Limerick magician Steve Spade announced he will attempt one of the most spectacular and dangerous escapes every performed in Ireland on 15 September next when he bids to escape from being burned at the stake.

The illusion, which has never before been performed in modern times in Europe, will be the headline act in an event entitled “Night of Fires” at the medieval King John’s Castle in Limerick, part of the inaugural Elemental Arts & Culture Festival.

The burned at the stake illusion has been designed and choreographed by Spade and Morgan Strebler, a professional magic advisor from the United States who has designed effects for illustrious performers such as David Blaine. Permission to perform the illusion has been sanctioned by Shannon Heritage, which manages King’s John Castle.

The illusion, named ‘Sacrifice - Without Fear There Is No Courage’, will see Spade being tied to a stake on a 6-foot high platform surrounded by wooden logs in the middle of the mediaeval Castle courtyard. Numerous torch bearers will light the logs and Steve will have less than 60 seconds to free himself while battling flames and smoke.

The Coonagh native, who last year made headlines when he escaped from a sealed box that had been lowered into the River Shannon in Limerick City, described the illusion as his “most dangerous and challenging to date.”

“I was inspired to perform the illusion from the mediaeval stories of magicians accused of being witches or warlocks and being burned at the stake. Burning at the stake was a common method of executing blasphemers, thieves and witches in Catholic and Protestant countries during the Middle Ages,” he explained.

Steve continued: “This illusion has never before been performed in Europe, which is what attracted me to do it as a magician and escape artist. I am fully aware of the huge risks associated with attempting this escape but am confident that the work that I have carried out in recent months will stand to me on the night. The Elemental Festival has provided me with the ideal platform to perform the illusion, considering King John’s Castle’s direct links with the Middle Ages and the Festival’s earth, wind and fire theme.”

Las Vegas performing psychological illusionist and celebrity magician, Morgan Strebler: explained: “Steve will have to fight for his life, and every second counts. With the flames burning at his feet, he will have to make the escape of his life at record speed, with no room for error. Even though the escape is near impossible Steve will also have to worry about smoke inhalation which can prove fatal it. It certainly won’t be an event for the faint hearted.”