This folk item is a folk trick where the performer manipulates a fork to make it seem as if he or she bent a fork. Two people perform the trick in the video. The first person is my original informant. He then taught the second person how to do it. Watch the following video: Fork Trick
After my informant (the one in the green stripes) performed the trick, I interviewed him on the trick (my informant is a Caucasian American who grew up in Los Altos, California):
“Collector: So, who taught you that?
Informant: My grandpa.
Collector: When and how did he teach you?
Informant: When I was like eight, at a restarant, he did it to me and I was scared and I was wondering how he did it and he showed me.
Collector: Why were you scared?
Informant: ‘Cause I thought he was a magician. beat [laughter]
Collector: When do you usually perform this trick?
Informant: When I’m bored during dinner.
Collector: Have you seen others perform this trick?
Informant: My uncle…’cause he learned it from my Grandpa when he was younger too. My uncle was scared that my Grandpa was a magician too. [laughter]”
While at first glance, this seems just like a simple folk trick performed to entertain others at dinner, there seems to be a certain quality of coming of age. My informant learned this trick from his Grandpa when he was eight. He states that he was scared at first because he thought his Grandpa was a magician. After learning the trick himself, which was shortly after, he calmed down. Furthermore, his uncle who learned the trick in the same way was scared by my informant’s Grandpa too. In a way, this trick dispels a belief in magic and what is supernatural– the trick relies on a childlike belief in magic, but revealing the trick, which seems to be part of the folk trick (as my informant immediately taught us how to do the trick after), dispels that belief in magic. Hence, I consider this a sort of coming of age trick.
This trick is quite communal–one learns it from the active bearer immediately after he or she performs it.
Searching “bending fork trick” on google gives 1,020,000 results. And also the following video result:
The video shows variations on the fork bending trick and similarly, the “magician” reveals his trick right after.