David Blaine gets a checkup after high-voltage stunt

Image: "Electrified: 1 Million Volts Always On" Stunt Finale
Illusionist David Blaine attends the "Electrified: 1 Million Volts Always On" stunt finale at Manhattan's Pier 54 on Monday night.Laura Cavanaugh / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

Daredevil David Blaine was taken to a hospital for a checkup on Monday night, after wrapping up a 72-hour ordeal in which fatigue arguably posed more of a risk than the million volts of electricity that coursed across his body.

The "Electrified" stunt required Blaine to stand on a 20-foot-high (6-meter-high) platform at Pier 54 on Manhattan's West Side, within a Tesla coil apparatus that continually zapped him with artificial lightning bolts. Blaine was protected by a chain-mail outfit known as a Faraday suit, as well as a wire helmet and a visor that shielded his eyes from the ultraviolet glare.

Experts said they were less concerned about the electricity, and more concerned about the fact that the arrangement forced Blaine to keep standing for three days straight.

"He's going in and out of consciousness every five seconds. ... He's getting very, very tired," Stephen Chao, Blaine's producing partner, said in a video released during the feat's final hours. "Perhaps the worst thing is really that he's standing in one place, and your legs don't get very much circulation in that situation."

When the stunt ended, Blaine was helped down from the platform and was taken to a hospital for examination, said Paul Hoffman, president and chief executive officer for the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey.

"He's spending the night in the hospital for recuperation and monitoring," Hoffman, who is serving as Blaine's science adviser, told NBC News in an email. "His spirits are good, but his feet are killing him and his legs appeared swollen.  By the end of the 72 hours, the ear plugs that seemed to fit so well at the start were hurting him, too."

Hoffman said that "medical science doesn't know the effect of exposing your brain for three whole days to the electromagnetic fields of a lightning storm."

"Maybe that would drive an ordinary person insane," Hoffman said. "David's friends joke that in his case, the exposure might cause him to want to become an accountant or to sell TVs at Best Buy."

The stunt was sponsored by Intel Corp. and streamed over YouTube. Over the weekend, hundreds of fans came to the pier to cheer on the 39-year-old Blaine — if for no other reason than to keep him awake.

Blaine's past endurance feats have included sitting in a box suspended above the River Thames in London for 44 days with only water, and standing unharnessed on a 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) pillar in New York City for 35 hours.