Ripley's to mark World Sword Swallowers Day

Several Ripley Entertainment attractions, including the Odditorium on Orlando's International Drive, will mark World Sword Swallowers Day with activities on Feb. 23. 

More than 20 sword swallowers will put on free shows. In Orlando, Chris Steele will be the headliner at 1:30 p.m., although his "official" swallow will be held at 2:23:13 p.m., which will coincide with the numerical representation of the date: Feb. 23, 2013. 

Sword swallowing has a long history with Ripley's, which featured the skill at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. Ripley's says the entertainers use mind-over-matter techniques to repress natural reflexes while inserting steel blades down the esophagus and into the stomach. The blades measure between 15 and 25 inches. Although sword swallowing was a staple in circuses of the past, there are few full-time professionals performing today, Ripley's says. 

Ripley's also promotes Sword Swallowers Day to raise awareness of esophageal cancer. 

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