09/02/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
American illusionist David Blaine did a Vincent Van Gogh with a group of news reporters in London on Monday when he appeared to cut off part of his ear.
Reuters reports that the 30-year-old daredevil, who once rested in a cake of ice for 61 hours and is now preparing to hang suspended over the River Thames for 44 days, apparently drew blood once he was asked if he could show the press corps any new tricks.
Instead of having one up his sleeve, he had one behind his ear, noted the news service, reporting that he borrowed a pocketknife and screamed as he applied the edge to his left ear.
Blaine then dashed out of the room holding a bloodied handkerchief to his head before reappearing and walking past journalists with part of his ear missing and the top of his shirt covered with what appeared to be blood, Reuters reports. Some cynical reporters dismissed the slashed ear as nothing but a plasticine-and-ketchup trick.
Still, it got journalists writing about Blaine, who as of this Friday is planning to be suspended in a clear plexiglass case over London's watery thoroughfare from a crane near Tower Bridge.
His only lifelines will be a tube to deliver water in (he has said he will not eat) and another tube to urinate out.
Blaine's sole props will reportedly be diapers, a journal, some pens, lip balm, a pillow and a pad to sleep on. He said he now weighs about 205 pounds and expects to lose about 45 pounds during the stunt.
Of Blaine's upcoming effort, British magician Paul Zenon told BBC Radio: "He says there's no trickery involved – I think there's a clue in the fact that he's a magician. That's what we do – we tell lies."