David Blaine’s setting out to shock audiences later this week with a new stunt he’s calling Electrified: One Million Volts Always On.
It’ll see the highly charged magician spend 72 hours atop a 20 foot platform in the middle of an artificial lightning storm, protected only by a 20-pound suit of chainmail and a visor.
The illusionist gave a press conference about the stunt last night, where he showed off his conductive suit and fired electrical blots from his fingers:
Speaking at the event, Blaine said: “I had wanted to do this for years. Being in the middle of a lightning storm, it feels so amazing, being in an environment you shouldn't be in.
“I don’t know how I could ever top this. This is an overly ambitious idea and I’m literally shocked that it came together.”
Blaine’s thoroughly convinced that Electrified is one of the craziest things he’s ever done, but looking back at some of the challenges he’s set himself over the years, I’m not so sure. I mean, take a look at these…
Pulling off a stunt that Harry Houdini had always wanted to perform, in 1999 Blaine had himself buried in a plastic box underneath a three ton water tank in New York. His “coffin” for the experiement only offered six inches of headroom and two inches of space either side of his body. He stayed buried for a whole week, and claimed on his release to have had a spiritual epiphany during while underground:
Frozen in Time
The following year, Blaine was encased in a six ton block of ice in New York’s Times Square for a stunt called Frozen in Time. Shivering as he was interred, Blaine nevertheless stayed in the ice for more than 63 hours. It took him a month to walk again after the stunt, and he declared shortly after its completion that he would never again attempt anything so difficult:
Having spent his last two stunts trapped in small spaces, Blaine’s third high-profile trick, which took place in 2002, saw him spend 35 hours stood on top of a 90 foot pillar in New York without a safety net. He was battered by winds and endured cold weather, but lasted the duration and finished the stunt by jumping from the pillar onto a 12-foot high pile of cardboard boxes.
Above the Below
Re-locating from New York to London for his next stunt, in 2003 Blaine spent 44 days suspended in a Plexiglass case by the South Bank of the Thames. He fasted for the entire duration of the event, surviving on pure water alone, and ended up losing 25% of his body-mass. Despite being pelted by eggs, beer cans and worse by the crowds who came to see him, Blaine emerged from the box telling audiences “I love you.”
In 2006 Blaine returned to New York to be submerged in a sphere of water for seven days and seven nights. Relying on tubes for air and sustenance, Blaine’s skin began to break down during the event, and he apparently suffered liver failure too. After successfully managing his week of submersion, Blaine immediately tried to break the world record for the longest time spent holding breath under water.
Later that year, Blaine announced that his next stunt would see him strapped to a rotating gyroscope above a patch of land near Times Square. The stunt began in November and saw Blaine survive 52 hours on the gyroscope without food or water. "This one's exciting for me,” he said before the event. “This one's a fun one.”
Dive of Death
And in 2009 Blaine spent 60 hours suspended upside down in the middle of New York’s Central Park. Risking blindness, he nevertheless stayed the course and was eventually attached to giant balloons and floated off at the end of the stunt.
So, will Electrified rank among his craziest stunts? Only time will tell... Electrified will begin this Friday in New York and be streamed live on the event's YouTube channel.