He has described it as an ‘overly ambitious idea’ and ‘one of the craziest things that I ever dreamed up.’
Nevertheless, illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine stepped out onto a 20ft pillar at Pier 54 on New York City’s west side on Friday night to stand amidst a million volts of electric current for three days and three nights.
As promised, the 39-year-old daredevil sported a chain mail bodysuit, a wire helmet and visor to act as a barrier for the electric currents.
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The currents will be streamed by by seven metallic orbs called tesla coils that surround the 20 foot column.
After being elevated to a tiny platform, he waved to the assembled crowd, but looked more quietly confident than nervous.
However, earlier this week, Blaine admitted that there are unknown risks in standing in his own lightening storm for so long.
‘Seventy-two hours or more in an electromagnetic field can do… anything to the brain,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of unknowns here.
‘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.’
The star’s stunt, called Electrified: One Million Volts Always On, is open to the public, and the performance will be streamed live on the internet at www.youtube.com/electrified.
Over the next few days, spectators and members of the public will also be able to type messages to Blaine – which he says he’ll try to answer – control the electricity around him and help keep him alert.
Unable to eat, Blaine has a tube to drink water through his open helmet and another tube for water out.
Blaine said he would be preparing for the stunt by: ‘Mostly relaxing, meditating and playing with my daughter, and trying not to deprive myself of sleep.’
His chain mail suit weighs a hefty 27 pounds and is designed to allow the fierce currents to dance over his body, without ever touching his skin.
The magician, who practised at home by giving himself constant mild shocks, added: ‘The chain metal suit brings all the electricity around, not through, so this protects me from feeling any pain.
‘I do feel this strange static electricity, as if your hands were standing on edge.
Safety is more of a concern to Blaine these days as he now has a 20 month-old daughter Dessa with his fiancée, French model Alizee Guinochet,
‘Becoming a dad, of course, it changes you now have a purpose in life,’ Blaine told the Mail while preparing for the stunt.
After years of taking himself to the brink of death and back in stunts which include being buried alive and frozen in an ice cube, David said that becoming a father has finally helped him realise that he may not be superhuman after all.
‘I think differently about what I’m doing and this time we have a very serious team and I feel very confident that I’ll pull this off and be perfectly fine at the end,’ he said.
But although he hopes his daughter ‘never wants to do anything like this,’ he said she ‘actually loves what I do.’
He added: ‘She loves to watch when I’m in a fishtank or doing this.’
Preparing to be electrocuted for three days running must surely take its toll on a relationship and David admitted: ‘Alizee is very supportive, I think she gets a little nervous, but she also believes that I’ll be okay.‘
When asked if he would continue on after this stunt, David replied ‘I’m the kid who ran barefoot in the snow and I still do.
‘This will be the hardest thing I ever do, but I will keep on going.’