Fire eating

Fire eating

A fire eater is an entertainer, often a street artist or part of a sideshow. The performer places flaming objects into their mouth and extinguishes them. They also practice controlling and transferring the flame.

History and hazards

Fire eating was a common part of Hindu, Sadhu, and Fakir performances to show spiritual attainment. It became a part of the standard sideshow acts in the late 1880s and is often seen as one of the entry-level skills for sideshow performers.

Other than sound fire safety precautions and some practical advice regarding the laws of physics (i.e. "hot air rises"), there are few secrets to eating fire. There is no such thing as "cold flame" nor is there any special substance in the performer's mouth other than saliva. According to Daniel Mannix's 1951 sideshow memoir "Step right up!", the real "secret" to fire eating is enduring pain; he mentions that tolerating constant blisters on your tongue, lips and throat is also necessary.

Famous Fire Eaters

The most famous fire eater in history is Robert Powell who not only swallowed fire but also red-hot coals, melted sealing wax and even brimstone. He performed, often in front of British and European royalty and nobility, for nearly sixty years and was awarded in 1751 a purse of gold and a large silver medal. [ [ "Miracle Mongers and their Methods"] , Houdini: particularly chapters II, V, VI . Retrieved on 2008-06-12]

Although not the earliest, the first to attract the attention of the upper classes was an Englishman named Richardson, who first performed in France in 1667. His methods were subsequently made public by his servant. [ [ "Hot Meals"] , "The Every-day Book and Table Book; or, Everlasting Calendar of Popular Amusements, Sports, Pastimes, Ceremonies, Manners, Customs, and Events, Each of the Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days, in Past and Present Times; Forming a Complete History of the Year, Months, and Seasons, and a Perpetual Key to the Almanac, Including Accounts of the Weather, Rules for Health and Conduct, Remarkable and Important Anecdotes, Facts, and Notices, in Chronology, Antiquities, Topography, Biography, Natural History, Art, Science, and General Literature; Derived from the Most Authentic Sources, and Valuable Original Communication, with Poetical Elucidations, for Daily Use and Diversion. Vol III.", ed. William Hone, (London: 1838) p 314-16. Retrieved on 2008-06-12]

World Records

On July 30th, 2004, sword swallower and fire manipulator Robert Wolf set a new world record by extinguishing 42 flaming torches in one minute using only his mouth. The previous world record of 36 torches was set in Finland in 2000. The record was set between the third and fourth innings during the Kansas City T-Bones baseball game in the Community America Ballpark located in Kansas City, KS [] . [] .

Fire eating tricks

These are arranged in alphabetical order.

Vapor tricks

Vapor tricks utilize the fuel vapors held in the mouth during or before an extinguish.
* Cigarette light - light a cigarette with a Human Candle
* Human candle - slowly feed a candle sized flame with vapors you hold
* Vapor transfer - ignite one torch with the vapor from another
* Volcano - shoot vapors straight up


Transfers are methods of moving a flame from one area to another, by using the body, or another surface or medium.
* Body transfers - transfer the flame from one torch to the other with other parts of your body, e.g. arm, leg, chest, buttocks, etc.
* Finger transfer - transfer the flame from one torch to the other with your finger
* Fire floor transfer - transfer the flame from one torch to the other on the floor
* Palm transfer - transfer the flame from one torch to the other with your palm
* Spit transfer - spit the fire from one torch to the other during an eat
* Tongue transfer - transfer the flame from one torch to the other with your tongue
* Toss transfer extinguish - puts out one torch, while making the flame "jump" to the other torch
* Torch in teeth hold - hold a lit torch in your teeth


Extinguishes are methods of extinguishing torches, and are the traditional hallmark of fire eating.
* Double fire eat - basic fire eat with 2 torches at once
* Extinguish fire on palm
* Flaming cotton ball extinguish - put out a cotton ball as you would a torch
* Hand snuff of torch - put the torch out by snuffing it with your hand
* In-mouth extinguish - basic fire eat with 1 torch
* Triple fire eat - three torches at once
* Toss extinguish - pull the torch down out of the flame to extinguish it

See also

* Fire breathing
* Fire-twirling

External links

* [ Fire-eating movies]
* [ Fire Eating Safety Advices] by [ Obbdalls]
* [ North American Fire Arts Association]
* [ Fire Eating] World-wide fire eating trainers & performers.
* [ Fire Eating Safety Guideline]
* [ Fire-eating video]


*cite book | author=Mannix, Daniel P.|title=Step right up!(1st ed.)| publisher=Harper |year=1951

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