Fr Richard Horan is a magician and a member of the Magic Circle. In this ‘Newsbeat’ report from 1971 he performs a sword balancing trick on his niece Eileen at Purteen Harbour in Keel, Achill Island.

Fr Horan begins by hypnotising Eileen and with the assistance of his other niece Annette balances her on three swords. The swords are removed one by one until there is just one remaining. For the duration of the report Eileen balances on the tip of the scimitar. 

Locals gather to witness the trickery which is performed accompanied by a drum roll from one young local. 

Newsbeat reporter Cathal O’Shannon speaks to Fr Horan about the illusion who says

It’s not black magic... It’s a trick

Cathal O’Shannon examines the equipment used but is none the wiser as to how the trick works and Fr Horan’s trickery remains a secret for the magic circle.

Fr Horan explains how he got into magic, became a member of the magic circle and continues to learn new tricks. Eileen is finally removed from the sword and awoken from her hypnotic state.

A ‘Newsbeat’ report broadcast on 31 March 1971.