Shock-rock legend Alice Cooper has been attempting to kill himself on stage for the best part of fifty years now and I’m genuinely surprised he’s yet to succeed. Most of his shows feature at least one segment where Cooper is dragged off to be hanged, beheaded, electrocuted to death, etc. The stunts are dangerous, but Cooper seems comfortable with the idea that at least part of his audience is there to see if a mock execution becomes just a regular old execution. As he explained to EW:
“When I go to the circus and there’s a guy in a cage with 12 tigers, there’s always a chance that one of the tigers didn’t get the message. When you see a guy on a tight wire, you know that there may be a second you witness a tragedy. I always wanted that in our show: What they’re seeing could be the last night of Alice Cooper.”
There’s been a few shows that have come close to being that last night. In the early 80’s, Cooper hired magician James Randi to develop a stunt in which Cooper would be hanged in a set of gallows. The raspy-voiced performer would be secured to the rafters by a thick piano wire, preventing the usual neck snapping and/or strangulation that comes with hanging. The trick went down perfectly and was a huge hit with the crowd. A few years later, Cooper was still performing the trick at his shows. With the same wire.
“Everything has its stress limit and after doing so many shows, I never thought about changing the wire. You know, I figured it’ll last forever,” he explained.
Things (and Cooper) went down exactly as you might expect. He was performing the stunt during rehearsals for a live show at Wembley Stadium when the wire snapped. Fortunately the rock legend managed to literally save his neck by snapping his head back at the last moment. He got a nasty rope burn and a bruised arse from the fall, but he went on to finish the show.
In 1988 he had a second, more dangerous, accident during a rehearsal. This time the wire snapped and Cooper was literally left hanging. A roadie recognised that the performer’s kicking legs and blue face were perhaps a bit too realistic, and quickly came to his rescue.
Even two brushes with death aren’t enough to convince Cooper to abandon a stunt that resonates with his audiences. He still performs it to this day.
How far would you go to help people in need? Russell Fox, a mentalist hailing from South Africa, is willing to walk at least 32 kilometers (or over 19 miles) over broken glass in order to raise money for charity—and attempt to break a Guinness world record in the process.
Fox was diagnosed with epilepsy, asthma, ADHD, and other mental disabilities at a young age, and channeled his energy into his magic in order to overcome them. After making a name for himself as a mentalist, he joined forces with South African non-profit Nosh for Josh, an organization dedicated to providing awareness and assistance to those affected by autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and other disorders.
The world record attempt—dubbed The Glass Walker Challenge—will require Fox to trek across 32 kilometers of glass shards in under 29 hours in order to break the record. Walking on glass is a part of Fox’s mentalism repertoire (as seen in the video above), but this will be his first attempt at the record. Speaking to South African outlet IOL, Fox says that this stunt “isn’t something I can practice for and both the mental and physical endurance is not an easy journey.”
Meanwhile, Nosh for Josh will be accepting crowdfunded donations on South African fundraising service BackABuddy in an attempt to raise R500,000 (a little over $35,000US) for the charity. The ultimate goal is to build a center to host workshops and clinics, as well as send children to the NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute in India for treatment.
The challenge will be held from Friday, November 3 through Saturday, November 4 at the V & A Amphitheatre in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information about the challenge, head over to the event’s Facebook page, and if you would like to donate to the fund, visit Nosh for Josh’s crowdfunding page on BackABuddy.