Thrill-seekers in France unimpressed by skydiving, rock-climbing and other
extreme sports are turning to a controversial new way of testing their limits – designer kidnapping
Customers of Ultime Réalité can be seized by strangers, bundled into
a car bound and gagged, and kept in a dank cellar for four hours
For £1,000, customers of Ultime Réalité, a company in Besançon, eastern
France, can buy a basic abduction package in which they are seized by
strangers, bundled into a car bound and gagged, and kept in a dank cellar for
If that sounds too tame, boat chases and helicopter escapes can be added to the tailor-made
experience, and customers kept for longer periods, depending on the budget.
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," promises the company's website.
Customers explain exactly what they want and once the scenario is established, they sign a
contract and liability waiver, but have no idea exactly 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 stipulates.
Georges Cexus, 28, launched Ultime Réalité in January and says it is already receiving two orders
a day, mainly from top-level executives.
He said the maximum incarceration time was 11 hours, after which the novelty may start to wear off.
Mr Crexus said nobody was ever physically hurt during the kidnappings.
"That's not part of the plan," he told l'Est Républicain, a local daily. "Together we think about
the question of physical and psychological limitations.
"What I offer is a totally controlled experience that allows you to go further in your personal vision, in
The service echoes the 1997 movie The Game starring Michael Douglas, in which the protoganist is trapped
in a real-life "game" organised by a shadowy group called Consumer Recreation Services.
But unlike the film version, if the customer oversteps his tolerance or fear threshold, he can stop
the role-play with a previously agreed password.
Some clients have expressed a desire to try and tackle deep-rooted phobias, including in one case
being buried alive.
Besides kidnapping, customers can lead a manhunt for a fugitive, be tracked themselves by a bounty
hunter or try their hand at drug smuggling by sea in a go-fast speed boat. Other potential scenarios
include spending a night in a morgue, or attending your own funeral.
While paying participants might get a kick from the experience, witnesses to an apparently real abduction
may not be as thrilled.
A spokesperson for the French police said that the service was not strictly illegal, but the company
would need to warn local authorities in case of any emergency calls.
"With regard to the police and penal code, there's no reason for us to ban this service, as the victim
is consenting which means there's no crime," he said