Well we finally did it and its all over now.
"The Darkness" went well yesterday morning (23/11/2013). We were afraid the weather wasn't going to be on our side but lucky for us it was the best conditions for the effect to take place and whats even better is that the rain and thunder started just after we had finished packing up.
So what was The Darkness?
"The Darkness" was an effect/demonstration that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. A blind folded drive.
"The Darkness" was inspired from a personal childhood fear. As a young boy I used to be terrified by the dark, and as I grew older those childhood fears turned into my worst nightmares. In my nightmares I kept on seeing myself driving a car down a pitch black dark road with no light in sight, and I kept on seeing my death over and over again, cause in this nightmare I end up having a fatal accident as I'm driving down this dark road. So "The Darkness" was more of a personal challenge for me and it was my way of trying to overcome my own fears and nightmares.
However, "The Darkness" to me also refers to Cancer and all those who have been touched by it.
After loosing Hannah to Cancer (a little girl who I had made good friends with at a hospital through our shows) I have been dedicated to do our part for cancer research. If you have gone down this road before or know someone how has you would understand the difficult and sometimes dark times for not only for the person with cancer but also their family and loved ones. So part of "The Darkness" was our way to raise some funds and awareness for Cancer research.
On Location: The Drive
We were at the Farmers and Fine Food Markets (Castle Hill Showground) by 7:30 in the morning testing the grounds and making sure it was safe to go ahead as we had a lot of rain within the last 48hrs leading up to the event. We had to change the viewing location on the last minute but it wasn't a major issue. The grounds looked safe enough for a go ahead.
The public who came out to witness "The Darkness" were a great crowd and hopefully they did enjoy what they saw and they do not try it at home. It was lovely meeting "The Darkness" competition winner Joanne Wormald (a very sweet and excited lady) as well as our two good friends the Mayor of The Hills, Councilor Dr Michelle Byrne and local Journalist from The Hills Shire Times Matt Hagias.
Non of my guests knew what they were getting themselves into until the last minute of the actual effect. It was nice to hear what they thought might be happening but they were not even close until it was too late...For them...
As I was going to be driving our car completely blindfolded with a stainless steel blindfold and a black heavy duty double clothed head bag, I had to not only trust my guests who were also my passengers in the car but also try and tap into their own energy field as little did they know I had to rely on their own eye sight and energy to be able to safely navigate through the track.
We started off with a mind reading demonstration as we had asked Cr. Dr. Michelle Byrne to draw a simple drawing of something that has some meaning to her while my back was turned. It was up to me to then connect my three guests together and try and tap into their energy field and duplicate what was drawn by the Mayor. She drew a cat!
Had this not worked and I got the drawing wrong, the whole effect would have been cancelled on that very moment and we wouldn't have gone through with the actual drive.
The next step was to have the stainless steel blindfold and the black heavy duty double clothed head bag examined by my guests and one of our audience members to make sure it was free from any trickery. I was then blindfolded. First by the stainless steel blindfold, followed by the black head bag and finally some gaffer tape (a last minute thing that got added) wrapped around the head bag that covered my neck. I wanted to make sure that not even a spec of light was able to enter the bag. I needed to be in total darkness!
What I didn't take into consideration was that now with the tape around my neck not only was it pitch black but I wasnt able to get as much breathing air as what I needed. But it was too late to back down now. The audience had come all this way to witness "The Darkness". I had to risk not passing out.
I was escorted into the drivers seat as my guests took their seats inside the car. We did a total of two laps around the oval. The first lap I had to trust my guests as they were told to verbally guide me through the track.
As they were verbally guiding me through the track I was trying to keep a mental image of what the track looked like, where the bends were, how long did it take to reach each bend, the feel of the car on the gravel/grass, the speed of the car traveling etc.
The second lap I asked for no guidance at all as I put my memory skills to the test and navigated through the track at a much faster speed. We almost had a few close calls as my calculations at a higher speed where a little off and at one point I felt like passing out due to not getting enough air during the first lap but we made it to the finish line without killing anyone.
Even though my guests had thought the drive was over, I wasn't finished here.
I wanted to really push myself and try something that wasn't really a go ahead. I wanted to drive completely off the main tracks and navigate through and around the farmers market where there was trees, telegraph poles, buildings, cars both parked and moving, people walking and other unforeseen challenges. How was I planning to pull this one off? Remember the drawing test I had mentioned above with the Mayor drawing a cat? I was confident enough that I could see the road ahead through the Mayors eyes if only she was to apply pressure and hold my left arm at one particular point. I made sure she only looked straight ahead cause I was now viewing the world through her eyes (and even this wasn't a clear everyday view) Wherever she looked, that's where we went. My breathing had to also be controlled so as to only breath as little as was needed due to not getting enough air flow inside the head bag. A last minute unforeseen scary moment non the less.
At one point we had to stop hard as what looked like a tree only a couple of meters away from the front of the car. (Viewing the video footage this morning revealed that we almost went right into a tree head on) this was partly my fault with my instructions for looking straight ahead and making sure correct amount of pressure was applied to my left arm at all times. A few obstacles got in our way. The most scariest moment for me personally was when I could see what looked like shadowy figures a few hundred meters ahead of us. I could not judge the correct distance and or what was approaching us. My guest were fast enough to let me know it was a few people heading our way so we were fast enough to stop and make sure they were out of the way of danger. A few close calls but we made it safely back to the finish line where the audience were waiting for us with a wonderful applause and welcome back.
I have now lived my own fears and nightmares and have overcome the challenges of what was seen within my nightmares.
What will be coming next? You have to wait and see...
Thanks once again to my three brave guests, Cr.Dr.Michelle Byrne, Matt Hagias, Joanne Wormald, as well as Bev Jordan, Allana Zerek, John Dean, Desley Stewart, The Black Castle Events, The Hills Farmers and Fine Food Markets, The Hills Shire Times, The Hills Shire Council, The Hills Relay for Life and everyone else who helped in making "The Darkness" possible including the team of Jack Daniels' Magic to Believe Alison Marie, Hugh Ager, VIP World Entertainment and Willy Martin.
Australia's Premier Illusionist