SWALLOWING two curved cutlasses and holding them down for more than 10 seconds is not for the squeamish.
But then the whole Circus of Horrors show comes with a ‘not for the faint-hearted’ warning.
Last night, Ian Brown, originally from Fareham but now living on the Isle of Wight, broke a world record for swallowing two curved cutlasses for the longest time ever recorded at Ferneham Hall, Fareham.
Ian, 29, only discovered that he could perform the terrifying feat at a workshop held by the Circus of Horrors at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, last year.
‘I started by trying to swallow a bent coat-hanger and have gradually progressed from there,’ said Ian, who has been mentored by Circus of Horrors performers.
It took him a year to master the skills and beat the body’s natural gag reflex. Now he says he only notices the swords if they are cold.
For the last year he has concentrated solely on swallowing swords – practising up to 40 times a day.
‘Some nights my girlfriend would be watching the telly and I would be there swallowing swords or hammering a nail into my face, you know, doing something weird,’ he said.
This is Ian’s third appearance with the Circus of Horrors, a travelling theatre show featuring weird acts like Jesus the wolfboy from Mexico, who is completely covered in hair. Members featured on TV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2011.
Ian, who goes by the name El Lurchio, already held the previous world record of eight seconds. The new record is 13 second and he is thought to be unique in his ability to swallow curved objects.
He said: ‘It takes dedication. Don’t even attempt it until you have a good base of other skills.
‘I started with a bed of nails and hammering a nail into my face. If you can master skills like that then you have the commitment needed.’
He now aspires to master swallowing a neon tube – the ultimate sword-swallowing accolade – and to pull a car with a swallowed sword.
Circus of Horrors is on a UK tour and will be playing at the King’s Theatre, Southsea on Wednesday, March 13.
This year’s tour is called Curse of the Devil Doll because the story goes that the last tour was plagued by bad luck caused by a spooky ventriloquist doll that had been bought from America.