Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Making Halloween Haunt History

It is official, Zamora the Torture King will NOT be at Knott's Halloween Haunt this year; in fact, they have cut ALL the shows except for the big 2, The Hanging and Elvira's show at The Charles Schultz Theater.

The Los Angeles Times reported “Haunt has severely pared back its show offerings... with only the perennial pop culture evisceration of “The Hanging” and the campy song and dance of “Elvira’s Big Top" returning for 2014." (emphasis added)  Los Angeles Times Aug. 7, 2014 “Knott's Unveils...”
 Zamora first showed up at Knott's Scary Farm way back in 1996, appearing on a very small stage set up on the streets of “Camp Spooky,” or The Gauntlet Scare Zone as it was called during the haunt. He did not expect to be a part of Haunt for more than a few years but they hired him back, year after year, until he became a Knott's Halloween Haunt tradition.

 Zamora's 17 seasons in a row are the longest run of shows of any entertainer at The Haunt ever. This was confirmed by Ted Dougherty, author of the definitive book, Knott's Halloween Haunt: A Picture History. In a recent email he confirmed that Zamora's 17 year successive run beats even Haunt mainstay Elvira, saying “...if your records show you were at Knott's 17 consecutive seasons, you definitely have Elvira beat..” and “...I think you're safe in making a statement on your website as 'Performer with the longest uninterrupted run of years for a stage attraction at Knott's Scary Farm.'"

In those 17 years Zamora performing on almost every stage at Knott's. It was a good run and fun time. This leaves Zamora open for bookings at other venues and events for the Halloween season. It would be good to be back at Knott's, so if you would like to see the return of Zamora, or any of the other performers and shows that have been a part of the Haunt, a good way to let them know is to post on The Haunt's official Facebook page... but please post nicely and politely. This is the best way to let Knott's know that you like the traditions that made Knott's Halloween Haunt what it is, the first and the biggest Halloween scream park in the world. The Knott's Halloween Haunt Facebook page is

  What follows is a listing of all of the shows and stages that Zamora has done at Knott's over the years, all recreated by searching email and Internet archives. The list will be improved, with attention to official show names and other details, and updated. Interspersed in the list are photos links and videos relating to the show by year. Every effort is made to credit the photos to the photographers. If you have any details or photos to add please send them Zamora at ZamoraKing@aol.com .

1996: Gauntlet Streets w/ co-performer The Impervious Aziza (Year 1)

From James Taylor's Shocked and Amazed
Click Here for James Taylor's Shocked and Amazed

1997: Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Animal Stage w/ co-performer contortionist Nancy Luna (Year 2)
Higley, Doug Higley, Nancy Luna and Zamora TK
1998: Gauntlet Streets w/ co-performer Rubber Boy. (Year 3)

1999: Festival of Freaks Gauntlet Streets  w/ co-performer Rubber Boy (Year 4)
Photos by Stephanie E. Jennings Photography Oct. 31, 1999
2000: The Bird Cage Theater w/ co-performer Rubber Boy (Year 5)
Knott's feral cat backstage at The Birdcage Theater
2001: Boardwalk Ballroom     w/ co-performer George the Giant (Year 6)

2002: Zamora's Sideshow of the Bizarre at The Wagon Camp Stage and The Boardwalk Ballroom with co-performer Zandrini (George the Giant) and Morgana (little person assistant). (Year 7)

2003: Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Outdoor Theater w/ co-performer Miss Electra (Year 8)

2004: Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Outdoor Theater w/ co-performer Miss Electra (Year 9)

2005: Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Outdoor Theater w/ co-performer Miss Electra (Year 10)
Photo by Brent Turner
2006: Zamora’s Sideshow of The Bizarre Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Outdoor Theater w/ co-performer Miss Electra (Year 11)

Click to see Sideshow World's Coverage of  Zamora at Knott's 2007

2007: Zamora's Sideshow of the Bizarre Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Outdoor Theater w/ co-performer Miss Electra (Year 12)

2008: Zamora's Sideshow of the Bizarre Gauntlet Camp Snoopy Outdoor Theater w/ co-performer Miss Electra (Year 13)

2009: Zamora’s Sideshow of the Bizarre at The Cloud Nine Theater w/ co-performer Kitty Karloff (Year 14)

Photo from Theme Park Review

2010: Zamora's Sideshow of the Bizarre Outside on small stage near The Perilous Plunge assisted by Cheyenne (Year 15)

2011: Zamora’s Sideshow of The Bizarre (“Zamora’s Sideshow of Horrors”?) at The Cloud Nine Theater w/ co-performer Kitty Karloff (Year 16)

2012: Zamora’s Sideshow of Torture at The Birdcage Theater w/ Dr. Odd (Mike Odd) (Year 17)

 Tim Cridland / Zamora TK
323-366-9539 voicemail

Help support live entertainment and help keep the Zamora on the road and entertaining people. If you have seen Zamora's show and would like to through a something into the virtual tip jar, make a donation of your choosing with the button below.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Zamora on Man vs Weird on UK TV Channel 4

The UK TV programme Man vs Weird finally aired on Channel 4 in The UK in May.
The show underwent several changes impending air dates and even a change in the title. The Daily Mail  had announced that the show would air in “probably April” with the name Miracle Hunter, its original title. Zamora's segment in in the second episode which is titled Superhuman Strength.

The show traveled around the world and searched for people who have, or claim to have, remarkable powers.
Simon Farnarby in front of The Onyx Theater in Las Vegas

The second episode featured a segment on Zamora and Zamora's Sideshow and included a live show that was filmed last July at The Onyx Theater in Las Vegas' infamous Commercial Center.
Simon Farnarby, the show's presenter had some flattering things to say such as “Zamora is a legendary entertainer who can withstand extraordinary leaves of pain and he has a bewitching power over his audience.”
Zamora freaking out Farnarby

After seeing the show Farnarby said “That was astonishing, bizarre, outrageous...”

fMRI of Zamora being put in pain.

There was also a section of a meeting with Simon, Zamora and Dr. Joshua Prager from the UCLA Pain Medicine Center. Dr. Prager has previously studied  the pain control abilities of Zamora, or Tim Cridland as Dr. Prager knows him in his clinic. This is detailed in a previous blog posting HERE.
Dr. Prager brought along functional MRI brains scans that had been done during a previous study of Zamora/Tim Cridland. Dr. Prager explained how the  brain scans show that the part of Zamora/Cridland's brain feels pain normally, but the part of brain that reacts to pain is made dormant. The interview was quite interesting and extensive and unfortunately time constraint only allowed a small portion of it to be aired.
Farnarby, Cridland (Zamora) and Dr. Prager

 When asked about Zamora's pain control Dr. Prager said “Clearly he has a special ability” “...what Tim can do is he can accurately turn off the suffering by getting himself into a certain state. So that even though we see that that pain information is getting right to the place where you feel it, the whole experience of the suffering, hurting, gets turned off. So he doesn't hurt, so he can take as much pain as he wants.”
Another view of a fMRI of Cridland (Zamora) taking pain in the brain.

Tim, you might say, is the world champion of internal pain-control.”
We will attempt to copy of the unedited interview and will transcribe it and post it at a later date.

At the end of the series Farnarby put Zamora in the category of the truly puzzling saying “Some of what I've seen has totally baffled my rational mind. Like the extraordinary people born with bizarre powers.”  Of which he includes “ ...Zamora The Pain King. ...born with genuine abilities beyond the reach or the desire of most of us.”

The show Man vs Weird has been  viewable on to people in The UK on Channel 4's Video on Demand service which can be found here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/man-vs-weird/4od Information about the series can be found here:

But what about the rest of the world? How can you see it.? A version has appeared on YouTube. There is no guarantee that it will remain there show watch it right now while you still can. The segment on Zamora and Tim Cridland starts about 24 minutes in. Man vs Weird Episode 2: Superhuman Strength

Contact Tim Cridland at ZamoraKing@aol.com

Tim Cridland's web site is www.astoundingshow.com

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Interview from 2006

A blast from the past.... this interview appeared in The Charleston Gazette in 2006
Q. What is your skill?
A. I am called The Torture King. That's the traditional sideshow title for people that do what I do. I do things like laying on sharp objects with people standing on top or breaking objects on top of me and putting sharp wires through my body - not just through the skin, but all the way through muscle. I do very extreme demonstrations. I have a skewer going into my mouth and going out underneath my jaw - that's one of the things I'm known for.
Q. Ow! Doesn't that hurt?
A. It appears that I would hurt myself doing what I do, but I come through it without pain - that's the point of the act. If it hurt me, I wouldn't be able to do it every day. And with the show we're doing now, I do it multiple times per day. It's more about healing and self-control over the body and mind than anything else.       
Q. How in the world did you learn that you could do this?
A. It was a very slow process. I was fascinated by things like this when I was growing up. I grew up in a small town, so I naively believed that people in bigger cities were still doing it. I quickly learned that was not the case, but I kept learning and researching. [Torture performance] is an obscure subject, so it took me many, many years to accumulate my knowledge, but once I began to put that knowledge into practice, it became easier to learn and achieve stunts."
Q. Have you ever had someone puke or pass out watching the show?
A. As far as that goes, it's pretty much expected. We have a speech on "How to prevent this from happening." Women usually have the sense to look away. It's the macho guy in the leather jacket that ends up being the one to pass out. I'm usually not aware of it except that a big open area appears in the crowd. Puking isn't as common.
Q. In contrast to your stage persona, what's the most normal thing about you?
A. It depends on what you consider normal. I'm actually the contributing editor for a book called "Weird Nevada" published by Barnes & Noble, so I'm doing lots of research and scholarly stuff. I don't know if that's normal, but it's certainly different from what people think I should be like, given my profession. Because of the shocking nature of my act, people expect me to be completely over the top, but the truth is, I'd rather be at the library doing research then going to a bar and getting wild.

Charleston Gazette (WV)-August 3, 2006

The Charleston Gazette

Info about the book Weird Las Vegas and Nevada.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tim Cridland and Dr. Joshua Prager Part 1


Testing and Verifying Tim Cridland’s Pain Control Abilities

During the many years I have been giving pain-control demonstrations I have been observed and tested by Dr. Joshua Prager. Dr. Prager specializes in pain medicine. He is the current director of California Pain Medicine Center and Center for Rehabilitation of Pain Syndromes at UCLA.
Photo of Dr. Joshua Prager taken by Denis Belliveau via Dr. Prager's Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Prager_(doctor)
The first interaction between Dr. Joshua Prager and me was not in person. I had done some demonstrations for a TV show called Encounters: The Hidden Truth that aired in 1995. The producers of the TV show had show Dr. Prager the video of my demonstration and on the show he commented:

"He is able to change what he experiences. It’s not that the stimuli aren’t there, it's that the way that he [Cridland] processes them is different than you or I would. So when you say mind over matter; I believe that you cannot see pain in isolation as a physical phenomena. Pain is an experience and the mind is a major part of that experience.”
Years later, in 2003 I met Dr. Prager in person for the first time. This was when I was filmed for a TV show for a UK production company. They had filmed some of my demonstrations and wanted to see if my abilities could be tested. They brought me to Dr. Prager’s offices at California Pain Medicine Center at The UCLA Medical Center.

Dr. Prager attached me to a device that he called a “Medoc TSA II.”  This was attached to the back of my hand with a strap. The device would apply levels of cold and heat and I would respond by clicking a button, first when I was aware of the heat or cold and then again when I could no longer tolerate the stimulus.

The Medoc TSA II Pain Threshold  manufacture’s website says that it is “is a precise, computer-controlled device capable of generating and documenting response to highly repeatable thermal and vibratory stimuli, such as warmth, cold, heat-induced pain, cold-induced pain or vibration….  The TSA-II is… used for identifying thermal pain thresholds in various clinical and research applications.
The TSA-II thermode is placed on the patient's skin to heat or cool the skin. Patients respond to the temperature stimuli by pushing a button, and the sensory threshold is recorded and automatically compared to an age-matched normative data.”

In other words the device would measure to see if I had normal sensory response or if my pain response was impaired by nerve damage or some other disorder and would then test to see how high my tolerance to pain is.

The device showed that my nerve response was normal; that there was nothing psychically wrong with me and that I had the same nerve response as the majority of the population.

However, when I was asked to show my ability to withstand pain I the machine went as high as it could go without causing tissue damage. “You went to its limit.” He told me You do know when there is pain there; it’s just that you don’t react to it the way a lot of our patients do.”

Prager also said:

“When I first heard about Tim I thought more likely he was an illusionist than he was actually doing what he does.”

“He had the ability to take our machine up to its maximum and down to its minimum, in terms of the temperature being generated, without withdrawing, which most people who come in here are not capable of doing. So he was able, clearly, in this setting, also in a measured situation to be able to turn off his pain.”

“It takes a special ability to be able to ignore your pain. The way that he does that demonstrates a level of mastery that probably requires some special abilities.”

Video of a TV show with Dr. Prager and Tim Crildand
I went to Prager’s offices again a few years later, in 2005 for a test that was filmed by The National Geographic Channel. This time Prager had a different device to measure pain. It was called a Neurometer CPT/C.   This device had a clip that attached to my fingertip. The clip had electrodes that pressed against the skin of my fingertip. This time I was asked to hold onto a button and keep holding on as long as I could tolerate it. As soon as the button was released the electricity would stop. He did two separate runs of this.

The sensation from the electricity was much more intense than from Prager’s previous device. It turned out that this was because that each of the two sessions were stimulating separate nerves.  The electricity could be adjusted to create very specific pain stimuli.

When I did first runs and it showed where most people would stop (level 4-6). I had stopped at level 20.

After this first run Dr. Prager said “Your score basically puts you in outer space compared to the rest of the population.”

I told him that now that I had felt what kind of pain it was I could do it again and increase my pain tolerance to the specific type of pain.
We did two more runs, once again one each of the specific electrical stimuli, and this time I showed a remarkable increase in tolerance, scoring raising my level to 27. I had managed to increase my pain tolerance tens of times with only a few minutes of practice with the specific style of pain stimuli.
Dr. Prager said “Clearly he is able to change something in his nervous system so that he can tolerate more pain.”

I met with Dr. Prager for further testing for a Japanese TV show called The Miracle of the Human Body that was broadcast on TV-Tokyo in April of 2011.  During this show I was observed by an fMRI machine while in I was put in pain. The results confirmed something that I had been telling people for a long time; that I can feel pain as a normal person does, but that I react to it differently. By changing my reaction I change the whole action of pain.

Details of what happened during the filming of the TV Tokyo show will follow in an upcoming blog post.
Tim Cridland

Some references:

Machine used for first test at Dr. Prager’s office: 

Machine used in second test at Dr. Prager’s office:
Article about pain that mentions Dr. Prager and Tim Cridland:

TV Tokyo show Miracles of The Human Body:
Contact Tim Cridland at ZamoraKing@aol.com

Tim Cridland's web site is www.astoundingshow.com