Razor blade swallowing is a death-defying, terrific stunt that leaves everyone around you in absolute disbelief.
Magicians have been swallowing razor blades for years… or have they?
There’s more than meets the eye here; it’s not quite so simple, and there are risks involved with these kinds of stunts, but it’s worth checking out to see if you can augment your act with them.
Let’s go into all of the details, and try to have you come out on the other side in favor of the crowds.
Do Magicians Really Swallow Razor Blades?
No, they don’t really swallow razor blades.
Because of their inability to perfectly guide them down their throat, swallowing a razor blade would most certainly prove to be fatal.
However, we’ve all seen the tricks, and I”m going to explain how it’s done.
Have you ever seen a razor blade right out of the box?
It has two slats along the top of the unsharpened edge. This is where the magic comes in.
The reason that these slats exist is so that utility knives have a place to grip onto, but in this case, thin clear wire or string is going to be tied through it. In total, three razor blades will be put on this one string.
Now comes the scary part. You have to make sure that this is good and tight, otherwise, you could risk a fatal injury.
I don’t think I have to say it, but I’m going to—do not try this for any reason, it’s all just for entertainment.
Whew, okay. Now that that’s out of my system, we can continue.
These three razor blades are going to be threaded on this clear string, and the string is going to be tied around a tooth prior to this entire act taking place.
The magician will host the three razor blades, side by side, in their right cheek.
When a magician puts razor blades in their mouth, they’re just storing them in the other cheek, one at a time.
At the end of swallowing three blades, a magician then puts a string in their mouth in an attempt to make an audience believe that they’re using the string to thread the three razor blades and pull them out of their throat. This is far from the case.
The magician then pulls on the string that’s around their other tooth and pulls the pre-made razor blade string out of their mouth, one by one, creating the illusion that they really did pull this off.
When the magician is done with the trick, the box down and spit out the blades and new string, or turn around at the end of the trick to gently release them from their mouth.
What About Sword Swallowing?
I don’t even know how to approach this subject.
Being a magician myself, I would never dare attempt this. It’s dangerous, it’s reckless, and it’s been fatal for a lot of magicians in recent years.
When a magician is swallowing a sword, they’re actually swallowing a sword.
There’s no way that we know of to fake it, like a dull sword that retracts into the handle just like one of those old Star Wars lightsaber toys.
We don’t have anything like that, so magicians simply learned how to swallow swords.
Does it sound crazy?
I hope it sounds crazy to you.
Sword swallowing runs the risk of perforating your esophagus, your windpipe, and permanently causing damage that could mean you have to be hooked up to a feeding tube to live out the rest of your days.
I know how silly it is that a magician would write about sword swallowing just to tell you not to do it, but think of it this way: we’re supposed to be bringing joy and fun to people, and nobody wants to watch a magician die. Absolutely nobody.
Do They Actually Swallow the Swords?
Well, yes and no.
To swallow something, we think of it reaching digestion in our stomachs, but with sword swallowing a magician is just relaxing the muscles in their throat.
When the sword is in there, they can tighten back up just a little bit to hold the sword in place and then pull their hands off the hilt.
But the swords never actually reach their stomach, so while they do pass by all the necessary areas of the throat to count as being swallowed, you’re not actually intaking the entire sword into your gut.
How to do it Effectively?
It’s something that is only really known by the Sword Swallowers Association International, and yes, that is a real thing.
However, at least 29 members of the SSAI have died in recent years from attempting this.
Doing it effectively involves having the perfect length sword, and knowing the measurements of your own esophagus.
It’s not exactly easy to tell, despite the average length being about 17” to 19” in length.
The standard width is a single inch, making it a very tight space to fit a sword into.
You need to have expert precision, and while it might be possible, it’s not something that most of us possess.
It’s not a good idea, because you’re basically looking at the same chance of finding hay in a needle stack. Yes, I said that right.
Sword Swallowing Has Been Around Forever
If you’ve happened to read my post on the history of magicians, then you know that magicians were persecuted for a very long time.
From about 300 A.D. onward, we were all seen as worshippers of the occult, and demon lovers. It was pretty intense.
However, I would like to point out that while sword swallowing is now seen as a magician’s act, it used to be widely practiced as far back as 100 A.D., and people did it all throughout the dark ages (which is when magicians were persecuted the most).
Sword swallowing became famous in ancient Japanese culture in their festival theatre, which was known as Sangaku.
Later, it spread to China around 700 A.D., and practiced throughout Europe for a long time. Basically, in 1893, Scandinavia finally outlawed it, and people began taking it a bit more seriously.
It was believed that some magicians would swallow the entire sheaths to their swords and keep it in their GI tract, and then immediately walk out on stage, sheath the sword in there, well, a sheath that was located in their throat, and enjoys a safer way to sword swallow.
However, unless the swords were extremely thin, the sheaths wouldn’t have fit in a normal person’s throat in the first place. It leaves a lot of speculation in the air that I just don’t buy.
There’s actually far more recent history on record than anything else.
If you’ve ever heard of a man by the name of Jack Wise, then you’ve probably seen pictures of him swallowing a sword in front of the Blackpool Odditorium.
On top of that, Veronica Hernandez and Thrill Kill Jill both performed sword swallowing while pregnant, which is arguably as hardcore as anybody can get with sword swallowing.
It’s becoming a much more practiced art today than it was for the last century or so, but I still advise caution.
I think it’s bizarre that we’re still doing it now, but alas, here we are.
There’s an association dedicated to it, there’s an international sword swallowing day. I guess it’s here to stay, but you won’t catch me practicing it anytime soon.
Mastering This Trick Takes Time
It’s not something you want to do.
The fact that dozens of people have died from improper sword swallowing is insane, and it’s seriously, really not a good idea to try this stuff on your own.
Some sword swallowers have practices they do before actually acting this out, such as drinking a lot of water to weigh down the stomach. This allows them to swallow longer swords.
Sword swallowers take about five to ten years to master one of these acts, and it’s not worth the risk and hassle that you put yourself through to do it.
Even if you just wanted to attempt the strung razor blade trick, that’s going to take you a few years to get the hang of as well.
Getting Better at Every Turn
Even when you understand the secret methods behind razor blade swallowing tricks, you’re still going to have a very, very difficult time pulling them off.
For the purpose of safety, despite this being a magic website, we’re strictly advising you to not try this at all.
It’s never safe, and it requires concentration (and stable footing, because it’s a big problem if you slip).