plus attractions in 11 countries. In addition to its 32 Believe It or Not! Odditoriums, the Orlando, Florida-based company has publishing, licensing and broadcast divisions, best-selling books and the popular syndicated cartoon strip, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, that still runs daily in 42 countries. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the third-largest privately held company in Canada.