NEW YORK (November 21, 2006) — David Blaine’s latest stunt is as much about charity as publicity.
The 33-year-old magician stepped inside a gyroscope Tuesday in Times Square. His hands and feet will be shackled to the spinning scope Thursday afternoon. He will then have until Friday morning — a total of 16 hours — to make his escape.
If he’s successful, Blaine will lead 100 children selected by The Salvation Army on a shopping expedition at Target. Each child will receive a $500 gift certificate from the retailer.
Blaine said the stunt was particularly important since The Salvation Army had provided him with clothing while he was growing up.
“This challenge is close to my heart,” he said.
Several hundred people turned out for the start of the stunt, which was set up just a few blocks from the site where he once spent more than 60 hours inside a block of ice.
“This is more difficult than anything I’ve ever done,” Blaine said before he was loaded into the gyroscope, which was then hoisted 40 feet into the air. “I’ve not tested it much. I will be learning how to do this as I’m doing it.”
The gyroscope, with three spinning steel rings, is said to be able to flip Blaine in assorted directions as often as eight times per minute.
In May, Blaine spent some 177 hours underwater in one of his endurance stunts. Previously, he spent 35 hours balanced atop a 100-foot pole and was buried alive in a see-through coffin for a week.