LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Friday, 3 October 2014

Fire-eater sets himself alight in circus accident

When circus stunts go wrong

This is the moment when fire-eater Ilya Golubev burped during a performance in Russia. The spilled paraffin set his face on fire and then his hands as he tried to beat out the flames.

Amazingly, he finished his act before being rushed to hospital where he was treated for severe burns.

Click here for film of the accident.

For more proof of the danger faced every day by circus performers, read Circus Mania - the book the Mail on Sunday called "A brilliant account of a vanishing art form."

Eva Garcia
She lived and died
in the ring.
The book was inspired by my meeting with aerialist Eva Garcia, just days before she fell and died during a show at the historic Great Yarmouth Hippodrome.

As my backstage journey through the circus world continued, I heard more tales of death in the ring, including that of Neville Campbell who fell from a Wheel of Death during a Christmas show at the Blackpool Tower Circus.

Campbell was the godson of Circus of Horrors founder Dr Haze, and a chapter on the Horrors includes an account of how to swallow a sword by fakir Hannibal Helmurto - and a graphic description of how easily the act can go wrong: "I perforated my oesophagus and ended up in hospital for three weeks without any form of food or drink."

There's also an account of a fire-eating stunt that went wrong during an audition.

Click here to read about the death of Eva Garcia in an extract from Circus Mania.

Think of Eva next time you go to the circus, remember that the danger you see is real... and that everything could go wrong at any moment.

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