What was intended to last until Feb. 3, 2009, has ended after 44 days.
Illusionist Daniel Madison, who is one of the featured artists in Xtreme Beginnerz 2, began a fast on Oct. 3 designed to challenge his mind. According to a post on his Web site, his mind was up to the task. However, his body did not cooperate: On Nov. 11, after collapsing for the fifth time in seven days, he decided to end his dangerous experiment.
The irony is how invincible he felt in the first few days of the stunt. He wrote that after two weeks, he started to feel invincible, and cut down on the little food he was allowing himself to about 2,000 calories a week — about a seventh of the recommended daily amount.
“Although my mind was strong, I would soon discover that this was nothing more than a side-effect of what was happening to my body… My mind had the strength that my body needed; an overcompensation for what my body was lacking.”
The low point came on Oct. 28, where in a bout of self-doubt he questioned the purpose for the stunt and destroyed his diary and video records — explaining why there is only one record, from Day 44, on his site:
“I became frustrated, depressed, weak and lost and saw myself from the outside through the eyes of my dark side; I saw a man so lost that he began to starve himself just to be found, I saw hate and emptiness and saw a part of me that had taken over. As a result, I deleted the Hunger diary and crushed the tapes filmed throughout the experiment and slid a pizza and chips into the oven. I sat in the kitchen waiting for the bell to ring, but by the time the 20 minutes had passed, I had already been lifted by that dark side of me; I saw that as a different person, but then realized it was me, telling myself to get up and keep going, not to be weak or lost, to achieve what I’d set out to do. I became my own enemy. The pizza and chips hit the bin and the hunger continued.”
Madison is rewriting the book and will release it on his Web site. He also said the time away from magic, though draining on his body, has nourished his creativity. We salute his attempt, even though it exacted disastrous results on his body.