by Walt Hudson


I always look forward to this time year when the latest volume of the Guinness World Records is published.  It is astonishing how many ordinary people perform extraordinary challenging feats.  The current 2012 edition recognizes hundreds of individuals and groups who break existing record and set new ones in dozens of fields endeavor.


The section Skills and Talent is like a visit to a modern day circus.  Featured among the many entries are acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, martial arts, wire walkers performing dogs, hoop jumpers, foot jugglers and tight rope cycling.


The section Human Body is like a visit to a modern sideshow of human oddities.  You will see the record breaking bearded lady, longest beard, longest finger nails, hairiest child, little and large folks, heaviest gal and the gal with the longest tongue.  Also discover people with piercing, tattoos, scarifications and other body modifications.


It has just been in recent years that sword swallowing feats are permitted as a category because of its dangerous nature.  I was surprised and pleased to see my Baltimore friend Dai Andrews noted for his feat of swallowing a sword with a curvature of 120 inches!  Dan Meyer who is founder of Sword Swallowers Association International is cited for his amazing performance of swallowing two swords while submerged under water.  Professional Matt Henshaw set the record for swallowing 21 swords at the same time! 


Guinness World Records 2012 is a hardback book and has 287 pages and is divided into 11 major sections bursting with amazing feats and full color photos from around the world.  I highly recommend this captivating cavalcade of curiosities and spectacles.


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