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The Peak Fear Experiment at Swedish amusement park Liseberg close to not being completed

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The Peak Fear Experiment at Swedish amusement park Liseberg close to not being completed

On Wednesday evening, two volunteers carried out The Peak Fear Experiment within and outside the grounds of Swedish amusement park Liseberg. The successfully completed experiment will provide plenty of valuable new knowledge, according to the team of Danish researchers overseeing it. However, one participant almost did not complete the experiment:
“There was a point when I got overwhelmed by panic and had to take a break – it was really horrible. But managing to control that fear was also a great experience in itself,” said Vicki Bååth, 45, from Sweden, just after completing the fear experiment, which lasted an hour and a half.
For Helge Branscheidt, 38, from Hamburg in Germany, the experience constituted a personal victory:
“I was terrified the whole time, but I felt this shock of joy afterwards!”

Is it possible, by creating a tailor-made fear experiment for participants, to find a sweet spot where the participants can take their feelings of joy following recreational fear to the next level, reaching ‘Peak Fear’?

That was what Liseberg amusement park in Sweden wanted to find out, and so they sought out volunteers to undertake ‘The Peak Fear Experiment’ – a field study in recreational fear.

From the 1,640 applications received spanning 22 countries, two volunteers stood out: Vicki Bååth, a 45-year-old teacher from Gamleby, Sweden, and Helge Branscheidt, a 38-year-old hair and make-up artist from Hamburg, Germany. As Wednesday 11 October rolled round, so did this unique experiment, and the tailor-made fear experiences were deployed for the two participants:

“It was mind-blowingly good! I had to find ways to avoid panicking and to control that fear, by doing things like getting angry. But at one point I started feeling these really intense feelings of panic, I had a hood over my head and couldn’t move, it was so claustrophobic, it was really horrendous, so I yelled out the agreed safe word and it all stopped right away,” says Vicki Bååth.

She managed to continue with the rest of that part of the experience within ‘The Peak Fear Experiment’, and ultimately completed the experiment. Participant number two, Helge Branscheidt, was unsure whether he would manage to complete the experiment at all:

“I was really terrified, for example when I was in a room with mirrors and these horrifying clowns. I took control of my breathing to help me get through the horrible moments they subjected me to – I went into some kind of tunnel vision mode. Afterwards, I felt this shock of joy that I’d got through it, because it was really scary and well done,” says Helge Branscheidt.

Liseberg carried out the experiment in collaboration with researchers from the Recreational Fear Lab at Aarhus University in Denmark, who stated afterwards that the experiments went very well from their perspective:

“The experiment’s been a huge success. What was most interesting was seeing how proud the participants were that they’d overcome their feelings of fear and exploring how you can use different strategies to do so. It shows that Recreational Fear can serve not just entertainment purposes, it can also be a tool to help people develop in themselves,” says Mathias Clasen, PhD and co-director at the Recreational Fear Lab at Aarhus University.

Liseberg will soon be releasing the results and lessons learned from the experiment in the form of a report, as well as using the insights to develop the amusement park:

“Fear experiences are very personal. What’s terrifying for one person might not be in the slightest bit scary for someone else. With Peak Fear, we wanted to explore where the boundaries lie, but of course without compromising on our participants’ safety. What we’ve learnt from the experiment has given us plenty of insights that will be of great use in creating future recreational fear experiences in the amusement park,” says Liseberg’s Head of Marketing Karl Svedung.

Prior to the experiment, the participants underwent a health examination carried out by doctors, and personnel from Liseberg were on site throughout the entire experiment.

For press enquiries contact:
Robert Johnsson, Liseberg.
Mobile number: +46 702 784313

Liseberg is one of Europe’s leading amusement parks offering entertainment, rides & attractions, restaurants and accommodation of the highest quality. Each year the park receives around 3 million guests, making Liseberg one of Sweden’s most popular visitor destinations.

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Robert Johnsson

Press & Media +46702784313

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Liseberg - the most beloved destination

Liseberg is one of the leading amusement parks in Europe, offering top-notch entertainment, attractions, restaurants, and accommodation. Every year, the park welcomes approximately 3 million visitors, making Liseberg Sweden's most visited destination.


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