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Sword swallowing siblings

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Sword swallower Nick Penny Sword swallower Nick Penny

AUGUSTA - Twenty-three-year-old Nick Penney and his older sister Laura have an unconventional bond. Both have an appetite for sword swallowing.

"I swallow swords every day. I have gone a few months without doing it. But it's like riding a bike, it's easy to do no matter how long you've been away from it," he explained.

Nick has been practicing magic, fire breathing and other fascinating tricks for years before he took a stab at sword swallowing in 2008.

"I'd been swallowing drum sticks, wire coat hangers and long objects before buying my first sword," he said. Now, he has a collection of 12 swords, all of which have had their blades filed down for safety reasons.

"I know it is dangerous, but it really didn't bother me because in learning to do sword swallowing I did research on human anatomy and all the organs being passed by the sword and how it was physically possible," Penney explained.

He said the real concern with sword swallowing is not so much about ingesting the blade, but what that blade is made of.

"You have to make sure it's made out of the proper metals because otherwise it can make you sick," he said.

It's concerns like these that prompted Penney to teach his sister how to swallow swords.

"I didn't want her to hurt herself, so I thought it was best to teach her," he said. "She swallowed her first sword in 2010 and her main reason for doing it is because I could and she doesn't want to be outdone by her brother."

Unlike Laura, who does this as just a hobby, Nick swallows swords for a living. Along with his magic shows, sword swallowing and other side show entertainment tricks are his main source of income. Once in awhile Laura will perform alongside him.

"It's a rare thing. There's only 42 of us in the world who practice this art," said Penney. "I can swallow multiple swords and do a cart wheel, and I hold the record for swallowing the most swords under water - which is three."

But despite his unique talents and love for this type of entertainment, Penney does not encourage others to try sword swallowing.

"No, it's dangerous. I don't recommend people risk their life for it. I recommend people become a doctor or nurse and take care of me when I hurt myself doing these things."

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 23:25


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