Dating to ancient times, sword swallowing is a performance art in which an entertainer passes a sword through the mouth and down the esophagus to the stomach. It is not an illusion. Because real swords are used, it is a dangerous practice that can take years of mental and physical training to safely master. Sword swallowers can suffer potentially fatal injuries, such as perforated organs, while performing. How have their unique abilities made them historically useful in medical research?
Back in the day
Macbeth was originally a governor and military commander under Scottish King Duncan I, whose ancestors had seized power from the ancestors of Macbeth's wife. Macbeth ascended to the throne by killing Duncan in battle in 1040 and ruled Scotland for the next 18 years. In 1057, Macbeth was mortally wounded at the Battle of Lumphanan by Duncan's son Malcolm. Malcolm was crowned king the following year. Is Shakespeare's famous tragedy about Macbeth historically accurate?
Born on a day like today
Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott is widely regarded as both the inventor of the historical novel and one of the genre's greatest writers. His extremely popular "Waverley" series consists of more than two dozen romances of Scottish life. The first, published in 1814, was an immediate success, yet Scott continued to write anonymously until 1827. In 1825, his business nearly failed. By what means did he attempt to stave off bankruptcy, eventually achieving financial solvency after his own death?