of the classic side show acts involves “Driving a spike into
spike nowadays is likely to be an electric drill (the flutes
are painted on). But over the years, I've seen nails, hinge
pins, and knitting needles used. In its old form a spike about
six inches long is used, and apparently driven into the head,
through a nostril.
commonly known is that the passage behind the nostril opening
is about four or five inches deep and ends in an open cavity,
above the palate. Anything of a suitable diameter (up to about
3/8 inches) can be inserted in this passage, with little or no
discomfort. The first few times you do it, the urge to sneeze
is overwhelming, and of course, your spike must be pulled out
before you do. You need to experiment a bit to find the proper
length and diameter to suit your body, and the object must be
very smooth and rounded at the tip. It's always possible to
irritate the mucus membrane and break capillaries, causing a
little bleeding. (It seldom happens, but it can.) As with all
the “feats” in this book, you must be aware of the possibility
of injury, and accept your own responsibility...
rest is showmanship! Mel Burkhardt, the king of this act uses
a hinge pin with a large head, and a claw hammer to “Drive it
in.” Of course he uses his fingers to control the entry, while
apparently hammering furiously. Then at the end of the stunt,
he uses the claw end of the hammer to “pull the spike out of
his head,” (?) and lets the spike crash to the stage… The
Great Harley Newman often uses a woman's spike high heel and I
know he once used a turkey leg!
There is a performer whose name escapes me who uses a white
LED on a wire to do a “Mental Flossing” variation, where you
can see the light go into his nose, and he draws it out of his
mouth with a great glow, calling the act “The Human Light
house.” Anything that will fit the passage can be used as long
as it's fairly smooth and without a point. Once you find the
path this is a pretty easy act to do. Usually it takes a
little jog to feel your way into the passage. I'm doing a bit
now using a corkscrew. Many of the people who try this overdo
the preparation with sprays, oils and things, I have found
this unnecessary, doing the stunt with sideshows as often as
twenty times a day.
Head flossing uses the same path, except you need to bring the
object out through you mouth. With a balloon this is easy….
Blow a “mouse” on the tied end and use the semi-rigid tube
part as you would the nail. Snuff the tube into your mouth,
and bring the end out. Then when you squeeze the “mouse” the
end coming from the mouth will inflate.