Jupiter Courier News   Oct. 25th, 2011

— Some of the antics performed by stunt entertainer Cynthia Morrison aka “Cindini” are featured inside the October 2011 release of My Year of Living Fearlessly. Morrison is mentor to the author of this publication while leading her through some scary situations involving such dangerous elements as Fire and broken Glass along with flinging steel blades. Why would a Shakespeare professor and writer want to experience such challenges?

The author shared some reasons why. “Sadly, somewhere along the way, I seem to have lost my sense of adventure. The world is always a scary place, but, when I was younger, I had the courage to face it. As I grew up, I got lazy. It was easier to avoid my fears than it was to confront them, so eventually I got complacent. It didn’t happen overnight; in fact, it was so subtle that I didn’t even realize it had happened until just now when my mom dropped the “small life’ bombshell. But sitting here hearing her say it, I know she’s right. I’ve allowed too much of my life to be dictated by fear, and I don’t want to live that way anymore. Clearly, something has to change, but I have no idea how to do that. It’s not like I can just declare myself fearless”

Over the course of fifty-two weeks, author Amber Karlins places herself in fifty-two anxiety-riddled situations, including a stand-up comedy competition, a fire-eating lesson, an up-close and personal alligator encounter, and an evening spent alone in a haunted hotel. The result is a book, My Year of Living Fearlessly with hilarious misadventures, heart palpitations and triumphs that not only remind her who she is, but also what we can accomplish when we refuse to allow fear and insecurities to define who we are and what we can do. Morrison says she will continue to entice Karlins to participate in a match of Bloodless Bullfighting to experience the exhilerating Joy. The Book is available through Barnes and Noble Bookstores.

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By Anne Rodgers Saturday, February 16, 2008
February's Gutsy Gal is in a class all her own.
Forget "normal" activities that get your blood racing like sky diving, windsurfing and bungee jumping. Cynthia Morrison has created a whole other realm of risky business. The former powerlifter pulls cars with her hair, walks on glass, allows herself to be buried in sand while bound in a straitjacket and even catches bullets. "Insanity can be strangely liberating," she'll tell you, but the 48-year-old West Palm Beach woman hardly comes across as crazy in person. The youngest of three kids, she's calm and quiet, deliberate in her speech...
Powerlifting was the first step down the road less taken; she competed nationally and won trophies but retired in 1994. A brochure for the Miami Highland Games with a picture of a man heaving a telephone pole led her to explore that world. She bought a 6-foot pole and starting throwing it, and entered the Key Biscayne competition the next year. There she met the director of Scotland's Traditional Highland Games, who told her women would never be allowed there. But she knocked on the right doors, and the directors eventually decided she'd attract good PR. In the summer of 1994, she became their first woman competitor. "They wanted mileage from the media, but I just wanted to throw trees and stones," she said. "It was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The competitors were very open-armed and welcoming. These are the strongest men in the world, remember, so it's not like they have any confidence problems." Cynthia's notoriety led to a job at a Renaissance fair doing a Highland Games demonstration. While there, she found a magazine advertising a jousting school in California. "I'd watched Ivanhoe on TV and I wanted to do it," she said. "I called the teacher and asked if he'd ever trained women. He hadn't, but said he didn't have a problem with it. So I made my way to California, attended the school (in '97) and then I traveled to tournaments, mostly out West, but also to Germany." In 1999 and 2000, Cynthia won the International Women's Jousting Competition held in Estes Park, Colo., then retired from competition in 2001 and formed her own troupe here, the Palm Beach Jousting Club, whose half-dozen members practice in Caloosa.
As for the straitjacket obsession - well, that started in 1998. At a Renaissance festival magic show to buy Braveheart-style blue paint, Cynthia was approached by a magician who tried to sell her some card and coin tricks. ("I personally have no interest in magic," she said.) "You seem hard to impress," he told her. "What can I do to impress you?" "Go hang from the roof in a straitjacket and escape," she told him. "That's too insane," was his reply. "Why don't you do it?" When Cynthia said she didn't have a straitjacket, he offered one, and it became a face-to-face challenge. "He let me borrow it for a week; I'd make guys put it on me to practice," she said. "I didn't ask anyone the secret. I do things the hard way, I guess." A week later, she went back and did a simple straitjacket escape for the magician - and a crowd gathered. "They all applauded, and the magician announced, 'Ladies and gentleman! The escape artist!' " The fair was searching for an intermission act to entertain crowds at the biweekly wrestling shows, so Cynthia began doing escapes regularly. Now she has endless variations: She hangs from cranes, is buried underground, locked in a bank vault and submerged underwater - all while wrapped in a straitjacket. But ... how do you get out underwater? "You work fast," she smiles, offering no additional details. Then how about the buried-in-sand escape? "It's manual manipulation," she said, recalling one Singer Island escape she did eight months ago, setting a record release time of 2 minutes, 5 seconds. "First, you gotta do your head. You take a deep breath right before they put those last few shovelfuls over your head. The first thing you want to get out is your head. I had a scarf over my face. You have to realize, beach sand is very heavy." But ... how does she do it? "I wiggled my way out," she said. Clearly, watching Cynthia's escapes in person is the key. Look for her occasionally at Clematis by Night, Lake Worth festivals, Halloween carnivals and private functions. Or at the Florida Renaissance Festival in Deerfield Beach's Quiet Water Park, which continues through March 9. "I'll do knife-throwing there - at my human target," Cynthia said calmly. "I'll also walk on glass and do my fire-eater stuff. The upside-down straitjacket and jail breaks are more for publicity stunts to draw attention to my skill." What possesses Cynthia to do all this? "Probably the danger," she said, "the challenge involved." When she catches bullets for example - a stunt that has killed 17 people - she said her palms get sweaty, her body shakes, and she has a heightened awareness. What's she thinking in those moments? "I'm just hoping everything goes OK," she said.
Cynthia likes the challenge to herself, the wondering of "can she do it?" Is she strong enough, fast enough, dextrous enough? "I'm not interested in jumping out of an airplane. Or even roller-coaster rides. There's no personal challenge involved with that. It's just getting slung around. It does nothing for me." So what's next? "I want to break my hair-pull record, which is 5,020 pounds (a Rolls-Royce). I've approached the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department twice to perform a publicity stunt with their armored vehicle named The Hulk. But I've gotten no response." For this feat, Cynthia uses a head harness, which is a metal ring that her ponytail is threaded through. At the other end of the metal ring is a rope that is attached to the tow line. "My doctor advised me against it because it can pull your entire scalp off," Cynthia said. "So what I did is I tucked my head and held my scalp like this. (She illustrates by grabbing the back of her head, elbows bent and close together.) Once I did that, I said I'm ready for bigger and better things." But arranging such unique gigs is tricky. "I'd like to pull a Humvee or a boat or a train," she said, "but you can't just walk into Amtrak and say, 'Hey, can I attach my hair to your engine out here?' It's not very welcomed for liability reasons." You can see her dilemma. That's why, for strength, bravery and unprecedented intestinal fortitude, Cynthia Morrison gets the nod as Charm's Gutsy Gal of the month.


Jupiter Courier Aug. 29th, 2008
"Burt Reynolds student performs In the "you ain't heard everything yet" category — "Cindiana Jones," aka Cynthia Morrison and her human target "Wild Bill Franklin" made their unusual but thrilling, dare-devil debut Aug. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. in West Palm Beach. Morrison recently completed a master acting class with local super-star Burt Reynolds at his Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum and Institute. She appeared in a scene from "Paradise Park".

Onlookers at this event witnessed "death-defying acts" such as knife-throwing, fire-eating, whip targets for accuracy and glass-walking on a bed of nails! According to Cindiana, she planned on "putting Wild Bill to the test whilst blades impact a board by just inches from him, as she attempts to outline the human figure!" 


NEW TIMES MAGAZINE  - Oct. 2009       By Mickie Centrone


You would love to see a person walk on a bed of bare nails. Or having knives hurtled at them. See how one can eat fire, walk on glass. Witness someone whose job description contains the phrase “human cutting board,” and who is subject to being hit with whips and knives. These stunts are part of an old act known as the vaudeville show. Folks used to attend these and not just go to the movies, theater, or happy hour. On Halloween, at 9:30 p.m., the Great Cindini, a variety artist and proprietor of the “Lethal Injection Sideshow,” will pay tribute to her silent film hero, Buster Keaton. Cindini will attach 1,000 firecrackers to herself – which as they go off, will turn her into a human firecracker! The Great Cindini is also the knife thrower, and Laser Lynne is her human target. The goal is to get Lynne’s garment pinned to the wooden background. Each show is full of various death-defying stunts. 


"Human firecracker to perform at Martin County Memorial Day parade"   By Jan Lindsey - Stuart News

Cynthia Morrison is no soccer mom. She is The Great Cindini, and Monday the West Palm Beach stunt woman will don a red tailcoat and slap on a top hat adorned with a fuse to march as The Human Firecracker in the 10 a.m. Martin County Memorial Day parade in Stuart. When she gets to Confusion Corner, she will set off streamers of firecrackers to honor America’s war dead.

“I like to recognize Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” Morrison said. “I think they’re important.”

The display at Confusion Corner will only hint at her full-blown act: “buried alive” under 10,000 exploding firecrackers.

“I went from 1,000 to 3,000 to 10,000,” she said. “I hope to one day do 30,000.”

 Her stunt work, she said, “started about 12 years ago when I went to a costume shop to buy some face makeup and the person there, through conversation, challenged me to escape from a straight jacket.”

She did, and since then her skills have grown to include bloodless bullfighting; glass walking; walking on a bed of nails; fire-eating and knife throwing with a human target. That target, “Laser Lynne” Jorgensen, will be marching with her Monday. She said she is a retired two-time international women’s jousting champion, as well.

She said she developed her human firecracker routine as a form of therapy after a traumatic experience with firecrackers as a child.

She was in what was then a tunnel to the Lake Worth Beach when someone dropped in a couple of cherry bombs. Now that she wears firecrackers, she no longer fears them.

But that doesn’t mean she’s fearless.

“I have a great fear of flying,” the 50-year-old said, adding she will never skydive or bungee jump.

Swallowing swords is OK, though.

What: The Great Cindini, Human Firecracker

When: Monday, parade starts at 10 a.m.

Where: Confusion Corner in Stuart, during the Martin County Memorial Day parade

"Knife incident inspires safety lesson from The Great Cindini"
Monday, April 21, 2008   - by Laura McVicker
Cynthia Morrison wants to make sure people view knife-throwing in a positive light.
Morrison, aka The Great Cindini, is a professional knife thrower.
Thanks to extensive practice, the Florida woman
can fling blades at upwards of 30 mph without missing a beat,
while narrowly missing her human target. Her Web site includes a reference to the “Impalement Arts,” which shows the regard Morrison has for her craft.
So, the West Palm Beach woman was dismayed to hear about an 11-year-old Vancouver boy who wound up with a butter knife in his head.
Another 11-year-old boy got angry and hurled the knife at Tyler Hemmert
during an April 13 incident at Fruit Valley Park.
The knife blade slipped in between Hemmert’s skull and the skin above his right ear.
After receiving five stitches, Hemmert wound up in the national media spotlight,
and Cindini saw the story on her local evening news.
Hemmert is enjoying a speedy recovery. Still, Morrison wanted to use the incident as a teachable moment.She contacted Columbian reporter Laura McVicker to emphasize that this sort of activity should be left to trained professionals.
“My distance from my human target is between 6 and 11 feet.
My knife has been calculated to travel 30 mph,” Cindini said.
“This translates to the knife traveling two-tenths of a second to reach the point of impact
— not much room for reacting.”
While another boy sitting at the picnic table was able to duck away from the blade,
Hemmert didn’t have enough time to react.
After getting the safety lessons out of the way,
Cindini wanted to close with a more personal message for the youngster:
“All my best to Tyler for a speedy recovery.”

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