David Blaine has made a name for himself as one of the world’s best magicians, and for over two decades he has been wowing and amazing people with his skills. Blaine shot to fame through his street magic TV series, where he would amaze everyday people as he tried to bring his craft back to its former glory. The illusionist is so casual while performing his tricks it allows viewers to enjoy the majesty of his feats as he staggers fans. All focus is on the reactions of the people the tricks are performed on, showing audiences just how spellbinding Blaine can be.
While his street tricks were great to watch, Blaine wanted to go bigger and bolder, so he cooked up a big stunt to capture the world’s imagination. Buried Alive was his first big stunt which was performed back in 1999, and since then he has kept performing these amazing feats. We’ve had a peek behind the curtain and are unraveling the mysteries behind some of David Blaine’s biggest tricks.
This was Blaine’s first big trick and seemingly one of the most dangerous. He was entombed in a plastic box while three tons of water was poured on top to keep him there. Blaine entered the tank and stayed there for seven days without food and minimal amounts of water.
He emerged from his tomb after seven days proclaiming to have seen something prophetic, a vision of every race and religion banding together. The trick was done by pure endurance, which would become a theme for Blaine’s life-threatening stunts.
Vertigo was performed in public, much like Blaine’s other tricks, but there was a very real risk to his life. Blaine stood on a 100 ft narrow pillar high above New York, it was just 22 inches wide, and the magician wasn’t harnessed. There was no safety net, and all he had to protect himself from strong winds were two retractable handles.
Amazingly he spent a total of 35 hours standing on top of that narrow pillar before plunging down to a landing made of cardboard boxes. The only secret to this trick was mentally blocking out the need to move, Blaine simply stood on top of the platform that whole time.
David Blaine was going to hold his breath for longer than any person had ever done before, going beyond human capability. He held his breath for 17 minutes and four seconds, breaking the world record. There actually was no trick here, Blaine really held his breath for that long, but it took him months of training to be able to do it.
Blaine trained by staying in a hypoxic tent, which is the same as staying at high altitudes. This training increased the number of red blood cells in his body, meaning he carried more oxygen in his blood. He took one last gasp of oxygen before holding his breath for an almost unbelievable time while encased in a glass sphere.
Starving above London
This performance once again pushed what the human body was capable of. The magician was proposing to stay in a perspex box for 44 days without food while suspended above London. This trick would push Blaine to his limits, and after 44 days of no food and minimal water, the star emerged from his box. Blaine endured taunting from the British public, with people throwing food and drink at him.
One funny person even flew a hamburger suspended from a remote-controlled helicopter around his box. The secret behind the trick was that Blaine really risked his life. He was rushed to the hospital immediately after emerging from the box after losing 25 percent of his body weight in a month.
This stunt would see Blaine catch a .22 caliber bullet in his mouth, despite risking his life. He used a cup to protect his teeth from damage and the secret to this trick lies in that device. The trick was a clever use of video editing as Blaine was not really going to risk his life.
You see Blaine catch the bullet, but the cup is actually rigged to blow smoke and vibrate to make it look like the bullet hits. The video then goes in slow motion to show the bullet hit the cup, but again this is camera trickery. Something was shot into his mouth, but with just enough speed to look convincing enough to fool the audience.
Blaine’s dating life
With fame and fortune has come a host of glamorous life partners for the magician. It has been reported that Blaine had been dating French supermodel Alizee Guinochet since 2008, although rumors of a split have been surfacing for years.
The pair have one daughter together who was born in 2011. Amazingly, when Guinocet went into labor there were no cars on the road due to a blizzard, so Blaine hailed a snowplow to take his partner to the hospital.
Before Blaine was romantically linked to the French model and mother of his child, he was dating another European catwalk dweller. David Blaine was in a relationship with Dutch model Lonneke Engel in 2006.
The model began modeling at the age of 12 and worked for fashion labels such as Guess, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and Chanel. After hitting the catwalks for almost 20 years Engel retired from modeling in 2012, focusing on her lifestyle site Organice Your Life.
Besides dating some of the world’s most beautiful models, Blaine has been rumored to be in several relationships with big celebrities too. In 2002 it was believed he was dating Blade Runner and Wall Street actress Daryl Hannah.
Hannah wasn’t the only famous face Blaine was linked to, and in 1999 he was rumored to be dating model turned actress Bijou Phillips. Blaine then turned his attention to one of the most famous women in the world and allegedly had a fling with pop sensation Madonna.
Where the magic began
Blaine has been known as one of the world’s leading magicians for over 20 years now, but it all began for him back in New York. He was born in Brooklyn as the son of schoolteacher Patrice White and William Perez, with his father being a veteran of the Vietnam War.
While living in the city, Blaine found magic. When he was just four years old he spotted a magician in the subway which inspired a lifetime of illusion and trickery.
Biting a chunk from a coin
One of Blaine’s most famous street magic tricks involves him biting a chunk out of a solid coin. It looks like he must have shark teeth to get through the metal, but then he somehow manages to restore the coin to its original state.
This trick is actually easily explained as it’s just a gimmick coin used by the magician. First he swaps the original coin for his own special one and uses the rigged coin to make it look as though he’s bitten it.
In 2012 David Blaine went through one of the scariest tricks he could have ever chosen, to be electrified with one million volts. The magician spent 72 hours constantly being surrounded by a deadly electrical current, and during that time he couldn’t eat, drink, or sleep.
It was all made possible as Blaine wore a special suit that conducted the electricity. That meant he was not in any real danger, so long as the suit held up under the strain of the million volts!
Frozen in ice
David Blaine really commits himself to his tricks, and in 2000 he froze himself in a huge block of ice in Times Square, New York. The magician spent 63 hours encased in ice, with water and air supplied to him through a tube while he went to the toilet via another tube.
Hopefully he didn’t get the pipes confused! Once again it was about endurance for Blaine, as he had to be cut from the ice by chainsaws and then rushed to the hospital to prevent him from going into shock.
David Blaine’s most recent return to our screens seen him dazzle dozens of rich and famous celebrities. It was a trick he performed several times while stood in front of stars like Drake, Dave Chappelle, and Steph Curry. Blaine asked them to think of and draw a small animal.
When they drew a frog, Blaine proceeded to cough the animals up one at a time. Blaine consumed the frogs but he probably first swallowed a bag for them to sit in while he coughed them up one at a time.
The Upside Down Man
In 2008 Blaine hung upside down above Central Park’s skating rink for 60 hours without a safety net. Hanging upside down for any length of time is tricky, but 60 hours is impossible. Blaine had to take regular breaks to stretch as well as receive medical checks.
Some fans reported seeing the magician standing on a platform while high. Afterward, Blaine admitted it was way tougher than he imagined. He was at risk of blindness and had to pull himself up to make sure his blood circulated properly around his body.
Tricking Stephen Hawking
When Blaine visited England he tried a card trick on Stephen Hawking. Blaine told the scientist to think of any card from the deck in front of him. Hawking was impressed to see that Blaine had his card ready and waiting at the bottom of the deck.
No matter what card Hawking chose, Blaine was prepared. He would have had another on top of the deck in case Hawking chose differently, as well as others in his pocket. It’s a trick that can’t go wrong for someone as skilled as Blaine.