Published: 13th May, 2011
by PETER GRUNER
I was preparing to write my Sunday blog when I saw this article and thought I would share it with you. Its amazing what people will go through to win something. It also shows how your mind can play tricks with you when you are in a situation like this.
A GRAPHIC designer has told of the seven hours of hell she experienced lying in a wooden coffin on a stage in the West End.
Jessica Wright was one of four people who took part in a competition at the Duke of York’s Theatre to find out who could endure the “ultimate nightmare”.
They were not allowed any padding or pillows inside the coffins.
Thirty-year-old Jessica said: “It was absolutely ghastly. There was something scraping our coffins.
“There were sudden loud bangs and the constant sound of dripping water.
“At one point I thought I was going to have to get out – it was terrifying. I heard someone else crying through the night. I had no idea what time it was and it was the longest night ever.”
The event, which began on Wednesday at 11pm and ended at 6am, was organised by the producers of hit show Ghost Stories.
The four participants, whittled down from 300 applicants, fought claustrophobia and panic attacks as theatre staff tormented them with screams, scratching and other ghoulish sound effects.
One of them left his coffin at 3.45am but Jessica and the two others taking part lasted the night.
They were put into a draw to win a flight to New York – and Jessica, who lives in Finsbury Park, won.
She added: “I would never do it again. It was swelteringly hot and stuffy. I think the silences were actually worse than the screams.
“Your mind starts to play tricks.”
“You couldn’t go to the toilet. I was told not to drink very much beforehand.”
Ghost Stories producer Imogen Kinchin said that when the coffin contest was held in Toronto one man left crying after two hours and another “was just whimpering all night long”.
The show’s writers, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, were at the theatre yesterday to congratulate Jessica.
Mr Nyman said: “I had a quick go, but the idea of spending the night in a coffin is not something I could do.”
• Ghost Stories is at the Duke of York’s Theatre until June 19.
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