Sword Swallower Dan Meyer, from Ren Fest to “America’s Got Talent”
The Tennessee Renaissance Festival has featured something a little different the past couple of years when sword swallower Dan Meyer performed portions of his incredible program for the amazed onlookers who watched him do the seemingly impossible. Last year, I watched a nurse I know pull the sword out of his mouth, and this year, Her Majesty, the Queen (of the Tennessee Ren Fest) pulled a sword from Dan Meyer’s throat.
“I saw my first sword swallowers and fire-eaters at circus sideshows with my dad when I was growing up as a child in Indiana in the 1960s,” says Dan Meyer. “Like most others in the audience, I was very skeptical, and I remember thinking, ‘There’s NO way that guy really swallowed a sword for the measly 50 cents we paid to get in this sideshow!’
“Later, when I was living as a short-term missionary, I encountered Indian fakirs, snake charmers, fire-eaters and sword swallowers performing as “golewala” street performers on the streets of India where sword swallowing first originated 4000 years ago. These guys did not have any fancy props, and since I could stand just a few feet away from them, I could see first-hand that they really DID swallow their homemade swords. That convinced me that sword swallowing really was real.”
Dan did not immediately take up the sword, but chose instead the pen, computer, and telephone. He also became a Celtic musician. However, after working in the music industry for several years in Nashville, Tennessee, Stockholm Sweden, and London England, he shifted his focus from the field of musical entertainment to variety entertainment becoming a circus clown, juggler, stilt-walker, and fire-eater. He ultimately conquered the most dangerous of all sideshow acts – sword swallowing in 1998 after hearing from a sword swallower that there were less than a dozen sword swallowers left around the world who performed the 4,000-year-old art.
“After three years of research, study, and daily practice 10-12 times/day, I finally swallowed my first sword successfully in February 2001,” he states.
Dan Meyer has honed his skills way beyond a circus sideshow act, winning several awards and performing on television numerous times swallowing swords. He is the co-author of an article published in the British Medical Journal, “Sword-Swallowing and Its Side Effects.” He won the 2007 ig Noble award in medicine at Harvard and appears in both the 2008 editions of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” and “The Guiness World Book of Records” where he is a multiple record holder. Dan Meyer is also president of the Sword Swallowers Association International.
His most recent claim to fame, however, was making it to the Quarter Finals of the 2008 edition of “America’s Got Talent” where millions of viewers watched Dan Meyer thrust different bladed and flaming instruments down his throat and live to tell the tale, to the awe, delight and occasional dismay of the fans and celebrity judges.
“Fantastic! Wow! That it was incredibly… Scary! If you were to film everybody at home watching this, half of America would be going ‘AAAAH!’ ” exclaimed David Hasselhoff of “America’s Got Talent” after watching Dan swallowing swords.
Sometimes Dan Meyer’s sword swallowing talent can be a hard act to swallow!
Check out Dan Meyer on Bukisa!