Risky Business: ‘Red letter’ at another level

25 03 2010

Ever considered buying a red letter for a friend or loved one? Bored of the same old choices? Hot air-ballooning or rally driving experiences not their bag? They why not treat them to something a little more extreme.

French company, Ultime Realite (Ultimate Reality to you and me) offer a break from the norm when it comes to the pinnacle of extreme thrills. Ultimate Reality provide a range of packages from faux kidnapping through faux drug deals to the more hardcore end of the scale – waking up on a mortuary slab with authentic body bags and real corpses. These have been conceptualised for the real adrenaline junkie.

After a payment of around 900 euro, there is some stringent mental and physical testing to make sure you’re up to the demands of a traumatic kidnapping experience. After the signatory of the necessary waivers and risk assessments, the crew from Ultimate Reality simply disappear. You are under constant 24-hour surveillance as they wait for the opportune moment to strike.

You have just finished your weekly shop at the local supermarket, casually manhandling 3-for-£20 cases of lager into the back of your generic family hatchback. From nowhere comes the screeching of tyres and a non-descript Transit pulls up behind you. From the back doors explode two goons who cuff you and hood you before bundling you into the van and commencing a 10 hour incarceration which should leave you in fear for your life. They’ll even record every minute so you have the perfect souvenir of an experience which they say is as close to the real thing as you can possibly get without actually getting kidnapped.

The company is the brainchild of 28 year old Frenchman Georges Cexus who in a recent interview said that “[anything] is possible. I identify what the customer wants and then try to put it into action.” He has suggested that Ultimate Reality is not just about thrill-seeking but a means to help his clients overcome deep-seated phobias allowing them to confront their own personal fears. “Let’s say it will be about bringing to life the client’s worst fear, the thing that’s lurking in the back of his mind and he’s never talked about.”

Internet buzz suggests that the company has been involved in (sanctioned) speedboat chases throughout the French River network and that they have access to a helicopter for the most realistic manhunt that money can buy. Some have doubted the legality of Ultimate Reality’s venture into the world of extreme thrills. However, clients are assured that the local police are informed before any kidnap or event takes place in public. Some argue that the sight of a kidnap, albeit a masquerade, could cause unnecessary distress to the public and undue pressure on emergency phone-lines.

One would suspect that a company, which is willing to kidnap its clientele will be pretty agreeable to any suggestions you might throw at them. However, I doubt that my own personal fear of a full-blown bun fight at Kipling’s is completely out of the question for Cexus and his squad of adrenaline junkie ex-stuntmen.

You can find out more about Ultimate Reality at their website.

Words by Lindsay Muir

Photography by Neil Findlay

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