Sword Swallower Hospitalized With Slashed Abdominal Cavity and Pierced Liver After Swallowing Mishap in Amusement Park
"I really thought I was going to die."
The well-known San Diego sword swallower Scott Nelson, also known as Murrugun the Mystic, was hospitalized in Washington D.C. after a swallowing attempt went awry, slashing his abdominal cavity and piercing his liver.
The mishap occurred at a Six Flags amusement park on Oct. 31 when paramedics were called to transport Nelson to the hospital. Although his injuries were not life-threatening, he underwent surgery and has been hospitalized—and hasn't been able to eat—for a month.
Read on to find out what happened and if Murrugun the Mystic plans to return to his craft.
On Oct. 31, Nelson was about a third of the way into his act at Six Flags America. As usual, he performed his five-sword-swallowing stunt. About 15 minutes later, he started feeling sick.
"It was really hard to breathe, and it felt like my chest was full," Nelson told KGTV. "I knew I was in big-time trouble … I really thought I was going to die." Paramedics were called, and treated 59-year-old Nelson and took him to a nearby hospital in serious condition.
The swords Nelson were using for the trick were dull at the point, about a half-inch wide, and between 24 and 28 inches long. "Five swords scissored my abdominal cavity. It also appears that I pierced the lobe of my liver," he said.
Nelson told KGTV he had been swallowing swords for more than 25 years, and this was his second accident. "I have to keep holding the swords in a bunch. If I let go too soon, that's when the scissoring happens. I let go too soon, and they rocked off of each other and scissored out," said Nelson. "Two penetrated the esophagus all the way through. One nicked my liver, and the other perforated my lung."
Nelson underwent multiple surgeries. He was placed in a medically induced coma for nearly a month. A doctor told him, "'No one thought you were going to make it. We thought you were going to die on the table,'" said Nelson.
Ultimately, part of Nelson's injured lung was removed. He is expected to recover. "Holy moly!!!! I had no idea just how bad this was," Nelson said in a Facebook post.
Nelson touted himself as "the most dangerous man in show business and ace of swords." He's known for a variety of stunts, including being the only man in the world to swallow a rocket-powered sword.
Nelson also says he's practiced transcendental meditation for over 35 years. "I can stop my heart; lower my heart rate, blood pressure," he said. "I deal with the pain of my act by doing the mediation, prayer, relaxation technique."
But now Nelson's sword-swallowing days are behind him. "I had a huge spiritual awakening," he said. "I won't be swallowing any more swords. I can never put my mother through this, ever, ever again." But the act will continue. He still plans to perform stunts like eating light bulbs and lying on a bed of nails.