The video shows a “magic sword” piercing a toothpick.
In September 2019, magician Robert Tudor scored a viral hit when he shared a video of his “magic sword” trick on the social media platform TikTok :
The video was viewed millions of times, as people argued about how the stunt was done. Was the video edited? Is the stunt actually two swords? Does it have to do with mirrors? Is it… Well, magic?
This video does not show a piece of cutting edge magic technology, nor does it show a pure magic act. This video actually features generic magic props that have existed in various forms for decades.
This is how MyMagic.com describes the presentation of the magic trick:
The Magic Sword optical illusion is the latest version of the classic illusion in which a sword surprisingly pierces through a solid object. It can be repeated many times and will always fool you. If you are not familiar with how it works, and most people are not, you will be completely amazed at how it makes the impossible possible.
The overall size is about five centimeters in diameter and half a centimeter thick. This version is a very cheap plastic toy that will not last forever. It is not as durable as the old metal models that were manufactured before. It is very lightweight and self-contained.
How does this “magic” happen? It’s hard to see in the video (which is the key to the trick), but the sword actually rotates in the opposite direction to reach the other side of the toothpick without piercing it. The sword spins about 350º in the blink of an eye, so it appears to pierce through the toothpick, leaving the sword and toothpick intact.
Here’s a slow motion video using the same trick as the viral TikTok video: