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Magician performs at Londoner

• Michael Todd puts on a show in Canyon County.

Posted: April 7, 2008 1:13 a.m.
Updated: June 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.

A member of the crowd pulls a sword out of Michael Todd's throat at his show on Sunday.

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Most people would shy away from labeling themselves as a "professional idiot" or injuring themselves for the amusement of others. Yet for Michael Todd, labels of his mental state and injuries to his person are essential to attracting a crowd - and attract a crowd he did on Sunday. The crowd, whose reactions varied from fainting to cheering, packed The Londoner pub and bar in Canyon Country to watch Todd as he swallowed swords, walked on needles and stuck pins through his neck and arm.

Fresh off his historic performance at Hollywood's Magic Castle - where Todd's traveling troupe was the first ever non-magic show to perform at the invite-only venue - the professional sideshow artist wowed audience members with realistic, death-defying stunts.

"I am not a magician," Todd told the crowd shortly before he started his performance. "I do sideshows.

Everyone thinks what I do is fake, but it is all real."

Sideshows were generally secondary productions at circuses, carnivals or fairs. They included a number of stunts that were meant to draw large audiences.

Common stunts included sword swallowing, knife throwing, body piercing and lying on a bed of nails.

Many sideshow artists use nifty techniques to safely conduct their stunts, though the realness of each act offered viewers an element of danger and excitement.

For Todd, swallowing a sword was one of the most dangerous stunts he performed. He said that the sword must be placed down a specific path between the lungs, just past the heart and into his stomach. The sword was actually placed down his throat, and taken out five seconds later.

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