World Sword Swallowers Day Heads To London

World Sword Swallowers Day Heads To London

Sore throat getting you down this winter? Spare a thought for the three outrageous performers heading to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! London, to mark World Sword Swallowers Day 2012.

On Saturday 25 February, one of the world’s finest sword swallowers will give a free demonstration of the ancient art in the heart of the West End - and promise to leave the crowds open-mouthed too.

Internationally renowned expert Helmut ‘Hannibal’ Kirchmeier, from the Circus of Horrors, will feature in the UK leg of an annual celebration, which will also take place at ten other locations around the world.

In total, 35 sword swallowers are expected to perform outside the 11 Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Locations, including Hollywood, New York and Orlando. All events will begin at 2.25pm local time on February 25 2012.

Now in its sixth year, World Sword Swallowers Day is organised by the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) and is co-sponsored by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! locations around the world.

The events aim to raise awareness of the incredible art of sword swallowing which has been around for more than 4,000 years.

Sword swallowing performances will take place at Ripley’s Believe it or Not! London at 11.30 and 14.25.

Fast Facts:

- The average person swallows about 600 times per day - 350 while awake, 200 while eating, and about 50 times while asleep

- The average swallow uses 50 pairs of muscles and can take from three to 23 seconds to complete

- Sword swallowers use mind-over-matter techniques to repress the natural gag reflex in the back of the mouth, the peristalsis reflex in the throat, and the retch reflex in the stomach to "swallow" solid steel sword blades from 15-30 inches in length

- Sword swallowing can take from two to seven years to learn, and even after years of practice, some people never learn to master it

- The longest sword swallowed on record was 33 inches long

- The most swords swallowed at once was 47 swords
Helmut ‘Hannibal’ Kirchmeir is available for interview. Please contact [email protected]

Ripley's Believe It or Not! London in Piccadilly Circus is open seven days a week, 365 days a year from 10am until midnight.

Ultimate Explorer tickets to this world of wonders, situated in the heart of London's West End, start from £26.95 per adult and £21.95 per child, including entry to the Mirror Maze and the brand new LaseRace.

Ultimate Explorer family tickets are available for £87.95, based on two adults and two children. Purchase your tickets in advance and save 15 per cent at