Magician Daniel GreenWolf lost a ton of weight, so he’s celebrating by possibly burning himself to death in public next month at a Renaissance fair.
The event is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. June 23 at Ansonia’s Warsaw Park.
“You may want to send a photographer!” exclaims the press release promoting the stunt.
Tickets for the festival range from $6 to $16. Kids under five get in for free.
On the opening night of the annual (and hugely popular) “Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire,” GreenWolf will attempt a “once-only, dangerous publicity stunt” that will see him worm his way out of being burned at the stake.
GreenWolf is the general manager for the faire and its official magician.
OK, here’s what’s going to happen:
GreenWolf will be suspended on a 6-foot high platform, chained to the stake.
A medieval-style system will slowly lower a flaming torch toward a pile of gasoline-soaked logs and tinder at the bottom of the stake.
GreenWolf will have about two minutes to escape the 100 feet of chain, locks and rope, and get down from the stake, before the whole thing goes up in flames.
Hopefully it won’t look anything like this:
GreenWolf’s stunt next month is born out of his love of magic tricks, a passion that began when he was 10 years old, watching magician Jeff McBride performing on television.
At age 14, GreenWolf became involved with Renaissance fairs, performing in various fairs across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts.
He has been named the Best Solo Variety Act for Renaissance fairs in the U.S. for five years in a row.
In late 2010, he was contacted by the owner of the Midsummer Magic Renaissance Faire in Oxford, who offered him the opportunity to build a renaissance fair from the ground up, GreenWolf said.
The magician said the fiery stake stunt is something he’s been thinking about trying for 10 years — but he couldn’t do it due to his waist line.
Then he started getting into shape.
“I was 135 pounds heavier two years ago,” he said.
Shedding the weight was a personal milestone — and now he wants to set another personal best with the “burned at the stake” escape stunt.
To successfully execute the trick, GreenWolf is undergoing intense physical preparation.
In one practice trick, called “Gasp,” Greenwolf was bound by 165 of rope, with a plastic bag tied over his head. The goal: escape from the ropes before losing consciousness.
Knowing how to escape and how to build endurance through physical conditioning is the best way to prepare for the stunt, Greenwolf said.
A team of 10 to 15 people will be working with GreenWolf, standing with fire extinguishers and water near the stake if something goes wrong. However, the danger level for this stunt remains very high.
It takes about five to 10 seconds for someone to reach him from the ground, Greenwolf said. Therefore, a great deal of safety preparation has been made to ensure the protection of GreenWolf and the audience.
In an article published Wednesday night on the New Haven Register website, the Ansonia fire marshal said he has to look into GreenWolf’s stunt.
Spectators will be kept a safe distance from the stakes, and an ambulance and full EMT staff will be on duty.
“The truth of it is, there’s always going to be a couple of people that want to see something go wrong,” GreenWolf said. “Harry Houdini used to say ‘I have become comfortable with the fact that there are people who want to watch me die, but there are so many more people who want to watch me live,’ and that’s the same concept.”
Whether he survives, GreenWolf hopes his audience will walk away from his performance with a sense of inspiration — the theme, naturally, of this year’s festival.
“It sounds so cliche, but anything is possible,” GreenWolf said. “There are no limits, and if you put a limit on yourself, it’s your self-doing. Nobody else is going to put that limit on you. If you let anyone else put limits on you, then you’re destined for a life of failure.”