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Guinness records snub for Blaine

Last week Blaine stood atop the London Eye.

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Should David Blaine's feats be officially acknowledged in the record books?
David Blaine
Entertainment (general)

LONDON, England -- Illusionist David Blaine has been snubbed by Guinness Book of Records for his forthcoming feat of being suspended in a clear plastic box over London's River Thames for 44 days.

But compilers of the book say they would not actively endorse fasting records -- and the size of his temporary plexi-glass home is not even as small as current record holders.

Guinness World Records chiefs told the UK's Press Association they had been contacted by the U.S. magician asking for his feats to be recognized.

But they say his efforts are not good enough to make it on to their pages, including his new challenge in which his only nourishment for six weeks will be water.

The 30-year-old New Yorker is to live in a clear 7ft x 7ft x 3ft box 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.

But Guinness's keeper of records Stewart Newport told PA Thursday: "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."

He pointed out that the longest hunger strike ended in 1973 after 385 days when Dennis Galer Goodwin protested his innocence in Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, of a rape charge. He was fed by tube orally.

The lengthiest period spent without solid food was 382 days when Angus Barbieri lived on tea, coffee, soda water and vitamins in Maryfield Hospital, Dundee in the mid Sixties. He lost more than 20 stone.

Book bosses say his accommodation does not compare well with previous record holders. Vernon Kruger stayed in a barrel in South Africa -- about an eighth the size of Blaine's box -- for 67 days in 1997.

A Guinness World Records spokeswoman told PA: "We do wish him well with his latest challenge, but he has got a long way to go to beat the incredible Guinness record holders."

Guinness also dismissed his earlier feats, such as being buried alive and living in an ice block, as not measuring up.

Book compilers say they abandoned the burial record a few years ago, but their guidelines were for the box to be at least 2 meters below the surface rather than Blaine's 1.8 meters. His seven days were 134 short of the record set in Texas in 1981.

And record bosses said his ice challenge -- in which he was encased in ice for 60 hours, was little different from living in an igloo or an ice hotel.

If he had wanted to attempt the world record for full body ice contact endurance he would have to be in only a swimsuit. The world record for that was set last year for BBC1's Tomorrow's World when Wim Hof stood in an ice-filled tube for one hour and six minutes.

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.

On Monday Blaine shocked a group of journalists in London when he appeared to cut off part of his ear at a news conference to promote the plastic box stunt.

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