His What?


So a circus sword swallower in England injures himself while trying to slide a 4 foot long sabre down his throat.  He was rushed to hospital (in Tooting no less) when he pierced his respiratory tract.

Ok, that’s wierd but probably not really newsworthy until you get to the line in this story from the Croydon Guardian:

But the German performer accidentally stabbed himself at the Fairfield Halls show when his sphincter failed to open correctly because of a throat infection.

Now I’m not a medical professional.  Heck, I don’t even remember playing doctor when I was a kid but I’m pretty sure the sphincter isn’t part of the respiratory tract.  In fact, I think it’s nowhere near the throat area.

Almost is good is this picture of the performer – Hannibal Helmurto who is part of “The Circus Of Horrors”.

The former German government worker is now back on the job, sphincter and all.

UPDATE: It appears that the quote is correct.  The body has a number of sphincters including one in the throat.  Who says you don’t learn anything on the Intertubes?

One thought on “His What?

  1. There are actually a few different sphincters in the human body. In sword swallowing, the sword passes through the upper esophageal sphincter, which is also known as the “Cricopharyngeal Sphincter”, then it passes down the esophagus, between the lungs, nudges aside the heart, does through the diaphragm, and must pass through the LES (“Lower Esophageal Sphincter”) which is like a tight rubber band that closes off the esophagus from the digestive acids in the stomach, before the tip of the blade can reach down into the stomach.

    There is another sphincter at the far end of the process, but that was not the one that Helmut injured.

    You are welcome to visit our site at http://www.swordswallow.com for pictures, x-rays, videos and more information.

    Hope this helps clarify!

    All the best,

    Dan Meyer
    Executive Director
    Sword Swallowers Association Int’l
    Sword Swallowing Resources To The Hilt

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