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Life in a box: Blaine begins feat

Blaine's temporary home is lifted into position.
Blaine's temporary home is lifted into position.

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As David Blaine begins his 44-day death-defying starvation feat in London, fellow paranormalist and author Uri Geller explains the illusionist's appeal.
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David Blaine's attempt to spend 44 days in a box without food is:
A sophisticated illusion
A feat of endurance

LONDON, England -- Illusionist David Blaine has embarked on what has been billed as his toughest challenge yet -- spending 44 days suspended in a clear plastic box without food.

The 30-year-old New Yorker waved to the crowd as he entered his clear 7-by-7-by-3-foot box late Friday. In his cramped box, he will live without any distractions or food while dangling over the River Thames near London's Tower Bridge, hung by a crane.

Blaine will eat no food and will have one tube for water and another for urinating. It will be his first major stunt outside the United States and if all goes well he won't emerge until Sunday October 19.

Despite much publicity, his feat will not be recognized by the Guinness Book of Records.

Compilers of the book said they would not actively endorse fasting records -- and that the size of his temporary home is not as small as current record holders. (Full story)

Guinness World Records chiefs said Blaine contacted them asking for his feats to be recognized.

But Guinness' keeper of records Stewart Newport told the UK Press Association: "We have never encouraged actively claims for the longest time to voluntarily go without solid food for very clear and obvious reasons.

"If you beat the 'record' and then die is it a successful attempt?" he asked.

"We have from a reportage standpoint noted in past books various political, medical and criminal 'hunger strikes' -- and all were for durations far in excess of 44 days."

Guinness also dismissed Blaine's earlier feats -- being buried alive and living in an ice block -- as not measuring up.

Blaine will be allowed to take diapers, a journal, some pens, lip balm, a pillow and a pad to lie on into the box. He said he currently weighs about 205 pounds and expects to lose about 45 pounds during the stunt.

Last week Blaine marked his arrival in London by perching on the roof of a capsule of the London Eye 450 feet (135 meters) above the Thames. (Full story)

On Monday Blaine shocked a group of journalists in London when he appeared to cut off part of his ear at a news conference. (Full story)

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