Are you convinced that sword swallowing is an art and not a trick?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Re: Are you convinced that sword swallowing is an art and not a trick?

Post by Shraddha_rc » 09 Jun 2018, 07:56

meadhbh wrote:
03 May 2018, 08:44
I would imagine that when sword-swallowers begin training, they probably don't use sharp swords to start off with, in order to prevent the risk should something go wrong. Then, once they're able to do it successfully, the likely move on to real swords. Even so, it seems incredibly dangerous.
To achieve the goal of sword swallowing, one needs skills. But it can be an art of deceiving. So I'm still unable to guess what I should call it. I have seen sword swallowers and I was awed by them.

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Post by Manali_DC » 10 Jun 2018, 05:53

I don't think it is a trick. It is a highly dangerous skill, though I agree that people who start training don't do it with the sharp harmful weapons.

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Post by palilogy » 10 Jun 2018, 16:53

I'm not sure if I am convinced sword swallowing is an art and not a trick. I think for me personally, I would have to see it and performances to better understand and make a better formed opinion. It's in the least something I find takes courage and I don't see myself with much ability to do so.

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Post by daiguerra » 10 Jun 2018, 18:14

I was so surprised to find that it was learned and not just a trick. I am still skeptical and want to see it in person before I can believe it. I'm not sure that it's something that everyone can learn because I think that you need to have a certain personality before even wanting to learn how to swallow swords. I think that it is both, it is a skill that people have because of the mentality you need to maintain while swallowing swords, and it is also a trick because they have trained themselves to do this.

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Post by k2rugman » 10 Jun 2018, 21:31

I've never seen this trick in person so I tend to be a skeptic. My dad used to be a magician and I grew up seeing a lot of magic tricks and one thing I learned is that there is always a secret. Something that looks totally convincing isn't what it seems. But I've also seem humans do some incredible things. So I guess I don't really know.

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Post by Keri wood » 10 Jun 2018, 23:05

I believe it's an art it takes lots of practice to safely do it. Would love to see it done looks really cool.

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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 11 Jun 2018, 11:59

A Master of Illusion is an Artist.

I believe we could all agree that Duke was a Master at his profession. So, whether sword swallowing is a "trick" or not, when performed by Duke it was an art.

Obviously, it can be taught and learned as sword swallowing has been a part of the traveling circus tradition for generations.

My previous statement made me a little curious about the actual history of sword swallowing. So I did a little research and found that sword swallowing goes back thousands of years to India, where it was performed by shaman priests. (

Further down the Google page I found an interesting article written in the Washington Post by Ryan F. Mandelbaum on 2/16/2016 that goes into great detail about how it's done, complete with a video that includes a live x-ray. Incredible!!! And, yes, it can be taught and learned. Just not by the average
I should amend that statement, in the video one of the sword swallowers says that anyone can learn it... I just find that hard to swallow. (Bad pun ... wallowing/

While proofreading my comments just before posting, I almost removed my statement where I said, "...whether it is a "trick" or not,..." as my research later shows it obviously is not a trick. I decided to leave it in to show that I didn't already know it was not a trick before I began my post.

Not to say that "all" sword swallowers are actually swallowing authentic metal swords. But I believe Duke Reynolds (whose name was changed per the Preface of the book) was the Real Deal.

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Post by Ever_Reading » 11 Jun 2018, 16:32

Duke is definitely not a fraud because sword swallowing is a skill. It's a skill I wouldn't want to acquire but many daring people around the world, like Duke, make a living out of performing as sword swallowers. It's not magic or anything like that :lol2:
Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
― Francis Bacon

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Post by Tiny_Turtle » 11 Jun 2018, 17:55

I'm not trying to be off topic here, but I have a question about the post I made earlier today. It was made at 11:59 on 6/11/18. Two posts before this one. There is a solid gray bar across the bottom of it. I haven't noticed the gray bar across any other posts before. What does that mean?

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Post by folkshot » 12 Jun 2018, 10:45

I think it's both art and a trick. Not everyone can do it there is beauty to a well-learned skill.

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Post by TashaCrispin » 12 Jun 2018, 10:51

I think it could be either. Some swallow swords for real while others do tricks. Whether Duke is a fraud or not am unsure. Sounds impossible but am keeping an open mind.

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Post by 10mile72 » 12 Jun 2018, 12:42

I had always just assumed it was real. And Duke did injure himself doing it.

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Post by Roggyrus » 12 Jun 2018, 15:34

Sword swallowing is an art. It is considered a trick if there is no swallowing involved and it is only an illusion just like what the used to do when stabbing in films by the use of a knife with a retractable blade.

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Post by SABRADLEY » 13 Jun 2018, 10:17

I believe it's a carefully-crafted art with serious consequences if not done properly. That said, I'm convinced there are some tricks of the trade that go into it, and no one should attempt such a thing without knowing what those are.

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Post by Nmesoma » 13 Jun 2018, 20:21

If I can swallow a sword, I'd be casting spells with Merlin, it's an art.

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