News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2007

Dan Meyer is one of the world’s leading sword swallowers.
Daily file photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Dan Meyer is one of the world’s leading sword swallowers.

Hartselle man's underwater show a hard act to swallow

By Deangelo McDaniel · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — While living in the Bahamas, Dan Meyer swam with sharks and stingrays.

For the past seven years, he has been one of the world's leading sword swallowers.

On Friday, the Hartselle man will attempt to combine the two.

Meyer, whose performing name is Captain Cutless, will try to swallow a 24-inch steel sword while submerged in 15 feet of water at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Despite the obvious danger of being underwater, Meyer is going to have sharks and stingrays swimming with him in the 85,000-gallon saltwater tank.

Of some comfort to him is the fact that two trained divers and emergency medical technicians and an ambulance will be standing by in case of an emergency.

Considering the danger, you have to wonder why someone would attempt this feat.

"I love entertaining and amazing audiences with incredible stunts," Meyer explained.

Meyer will add weights to his waist and ankles to hold him steady in the water. Once at the bottom of the tank, he will tilt his head back as he does on land.

"The air will rush out of my lungs," he explained. "Not only will I have to concentrate on swallowing the sword correctly and not impaling myself, but I'll have to contend with the sharks and stingrays while trying not to drown."

Ripley Entertainment Vice President Tim O'Brien said Meyer's performance is part of Myrtle Beach's annual "Bike Week."

He said the event will promote the aquarium's "Pirates, Predators of the Sea" exhibit, which Ripley designed to educate visitors about the history of pirates.

"Having a swashbuckling pirate like Meyer attempt to swallow a sword underwater is the perfect fit," O'Brien said.

Meyer, who is executive director of Sword Swallowers Association International, almost died last year when he punctured his stomach while swallowing five swords.

He said the danger will be multiplied Friday, especially if he suffers a cut and blood gets into the water with sharks.

"I'm just going down and focusing on swallowing the sword," he said.

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