October 2, 2012 | 4:00 PM
When David Blaine was four years old, he encountered a magician on the subway in New York City. It was a formative experience. Fast forward to David Blaine as a teenager, spending his free time roaming the shelves of the public library while his mother worked hectic hours at several different jobs. It was in that library that he discovered Harry Houdini and the mesmerizing world of magic.
David says magic opened his mind and his heart to the possibilities of life. Passion fueled his early career, as did the crushing loss of his inspiring mother to cancer.
In 1997 David Blaine became a household name. His ABC special, David Blaine: Street Magic introduced the world to the intensely personal, mind-bending illusions that David could perform. David was only 24 years old, but he shocked the world and reimagined how the craft of illusion could be performed.
Magic Man, the follow-up to Street Magic, took Blaine on the road. He astonished people wherever he traveled. Everyone from Penn and Teller's Penn Jillette to the New York Times acclaimed his performances as groundbreaking and innovative. The practice of illusion had a new superstar.
But it was through feats of endurance that Blaine took things to the next level and began to harken back to the thrilling performances of his predecessor Harry Houdini. Over the course of a decade, David performed seven times, each feat more daring than the last.
1999: Buried Alive
David was entombed in an underground plastic box underneath a 3-ton water-filled tank for seven days. Houdini planned on attempting this feat but died before he could try.
2000: Frozen in Time
David was encased in a box of ice for 63 hours, 42 minutes, and 15 seconds before being removed with chain saws.
David stood on the 22-inch wide tip of a 100-foot pillar for 35 hours.
2003: Above the Below
In a 44-day endurance stunt David was sealed inside a transparent Plexiglas case 30 feet above the River Thames.
2006: Drowned Alive
David was submerged in a water-filled sphere 8 feet in diameter for seven days and seven nights with tubes providing air and nutrition.
David was shackled to a rotating gyroscope and escaped from his chains after 16 hours of constant rotation.
2008: Dive of Death
David was suspended upside down for 60 hours.
And now, in 2012