Tag: Riley Schillaci

    Did anyone see the latest sword swallowing show?

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    I know this is old news, but I was just wondering if anyone went to this? I’ve been before and seen Riley Schillaci and Vanessa Neil. I was in the general area a bit before the show was to start, and it didn’t look like there were very many people around.

    Ripley's Believe It or Not!

    Steel of a Deal: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls Odditorium Holds Free Sword Swallowing Shows on Saturday, February 25
    Ripley’s celebrates the art of sword swallowing on World Sword Swallower’s Day

    NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. (Feb. 3, 2012) More than 20 sword swallowers will be “dropping swords” at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums worldwide at 2:25 p.m. on February 25, in celebration of the 6th annual World Sword Swallower’s Day.

    In excess of 125 feet of solid steel is set to go down the hatch – hopefully without a scratch!

    In Niagara Falls, Vanessa Neil, one of the few female sword swallowers in the world, will perform a free sword swallowing show outside Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls Odditorium, located at 4960 Clifton Hill. The show will start at 2:00 p.m. local time and
    culminate with an official “swallow” that will take place at 2:25:12 p.m. to coincide with the 2/25/12 date. Ripley’s Prize Giveaway and photo opportunities will follow.

    World Sword Swallower’s Day was founded by the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) and is co-sponsored by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
    “We established World Sword Swallower’s Day to honor this ancient art and recognize the few people in the world who can do this,” explains Dan Meyer, a sword swallower whose amazing feats have been chronicled by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. “We also raise awareness of the contributions sword swallowers have made to the fields of medicine and science and raise money for esophageal cancer research.”

    Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has a long history of highlighting the death-defying achievements of sword swallowers.

    “Sword swallowers were a big part of the very first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933,” said Tim O’Brien, VP of Communications for Ripley Entertainment Inc. “There, three performers, two of whom were women, mesmerized the huge crowds. Ripley’s has been home to sword swallowers around the world ever since.”

    For a large selection of high resolution images, please visit:



    Madalena Phillips

    Marketing & Public Relations, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls


    Tim O’Brien
    VP Communications
    Ripley Entertainment Inc.
    (615) 646-7465 – office
    Dan Meyer
    Sword Swallowers Assoc. International
    About Ripley Entertainment
    Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is part of the Ripley Entertainment Inc. (
    www.ripleys.com) family of worldwide attractions, the global leader in location-based entertainment. More than 12 million people visit its 80-plus attractions in 11 countries each year. In addition to its 31 Believe It or Not!Odditoriums, the Orlando, Florida-based company has publishing, licensing and broadcast divisions that oversee projects including the
    syndicated Believe It or Not! television show, best-selling books and the popular syndicated cartoon strip, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, that still runs daily in 42 countries. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the third-largest privately held company in Canada.

    About Sword Swallowing
    The art of sword swallowing began more than 4,000 years ago in India, and requires the practitioner to use mind-over-matter techniques to control the body and repress natural reflexes to insert solid steel blades from 15 to 25 inches down the esophagus and into the stomach. With the demise of the traveling circus sideshow over the
    past several decades, there are currently less than a few dozen full-time professional sword swallowers actively performing the deadly art around the world today.
    About the Sword Swallowers Association International

    Founded in 2001 to preserve the art of sword swallowing, SSAI (www.swordswallow.org) is comprised of sword swallowers from around the world and maintains a website with general information on sword swallowing for the general public at www.swordswallow.com

    First App from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is Tough to Swallow

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    I know this isn’t directly Niagara Falls-related, but there is a connection…

    You probably will remember that over the last few years the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Niagara Falls has hosted a sword swallower on International Sword Swallowers Day. I’ve seen Riley Schillaci and Vanessa Neil (click their names to see pictures and videos of their performances).

    Well, apparently now Ripley’s has released an app releated to sword swallowing:

    Sword swallowing. Yeah, there’s an app for that – thanks to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

    Ripley’s allows users to sharpen their sword swallowing skills with new app for iPhone, iPod Touch

    Ripley’s first-ever app is called iSword, and was created for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It allows players to test the speed of their reactions in a sword swallowing game that unlocks iSword, a cutting-edge experience that utilizes the device’s camera for a truly unique, virtual-reality sword swallowing simulation.

    You can read the entire press release here…

    Vanessa Neil, Sword Swallower, at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum


    As you read on Saturday, I went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum to see the sword swallower. This was the second year that they did it, and I thought Vanessa Neil was better than Riley Schillaci, last year’s performer. I can’t really explain what I didn’t like about Riley, but she just didn’t seem happy to be there. Vanessa was much more chatty, smiled a lot, and seemed happy to be there with everyone.

    I was going to make some observations, but I thought the article in the Niagara Falls Review that I linked to yesterday got all of the main points. Also, you can read my tweets from Saturday as well.

    You can see the 30-second video I took on YouTube. I forgot to bring my better HD camera, so the quality isn’t that great, but you still get a clear shot of her downing about a foot of sword in the blink of an eye. The sword was about two feet long in total.

    I also took a few pictures. I couldn’t tweet, do a video, and take pictures at the same time, so I don’t have a still picture of her with the sword in her mouth. However, you can see her holding the sword, as well as the crowd that was gathered. You can also see the renovations that they are doing at Ripley’s.

    You can see the pictures in the 20100227 Sword Swallower Vanessa Neil gallery in the Niagara Falls Image Gallery. As a side note, there are now 2,920 images in 238 categories in the gallery.

    Sword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! MuseumSword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum
    Sword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! MuseumSword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! MuseumSword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum
    Sword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! MuseumSword Swallower Vanessa Neil at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum

    20100412 UPDATE: As you can see by the comments below, last year’s performer, Riley Schillaci, took issue with my comments about her. Riley explained in her comments how she was feeling that day. I would also add that this was the first year that the local Ripley’s Museum had a performer. I sympathize with Riley, and hope that she has a successful sword swallowing career.

    See the sword — and then swallow it

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    It’s not a holiday yet, but sword swallowers have made today their own.

    World Sword Swallowers Day will see performers send steel down the hatch at more than a dozen Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums throughout the world, including Clifton Hill.

    Toronto’s Vanessa Neil does the deed at 2:27 today, symbolic of Feb. 27.

    It marks the second straight year a female sword swallower — a small portion of an already slim group of professionals — appears at Ripley’s in Niagara Falls. Last year saw Rochester, N.Y.’s Riley Schillaci perform on a bitterly cold day.

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