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US daredevil to perform million volt show

05 october 2012, 10:48
0
US Magician David Blaine. ©AFP
US Magician David Blaine. ©AFP
David Blaine, the US magician, stuntman and all-round daredevil, is going electric -- standing for three days and nights in the middle of a million volts of fiery electric currents, AFP reports.

Blaine, 39, has previously been buried alive, frozen in an ice cube, trapped in a glass box for a week, and submerged underwater. He says his latest feat, standing on a pillar in New York in what amounts to the middle of a personal lightening storm, will take him to new limits of endurance.

One element of the challenge, which begins Friday on Pier 54 in the Hudson River, will simply be lasting 72 hours.

"No food. Standing -- no sitting. No rest," he told journalists Tuesday.

That would finish most people off. But Blaine will do all this while standing in the middle of the electric storm protected only by a stainless steel suit of chainmail, iron soled boots and a cage-like helmet.

The outfit is designed to allow the fierce currents to dance over his body, without ever touching his skin.

The helmet is open so that he can drink water through a tube, but a security team will be watching carefully that he never pokes one of his chainmail-clad fingers onto his face.

"If I start to hallucinate, which I will, ... if I go to itch my face, that's it -- it's getting zapped by a lot of electricity," he said.

He will be standing on top of a 20-foot column surrounded by seven metallic orbs called tesla coils that will stream the electricity. For the first time of his many public stunts, Blaine will have the performance streamed live on the Internet at www.youtube.com/electrified.

The public will be able to participate even more intimately by playing with the controls for the tesla coils, turning them up or down on Ultrabook laptops provided by Blaine's sponsor, Intel. In addition to the Manhattan site, there'll be locations with Ultrabooks set up in Beijing, London, Sydney and Tokyo.

On Tuesday, Blaine donned his suit and clambered on top of a much smaller test coil. When a technician threw the switch, spidery blue lines of electric current shot up Blaine's suit and out of his gloved hands and head.

At the unusual press conference, journalists were issued earplugs to deal with the roar of the current and asked to move back out of what a technician called "the zap zone."

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