Swallow : Sword



Getting to Know World-Renowned Sword Swallower, Dan Meyer

I never thought my career would bring me into dialogue with a sword swallower. Dan Meyer, head of Sword Swallowers Association International, let me interpret his work, and in the process has taught me things long past Swallow’s presumed completion. Most recently at a performance at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn., he introduced me to the incomparable story of sword swallower Edith Clifford, whose actual sword he’d added to his own bouquet in the hope of co-mingling his DNA with hers; he’s also made me want to track down the story of the famous Delmo Fritz — the sword swallower who appears in Freaks: I didn’t know until now that Fritz may have died while demonstrating a bronchoscopy for someone who may have been a colleague of Chevalier Jackson.

I discuss some of the implications of Dan’s work here in a Salon.com interview, and I devote part of a chapter of Swallow to the particulars of his practice. Many people don’t realize that the art and science of endoscopy is literally indebted to sword swallowers.

» Click here to read more about Dan Meyer and his work.