Sword swallowing is a skill in which the performer passes a sword through the mouth and down the esophagus to the stomach….for this feat is not swallowing in the traditional sense….as the natural processes that constitute swallowing do not take place….but are repressed in order to keep the passage from the mouth to the stomach open for the sword. The practice is dangerous and there is risk of injury or death.
Most serious sword swallowing injuries and fatalities occur after minor injuries….or while attempting a feat beyond that of a “normal” sword swallow. The most common injury is a sore throat when first learning….or after frequent consecutive performances, or after swallowing curved swords or several swords at once. Swallowing multiple swords simultaneously over time can also lead to distension of the esophagus. A minor injury may predispose the performer to sustaining a more major one, including perforation of the esophagus, stomach, heart, lungs, and other organs in proximity to the path of the sword, or intestinal bleeding. Twenty-nine deaths have been reported as a result of sword swallowing injuries since 1880.