Tim Cridland, better know by his stage name Zamora The Torture King has spent years perfecting his chosen craft.
Zamora, has been featured on television shows such as
Guinness World Records Primetime, Ripley's Believe It or Not!,
The National Geographic Channel, 48 Hours, and
Stan Lee's Superhumans, among others.
He has appeared many times on The Learning Channel and
The Discovery Channel.
Through his knowledge of martial arts techniques, hypnosis, Middle-Eastern teachings, science and anatomy, he is able to overcome dangerous situations - fire eating, sharp swords, body skewering, electrification and more- to emerge unscathed and unharmed,
and all in the name of entertainment.
During the turn of the last century the American and European public and press were fascinated by strange tales of mystics of the East. Some of these men traveled to the West and gave public performances of feats that that seemed to transcend human possibilities; strange acts that ought to have resulted in pain, injury and even death, yet these men of mystery could perform these strange acts , involving swords, sharp skewers, pointed nails, fire, burning coals, broken glass and be no worse at the end of their ordeal.
Scientists and laymen alike were fascinated. Some, such as Sir Richard Burton, traveled to the East and participated in these ordeals and demonstrations. Some Westerners emulated these feats of the fakirs and present them, sometimes along side actual Easterners, on stages in European cabaret and theatres, circuses and worlds fairs.
Eventually these acts became a staple at sideshows and dime museums all over the United States. The image of a man wearing a turban reclining on a bed of up-turned nails became a cartoon cliche and, by the 1950s, had become a rarely seen anachronism.
Tim Cridland has been drawn to strange information all of his life. As a youngster read about the feats of the mystics of the east, and yearned to know more. Not satisfied with mere "book knowledge," he began the difficult process of learning the acts. He learned fire eating from members of a Washington State youth circus who were traveling through his home town of Pullman, home of Washington State University, where his father was a professor. The University environment gave him access to information that would aid him in his quest to resurrect the acts of the fakirs.
Eventually, Tim moved to Seattle, the "big city" on the other side of the state, continuing his quest and building up his act, opening up for punk-rock bands, and eating fire before a performance by punk poet Henry Rollins.
It was in Seattle that he met others with who shared his interest in bizarre performance. Each had skills that complemented each other. Together they created a show, billed as modern day circus sideshow, which performed bi-weekly at a downtown nightclub, selling out shows on mid-week nights month after month.
The show was chosen to tour with the newly created
Lollapalooza rock festival, which brought its revivalist sideshow style to a new generation who had no knowledge that such things had ever occurred before.
Today this show is universally acknowledged as the most important event in resurrecting the sideshow arts, and being an inspiration for everything from reality TV shows to today's would-be Internet sideshow performers.
Cridland, along with road manager Jan Gregor, would chronicle the shows beginnings, wild tours and unfortunate demise in the book "Circus of the Scars", published in 1998. It was during his time with this show that he was dubbed The Torture King, a traditional sideshow title for someone who performed the fakir acts.
Cridland left that show in 1994 to form his own show. He relocated from Seattle to Northern California, where he lived and studied with a group of
genuine Sufi Dervish Fakirs who had originated in Turkey.
He added the stage name Zamora, and toured the US and Canada with Zamora's Touring Sideshow, featuring the Torture King, all though the remainder of the 90s. His show incorporated a series of co-performers, one of whom, then called Flexx the Rubber Boy, would go on to international fame as the world's most flexible man and the host of History Channel's show Stan Lee's Superhumans under his real name Daniel Browning Smith.
In the early 2000s, Zamora toured as the only male member of the all girl sideshow, Girly Freak Show.
In 2003 Zamora moved to Las Vegas when two Las Vegas show producers invited him to headline in casino show. The show SHOCK! was the first of its kind in Las Vegas history.
Zamora AKA Tim Cridland, presently lives in Las Vegas when he is not on tour. He continues to research and write about strange things.
His second book, "Weird Las Vegas", was published by Sterling Publications in 2007. He performs at special events in Las Vegas, as well as nationally and internationally. '
He performs annually at Knott's Berry Farms Halloween Haunt in Buena Park, CA. He appears in several TV shows per year, which, along with reruns of past shows, assures his continuing presence on TV screens around the world.