Thorpe Park has released some terrifying new footage of 10 human guinea pigs screaming for their lives during the testing stage of Derren Brown’s upgraded Ghost Train, renamed Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon.

The footage which was captured with the approval of the participants shows the feted mind magician experimenting on a series of ‘fearless’ participants who were specifically chosen due to perceived ability to withstand shocks and fear.

The subjects were the very first to preview the new VR additions which will feature in the re-launch of the attraction this year, and now the park is appealing for more people who can withstand ‘shock therapy’ to register for advance testing!

Participant Experiment Reaction | Thorpe Park Resort
Participant Experiment Reaction | Thorpe Park Resort

The new VR content has been created following feedback from fans in 2016 demanding even more shocks. Thorpe Park and Derren Brown have created something truly original that will terrify punters due to advances in technology and they heightened sense of horror by making the scenes more realistic.

Derren Brown invited the participants, to take part in an experiment at his secret testing facility. From martial arts experts to army officers to ex-prison guards, the participants were all left visibly quivering by the latest spine-chilling footage.

Illusionist Derren Brown said: “Over the last few weeks I have been testing out the components of the attraction and decided to run scare tests on a selection of participants who claim they are totally fearless – the reactions have been incredible. Visitors to the Ghost Train will experience a heart stopping combination of next generation technology, grand illusion, live action and special-effects, completely unalike anything they will have seen before. We are making this bigger, better and scarier than last year. The changes and improvements that have taken place will scare the sh*t out of guests”.

The trials resulted in terrified reactions including spine-tingling screams, falling out of the chair and curling into a ball, with one test even resulting in a VR headset being flung across the room.

Subjects’ heart rate reached a collective of 1,452 beats per minute [bpm], on average participant’s heart rates increased by 31.9 bpm. Subject’s displayed a range of physical responses including screaming, crying, pleading and an inability of determining reality from the VR content. Full results from the test can be seen below:

Name Occupation Heart rate – beats per minute [bpm]
Nick Ferreira Ex-Boxer 138bpm
Joseph Sands Security Guard 129bpm
Alo Raptopoulos Martial Arts 127bpm
Matt Sproit Ex-Prison Officer 112bpm
Matthew Larmond Security Guard 169bpm
Carol Nulty Stunt Woman 145bpm
Freddie Pearce High School Teacher 133bpm
Emilia Cain Bungee Jumper 183bpm
Faye Carmichael Police Detective for Gangs Unit 159bpm
Roxanne Gregory TA Army 157bpm

Highest heart rate recorded was 183 beats per minute, using heart rate as an associated marker it’s been proven* that heart rates over 175 bpm induce irrational fight or flee behaviour, loss of depth perception, freezing and cognitive processing can deteriorate whilst afraid.

Matt Sproit, an ex-prison officer said: “I’m used to dealing with terrifying situations, so I was never expecting the VR footage to scare me that much. When I took off that headset I was physically shaking.”

Stunt woman, Carol Nulty adds: “I thought I had to be pretty fearless in my job, but this lived up to expectations, the VR is flawlessly real – you really believe there is a demon in the room with you! This is not a ride for the faint hearted.”

Another participant, Emilia Cain-Heritage commented: “As a bungee jumper, I face fear on a regular basis but this was a new level in fear – so, so real and absolutely terrifying’.”

Participant Experiment Reaction 2 | Thorpe Park Resort
Participant Experiment Reaction 2 | Thorpe Park Resort

Participants can enrol for the next round of testing at Thorpe and signing up to the newsletter. They are specifically looking for the following:

  • Natural born adrenaline seekers / junkies
  • Adventurous souls seeking a new mind-bending challenge
  • Those looking to test their strength of mind
  • Individuals who thrive on multi-sensory experiences
  • Must be good at keeping secrets

Dominic Jones, Divisional Director at Thorpe Park Resort says: “We are always looking for ways to make our guests’ experiences bigger, better and will be making a terrifying attraction even scarier for 2017 – Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon will leave guests hearts racing.

“Our test trials on some of the nation’s most fearless subjects have gone very well, with heart rates reaching over 180bpm.  Now we are opening early stage testing to the general public to see how they handle the new

Journey – and of course, we always keep a secret up our sleeve… things may take an unexpected turn.

“Derren Brown’s Ghost Train is pushing the boundaries of theme park attractions, providing a fully immersive journey. Scares aren’t just for Halloween, Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon will be open for scares all season.”

The video is the latest in a series of reveals from Thorpe Park Resort to promote the attraction. Previously, a Christmas TV ad promoting the ride was banned from being aired due its terrifying content being deemed too scary for TV.