John Holtum: The Cannon-Ball King

Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017 by John Wood
John Holtum, originally of Denmark, was aptly known as “The Cannon-ball King” from his act where he actually did catch a cannon ball fired from a real cannon. This took a bit of practice though, he had a couple fingers blown off the first few times he tried it. After catching the cannon-ball, Holtum would once again load the projectile into the cannon and hit a target some yards away, showing everything was on the level. It was said that the cannon he used was a relic from the Crimenan War.

In addition to his cannon-ball catching feat, Holtum’s performance also consisted of various strength feats which usually involved either lifting, balancing or juggling cannon balls. Remarkably, Holtum retired from the cannon-ball catching business on his own terms without serious injury, and later partnered with his brother Fred to become successful wine merchants.

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