ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A local woman is headed to New York City to show off a unique talent that might leave you gasping for air.

Riley Schillaci, of Allentown, is a sword swallower who will be performing at Ripley's Believe It or Not. She said she's one of fewer than 20 known female sword swallowers in the world.

"I had actually thought it was a common side show stunt and after studying it, I was like 'Oh this is very rare, I didn't know that,'" said Schillaci, who started out at the age of 14. "I practiced with pens and forks, then in college I realized I could do a full sword."  

Since then, Schillaci has performed around the country and even auditioned for NBC's "America's Got Talent."

Schillaci, 29, also performs with fire, which she said is actually more dangerous than the sword swallowing.  Think that's risky?  Try combining the two and adding a hula hoop.

When asked if sword swallowing is magic or some sort of trickery, Schillaci explained, "There's really no trick to it. That's the trick about sword swallowing is that it's not a trick. That's why not many people can do it because it's not an illusion."

There is, however, one secret to doing it, Schillaci said.

"I just have to clear my mind when I do it. If I'm thinking too much, I'm going to be too tense."

You can see Schillaci at the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium in New York City on February 25 as part of the sixth annual Sword Swallower's Day.