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Why This Craft Hack is Killing Crafters

The fall and winter months are typically when people do more crafts. We all love checking out social media like Youtube, TikTok and so on for inspiration and instructions on how to do it yourself. There is one craft hack, though, which should be totally avoided because it has killed dozens of people, if not more, in the US alone. Those who survive are maimed for life.

Fractal or Lichtenberg burning, also sometimes known as wood fracking, uses high voltage electricity - much higher than normal mains electricity -  to create a lightning or Lichtenberg effect on wood. Cool to see but very dangerous as the slightest contact with the equipment will deliver a potentially fatal current through the body. One report cites the fatality rate at 71% - much higher than the 5-15% fatality rate of other high voltage incidents.

Ann Reardon, an Australian food scientist and Youtuber of the highly recommended How to Cook That, shares both cooking and debunking cooking and craft videos ( like those about 5-min Crafts - here ,here and especially here).  Some of the crafts you see on those slick videos, which so many share on Facebook etc, range from will not work to potentially harmful to very dangerous. 

Ann recently debunked fractal burning in this video in an effort to spread the message and to save lives. Read the comments too.  If you want to jump to just the fractal burning part, click here.  But I suggest you watch this earlier part too as Ann talks about other potentially dangerous hacks.


The irony of all ironies, her excellent video was actually banned by Youtube for violating their harmful and dangerous policies!  It was reinstated after several days and after appeal. Despite this, videos on how to do fractal burning, are still being shared on social media. The uneven moderation speaks volumes on how social media companies are failing to adequately police their sites. No wonder we live in a world filled with so much misinformation. 

Another example which recently surfaced on TikTok was a challenge to cook food with Nyquil, an over the counter medication to relieve cough and cold symptoms. This prompted the FDA to release a warning :
Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don't eat the chicken, inhaling the medication's vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs.
The problem is many just don't think. Social media invites quick reactions - clicking that share button or trying it - without any critical thinking. Just because something seems popular doesn’t mean it’s safe, accurate or true.

Before You Go:


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM 


  1. Holy moley. Watch the video and read a few of the comments. Mind blown. Thanks for posting this, Pearl!

    1. Those comments are sobering - my heart goes to those who lost loved ones. But am so glad her video has successfully warned others off this hack.

  2. Thanks for posting this Pearl. I too read a lot of the comments and was astonished at the braggarts who still claim they could do this successfully and that Ann was just fear promoting basically. I'm sure it won't be long before another death due to this deadly 'craft' is going to be reported.

  3. ok so I have to ask this question even if it seems like a dumb question. From what I could see in most of the videos and from the news clippings regarding fatalities from this so called craft hack. It appeared that all of those individuals were adults!!! Like over 25 years of age. So the question is, did they stay in school through the 6th grade? That is normally when most kids are taught in science class about how volatile and fatal an open electric current can be.
    When I see or hear about adults doing something like this Hack. It reinforces to me that if the percentage of adult humans who lack any COMMON SENSE continues to increase at the rate it has been going for the past 30 plus years. That the continual increase of adult humans without COMMON SENSE can and will lead to an extinction event for the human race! I am not trying to add some levity to a very serious issue. I am very serious. When you think about the number of adults in the world today who knowingly act without COMMON SENSE, the human species should be on the “Threatened” list. Which means the species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future if things don't change!

    1. Common sense is anything but common! Social media is the bane of our society today. It just amplifies the lack of common sense. Some might be ignorant but as Aims said, others probably thought they know it all and thought they could be careful. It only takes a small error to come into contact with the rigged up equipment.

  4. What stupidity is fractal burning! I am shocked that people would even try such a thing. One of the biggest perils of social media communication is that there are no gatekeepers, nobody who can verify the content.

  5. thank you for sharing. the result is not so pretty now that i know how it's done and that many have died. I agree, "common sense is anything but common".


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