David Blaine

David Blaine's Stunts

1. Premature Burial

Beginning on April 5, 1999, Blaine spent seven days buried inside a glass coffin at the bottom of an open pit in front of a New York City office building. Passersby could watch him 24 hours a day. He was reportedly fed only 44 tablespoons of water each day. He emerged on April 11 on schedule.

"There were Jewish Hasids standing next to Muslim cabdrivers who were next to Black kids. Businessmen in designer suits stood beside heavily pierced street kids. It was really fun and made me incredibly happy," recalls Blaine in his book Mysterious Stranger. "I saw something truly incredible. I saw every race, every age-group, and every religion gathered together smiling, and that made everything worth it. I saw magic!"

David Blaine


2. Frozen in Time

On Monday, November 27, 2000, Blaine began a stunt called "Frozen in Time," which was covered on a TV special. Blaine stood in a closet of ice located in Times Square, New York. The ice was sculpted to fit his body, with little room to move. A tube provided him with air and water while his urine was removed with another tube. He was encased in ice for 61 hours, 40 minutes, and 15 seconds before being removed. The block of ice was on a stand, with space between the ground, and the ice was transparent, to prove he was inside the ice the whole time. He was taken to the hospital immediately after being removed because doctors feared he was going into shock. He said that he could not walk normally a month after the stunt.

David Blaine

3. Vertigo

On Monday 22 March 2002, Blaine began a stunt he named "Vertigo." A crane lifted Blaine onto a 90 foot (27 m) high pillar in Bryant Park, New York City. He claimed to have been scheduled to start training for this particular stunt on September 11th, 2001, by flying on American Airlines from Kennedy airport at noon to Los Angeles. As Blaine lived in New York City, he delayed his training. He remained on the pillar, which was 22 inches (56 cm) wide, for exactly 34 hours and 23 minutes without food, water or anything to lean on. Blaine appeared to be without safety harnesses and had no safety nets underneath him for almost the duration of the stunt. He ended the feat by jumping down onto a landing platform made of a 12 foot (3.7 m) high pile of cardboard boxes. He suffered a minor concussion on the way down after hitting his head on the boxes, but he fully recovered from the injury.

David Blaine

4. Above the Below

On September 5, 2003, Blaine began his 44-day endurance stunt sealed inside a transparent Plexiglas case suspended 30 feet (9 m) in the air over Potters Fields Park on the south bank of the River Thames in London. The case, measuring 7ft by 7ft by 3ft (2.1 x 2.1 x 0.9 m), had a webcam installed so that viewers could observe his progress. During this period the magician reportedly received no food but only water, a feat of endurance inspired by "A Hunger Artist" by Kafka. It was often asked if he did receive food and water at night because the case he was in, was covered at night. The stunt co-ordinators said this was so that he could sleep without distractions.

As with his New York City stunts, the vast majority of London visitors were generally supportive, seeking little more than a wave from the magician. However, the stunt became the subject of much press and media attention, due to a raucous minority who were mischievous or outright hostile to Blaine's presence.

Newspapers reported that eggs, lemons, sausages, water bottles, beer cans, paint-filled balloons and golf balls had all been thrown at the box; a hamburger was flown round the box by radio-controlled model helicopter; one man was arrested for climbing the scaffolding supporting Blaine's box and attempting to cut the power and water supply to the box; and the magician was treated to numerous displays of bare bottoms and breasts.

"You've picked the wrong town to be hung in, Mr Blaine," wrote The Sunday Times. "What is clear from the start is that Londoners are not taking Blaine quite as seriously as he takes himself. ... Really, it makes you proud to be British."

A gaunt Blaine emerged on schedule on October 19, murmuring "I love you all!" and was quickly hospitalized. A subsequent letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-written by Blaine, described his nutritional recovery, revealing similar symptoms often exhibited by the malnourished who are being reintroduced to liquid and solid foods. The letter reported that Blaine had lost 54 pounds (24.5 kg) during his fast.

David Blaine

David Blaine in "Above the Below" stunt


David Blaine suspended in front of City Hall


5. Drowned Alive

On May 1, 2006, Blaine was submerged in an 8 foot (2.4 m) diameter, water-filled sphere (isotonic saline, 0.9% salt) in front of the Lincoln Center in New York for a planned seven days and seven nights, using tubes for air and nutrition. During his time in the sphere, he attracted large crowds and many visits by celebrities including Chris Rock, Kelly Ripa, and Courteney Cox. He concluded this event by attempting to hold his breath underwater to break the world record of 8 minutes, 58 seconds. In a change to the original stunt plans, while attempting to break this record, Blaine also tried to free himself from handcuffs and chains put on him upon coming out after the week in the sphere. Blaine apparently held his breath for 7 minutes and 8 seconds before showing signs of unconsciousness and being pulled up by the support divers, thus failing in his attempt.

Blaine did nonetheless succeed in setting a record (as yet unrecognized by any record-keeping institution) for being fully submerged in water for more than seven days straight (177 hours).

It is expected that Blaine will suffer medical problems as a result of his stunt. Blaine has undergone multiple short hospital visits after the stunt ended and has entered an agreement with doctors from Yale University to monitor him in order to study the human physiological reaction to prolonged submersion. During the stunt, doctors witnessed skin breakdown at the hands and feet and liver failure.

In an interview on the Howard Stern Show on Sirius satellite radio, Blaine spoke of the week-long fasting he did before the "drowning alive" stunt, to prevent the need for solid waste issues. For urine, he wore an external, condom-style catheter.

David Blaine

David Blaine at Lincoln Center, sharing a moment with a fan as spectators look on (2 May 2006).

David Blaine's Trivia
David Blaine

1. During his appearance in Last Call with Carson Daly, he "pulled" his heart out and fainted. The segment was staged but NBC almost cancelled the illusion. It was told that the audience was completely shocked and some members ran away crying or screaming.

2. His unofficial rival is Criss Angel.

3. He had the concentration camp number of Primo Levi tattooed on his left forearm.

4. A famous critic of Blaine is British stand-up comedian Marcus Brigstocke, who often calls him the "Git Wizard". He also refered to his Above The Below stunt as the "Freakdangle". When he failed his Drowned Alive stunt, he rejoiced in it, claiming that "He's no longer a Git Wizard, he's just a Git."




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