Believe It or Not!
The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple

Ripley’s Ask:

Husband and wife team Hannibal Helmurto and Anastasia IV
have performed together in the incredible Circus of Horrors show since 2005.

Where did you meet each other?


We met in our local pub in Camden Town, London. I spotted Hannibal from across the room, came over, asked if I could stroke his ears, and six years later we are still stroking ears.

Explain your acts to us.


One of the things I do is I swallow a long sword, and then take a bow forward with the sword inside me. It’s very important that you keep your posture quite straight otherwise you can easily cut yourself and I don’t intend to do that.


Hair hanging comes from China, and was originally done by Chinese men. It is a dying art because it is so unpleasant and hurts so much. It takes a lot of training and a lot of willpower. The hair takes about 45 minutes to tie. You have to plait it like you plait a rope, and obviously there is a risk that it will come undone. We both do fire eating. It was one of the first things I learned to do, and it is still very popular.

Do you have any rituals?


We always try to have 5 seconds for a cuddle before we go on.

When you watch your partner perform, are you ever worried about the risks?


We are always a bit worried, because the acts we do in the Circus of Horrors always contain a high element of danger. Everything we do has a calculated risk—we have to know our anatomy, and how far we can push each other so we are always looking out for each other. But when I decided to marry Hannibal, I married him the way he is and I wouldn’t like to change him for the world.

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Author: Amy

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