Wapello: One of the best kept secrets in the town of Munterville goes by the name Tommy Swail. Over the past two years, he has demonstrated his unique gift at Cabbage Days here in Munterville.

     On July 3, 1997, the twenty-nine year old Swail took the public stage over from Chicago's Blind Slim T-Bone and the Old School Blues Revue. He had been granted five minutes' time by the event's organizers to put on a show that, in his words, "would freak you senseless."

     Standing alone on stage, Swail stripped out of his jeans and t-shirt down to a Speedo. Not in bad shape, Swail received numerous catcalls from women around the grandstand.

     "Please, ladies and gentlemen," cautioned Swail. "Do not attempt to do this at home. I am gifted with a special ability which even I cannot explain. Those of you with weak hearts, you may wish to turn away. For the rest of you, welcome to a new miracle of nature!" Swail held aloft a single wooden match, then struck it on the stage. He held his other palm over the flame. Within seconds, his whole hand was on fire. Instead of crying out in pain, Swail smiled with delight. Shouts of amazement and shock rang out in the audience at the flames spread, crawling up his arm, arcing across his chest to his other arm. Within a minute, flames covered Swain from head to toe. He held his arms up in victory before grabbing a blanket and wrapping it around himself to smother the fire. Amazingly, he was not injured. Only the tips of his hair were singed, and his eye brows and eye lashes were in perfect condition. Swail got dressed and thanked the audience for their time.

     Third Eye Over Iowa reporter and phenomenologist Hannah MacDougal witnessed Swail's act at Munterville for Cabbage Days first hand. "There is no evidence that his body was covered in anything flammable, such as lighter fluid, before the immolation began," she reports. "And when I spoke to him after the show, I could detect no odor that suggested that he had been protected by any chemical substance. Only his hair retained a slight odor."

     MacDougal learned that Swail first experimented with his ability in the Boy Scouts. On one particular camp out, he accidentally stuck his hand in the fire. To everyone's amazement, he felt no pain. And when the fire was doused, there were no signs of burning. Since then, Swail has assumed that something in his skin or maybe sweat acts like fuel and/or protection against fire. His doctors have always recommended that he go to a major university to be examined, but so far Swail refuses.

     "I'm a mechanic who happens to set himself on fire any summer. I don't want to spend the rest of my life being a freak for the world to stick under a microscope," says Swail. "Of course, someday, if I really need the money...."

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