Dive of Death: Spectacular magic, controversial ending

September 24th, 2008 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Criss Angel, David Blaine

Now that it’s over, here’s my take: This was a magic climax straight from the mind, or spirit, of Andy Kaufman. We are meant to be talking about this, because it is completely NOT what we were expecting. Hindsight shows that the poster gave us a clue. For those who didn’t see it: Blaine jumped from the top of his rig, floated down, then ascended up into the air and disappeared.

There’s some general disappointment from the users in the iTricks chat; Justin Robert Young suggests the bullet catch would have been a better ending. All the way around, it was an awesome special packed with incredible magic. Look at all the tricks he did below.

Here’s our running account of the street magic performances David Blaine does in “Dive of Death.” Keep checking back for more (latest tricks on top)…

  • Interesting climax with the dive. He plummeted to the platform, then ascended into the air… and disappeared. This is going to be controversial for a while.
  • Justin Robert Young rocks the Iron Man mask. Only Downey does it better.
  • One word for the bullet catch: WOW. Two more: Slow motion.
  • Here’s a shout out to those following on the iTricks live chat.
  • Blaine did the matchbook trick again (see below) for a New Orleans Saints fan (WHODAT?!) living in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. He then changed five $1 bills into $100s with just a twist of the bills. He then passed them out. An outstanding, charitable Extreme Burn. The bullet catch is coming up…
  • Blaine took a signed, borrowed dollar bill, then moved a seal from one side of the bill to the other. John Mayer didn’t have anything to say this time… he was gobsmacked. Blaine just committed Fraud.
  • Blaine had Serena Williams choose a favorite card and hold on to it. Her mother then chose a card at random. Written on Serena’s card was a prediction of what card her mother would take.
  • Blaine took a borrowed quarter, then stretched it like it was Silly Putty.
  • This one wasn’t magic, but impressive as all getout: He took not one, but two shots in the gut from mixed martial arts fighter Kimbo Slice. OUCH.
  • Blaine had a woman choose a card sign it, then put it back in the deck. Blaine had another woman choose a different suit. He held the deck in his hand, which visibly melted away, leaving only the chosen suit and the signed card. He did the same effect for John Mayer, who said it was done with pulleys.
  • Blaine had a man choose one card, sign it then hold it in his hands. Blaine had another man name a card at random, then light a match and burn it under the first card. The card changed to the second. The first card? It was the matchbook.
  • Blaine did some classic card magic for the New York Giants, including an ambitious card routine. Most of what he did can be learned from Crash Course in Card Magic volumes 1 and 2. CC2 teaches the ambitious card routine — a classic in card magic — and several enhancements to it.
  • Blaine had a spectator sign a quarter, then hold it in a closed fist. After everyone in the crowd touched her hand, the quarter bent. Check out a similar effect: The Superman Coin Bend.
  • Blaine called for a butterfly, which appeared out of nowhere and landed on his finger.
  • Blaine made a little piece of paper jump from his hand to a little girl’s hand.
  • Blaine had a girl think of a card, cut the deck, then flip over half of it. The chosen named card was on the top of the flipped half.
  • Blaine had actor Orlando Bloom choose a card from a pile of 10 cards while holding a pile of 10 more cards behind him. Bloom thought of a card from the original pile, which then appeared in the pile hiding behind his back. This effect is one of Blaine’s favorites. It’s called Strange Travelers.
  • Blaine set up four cellphones circling a plate. He had the owners of the phones call the other phones, then put a quarter on the plate. The quarter started dancing, shaking and vibrating.
  • Blaine took a signed dollar bill, ripped an end off and ate it. Then, he blew on the ripped dollar bill and restored the eaten part — on the wrong end.
  • Blaine had a man drain a glass bottle. Blaine took the cap, slapped it on the bottom of the bottle… and the cap jumped inside the bottle. He then had another spectator hold his hands near the bottom of the bottle, which drops off by itself. If you liked this effect, check out Bullet and Factory Sealed.
  • Blaine had a man take a cell phone picture of another man, then struck an outstretched dollar bill with the phone. The second man’s face appeared on the bill, in place of Washington’s face.
  • Blaine had random spectators call out random numbers. He then pulled out a lottery ticket with each of the chosen numbers.
  • Blaine had a spectator choose and sign a card. Another man shuffled the deck. Blaine sprang the cards out, then threw a dart. The selected card was on the dart.
  • Blaine drew three Xs in a triangle on a man’s hand, then placed a quarter between all three. One by one, he wiped the Xs off, then picked up the quarter… all three Xs were underneath.


  1. Wow I cant Wait!

  2. He just did Daniel Garcia’s Fraud!

  3. how did he do the 3 X trick?

  4. MagicNewswire.com on:

    Just posted an audio interview with David commenting on what went wrong with the finale to compliment our two phone calls with him. Enjoy! magicnewswire.com

  5. Sergei Rasputin on:

    I love how Blaine’s card-dart trick airs on t.v. just weeks after Criss Angel performs a slightly different but better variation involving a throwing knife and a four or five more decks…

  6. Astrologer: Overcoming challenges in Blaine’s blood | Ellusionist Magic News on:

    […] street magic and concentrated so much on stunts (never mind how that was completely disproven by “David Blaine: Dive of Death”), the answer is in the […]

  7. FOX News: Blaine’s ‘Dive of Death’ one of TV’s top-10 worst moments | Ellusionist Magic News on:

    […] Blaine’s explanation of how the stunt went wrong, the obvious physical difficulty and almost two hours of insane street magic (and two gut punches from Kimbo Slice), Fox packed a paragraph of VH-1-wannabe snark with a photo: […]

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