Illusionist David Blaine encases himself in 6-ton block of ice
By Lukas I. Alpert, Associated Press, 11/27/00
NEW YORK -- Wearing only cargo pants, a wool hat, boots and a look of extreme concentration, bare-chested illusionist David Blaine encased himself in a 6-ton block of ice Monday.
Magician David Blaine is seen through a block of ice in Times Square. Blaine began his attempt this morning to freeze himself in a six-ton block of ice for 58 hours. (AP)
Why, you might ask?
"This is one of my greatest fears, and I want to face it. I like to confront human fear," Blaine said shortly before being sandwiched between two blocks of ice with just enough room etched out for his body.
"I don't consider this to be the work of a magician," he declared. "It is more a trial of endurance."
Blaine, 26, said he intended to remain standing, perfectly still, inside the block of ice for 58 hours. His upper torso was greased with petroleum jelly as a form of insulation.
Blaine waved at the crush of reporters and bystanders that gathered at 44th Street and Broadway to watch as he was sealed in ice.
"This is the toughest thing I have ever attempted to do," he said.
Blaine said he trained for the feat by standing for hours, submerged to his waist in ice water. He said that at one point his body temperature dropped to 92 degrees Fahrenheit.
"That was horrible. I was shivering for 14 hours after that," he said.
Blaine, known for his levitating and sleight of hand tricks, was scheduled to leave his icy tomb in Times Square at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
The stunt is the latest for the Brooklyn-born magician and illusionist since he was buried alive in a plexiglass sarcophagus in Manhattan for seven days last year.
For this stunt, Blaine had a medical team monitoring his life signs for any indication of hypothermia, frostbite, or the formation of blood clots.
He only has 6 inches of space on each side of his body, and will breathe and drink hot liquids through a tube.
Hundreds of bystanders gathered to witness the spectacle.
"This seems pretty weird, but from what I have seen of him before, he's good. I'm sure he has this well planned out," said John Staivecki, a dentist from Allentown, Pa.
"Is this part of some kind of religion?" wondered Dwayne Gary, of Brooklyn. "This guy is definitely working on a level that I don't know about."