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You should not attempt any of these Acts without the direct supervision and training from  a responsible and trained professional. 


by Slim Price


One of the classic side show acts involves “Driving a spike into your head!!”


The 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.


Not 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...


The 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.


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