UK & World News
David Blaine Plans Shocking Electricity Stunt
Magician David Blaine is preparing to spend 72 hours stood on a 20-foot platform surrounded by one million volts of electricity.
Wearing a 20-pound chain-mail suit, Blaine shot arcs of lightning from his hands and head as he held a news conference to promote Electrified: One Million Volts Always On, which begins on Friday.
"I had wanted to do this for years," he said.
Blaine said the idea grew from an image he had of himself at the centre of a giant plasma globe but realising the idea would require him to exist in an airless vacuum, he adapted it to use Tesla coils.
"Being in the middle of a lightning storm, it feels so amazing, being in an environment you shouldn't be in," he said.
Stuart Weiss, Blaine's doctor, said the main risks include exposure to the ozone and nitrous oxides that are a byproduct of ionised air, which humans should not inhale in large quantities.
A ventilation system will ensure Blaine has breathable air and a special visor in his helmet will protect his eyes from the ultraviolet radiation of the arcing electricity.
He will also wear noise-cancelling earphones, allowing him to hear and communicate with people on the ground, despite the noise of the Tesla coils.
He will drink water through a tube, urinate through a catheter, and has been fasting to avoid the need to go to the toilet.
The public will be able to visit him as he carries out the stunt and control the electricity around him. People at viewing stations in London, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney will also be able to control the coils.
Blaine said he hoped to inspire children to learn more about physics - for example, it is not the volts, even a million of them, that can kill, but the amps. The electric current, measured in amps, produced by a typical Tesla coil is low.
The magician's past endurance stunts include sitting in a box suspended above the River Thames in London for 44 days with only water and standing unharnessed on a 100-foot-high pillar in New York City for 35 hours.