The first thing I should say is that I am healthy and
unharmed and back in my home in Las Vegas.
Many of you know that I was just in England for a TV show
called "Death Wish Live."
The Program was a series of 5 shows, each with a person
doing a dangerous stunt, broadcast live on channel E4.
In my segment, which aired
Feb. 1st, I lay on
a bed of nails and had an SUV, a Land Rover to be exact,
drive over me.
I had done a stunt like this twice before, but with smaller
The first was in Sept of
1998 in Sacramento, CA as a publicity stunt for the Evolving
Times Expo. This was filmed for local news and picked up
The car they used to
drive over me was a Volkswagen Jetta, weighing over 2000 pd.
The next time was for Ripley's Believe It or Not TV, for
a show that original aired in Feb. 2000.
Ripley's originally wanted to use a light truck to drive
over me, but as it got closer to doing the stunt, the
producers realized how dangerous it was going to be, so
he got a smaller vehicle, a Geo Metro that also weighted
in at about 2000 pd.
When the producers for Death Wish contacted me, they
asked if I could have an SUV drive over me?
I told them that I
had only done this stunt with small cars, but I was
certain that I could do it with a larger vehicle.
We settled on Land Rover, weighing in at 4730 pd., it is
more than twice as heavy as any of the cars I had used
The other times I did the stunt, I used heavy wooden
ramps. The ramps had to be very sturdy, to ensure that
they could support the weight of the vehicle. This time
we planned to use metal ones. I was in hopes that the
ramps would be built out of high tech lightweight metal
and would weigh less than the wooden ones which I used
It turned out that the people who were responsible for
building the ramps could not or would not complete the
ramps. The production company had someone else
make the ramps, but they made them using big slabs or
metal which increase their weight to 300 pd
It was at about this point the folks from the production
company started freaking out and were concerned that I
would be unable to do the stunt as planned. I went
and did some calculations that calmed them a bit, it
showed that I could handle the massive weight, even with
the added weight from the ramps.
They were more
concerned with the nails. I told them that I was
more concerned with the total weight of the vehicle and
ramps compressing me. As it turned out, this was a very
Those of you who saw the show already know what
I started out with a
few stunts which always helps to build up to the climax.
When it came time to do the stunt, I lay on the nails
which had already be placed under the ramps. The
jacks that were holding them up were removed, that's
when I felt the weight of the ramps for the first time.
I could barley breath just from their weight. The
driver took the SUV up and over me. I remember the
first tire passing over me, seeing the host of the show,
who was in the passenger seat, and then I went to
The next thing I remember I was looking at the floor
upside-down, with the feeling of nails hard pressed in
my back. I looked up and saw the host of the show,
Alex Zane looking at me. "What happened?" I asked. "You
just got run over by a truck."
It was at that moment
I realized what had happened. The weight had compressed
down on me so much that I had passed out. I had no
idea how long I was out, but I was told that I had been
out for only about 30 seconds. The show was still live,
and Alex asked me if I would like to see a replay of the
stunt. Since I had missed it, I told him YES.
My back was deeply indented, but not one nail
After the show, the paramedics, who were always on set
for every show, examined me and gave me oxygen. They
said it was very likely that, in addition to being
unable to breath, that the weight on my chest had been
so great that my heart was unable to beat for a few
seconds, and that my body was still trying to get back
into synch after the weight had been removed. It was the
next day, after I had rested, that I realized the
seriousness of what had happened, if this was true, I
had been technically dead for a few seconds, and on live
I need to stress how dangerous what I did was. The SUV
drove complete over me, up one side and down the other.
If it had slipped off the ramps, there would have been
no way to get it off me.
Once the front tire
was on my chest, the quickest way to get it off me if
something went wrong was to keep driving it on over me.
There would have been no way to quickly get it off me.
The company that produced the show made this dangerous
stunt as safe as it could be. The driver of the SUV was
a professional stunt driver, guided by another
professional stunt director. There were paramedics
standing by. All the equipment was test and
retested many times. There were people ready to pull me
out if something went wrong. In addition, members of the
Qadiri-Rafai'i Sufi Order, the group that I am a member
of, were there providing personal and spiritual
This is the most dangerous stunt I have ever done, and
it is unlikely that I will do it again, at least with
that much weight on top of me.
People have asked if it will air again, or air in the
The program was produced for Channel 4 in the UK. Now
that it is all over, they own it, so it is all in there
hands. It is likely that they will replay it on
Channel 4. There is a strong possibility that there will
be a DVD, with extras which they did not have time to
get the into the show. No doubt segments from the
show will end up in the US in some form.