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Soviet Sword Swallower Claims He's Turning 100

Заметка «Советский шпагоглотатель утверждает, что ему исполняется 100 лет»
Опубликована 25 января 1972 года в газете города Браунсвилл (шт. Техас, США)
Представляет собой краткое изложение на английском языке статьи из журнала «Юность», 1972, № 1

Soviet Sword Swallower Claims He's Turning 100
Brownsville, USA, TX: The Brownsville Herald, 25.01.1972

MOSCOW (UPJ) — Demetrius I. Longo said he spent most of his life swallowing swords, walking on nails, drinking molten tin and pulling out his eyeballs. It did him no harm. Longo will turn 100 next week.

The Soviet magazine Yunost (Youth) said Longo, a "famous fakir and dervish," is writing memoirs of his long career as a sideshow artist in Russian circuses. The magazine published excerpts from the memoirs in connection with Longo's 100th birthday.

In his heyday, the magazine said. Longo "walked barefoot on burning coals and on the points of Persian spears or Turkish sabres. He lay down on beds of nails, drank molten tin and conjured spirits.

"For him. swallowing a sword was a mere trifle ... be could even remove his own eyeball and put it back."

In his memoirs, Longo revealed the secret of sword swallowing—it involves feathers and goose fat — and he described some of his more spectacular stage tricks. He also offered a reason for his long life.

"He says he reached such an incredible age because he never feared death," the magazine said. "He quoted his favorite poet. Omar Khayyam: You will die but once so it is not worth worrying about it."

Longo said he began his career at the age of 11 in the town of Nizhegorodsk where he joined a carnival as a roustabout, ticket taker and parttime magician. Later, he said, he teamed up with a 9-foot giant and a 20-inch lady.

This was in the 1890s, he said, and it was about then that he acquired a French-speaking parrot named Aга. "Ara was five years older than me at the time," he said. "He still lives, so that makes him 105 years old now."

Longo, Ara, the giant and the midget toured Russian cities with their act, he said, and it gradually expanded. He once had a family of acrobatic cockroaches that performed tricks in a miniature playground.