Thrill-seekers in France unimpressed by skydiving, rock climbing and other extreme sports are turning to designer kidnapping to test their limits.
For a £1000 ($1633) basic abduction package, participants are seized by strangers, bundled into a car, bound and gagged, and kept in a cellar for four hours.
If that sounds too tame, boat chases and helicopter escapes can be added to the tailor-made experience, and clients kept for longer periods. The maximum incarceration is 11 hours.
The website of Ultime Realite, a company in Besancon, eastern France, said: “You will go through the real sensations of violence, terror and fear of a real kidnapping – a psychological shock that you won’t forget in a hurry.”
Participants explain how they want to be kidnapped and, once the scenario is established, they sign a contract and liability waiver, but have no idea when or where their abductors will strike.
“We follow you for a few days. At an opportune moment, in the street or elsewhere, we kidnap you,” the contract says.
Georges Cexus, 28, launched Ultime Realite in January and said it was already receiving two orders a day, mainly from top-level executives seeking an extreme alternative to bungee jumping or skydiving. Mr Cexus said nobody was physically hurt during the kidnappings. …
The service echoes the 1997 film The Game, starring Michael Douglas, in which the protagonist is trapped in a real-life role play. But unlike the film, the client can stop the kidnap by uttering a password.
Some clients have expressed a desire to try to tackle phobias, including, in one case, being buried alive. They can also lead a manhunt, be tracked by a bounty hunter, escape in a high-speed car chase or smuggle “drugs”. Other scenarios include spending a night in a morgue or attending your own funeral. …