Can you explain the magic broom?


There is a nice piece in the Independent on self-help books, and talking about 59 Seconds, here.

So, the ‘magic broom’ craze seems to be sweeping the country again.  Here is a nice clip about the phenomenon….

Can you explain what is going on?  Ever tried it?


38 comments on “Can you explain the magic broom?

  1. Mark says:

    They misused it’s. How rude.

  2. Analise says:

    All kind of things stand up that aren’t meant to. Me for instance. 😛

  3. Jim Tupper says:

    No, but I saw dynamo balance a guitar horizontally, supported only by one end.
    On TV, so it must be real.
    So is dynamo the second coming?

  4. Duncan says:


  5. Merari says:

    I guess I don’t really understand what’s surprising about this.

  6. Adzcliff says:

    Is the link to the Independent article working for anyone??

  7. Lazy T says:

    Oh dear!

  8. Sébastien says:

    Easy, the answer is: morons. The broom is “magic” only if you factor in morons. Otherwise it’s a piece of matter with a low, well-balanced, center of gravity.

  9. Chris says:

    its being propped up by the magic power of it’s misused apostrophes.

  10. Geoff the God of Biscuits says:

    This is a very good example of apostrophe abuse. The sentence as written expands to “STANDING ON IT IS OWN”.

    How stupid do you have to be to not see that that is completely and utterly wrong? It’s more or less the simplest usage of an apostrophe there is. What is wrong with people?

    So the point of the news story, for me anyway, is lost in my own private grammar apoplexy, well before reaching any further meaning.

    Or to put another way, I didn’t watch it because it was posted by a bunch of wanker’s.

    • Sébastien says:

      I second that apoplexy.

    • Abbie says:

      sigh. Confusing its and it’s is a simple spelling error, one that is actually kind of understandable given how arbitrarily apostrophes are used with pronouns. Since most possessive constructions take the apostrophe-s (Bob’s, the day’s, etc) I’m not really upset when someone accidentally analogize to “it’s”. In context, the error doesn’t introduce ambiguity, so grousing over it is silly.

      “Haha! I memorized more random, arbitrary, meaningless orthographic rules than them! Hahahah they are STUPID!”

      The sentence doesn’t “expands” to “standing on it is own” because that is obviously not what the writer meant. This is a spelling mistake, not a grammar mistake.

    • Geoff the God of Biscuits says:

      @Abbie This is so not a spelling issue! And whilst it might not “introduce ambiguity”, it does, seeing as it is being broadcast by a TV station, perpetuate the idea to our impressionable children that grammar and/or spelling don’t matter, hence it is fundamentally Wrong. The TV should know better.

    • The apostrophe was meant to be a coma: “Standing on, it is on!”

  11. Pete says:

    This is all over Facebook. It’s a variation on the old hoax about how eggs can be balanced on end only during the spring and fall equinox. People are claiming the same about brooms only now it only has to be close to the equinox. I have been trying to tell people that there is nothing amazing about standing a broom on end, especially one with synthetic bristles that have all been trimmed to be the same length. People just want to believe woo.

  12. Chris says:

    Dunno what Jesus has got to do with it…

  13. Harvey James says:

    There’s a new magic prop on the market at the moment that can ‘assist’ you in performing effects such as this. Great fun to perform, especially when the subject you’re showing is absolutely trollied…

  14. Anonymosity says:

    When nobody was looking, I would balance classroom chairs on their back two legs. People would see them and get excited.

    You can balance things! Wow!

  15. rhettallain says:

    These brooms are driving me crazy. Really, this trick isn’t very hard at all. I haven’t yet created a force-vs-angle plot, but here is my first post describing how it DOES NOT have anything to do with the planets.

  16. kaggyx says:

    Well if you need to fake it you can probably pour sand into the pole if it is a metal hollow pole

    It’ll then cause the center of gravity to get lower.and you can easily rest the weight on a few bristles.

    (What i can think if i want to fake it)

  17. Giles Farmer says:

    Hmmm, must’ve been a slow news day. This is hardly newsworthy stuff though.
    Perhaps for future showings of this item, they should play “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

  18. Paul says:

    It’s obvious. The store is tilted 90 degrees. (You can tell by the way the newscaster’s green tie is hanging a bit to the left.) The broom is actually resting on the floor.

  19. Hidden in a closet with no broom says:

    and the broom said “No!”

    beware… the planet of the brooms is coming….

  20. keith says:

    It looks balanced.

  21. Anonymous says:

    lol prattville

  22. John says:

    Its balancing on the bristles.

  23. says:

    When I saw the phrase “broom standing on its own” I thought they meant with the handle end down and the bristles in the air, which would have been a lot more impressive. I still think it would be possible with a broom with a symmetrical bristle design and a flat end, but I would have been more impressed that someone actually took the time to do it. This way, with the bristles down, is really nothing special.

    Also, Richard, the link to the article doesn’t work.

  24. Death of journalism
    That’s what is going on.

  25. Ron Uminium says:

    Quelle croque de merde.

  26. Simon H says:

    Localised area of reduced gravity?

  27. pete says:

    If it were magic it’d be doing the b***y sweeping up! (ala Mickey Mouse)

  28. Peter Leeson says:

    This makes the news? And they misspell “its”? Mass stupidity is what’s sweeping the nation!

  29. Giordano Bruno says:

    Follow up story:

  30. G-Man says:

    A very slow news day?

  31. khendar says:

    You think that’s spooky ?

    • LargeDuck says:

      Whenever I try and chat up a broom, they usually just turn away and talk to their friends. This guy really nailed the courtship with a sweet dance. Maybe that broom was just the town bike?

  32. Jason says:


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