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Sword swallowing was often seen at festivals throughout the ancient Roman empire. John Robinson's Circus Side Show They opened with the show in the spring, but were compelled to leave on account of Mrs. To make the stunt even more incredible, he added a heavy kitchen stove strapped to his back. The sword swallower during the European tour of Germany and Russia was probably Polish or Russian sword swallower Julian Putzkewitsch.

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Sama is mentioned in both " Annals of the American Circus, Vol. In , the book " Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society " mentions that sword swallower Sena Sama came to New York and swallowed a sword that measured 22 inches long. Could this have been Ramo Samee or one of his troupe from Madras and London? Seeking pictures and more information.

Ramo Samee probably " Ramaswamy " was a 19th century East Indian juggler and magician who starred with his own juggling troupe. In fact, he is considered to be the first "modern" professional juggler, and was by far the most famous juggler of his time.

Samee was born around in East India, possibly in Madras in Tamil Nadu, and was brought to England in at around the age of A certain Captain Campbell , returning to England from the Indian colony in , brought a troupe of Indian magicians and performers with him and installed them in Pall Mall Street London, where they demonstrated native juggling, acrobatics, yogic postures, conjuring, and sleight of hand for an audience that was curious about the quaint customs and strange manners of India.

Is it then a trifling power we see at work, or is it something next to miraculous? The inspiration for one of the Western world's fundamental puzzlers, the Needle Swallowing Trick , can probably be traced back to the genius of Ramo Samee.

Samee was known for performing a trick he called "Stringing Beads With the Mouth", in which he "swallowed" a handful of beads and a string, then pulled the beads out of his mouth, one by one, tied to the string. Samee 's troupe included Kia Khan Khruse , another Indian juggler-magician who first introduced the " Needle Swallowing Trick " to European audiences in Obviously, this was a more dangerous version of Samee 's bead swallowing trick.

Samee first presented the Indian needle trick to Western audiences in the 's, where he would swallow a hundred needles. Samee performed in England from to , with successful tours of the eastern United States in , and again in An advertisement in the Salem Gazette of October 5, , describes the "East Indian" magician and juggler Ramo Samee as having performed "for some time past in the metropolis of England, and before all the crowned heads of Europe, who have unanimously pronounced him to be the first master of the art in their dominions.

Samee also performed on January 15, at the Royal Coburg Theatre. In , Frederick Gye employed sword swallower Ramo Samee as the "chief attraction" at the Royal Gardens Vauxhall Theatre in Kensington, one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London from the midth century to the midth century. In the 's Samee created a sensation at the Garrick Theatre in London by performing his feat of swallowing beads and horse hair separately and then regurgitating the former threaded upon the latter.

According to an article published in Robert Merry's Museum on January 1, Before the arrival in Europe of these jugglers, whose speculation, it is said, was most profitable, attempts had been made, but unsuccessfully, to induce other professors of the art to go to England for the purpose of exhibition. According to London press clippings , Ramo Samee died a pauper at the age of 59 on August 21, According to an obituary in the The Gentlemen's Magazine , Volume City-road, in extreme poverty, Ramo Samee , a celebrated Indian juggler.

His health had received a severe shock at the death of his only son, who, in attempting to swallow a sword, did himself such injury that he died shortly afterwards. His body was interred in old St. Your early insertion of the widow's appeal, under the above head, in last week's paper, reflects the highest credit on you, and in remembrance of the plesure I experienced in the early days at his performance, I beg to hand you 10s from ten friends, collected in the neighbourhood of High Holborn, towards alleviating the sufferings of the poor widow and family Poor Ramo is to be buried today, and his funeral expenses have to be defrayed by instalments.

The trifle obtained has been handed to Mrs. Pancras , Middlesex, London, England. Ramo Samee Timeline Born in East India Arrives in London, performs at Pall Mall Street Jan 12, 18, 29, Feb 8: Olympic Theatre London Royalty Theatre London Royal Coburg Theatre London Royal Gardens Vauxhall Theatre London Last appearance at Vauxhall Gardens London Adelphi Theatre London New Strand Subscription Theatre London Royal Victoria Theatre London Royal Beulah Spa Norwood s: Garrick Theatre London Theatre Royal London Robert Merry's Museum London Son died of sword swallowing injury According to broadside scrapbooks kept by William Hay in England, one broadside announces the arrival of 'Saib Khan Ing' in Preston in to 'exhibit his astonishing performances' at juggling, sword swallowing, and, 'chang[ing] himself from an Indian juggler to a British Minister of State' Hay Signor Tomaso Richmond Hill Theatre Barnum founded the American Dime Museum in Boston, which included oddities and freaks of nature, including working acts such as sword swallowers.

The "American Museum" burned down in , at which time Barnum retired from show business. According to an article in the Philadeplphia "Pennsylvanian" newspaper dated November 27, They will leap over elephants, and even five camels side by side; their bodies are so pliant that they will twine themselves like snakes up and down between the steps of a ladder; they walk over sharp swords; raise heavy burdens with their eyelids; and like Ramo Samee of old, are said to be able to float in the air without any visible support.

Even the children exercise themselves in swallowing small sticks of bamboo, in order that they may eventually do the like with swords and daggers.

Born June 12, Married Performed mid s? Mitchell was born in her father's traveling van in Coventry on June 12, At the age of 16, around , she married showman Henry James Wallis who was a fairground proprietor and showman of the old school. Wallis was born in Liverpool on May 11, At first Wallis worked as a photographer on the fairgrounds, but he later became a riding master of some note, and was also the founder of Seaforth Fair and one of the founders of the Van Dweller's Association , which later became the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain.

Martha Mitchell 's brother was Charlie Mitchell , the famous bare knuckle boxer who fought J. Sullivan and Gentleman Jim Corbett. Martha Mitchell died by the age of 30, circa Martha Mitchell Birth Certificate. Sword swallower Lawson Peck was known to have performed at the Peoria Museum in According to the announcement in the Peoria Transcript , dated Oct.

Lawson Peck from New York, the greatest sword swallower living, to give two performances Friday and Saturday nights at the museum. The sword, 23 inches long, may be inspected by the audience. He will also bare his neck and swallow the sword up to the hilt, a feat never attempted by a living man before. No additional charge to the museum.

Jack Naylor collected a number of interesting photographs, including this rare photo of a sword swallower from the s. Could this have been sword swallower Lawson Peck? Unknown Sword Swallower from s.

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Daily Post dated January 10, It seems that a traveling company of players gave a show there some time ago, and shortly after all the goods and chattels were seized on a writ against one Poguee for failure to pay his board All this was interesting of course, but the agony was reached when " Signor Forrestelle " the great sword-swallower was put upon the stand. Signor carried his sword with him and the lawyers wanted to see him swallow it, and so asked if he had any objections to showing his performance.

He had none, and down went twenty-seven inches of steel, to the gratification of the lawyers. Signor handed his sword to the admiring legal gentlemen, asking them to examine and see that there was no fraud. He had a very business-like air, and when asked what other branches his business took in, he remarked that it was his habit to eat marbles. Everybody wanted to see him eat marbles, and down went four good-sized "allies. Signor 's performance was "immense," and had a jury witnessed this novel exposition of a legal point, his fortune would have been made.

And Signor Forestell , the sword swallower, who performed outside of a museum in the old St. Ignatius building on Market Street where the Emporium now stands. This individual actually slid canes, bayonets and swords down his throat to the amazement of the gathered throng.

But this class of fakir was only doing his bit as an entertainer, and harmed no one but himself, while the real simon pure medical fakir was the individual who did untold injury to all those who sought relief from him. There is a sword-swallower, P rof. Forestell , whose feats are marvelous. He actually swallows solid steel swords and bayonets, also ordinary walking canes with equal facility. Signor Forestelle performed for over 31 years.

Signor Forestelle Timeline Vannuchi's Museum New Orleans San Francisco Museum John Robinson's Circus at Lincoln Park According to the "London Labour and the London Poor" , Sallementro learned sword and snake swallowing at the age of 17 or 18 from his friend Clarke who was also a sword and snake swallower: It was a mate of mine that I was with that first put me up to sword and snake swallowing.

I copied off him, and it took me about three months to learn it. I began with a sword first - of course not a sharp sword, but a blunt-pointed - and I didn't exactly know how to do it, for there's a trick to it. At first it turned me, putting it down my throat past my swallow, right down, about 18 inches.

It made my swallow sore, very sore, and I used lemon and sugar to cure it. It was tight at first, and I kept pushing it down further and further. There's one thing - you mustn't cough, and until you're used to it, you want to very bad, and then you must pull it up again. My sword was about three-quarters of an inch wide. At first I didn't know the trick of doing it, but I found it out this way.

You see, the trick is you must oil the sword - the best sweet oil, worth 14 pence a pint - and you put it on with a sponge. Then, you understand, if the sword scratches the swallow, it don't make it sore, 'cos the oil heals it up again. When first I put the sword down, before I oiled it, it used to come up quite slimy, but after the oil it slips down quite easy, and is as clean when it comes up as before it went down.

The knives are easier to do than the sword because they are shorter. We puts them right down till the handle rests on the mouth.

The sword is about 18 inches long, and the knives about 8 inches in the blade. People run away with the idea that you slip the blades down your breast, but I always hold mine right up with the neck bare, and they see it go into the mouth 'atween the teeth. They also fancy it hurts you, but it don't, or what a fool I should be to do it. I don't mean to say it don't hurt you at first, 'cos it do, for my swallow was very bad, and I couldn't eat anything but liquids for two months whilst I was learning.

I cured my swallow whilst I was stretching it with lemon and sugar. I was the second one that ever swallowed a snake. I was about 17 or 18 years old when I learnt it. The first was Clarke as did it. He done very well with it, but he wasn't out no more than two years before me, so he wasn't known much. In the country there is some places where, when you do it, they swear you are the devil, and won't have it nohow.

The snakes I use are about 18 inches long, and you must first cut the stingers out, 'cos it might hurt you. I always keep two or three by me for my performances. I keep them warm, and I give them nothing to eat but worms and gentles. I generally keep them in flannel or hay in a box. I've three at home now. When first I began swallowing snakes, they tasted queer like. They draw'd the roof of the mouth a bit. It's a roughish taste. The scales rough you a bit when you draw them up.

You see, a snake will go into ever such a little hole, and they are smooth one way. The head of the snake goes about an inch and a half down the throat, and the rest of it continues in the mouth, curled 'round like. I hold him by the tail, and when I pinch it, he goes right in. You must cut the stinger out or he'll injure you. The tail is slipppery, but you nip it with the nails like pinchers. If you was to let go, he'd go right down, but most snakes will stop at two inches down the swallow, and then they bind like a ball in the mouth.

I generally get my snakes by giving little boys ha'pence to go and catch 'em in the woods. I get them when I'm pitching in the country. I'll get as many as I can get, and bring 'em up to London for my engagements. When first caught, the snake is slimy, and I have to clean him by scraping him with a cloth, and then with another, until he's nice and clean. I have put 'em down slimy, on purpose to taste what it was like.

It had a nasty taste, very nasty. When I exhibit, I first holds the snake up in the air and pinches the tail, to make it curl about and twist 'round my arm, to show that he is alive. Then I holds it above my mouth, and as soon as he sees the hole, in he goes. He goes wavy-like, as a ship goes, that's the comparison. I always hold my breath whilst his head is in my swallow. When he moves in the swallow, it tickles a little, but it don't make you want to retch.

In my opinion, he is more glad to come up than to go down, for it seems to be too hot for him. I keep him down about two minutes. If I breathe or cough, he draws out and curls back again. I think there's artfulness in some of them big snakes, for they seem to know which is the master. I was at Wombwell's Menagerie of Wild Beasts for 3 months, and I had the care of a big snake, as thick 'round as my arm.

I wouldn't attempt to put that one down my throat, for I think I might easier have done down his'n. It was a f'urren snake, all over spots, called a boa-constrictor. Performed Died Donnell was sword swallower with a side show in the Pittsburgh area in and was sought by his mother, Eliza Donnell. Mother seeks James S Donnell. Stewart was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross , the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Stewart was 26 years old, and a Captain in the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Lucknow. On October 19, , while at Hythe, Hampshire, Stewart was giving a demonstration of sword swallowing.

His demonstration went fatally wrong and he died from internal injuries a week later, on October 26, at the age of Stewart is buried in a vault at St. Mary's Church , Grandtully, Scotland. Born Performed Died July 26, He became so skilled as a rider that he toured Europe with the circus. Benedetti began learning sword swallowing at the age of 14 in , and eventually became proficient at it by the age of 20 in According to an article dated May 30, in the Daily Phoenix: Maury introduced to the faculty and students Signor Carlo Benedetti , a professional sword swallower, on whom he proposed to make a surgical examination.

Benedetti first swallowed a sword blade twenty-three inches in length, and bending over, completely bent the steel. Next he placed a sabre, measuring twenty-nine inches in length down his throat to the hilt. The medical examiners discovered that the blade of the weapon stretches the oesophagus and distends the lower wall of the stomach.

Benedetti then swallowed six thin, light swords at once, then extricated them with such ease as to excite the wonder of all the beholders. He next took an ordinary musket, weighing eleven pounds, with a common bayonet afixed. This bayonet he thrust into his throat by raising the musket butt into the air. When it was in he bowed all around to the company. He then drew the weapon out gracefully and easily, and explained that the point of leverage fell upon his lower jaw and teeth, which are very strong.

The Captain General was present, and the novelty of the evening was the feat of the sword swallower, Benedetti , who attempted to cram an umbrella down his throat. He swallowed His Excellency the Captain General's sword, a cane, and other articles, but could not stomach the umbrella.

Benedetti 's marvellous performance at the Royal Aquarium ". In , Benedetti was described swallowing a cane in the September 30, Atlanta Constitution. In , the editor of a London magazine described Signor Benedetti who had just performed at the Westminster Royal Aquarium and Canterbury Hall at the age of According to the description, Benedetti stood 5 ft 8 inches tall, and swallowed a blade that was About one year ago Benedetti began to give evidence that his mind was affected.

He imagined he was a millionaire and threw his money away. Fifteen years ago he was famous all over the world as a sword swallower. Signor Carlos Benedetti Timeline Joined circus as rider Began learning sword swallowing at 14 Began performing as sword swallower at 20 Tacon Theatre Havana Cuba Royal Aquarium Westminster London Jan 9, 18, July 3, Aug 5: Crystal Palace London New York NY Began losing mental facilities Committed to mental asylum, Morris Plains NJ Senor Franco the "sword swallower and stone eater" performed at Manly Beach, Australia on April 4, Four years later he was performing in San Francisco California on March 12, He swallowed a 23 inch long sword.

Born May 15, Performed Died January 3, He entered the circus business as a sword swallower for a few years around at about the age of He then became an operator and manager of his own sideshow. During the Civil War, he was twice sentenced to be shot for dissertion; the first time, as a mere boy, he was pardoned by President Lincoln ; the second time, succeeded in escaping.

In later years, he was considered one of the best shots in Indiana. Erwin was married once, but the union was not a happy one. He died of pneumonia in Indianapolis, IN on January 3, at the age of Keller was fascinated by the feat and persuaded the sword swallower to visit his clinic and have his throat examined with a laryngeal mirror. Adolf Kussmaul carefully observed the sword swallower, being especially interested in the way he positioned his head for the passage of the long straight sword, and decided to examine him himself.

For this purpose, Dr. Kussmaul had a local musical instrument maker named Fischer fashion tubes 47 cm long and 13 mm in diameter, one being round and the other elliptical in design, the tubes fitted with conical wooden mandarins to facilitate insertion. Using the straight tube, mirrors and a gasoline lamp, Kussmaul inspected the esophagus and the fundus of the stomach, thereby performing the first successful esophagoscopy esophagogastrostomy on a sword swallower in The sword swallower tolerated the long tubes well, but the examination was disappointing because the light was too weak to illuminate the field so far from its source.

Also, despite washing out the stomach, fluid constantly collected around the tube and hindered the view. However Kussmaul was so pleased with his success that he took the sword swallower with him to perform demonstrations in various clinics, and later enlisted other sword swallowers due to their ability to voluntarily relax the cricopharyngeal muscle and form a straight line from the pharynx to the stomach, allowing passage of the rigid endoscope.

Today Kussmaul is recognized as the developer of the first rigid endoscope. Kussmaul died in Heidelberg, and his grave is located in a cemetary in Heidelberg, Germany. Adolph Kussmaul Dr.

Adolf Kussmaul later Dr. Adolf Kussmaul Heidelburg Dr. Adolf Kussmaul grave Heidelberg. According to an article in "The Youth's Companion" dated October 29, A famous French physician lately experimented upon a Chinese conjuror, who swallowed a sword nearly three feet long, and permitted an examination of his body while the blade was in its living sheath. Fourle such was the anatomists's name was thoroughly satisfied with the honesty of the operation.

They traced the point along its downward course, and felt it thirty inches from the swallower's mouth. So we may set down sword and poker swallowing as genuine feats of gymnastics. Article Oct 29, The first known photograph of an Indian Sword Swallower was displayed in England at the South Kensington Exhibition of in an album of photographs entitled "Trades and Occupations of India" in response to English curiousity about the British Empire in India.

Performed Died April 11, According to an article in the New York Herald dated July 15, , and another article in the New York Times dated July 16, , a novel performance was offered at the Olympic Theatre on July 15, by Ling Look , "who disposes mysteriously but satisfactorily of a blade ninety centimetres in length.

A quote from describes Ling Look's performace: How much sword he took we are not prepared to state; but he did not perish. In a showman named Heinrich Kellar , who went by the name Harry Kellar , put together a show troupe that included Link Look. During this time, Kellar learned some secrets of the business, and began his solo work until the opportunity came to join the spectacle of the Davenports Brothers in From to , Kellar and Fay toured South America. In the spring of , Kellar , 24, along with William Marion Fay , both junior pseudo-spiritualists, left the Davenports show in the spring of and became independent performers, forming a partnership and putting together their own tour throughout America and Europe under the name Fay and Keller.

They were specialists of exceptional merit. Ling Look was known as the "Fire-King" , while Yamadeva was a contortionist of such rare powers that he was known as the "Man-Serpent" , and his movements were as graceful as a cat.

Kellar formed a troupe with the brothers under the name of "The Royal Illusionists". The party went to New York by the steamer Andes , narrowly escaping shipwreck off Hatteras in the March Equinoctial of After a short stay in New York, the trio crossed overland to California, and began an engagement at Baldwin's Academy of Music in San Francisco on the evening of May 15, Ling Look and Yamadeva posed as Chinese and Japanese performers, but in fact, according to various sources, were Hungarian from Budapest or Austrian from Vienna.

Ling Look performed as a fire-eater and sword swallower, and went by the title "King of Fire". With his head half-shaved, and the remaining hair in a long braid, he almost looked Chinese.

Some of his feats included swallowing hot coals and red hot swords, then blowing fire from his mouth. Meanwhile, Yamadeva was an accomplished contortionist who performed incredible escapes. He was also known as the Snake Man , due to his serpentine or feline movements. The infernal dinner fire eating 2. The poor of India escape 3. Yamadeva the snake contortion 4. Their show consisted of a spiritualist cabin with Kellar and Cunard performing cage disappearance and escapes from ropes and handcuffs, and contortion by Yamadeva , and for the finale, the fire and sword acts by Ling Look.

In Sydney, they played a successful engagement at the Victoria Theater. During their ten weeks' engagement in Australia they performed to capacity houses everywhere. Sir Hercules Robinson , Lady Robinson and suite were frequent attendants at the entertainments of the Illusionists. From Australia they went to Java, and from there on to Shanghai, China In early October Yamadeva suffered heart pains while playing a pin bowling game in Shanghai China.

They were watching a husky sea captain who was using a huge ball and making a double spare at every roll, when Yamadeva suddenly remarked, "I can handle one as heavy as that big loafer can.

But he misjudged his own strength, for he had no sooner delivered the ball than he grasped his side moaning in pain. He barely had enough strength to get back to the ship, where he immediately went to bed.

Four days later, he died while onboard the ship heading to Hong Kong. An examination showed that he had ruptured an artery. Shortly after their arrival in Hong Kong, Ling Look underwent an operation for a liver trouble, and died under the knife. Six months later, his brother Ling Look died on April 11 or 14? In , a fakir with the same name, the same routine, Chinese look, hair and costume style appeared in England and claimed to be the original Ling Look.

He wore his make-up both on and off stage, and performed Ling Look's show perfectly. This performer claimed that the news of his death in was not true, and that he was still alive. In , a commentary in the newspaper La Capital de Rosario , dated August 9, , gave news of an artist with an exotic name who was performing in town.

It was Ling Look , who it was claimed, had worked as director of a great illusionist and acrobatic troupe, in their inimitable work with the infernal dinner, and swallowing swords.

The same name and the same routines, the one who so successfully passed through Rosario with his brother Yamadeva in ? But this was not possible, unless the advertised Look Ling had risen, or was a phony.

The litmus test was when this Ling Look clashed with Kellar , who had buried the original Ling Look in The imitator had the nerve to stick to his story even when confronted by Kellar.

When Keller assured him that he had personally attended the burial of Ling Look in Hong Kong, the imposter broke down and confessed that he was a younger brother of the original Ling Look. Kellar later said that the resemblance was so strong that had he not seen the original Ling Look consigned to the grave, he himself would have been duped into believing that this was the man who had been with him in Hong Kong.

Kellar later confessed to Harry Houdini , that the resemblance between the two was such that if he had not been present when Ling Look died in Hong Kong in , he would almost be unable to refute or verify that this was another person in Seeking photos and more information on Ling Look. Ling Look and Yamadeva Timeline Olympic Theatre New York Harry Kellar books tour to Rosario Argentina The Royal Illusionists troupe formed Victoria Theater Sydney Australia Ling Look imposter appears in England Ling Look imposter kills boy in audience in gun accident Ling Look imposter in Belfast Ireland August Zorner was a professional juggler and sword swallower in New York City in He and Charles Zorner were arrested as witnesses to a murder on New Years night Performed s Died May 9, Signor Wandana died on May 9, of internal injuries sustained after a sword swallowing feat went wrong.

Inflamation resulted and he died last evening. Inflammation ensued and he died last Sunday evening. Born Performed s Retired s Died August 20, In nineteenth-century Russia, circus was extremely popular among the aristocracy and the people alike, but the Russian circus was developed mostly by foreigners whose names -- Ciniselli, Truzzi, Salamonsky -- became synonymous with Russian circus. There was one notable exception, however: The Nikitin brothers , Dmitri , Akim , and Piotr Nikitin , who became the first true Russian circus entrepreneurs of note, and would remain so until the Bolshevik revolution.

The Nikitin brothers were born to Aleksandr and Alina Ivanovna Nikitin , who were serfs bound to one of the vast lands belonging to the Crown. Tsar Nicholas I began to ease the condition of the serfs of his Imperial estates in , when he established the "quit-rent" system, which allowed them to leave the land to which they were attached in exchange for a rent paid to their landowner, the Tsar. Aleksandr Nikitin immediately took advantage of this new, if limited, freedom and became an itinerant organ grinder.

His first son Dmitri , who had learned to play the balalaika, followed him on the road. Akim and Piotr were born shortly thereafter, and almost as soon as they were able to walk and do a rollover, they joined forces with their father and elder brother, entertaining passersby from village squares to street corners. In time, the Nikitin brothers developed specific performing talents: Dmitri became a strongman; Akim , a front bender, a juggler, and an auguste playing the Russian folk character of Ivan the Fool , always popular among the provincial audiences ; and Piotr , a sword swallower, tumbler, and a foot-juggler.

They also formed an acrobatic trio together, and created a puppet show. The Nikitin brothers were versatile and hard working. When Tsar Alexander II finally freed the serfs by his ukase of February 19, , they began to find work on the country's fairgrounds in the balagans fairground itinerant theaters.

In time, they would create their own fairground show. However, the Nikitins were also ambitious; they intended to escape the stigma of their former serfdom, and move upward. But work on the fairgrounds, even in the best balagans, had no glory. The circus was something else altogether: It was attended and enjoyed by the upper classes, and great circus artists received respect and, sometimes, even riches.

Although they were illiterate, the Nikitins were shrewd and had honed on the road a remarkable talent for scheming and survival. The foreign directors who ran the Russian circuses might have appeared well introduced in aristocratic circles, but the Nikitin brothers knew that, in actuality, they didn't have much more formal education than themselves. Thus the former serfs and balagan entertainers didn't see any reason why they wouldn't grab their own part of the circus pie.

The purchase had come replete with tent, carriages, costumes, and horses, and on December 23, , the Russian Circus of the Nikitin Brothers gave its first performance in the city of Penza. It was, at long last, the first genuinely Russian circus operating in the Russian Empire. The Nikitins' Russian Circus toured the provinces with good success. Money was coming in, and three years later, in , they were able to build their first permanent circus in Saratov, in southern Russia. Located in the center of the city, it was an elaborate wooden structure that stood until It was demolished, and a stone circus was built in its place in ; in , RosGosTsirk , the central Soviet circus agency, replaced it with a brand new, state-of-the-art building, erected in a different part of the city.

This latter circus, which still bears the name of Nikitin Brothers' Circus , remains active. Owners of a permanent circus building and managing a touring company, the Nikitin brothers had finally entered the circus world's big league.

While Dmitri and Akim increasingly took care of the business, Piotr developed into a remarkable bareback rider he is said to have achieved the somersault on horseback , a flying trapeze and horizontal bars gymnast, a gifted mime, and even a quick-change artist. Then the Nikitins struck gold: On the occasion of the coronation of Tsar Alexandre III in May , they were invited to erect a temporary hippodrome at Khodinskoye Pole, an old parade ground in Moscow.

Barnum 's version of it. There, the Nikitins produced equestrian extravaganzas themed after old Russian legends, as well as chariot races and other traditional hippodrome fare. At the end of their run, which had been successful, they were awarded the Andreev Order's Silver Medal by the City of Moscow.

Then, they hit the road again. Meanwhile, the brothers were trying to expand their circus empire. In , they built their second permanent circus in Minsk. It passed under city ownership the following year it was destroyed during WWII, a replaced later by another building , but others would come. Then, the wily brothers saw another golden opportunity in Moscow: The old Panorama today, the Mir Theatre , adjacent to the circus Albert Salamonsky had built on Tsvetnoy Boulevard in , was available.

The circular building, which had once housed a panoramic painting depicting The Storming of Plevna, was an ideal fit for a circus, and its location on Moscow's most popular promenade, in the midst of other places of amusement including an already popular circus! Their show certainly didn't have the splendor of Salamonsky's productions, nor his superb equestrian presentations, but the Nikitins knew how to attract a popular audience, and they met with increasing success.

Salamonsky was not amused and he finally bought out the Nikitins in for 30, rubles, a considerable sum for the time. He also had the Nikitins sign an agreement stating that they wouldn't compete with Salamonsky in Moscow. To protect himself from another unwanted neighbor, Salamonsky used the old Panorama for horse training and equestrian exhibitions. Salamonsky's precautions proved useless: Luckily for Salamonsky, the Nikitins didn't do great business on Vozdzvizhenka Street and, before the end of the year, they left Moscow for Tiflis today Tbilisi, in Georgia , where they built a wooden circus on Golovinsky Prospect today Rustaveli Prospect.

Tbilisi became their homebase, and from there, they created a touring circuit for which they used circuses of bricks or wood that they built over the years in several Russian cities. Piotr Nikitin , the great artist of the family, retired from the circus in the s. He died on August 20, , having outlived his brothers. Akim was left alone at the helm of the Nikitin Brothers's Russian Circus.

When his flagship circus in Tbilisi burned down, Akim finally decided to build a permanent circus in Moscow, where he found a vacant lot on Triumfalnaya Plaza and Bolshoya Sadovaya Street. Dmitri, Piotr, Akim Nikitin c. Started Merged with Ringling Bros Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Circus" , a travelling combination of circus, menagerie and museum of "freaks".

Coup's Circus travels on a special circus train, and by was billing itself as " The Greatest Show on Earth". It went through a number of variants on these names: Barnum died on April 7, Delno Fritz was the sword swallower with Barnum and Bailey Circus from to In May , , the Barnum and Bailey Circus played Nottingham, England and travelled between cities on 4 huge trains, each with 17 carriages.

Delno Fritz was the featured sword swallower in On April 11, , owner James Bailey died. Fritz Lecardo performed with Ringling Brothers on a European tour, and was possibly along with Edward Smith part-time sword swallowers with Barnum and Bailey Circus possibly during the years to Winter shows at Olympia in London England Final show at Olympia in London before touring Great Britain Sword Swallower Delno Fritz in England Sword Swallower Mlle Amy in Germany Sword Swallower Mlle Edith Clifford James Bailey dies April 11, Sword Swallower Marie DeVere Sword Swallower Edward Smith?

Sword Swallower Slivers Bowden joins in Omaha Born Performed s? Castle Hill Richmond Yorkshire England. Hayden to the Yorkshire Evening Post , "and one day at the depot of the 7th Fusiliers, at Hounslow, I fell in with Professor Beaumont , who was an expert tattooist and used to work the barracks in and around London.

He took a fancy to my sword swallowing turn, and we got to know each other well. He suggested that I might take up tattooing in my spare time, and to fill in the intervals between theatrical engagements, I did, and for some 40 years now I have been in business for myself in various parts of the country, including London and Aldershot.

During the War I was at Felixstowe. SwSw Alfred Hayden reminisces at 75 Born Performed s Died after ? According to a Brownsville Herald article dated January 25, It did him no harm. Longo will turn next week. The Soviet magazine Yunost Youth said Longo , a "famous fakir and dervish," is writing memoirs of his long career as a sideshow artist in Russian circuses. The magazine publishes excerpts from the memoirs in connection with Longo 's th birthday. In his heyday, the magazine said, Longo "walked barefoot on burning coals and on points of Persian spears or Turkish sabres.

He lay down on beds of nails, drank molten tin and conjured spirits. He also offered a reason for his long life. You will die but once so it is not worth worrying about it. Later he said, he teamed up with a 9-foot giant, and a inch lady. This was in the s, he said, and it was about then that he acquired a French-speaking parrot named Ara. He once had a family of acrobatic cockroaches that performed tricks in a miniature playground.

Russian SwSw Demetrius Longo turns Born Performed Married Died Nov 19, Lady Margurite was a female circus sword swallower who performed in the early s to This photo was taken of her in Davenport, Iowa.

According to the October 17, Billboard: Margaret Davis is doing the sword swallowing in the Haag Auxiliary. Slivers Bowden , side-showman is the power of this department. According to Billboard Volume 29 dated May 9, Fiedler has seen considerable service "Over There. According to the Billboard dated September 18, Margaret and Jess Fiedler rejoined the show at Pueblo. They opened with the show in the spring, but were compelled to leave on account of Mrs.

Jess is selling tickets for the big show, while Margaret is working in the kid show. Fiedler born in Kansas Marguerite Davis born Mighty Haag Shows Auxiliary Howe's Great London Show John Robinson's Circus Side Show Married to Jesse R. Fiedler in Pensacola FL John Robinson Circus Side Show Marguerite Davis in poor health Marguerite Davis dies at the age of in OH First well-known North American sword swallower, Chevalier Cliquot was one of the most prominent sword-swallowers of his time and was known by the description "The World's Greatest Sword Phenomenon".

On seeing an old man swallow a small machete in Buenos Aires, he allegedly took up learning sword swallowing around at about the age of 16 Photo reportedly of Cliquot holding two swords taken in Montevideo Uruguay on July 18, Carver , the fat woman, and her midget son, Major Heard and son, diminuitive dwarfs; Cliquot , the sword swallower, and Clios Adams , the armless man.

Cliquot told Harry Houdini that Delno Fritz was his sword swallowing pupil in the early s. It was about this same time that Delno Fritz also claimed he studied sword swallowing from Cliquot while Fritz was also working at the Harry Davis Eden Musee in Harrisburg.

On January 19, , while swallowing 14 nine-inch swords at once in New York, Cliquot had the misfortune to have a skeptical audience, one of whom, a doctor who should have known better, rushed forward and impulsively pulled out the swords, inflicting injuries on Cliquot which incapacitated him for months.

According to a January 20, article in the Ottawa Journal , "A French Canadian sword swallower named Cliquot was severely cut internally in a private exhibition at New York yesterday by a doctor who undertook to draw out fourteen swords that he had swallowed all at once, instead of singly.

The sufferer is lying unconscious at an hospital. When he seemed in pain with fourteen swords down his throat, Dr. Hope yanked them out in a bunch. McLone in bed under morphine's influence. McLone was under the influence of morphine administered by Dr. William Shannon , who believes his exhibition of sword swallowing at the Metropolitan Throat Hospital at West Thirty-fourth Street on Friday brought about slight inflammation of the stomach and oesophagus, and that there are slight lacerations of the throat.

McLone is a handsome little man, with a physique that is like that of Rowell, the walker. He was born in Quebec in , and when a schoolboy became fascinated with a circus show and ran away from home to become an acrobat. A family of saltimbancos attached to a circus took an interest in him, and taught him to tumble and do feats of strength.

He had just become expert enough to be worth a salary when he saw Battin the sword swallower perform some of his feats, and detected him in trickery. McLone experimented with himself, first with a wire with a knob at the end, until he had overcome the muscular and nervous resistance of his throat.

Then he practiced with a sword until he was able to swallow a blade of about twenty inches up to its hilt. Constant practice made his throat callous to or familiar with intrusion, and fourteen years ago, when the United States man-of-war Lancaster was at Algiers, and a minstrel show was given on board, he appeared as the "American Acrobat" and gave an exhibition of sword swallowing without using a "sheath" or any device to lessen the severity of the ordeal to which his throat was put.

His pseudonym was given him two years later in a Paris cafe, after a bottle of "The Widow's" had been splashed over him. He last appeared in public in Pittsburg three weeks ago and was to appear in Montreal to-morrow, but the date has been canceled. To kill time, he and his manager had gone to Boston, and his ability to swallow almost anything, except an insult, was demonstrated before Dr.

Keith 's office in the Gaiety Theatre. Bowditch , at the end of the exhibition asked: They say that he was brought there by his manager.

They are familiar with the feats that a throat accustomed to distension will endure, and say that, physically considered, what McLone did on Friday was startling, but not especially wonderful. He first caused the 22 inch blade of a Chassepot sabre to disappear up to the hilt, and then swallowed four sword blades twenty inches long. The swords were made for the purpose, and the hilts were in the same plane as the blades, which fitted into each other like a nest of spoons.

Then, taking the sabre, Cliquot fastened at right angles to the hilt a hollow rod of iron, four feet long, and to each end of the rod attached a dumbbell maker "14 pounds. While the sabre was in his oesophagus McLone gave the bar a half twist, something he had never before attempted, according to Manager Howell.

The doctors were asked if they wished to see a fowling piece attached to the bar and discharged while four inches of the sabre were out of the juggler's mouth, so that the sabre would force the blade down to the hilt, but they declined, and McLone prepared to do the next feat, that of swallowing fourteen swords, the blades of which were like those used in the second feat.

Howell admits that when the sabre with the bar and the dumbbells was drawn from its living sheath, McLone appeared to suffer and retched, and that he should have then desisted, or have been made to do so. The fourteen swords were swallowed like the bunch of four, and the ordeal was little more severe, except that the distention of the throat was greater.

Before swallowing the swords, McLone said that if any one wanted to draw them, it should be done one by one and not in a bunch. The swords were not half their length in McLone 's economy when he appeared to be suffering and turned pale. Howell had turned his back when they were beginning to disappear, and he heard one of the doctors say, "My God, this is going too far. Hope grasp the swords by the butts, and sharply withdraw them, instead of pulling them out quickly, one by one, as a card player deals cards, and as McLone does on stage.

McLone gave a groan and leaned forward. He appeared to be in great agony, and could not speak for several moments. He then complained of severe pain in the stomach and throat. After a hypodermic injection of morphine had been given to him he was taken to his hotel in a cab. It was at first feared that either his throat had been lacerated or that there was a puncture of the stomach, and that an operation would be necessary, but there was no hemmorhage, and his condition had so far improved yesterday afternoon that he was able to drink some kumyss.

Manager Howell was convinced that the new trick of turning the sabre with the bar and dumbbells attached was too great a strain for organs that had been strained and stretched to fit them for abnormal uses.

He expected, however that McLone would be able to go to Toronto to fill an engagement at the end of this week. His wife, who aids him in his performances, was so satisfied with his condition that she went out for a walk with a friend. The staff of the hospital say they were not responsible for McLone 's collapse. Before he gave his exhibition, his throat was examined, and while it was found to have become distended, it appeared to be healthy. McLone admitted that frequently after he had been idle for some time, he swallowed food with difficulty, and had several times been almost choked by food.

He also suffered from dyspepsia when not "in practice", but found relief when he swallowed a sword. He was advised not to attempt any feat that would tax his throat more than it had been, and to keep it exercised.

William Shannon , his physician, says McLone may sit up in bed today. According to an article in the Chicago InterOcean dated March 20, The sword swallower act is a remarkable one, the Chevalier passing blades twenty-one inches long down his throat and then bending his neck in all directions. On November 10, , an unnamed year old European sword swallower who had performed for over 20 years was featured in an in-depth article on the art of sword swallowing in the Pittsburgh Daily Post.

Based on the description of the sword swallower and details of the feats described, this must have been Cliquot. On February 21, , Cliquot was still pulling in the crowds at the Westminster Royal Aquarium by swallowing 14 swords and a watch according to an article in the Westminster Budget dated February 21, By , Cliquot had swallowed up to 22 inch blades nearly every day for over 23 years at least and possibly beyond that.

Cliquot could swallow a inch cavalry sword without difficulty, and his act included swallowing an electric light bulb connected to an 8-volt battery, up to fourteen inch bayonet swords at one time, and his major trick was to swallow a bayonet sword, weighted with a cross-bar and two pound dumbbells. In another feat, he would partially swallow a bayonet weighted with a crossbar, and allow the rest of the blade to be "kicked" by the recoil of a rifle which was fixed to a spike in the center of the bar and then fired by his sister.

Cliquot was known to have performed with the Forepaugh Circus , did lectures and demonstrations before physicians and students at the University of of Liverpool in England, and finally "reformed" and ended up as a music hall agent in England.

Edith McLone died in March at the age of 47, and was interred in the county of Staffordshire England. After a demonstration many years ago before the Chicago College of Surgeons , he was offered a life pension if he would agree to leave his body for research purposes. He refused, but a few days before his last operation, he bequeathed his body to the Oldham Infirmary. Born in Chicago, IL?

Born according to passenger manifests Born in Quebec Canada? Learned sword swallowing at 16 Fred and Edith Cliquot live in Cardiff Wales Palace Museum , Scranton, PA Delno Fritz meets Cliquot in Pennsylvania, gets passionate about sword swallowing Cliquot move to Scranton PA Huber's Museum NY Mexico City Mexico McVicker's Theatre Casino Chicago Boston Lyceum Boston, MA In-depth article in Pittsburgh Daily Post Delphos Daily Herald article Debuts at The Aquarium in London Westminster Royal Aquarium London Cliquot arrive in Liverpool England Still sword swallowing Gets US Passport Edith McLone dies at 47, interred in Staffordshire, England Performed Died December 20, A Cincinnati Enquirer articles dated January 17, reports on a Cincinnati sword swallower who was injured in January Could this have been sword swallower Harry Parsons?

According to obituaries in the NY Times and the Leavenworth Times , both dated Dec 24, , " Harry Parsons , a professional sword-swallower, fatally injured himself while performing the feat in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday.

Cincinnati sword swallower Harry Parsons obituary Harry Parsons obituary Born Sept 26, Performed Died Gustaf Westerlund born Sept 26, in Oulu Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland and his brother Alexander Westerlund born Sept 6, were born to Gustaf Westerlund and Maria Kaisa , and performed together as circus performers in Finland under the name "Veljekset Westerlund" Brothers Westerlund doing an acrobatic act which also included sword swallowing.

An advertisement from August 5, states that Westerlund " Barnum and Bailey's first three ring circus is staged in New York City in Barnum died in According to a March 9, article in the Los Angeles Herald , " Prof Willio , a world renowned Prestidigitateur and Necromancer will give three entertainments in this city, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday eve'gs, March 12, 13, and The Professor outrivals the Davenport tricks, swallows molten sealing wax, and performs many new and astonishing feats.

Alan Beale's Core Vocabulary Compiled from 3 Small ESL Dictionaries (21877 Words)