Science Is Magic

David Blaine Mines Nikola Tesla’s Playbook for His Latest Stunt

At least he's not taking a page out of Edison's book and electrocuting an elephant, we suppose.
 David Blaine Mines Nikola Teslas Playbook for His Latest Stunt

We half expect Mr. Twain to rise from his grave to mock Mr. Blaine. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Poor Nikola Tesla. The man pioneers alternating current, dies alone and forgotten, and now his legacy is being subjected to the ultimate desecration: Becoming fodder for David Blaine’s latest public work of utter ridiculousness.

The New York Times reports:

David Blaine, the magician and endurance artist, is ready for more pain. With the help of the Liberty Science Center, a chain-mail suit and an enormous array of Tesla electrical coils, he plans to stand atop a 20-foot-high pillar for 72 straight hours, without sleep or food, while being subjected to a million volts of electricity.

This is, of course, very similar to how Mr. Tesla once impressed Gilded Age crowds. However, Mr. Blaine has ramped up the wow factor by adding the endurance test elements–something in which he ludicrously specializes–and by adding the very twenty-first century feature of audience involvement. Viewers here in New York as well as London, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney will be controlling the Tesla coils via ultrabooks contributed by the event’s corporate sponsor, Intel.

Mr. Blaine ominously told the Times:

 “It doesn’t hurt, but it’s strange. I have no idea what 72 hours of exposure to these electromagnetic forces will do to the electrons in my cells and the neurons in my brain.”

Anyone interested in assisting in the torture of Mr. Blaine can do so starting Friday at the Hudson River Park. Anyone interested in watching can do so at www.youtube.com/electrified.

Anyone wishing to travel back in time to warn Mr. Tesla of this coming posthumous indignity is on his own.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com