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10 Epic Magic Trick Failures


8
Princess Tenko's "Spike Illusion in the Face of Death"
Magician Princess Tenko attending an auction of Michael Jackson memorabilia in 2010. Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images
Magician Princess Tenko attending an auction of Michael Jackson memorabilia in 2010. Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images

Japanese magician Princess Tenko – real name Tenko Hikita – is tough as nails. Or swords, really. When performing one of her illusions – called "Spike Illusion in the Face of Death" – things went terribly wrong, but she pushed through and finished her act. You've probably seen versions of this classic sword box trick. The magician gets into a box and an assistant drives swords into the box, and the magician emerges unscathed at the end. Sometimes the roles are swapped. In the summer of 2007, Tenko's performance didn't end as neatly as that trick usually does.

While performing the routine in Sabae, Japan, a mechanical failure caused the swords to hit Tenko while she was inside the box, breaking several ribs and her right cheekbone [source: Japan Zone]. According to her manager, one of the swords came dangerously close to puncturing Tenko's right eye [source: BBC News].

The swords pinned Princess Tenko into the box, and her assistant had to remove them to free her. When she finally emerged, Tenko continued her act for 30 minutes despite her debilitating injuries. She was reportedly more upset that she had to cancel some upcoming shows than she was about her broken ribs [source: BBC News]. The show must go on!