Originally I thought we had Edgar Allan Poe to thank for the fear surrounding being buried alive, as he penned several stories around the macabre topic. Many movies have depicted the dark, claustrophobic terror as well, leaving us with long-lasting nightmares (think Ryan Reynolds in Buried — don’t worry, this one’s not a major spoiler). TV has touched on the subject, too. The Following‘s Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) started a cult of Poe-inspired killers and buried an FBI agent alive in one episode. The fear of being buried alive isn’t just dramatized fiction. Google the topic and you’ll find plenty of heartbreaking stories of people being prematurely interred. Heck, people used to pay extra for a “safety” coffin that included bells to ring to get someone’s attention above ground and pipes that delivered oxygen. A&E is capitalizing on this darkest fear with the two-hour live event Fear: Buried Alive, which airs on Monday, Oct. 26 at 8pm ET. Three people will be buried alive in this extreme experiment that tests their fears.
(The above picture is just an example, not from the show.)
Now I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty confident this would rank as one of those wet your pants, holy-shit-this-is-the-scariest-thing-I-have-ever-done moments. But maybe not? That’s what we are going to find out. These brave participants in A&E’s Fear: Buried Alive experiment actually endure more than just being buried alive — apparently they have a series of escalating horrors designed to test their psyche.
Press materials confirm that the subjects will be closely monitored during the experiment, but “this extreme experiment is not about escape, it is about enduring and defeating true terror.” The experiment is apparently based on some controversial psychological practice known as immersion therapy, wherein subjects are flooded with their darkest fears in order to overcome them (kind of like what Tris had to do in Divergent???). But apparently it will be worth it, as the press materials further state: “Studies show that when we willingly push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and face our fears, we come out feeling empowered and triumphant.”
Check out Fear: Buried Alive live on Monday, Oct. 26 at 8pm ET on A&E!