Stuntman David Blaine had years of practice before locking himself in a box for 44 days - he used to fast for a week at a time when he was a kid.

The illusionist, who spent September and October in a Plexiglas box suspended over London's River Thames, knew he could survive for 44 days without food because he has been preparing his body for long periods of starvation for years - using Jewish holidays as his inspiration.

Instead of fasting for the traditional 25 hours during Yom Kippur, for instance, Blaine would starve himself for a week.

He reveals, "I would do the first three days with nothing, no water, nothing. And then I'd sit in the steam room at the end.

"Even when I was like 11-years-old I would stop eating for nine or 10 days, and even now I would go 20 days with nothing but water."

07/11/2003 01:52