Sideshow Sweethearts

Chris and Elaina Steele, of Atlanta, Georgia, have been performing classic sideshow stunts as vaudeville couple Captain and Maybelle for over 17 years!

Their show includes a variety of feats, including eye-socket weight lifting, glass eating, fire breathing, human suspension, and of course, sword swallowing. A fixture during Ripley’s yearly World Sword Swallower’s Day festivities, Captain became the new record holder for “weighted sword swallowing” when he downed a 17-in (43-cm) blade with 84 lb (38 kg) of weights attached!

When I was young, I would go to the carnival, and I was fascinated with the entertainers, from fire breathers to sword swallowers. But I was more fascinated once I knew it was real, that it wasn’t an illusion. In my mind, if they could do it, I could do it. -Captain

Speaking of weights, Captain even uses his eye sockets to lift a bucket holding a 10 lb (4.5 kg) brick! If you think that’s impressive, watch Maybelle swallow and eat an entire balloon. This may be TMI, but she has proof that the balloons are completely digested…ew!

You can catch America’s favorite sideshow couple on YouTube, in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Shatter Your Senses! and on tour around the country!