When magic tricks go right, it can be one of the most incredible sights in the world. People will gaze in wonder and attempt to figure out how that trick was pulled off. Unfortunately, there are times when magic tricks go horribly wrong. These miscues can end up injuring the performers, audience members or even result in death. There have been many instances where magic tricks have gone awry, but there are a handful that truly stand out, making global news in the process. Here are five of those tricks that magicians wish turned out differently.
5. Marcin Poloniewicz Hurts News Anchor
Not many people in the magic world know the name Marcin Poloniewicz, but the Poland native had a magic trick that went viral for the wrong reasons. While appearing on a morning talk show, Poloniewicz had one of the anchors take part in a three card monte variation where there was a nail hidden under a paper bag. He then took her hand to what he thought was the bag without the nail, but instead impaled that hand, which put her into obvious and immediate pain.
4. Princess Tenko
Born as Marikoa Itakura, Princess Tenko has been practicing magic since the mid 1970s and is thankfully still with us today. While performing a trick called ‘The Spikes of Death’ in Sabae City, Japan, Tenko placed herself into a box that had 20 blades drop down. However, the trick went awry and instead of avoiding the blades, she was struck multiple times. Tenko suffered injuries to her chest, back and head, nearly losing an eye in the process.
3. Wizard Mandrake
Tragedy struck in 2019 when Chanchal Lahiri attempted a trick where he was submerged underwater while wrapped in chains. Better known by his stage name Wizard Mandrake, Lahiri was in the Bengali River, but didn’t emerge from the water when he was supposed to. As a result, a search for his body took place, and it was too late. The 40 year old magician passed away, telling photographer Jayanta Shaw before the trick that “If I do it right, it’s magic. If I make a mistake, it becomes tragic.”
2. Joe Burrus
In 1990, a magician named Joe Burrus idolized Harry Houdini and considered himself to be his generation’s version of the legendary performer. With that, he attempted to escape from a concrete filled coffin on Halloween night. Sadly, the coffin would collapse under the weight of the mixture and those on hand rushed to save Burrus, but he was buried alive, passing away at just 32 years old.
1. Several “Bullet Catch” Tricks
One of the oldest magic tricks in the book, but also the most dangerous, is the bullet catch trick. This is when a magician looks like they’ve been shot at directly, only to emerge safely with a bullet between their teeth. While this has been pulled off countless times successfully, it has also resulted in multiple deaths. The first notable death came in 1840 when Arnold Buck was killed after his blank bullet was replaced with nails. The most recent came in 1918 when Chung Ling Soo attempted it, with technology cutting down on the accidents since then.