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A brief history of Fire Eating and Breathing

Sean of spicebham.com

Fire Eating is the act of placing lit wicks in the mouth or swallowing them. It can be performed such that the wick is extinguished or returns still lit. Fire eating is not often performed as a singular act, but is often combined with fire breathing. It has a long and mostly undocumented history that can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

Fire Breathing is the act of expelling atomized fuel from the mouth over a flame, so as to create the appearance of exhaling fire. This is one of the most dangerous fire arts, because the flames have a tendency to follow the fuel back into the individual's mouth and lungs. It can lead to burns, cancer,

poisoning, uncontrolled fires, and death. However, despite being the most dangerous and most publicized of the fire arts, little is known of its heritage. It dates back to before the renaissance in Europe and has a longer tradition in China and India. It existence is noted in ancient Egyptian texts, and is probably older than that. It has been incorporated into Polynesian traditions, and is present in America as a circus act. Fire Breathing is a standard side-show act, and a favorite of street performers and bar patrons. It is never safe and contributes several mortalities each year in the US.

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