November 9, 2012 | 11:00 AM
It happened in an instant. On Saturday morning, after David Blaine's first sleepless night at ELECTRIFIED, a lapse in concentration resulted in a surprise. Throughout his feat of endurance, David drank hydrating liquids. But that morning, he made the mistake of spitting some of that liquid out of his mouth. Immediately, a bolt of electricity met the stream of water and traveled into David's body. He reeled back, but he somehow kept himself upright and steady.
Luckily, David survived the million-volt shock, but he didn't emerge from the experience entirely unscathed. Any endurance stunt of this magnitude is bound to present wear and tear on the body of the performer, and David faced a number of physical challenges.
As he stepped off the pedestal after completing ELECTRIFIED on the night of October 8th, David's heart seemed to be in fine shape. After 72 sleepless, chaotic hours, he was lucid and grateful when he addressed the crowd assembled. He was heartened by the support, well wishes, and worldwide participation enabled by David's collaboration with Intel. Viewers in four cities around the world controlled the pitch and intensity of the Tesla coils in New York, using Ultrabook™ stations hooked up remotely to the coils.
The Ultrabook Experience team: How might have the nitrogen dioxide and ozone affected David's breathing during the event?
Dr. Stuart Weiss: Both gases are respiratory system irritants. The ozone, for example, could have caused coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness. Luckily, David didn't experience these.
Did the preponderance of conditions—sleep deprivation, noise, UV light, standing—seem to affect David's physiology after the event? How did he take it?
He did remarkably well. When we examined him after the event, and when he was examined in the emergency department, he was found to be in remarkably good health.
When David was doing really badly on Monday morning, what do you think turned it around?
He was extremely sleep deprived at that time. I think the rising sun, the support from the ground crew, and the energy from fans got him orientated again and back on track.
Have you ever seen endurance enacted in this way before? What could you compare it to?
I have never seen anything like this, and nothing like this has been done before. Here's a rough analogy: It's like David ran two marathons while breathing car fumes inside a microwave.
Was radiation an issue?
Theoretically, no x-rays should have been produced—that is what the Tesla experts tell us. We will see what the radiation badges tell us.