Can you cook popcorn using a pickle, some salt, a small battery, and an iPhone charger? No, that's not true: A video showing a man making popcorn with just those tools is faked by an Australian magician. Popping corn kernels requires far more power than provided by a AA battery, and there is no complete electrical circuit created by the arrangement shown in the video.
The video is in a post (archived here) published by Sydney, Australia, magician Jackson Aces in July 2019 and then shared on the LADbible Facebook group page under the title "Man Makes Popcorn With A Pickle And Some Salt." Jackson Aces's version read:
DID NOT THINK THIS WOULD WORK
This is what social media users saw:
The video starts with the magician saying:
Get yourself some salt, that jar of disgusting pickles and a popcorn bowl, 25 shakes of salt, make that 35. Get yourself a AA battery, take the gorilla nipple and give it a rub in the salt. Leave the battery aside. We'll need that later. Open the jar. Pickles! Get a big fat juicy one. Cut the end off the pickle, shove the battery into the pickle.
He then poors a bag of popcorn kernels into the bowl before plugging an iPhone Lightning charging cable into the pickle. He places the other end of the Lightning cable (the part that plugs into the iPhone) into the kernels. After he shakes the bowl for about two seconds, he begins yelling "What the hell?" and kernels start popping.
How do we know this is fake? Popcorn requires a temperature of at least 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) to pop. This is the boiling point of water. There is no practical way this configuration would have provided that level of heat inside the bowl. If it did, the hand holding the charging cable inside the kernels would have been burned. The heat would also need to be evenly divided among the kernels, since the popping is seen around the bowl.
Any electrician can tell you that sticking the negative post of a battery into a pickle does not make a complete circuit. The positive post is making no contact with anything that would conduct a current. A single AA battery produces a current of no more than 1.5 volts, which is weak. Anything up to about 30 volts is safe for a human. It would not pop corn kernels.
Finally, we've all seen how corn pops. Kernels explode like a rocket, jumping out of a pan unless covered. The kernels in this video don't jump. They just appear -- magically.
Lead Stories reached out to Jackson Aces before publishing this review to ask if he intended this as satire and not as a video he wanted people to believe was real. We rate properly-labeled satire differently, since we all love a good joke. We will reconsider our FALSE rating based on his reply. But this is a video we advise that you not try at home.