Full text of David Blaine on How I held my breath for 17 min at TEDMED conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – David Blaine on How I held my breath for 17 min
As a magician, I try to create images that make people stop and think. I also try to challenge myself to do things that doctors say are not possible. I was buried alive in New York City in a coffin, buried alive in a coffin in April 1999, for a week. I lived there with nothing but water. And it ended up being so much fun that I decided I could pursue doing more of these things.
The next one is I froze myself in a block of ice for three days and three nights in New York City. That one was way more difficult than I had expected. The one after that, I stood on top of a hundred-foot pillar for 36 hours. I began to hallucinate so hard that the buildings that were behind me started to look like big animal heads.
So, next I went to London. In London I lived in a glass box for 44 days with nothing but water. It was, for me, one of the most difficult things I’d ever done, but it was also the most beautiful. There were so many skeptics, especially the press in London, that they started flying cheeseburgers on helicopters around my box to tempt me. So, I felt very validated when the New England Journal of Medicine actually used the research for science.
My next pursuit was I wanted to see how long I could go without breathing, like how long I could survive with nothing, not even air. I didn’t realize that it would become the most amazing journey of my life.