With all the discussion of drawing discharges FROM the secondary, I was reminded
of a neat demo that I saw some 20 years ago - where a person WAS part of the

Given the length of time since
the actual event, take everything with a grain of salt !

The demo was of a tesla coil that had a secondary with dimensions similar to
those of a 50 gallon oil barrel.  After terrifying the people in the front
few rows with 'amazing' sparks  (6-8 feet - this of course is fogged by
memory and time), the person conducting the demo stood on the secondary.
He pointed out the bare feet and lack of any metal in/on his clothes - ie
no zippers on the pants!  The first demo was showing streamers comming from 
the fingers of the demo-person.  There were various other demos - the final
one being the most impressive.  The person on the coil held a 2x4 in his hands.
It was about 2 feet long and had tin-foil wrapped around the bottom part and
a piece of wire running from the tin-foil up along the 2x4.  When the coil was
fired up sparks flew mainly from the wire that was alongside the 2x4.  This
eventually set the 2x4 on fire.  Needless to say - it was very impressive.

Am still working on being able to re-create this one!!!