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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Czech spends 10 days buried alive
Czech fakir Zdenek Zahradka lies in a wooden coffin
The fakir spent most of the time sleeping and meditating
A Czech magician has spent 10 days buried alive in a coffin without food and water to claim what he says is a new world record.

Zdenek Zahradka, whose stage name is Fakir Ben Ghan, survived as he was able to breathe through a ventilation pipe.

"I had a lot of time to meditate about the meaning of life... on how life is short and how necessary it is to make the best of every day," he said.

Mr Zahradka, aged 50, said he beat the previous record by four days.

And after rising from his temporary grave during the European Magic Festival in the town of Jaroma, the fakir said he would apply to be officially registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He said the most difficult thing to endure during the feat was severe thirst, adding that the seventh and eighth days were the most challenging.

Doctors - who were constantly monitoring the magician - said he lost 8.5kg (19lb) in the wooden coffin.

Mr Zahradka's wife - who initially did not like the idea - said she was relieved that the experiment "has turned out well".

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