‘Sweet Spot’ With Mike Sugerman: Circus Geeks In Coney Island Sideshow

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Are you a geek?

There are plenty of those around today — techie types.

But Betty Bloomers doesn’t work on computer cords, rather, with steel swords. She swallows them. That’s her job.

“It goes into your stomach. It follows the path of food, basically,” she says.

She’s a geek. A circus geek, that is, swallowing swords for a living.

Bloomers is a proud performer at the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, which has been running since before the last, last century.

And some day, she may reach the heights of Coney Island Sideshow Hall of Fame. It was officially dedicated just last month, after 137 years.

“The Hall of Fame is actually about making the history public, putting up the names and getting people discussing it,” says Dick Zigun, who runs the sideshow and is the self-declared unofficial mayor of Coney Island. “So it’s actually a milestone for us.”

Included are, among others, Martin Laurello, the Human Owl. He could twist his head behind his back.

“They are doing things for a living that you and I would not do for all the money in the world,” says Zigun.

Bloomers doesn’t suggest you try any of it.

“I have one injury,” she said. Asked what happened, she replied, “I swallowed a sword.”

Don’t try this at home. See it at Coney Island.

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