Many of us live alongside our fears every single day. The only comforting thought being that these fears, whatever they may be, will most likely never manifest themselves into reality. Still, the odds aren’t always in our favour, and sometimes, it is our name that gets drawn, making us the lucky one who gets to meet with our personal fears, face to face.
As much as we’d like to remain calm and strapping when in the eye of danger, most of us aren’t going to be able to contain our fear and grief over the situation. In the end, it’s much too exhausting to keep your wits about you when you’re dangling from a cliff or shaking hands with the Grim Reaper.
At some point in time, we’ve all heard a disturbing story about a person who went through the impossible and came up kicking. While these stories might be impressive, they are downright terrifying and these victors probably wouldn’t wish their near-death experience on their worst enemy.
Being brought within an arm’s reach of death only to be ripped back down to Earth might seem like a huge joke, but it is an occurrence that individuals go through every single day. So, with this being said, I hope you’re ready to feel uncomfortable knowing that the next 15 people lived through your worst fears so that you didn’t have to.
15. Daniel Rye – Held Hostage By ISIS
We’ve all heard tales about people being kidnapped and held hostage well into their adult years, and while these tales are terrifying, they pale in comparison to what Daniel Rye had to go through. While on a quest to free journalist James Foley, Rye and his crew were captured and held hostage in Syria — by ISIS members. Rye, who was the only survivor from his crew, remained captive for 13 months, where he repeatedly witnessed the execution of Westerners.
Rye was repeatedly beaten, humiliated, tortured, and traumatized by the jihadis. So much so, that he was certain freedom was a thing of the past. Luckily for him, Rye was eventually traded in an agreement made between the United States and Syria, and got to go home to his family.
14. Joan Murray – Skydiving Accident Then Landed On Ant Hill
Joan Murray is a bank executive who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, but despite her professional job title, she is actually quite a badass. On her spare time, Murray enjoys skydiving. So much so, that she has done it over 30 times. One day in 1999, however, her fate took a twist in the wrong direction. Murray’s parachute refused to open after she’d jumped out of a plane at the towering height of 14,500 feet. Murray, who finally got her backup parachute to work when she was just 700 feet from the ground, was so panicked that she spun out of control, causing the parachute to deflate.
On top of shattering the entire right side of her body, Murray landed on a fire ant mound, and was repeatedly stung. Curiously enough, doctors have said that her 200-something fire ant bites are actually what saved her, as their stimuli kept her heart beating post-impact.
13. Mohammad Salim Khan – Woke Up Missing His Kidney
You know that moment of panic you feel when you wake up in an unfamiliar setting? If you do, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of relief that settles in after realizing you’re actually in your own bed. For some people, however, the feeling of relief never settles in as it is replaced with sheer horror instead. Back in 2008, Mohammad Salim Khan was offered a labour job by 3 unknown men, and asked to present himself the very next day at an apartment building on the outskirts of town. Khan did so willingly, never suspecting that he would wake up without his kidney.
Once Khan entered the apartment, he was held by gunpoint for nearly a week, and prepped for surgery. Khan was put to sleep and when he woke up, the surgical site had been cleared with the exception of two other victims.
12. Harrison Odjegba Okene – Survived 3 Days At The Bottom Of The Atlantic
There are some people who are just born lucky, but I guess it all depends on how you chose to look at it, because being stuck underwater for 72 hours doesn’t sound too lucky to me. When a crew of 11 seamen boarded the Jackson 4, they had no idea that it was going to capsize, but soon, the boat began to sink. Harrison Odjegba Okene miraculously survived while entombed in the Atlantic Ocean for 3 days. What allowed him to breathe was finding an air bubble in an upended tugboat.
When divers located the boat, they descended to retrieve the bodies of the crew, and were shocked to find Okene alive. During his 72 hours hidden at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, Okene heard the sounds of large fish and sharks fighting over the corpses of his shipmates, and prayed dutifully to return to his wife.
11. Daniel Chong – Forgotten In A DEA Cell For 5 Days
Daniel Chung was taken in for questioning after being caught at the scene of a drug raid in San Diego back in 2012. Despite telling the officers that he was not connected to any crimes, simply visiting a friend in the building, the police officers cuffed him and left him in a holding cell for questioning. Problem is, however, that the officers forgot about Chung’s existence, leaving him to waste away in a 5 by 10 foot cell for 5 entire days.
Chung, who admitted to drinking his own urine in order to survive, grew delusional and screamed for help for hours on end, but to no avail. Admitting defeat, Chung carved, “Sorry Mom” into his arm using the shards from his broken glasses, and awaited death. At around that time, Chung’s cell was randomly opened by an officer, and he was brought to the hospital and treated for severe dehydration. “I was completely insane” says Chung, who later settled in court for a compensation of $4.1 million.
10. Natalya Pasternak – Attacked And Buried By Bear
Now, if this isn’t a 2-for-1 tale of terror, I don’t know what is. Natalya Pasternak, a native woman of Siberia, was fond of walking through the woods with her faithful pup, but one day, things took a turn for the worst. Pasternak stopped dead in her tracks when she came face to face with a bear who was hell-bent on attacking her. The attack was vicious, so much so that Pasternak lost consciousness, but when she woke up she wasn’t lying down in the forest, she was buried beneath its earth.
Apparently, some bears bury their prey in order to keep it fresh for hours, and this is exactly where poor Pasternak ended up. Luckily, hunters stumbled upon the fresh mound of dirt hours after the attack, and dug Pasternak out from the deep grave the bear had left her in.
9. Vanessa Goosen — Imprisoned In A Thai Jail For 16 Years While Pregnant
At 21 years old, Vanessa Goosen’s life was going exactly as planned. Not only had she been a Miss South Africa finalist, but she was in love, 6 weeks pregnant, and starting up her own clothing company with her boyfriend. In order to expand their business, Goosen chose to fly to Thailand to scout out their latest fashion trends and bring back some textiles. Upon the request of a friend, Goosen went to pick up some textbooks from a local man, with the intentions of bringing them back home for him. What she didn’t know, however, was that the book’s spine was filled with 1.7kg of heroin.
Goosen was stopped at the airport and arrested. She stood in horror as they sliced opened the book’s spine to reveal heroin. As many people know, the trafficking of heroin is punishable by death in Thailand, but luckily her sentence was reduced to 16 years in jail. Goosen gave birth in jail, and remained with her daughter for 3 years, until she was taken away. Today, they are reunited.
8. Nicholas White – Got Locked Inside An Elevator For 41 Hours
If you’ve ever been stranded in an elevator before, you know how terrifying it can be to think that no one is coming for you. Luckily, most elevators in the Western world have a direct emergency number line, making it easy to get help within the knick of time. This wasn’t the case for Nicholas White, however, as he ended up locked inside of an elevator for nearly two entire days.
White, who worked in an NYC skyscraper at the time, was returning to the 39th floor after a cigarette break when the elevator came to a halt between two floors. White was trapped in the elevator for a total of 41 hours and desperately tried to fight off his claustrophobia, to no avail. He was eventually rescued and treated for dehydration.
7. Will Johnson – Getting Buried By An Avalanche
For many people, being buried by an avalanche is kin with being stuck in the ocean, as both these devastating ordeals make breathing an impossibility. This comparison, was deemed true by avalanche survivor Will Johnson, who looked death in the eye back in 2003.
When the 800m wide avalanche hit a 17-person Canadian expedition team at 150 km/h, Johnson was certain that his death was inevitable, especially when the snow settled around him like stone. Johnson, who could do nothing but count his breaths in 8 second intervals, eventually passed out.
Thankfully, the only two people who hadn’t been buried by the avalanche were the expedition’s guides, and they quickly set off to find the 15 students they were in charge of. In the end, 7 students lost their lives that day in an event so tragic, that it took Johnson 12 years to speak out publicly on the subject.
6. Bethany Hamilton – Survived A Shark Attack
If you don’t know who Bethany Hamilton is by now, then surely you’ve been living under a rock for the past 14 years. Back in 2003, Hamilton, a lovely teenage surfer, was attacked by a 14 foot-long tiger shark. Despite losing her entire left arm, Hamilton managed to escape the incident with her life.
Accompanied by her best friend Alana, her brother, and her father, Hamilton was rushed to the shore where she could receive immediate medical attention. By the time the 13 year old girl was rescued, she had already lost 60 percent of her blood, and was in a state of hypovolemic shock.
Hamilton, who is an inspiration, continues to surf professionally after the incident. Instead of blaming the shark for its actions, she blames her location, stating that she was laying on her board, in open water, in an area known for being populated with sea turtles.
5. Paul Rosolie – Eaten By A Snake
When 27 year old Paul Rosolie set his sights on the Peruvian jungle, he had every intention of becoming anaconda food. Yes, you read right, he actually wanted to be eaten by a snake. So much so, that he killed a pig, smeared its blood all over him, and waited for the Giant Green Anaconda, the world’s largest snake, to find him.
Rosolie’s expedition revolved around raising awareness for snakes and learning about their feeding habits and preferences, and he wouldn’t stop until he got the inside scoop. The Giant Green Anaconda, which weighed 400 pounds and measured 25 feet, was apparently not harmed in the process, yet many speculate on how Rosolie actually escaped the snake’s inner belly without killing it.
4. Alcides Moreno – Fell 472 Feet
You know that numbing feeling you get when you look up a skyscraper and see people cleaning windows while suspended on a platform? Well, this feeling doesn’t apply to everyone, especially not the window washers themselves, until something terrible happens, of course. Ten years ago, two brothers set out to wash the windows of the Solow Tower in NYC, not knowing that the cables holding their platform would soon give out.
Alcides and Edgar Moreno were dropped from the 47th story, which resulted in the immediate death of Edgar, but not of Alcides. Alcides, who desperately gripped to the lopsided platform, managed to land on a pile of debris below him. Despite suffering threatening injuries to his spine, chest, abdomen, brain, legs, arms, and ribs, Alcides managed to fully recover in what doctors speculate to be an absolute miracle.
3. Jaycee Dugard – Kidnapped For 18 Years
It is every parent’s worst nightmare to have their children taken away from them. What’s worse, however, is never knowing exactly what happened to them. In some cases, parents find out that their child was murdered, but in others, parents spend the rest of their lives without knowing if their child is dead or alive. Back in 1991, an 11 year old girl named Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped just steps away from her driveway by Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy. However, it would take 18 years for Jaycee’s parents to learn their daughter’s kidnappers’ names.
Garrido, who was on parole for having kidnapped a woman in the past, became a person of great suspicion when he was spotted on a University campus, walking hand-in-hand with two young girls. These girls, aged 11 and 15 at the time, were also rescued and identified as Dugard and Garrido’s children.
2. Bahia Bakari – Clung To A Piece Of The Plane For 9 Hours After Crash
The truth about flying is that it makes everyone uncomfortable, despite the fact that it brings you to new and exciting destinations. The whole problem with flying is that at any given point, a miscalculated error can occur, sending everyone on board to an early grave. Well, back in 2009, an airplane crashed into the Indian Ocean, taking everyone to an early grave except for one; Bahia Bakari.
During the time of the incident Bakari was only 13 years old, and out of pure chance, she survived the crash. What kept young Bakari alive and afloat was a piece of plane wreckage, which she clung to for over 9 hours in the open water — without a life vest. Bakari was eventually found by rescuers, and reunited with her father at the hospital.
1. Alexander Selkirk – Stranded On A Deserted Island
For some people, getting stranded on a deserted island seems like a dream come true, but for others, it sounds like a sheepish nightmare. Back in 1704, a Scottish mariner named Alexander Selkirk found out firsthand, just how terrifying it was to stand on shore and watch your freedom sail away.
Selkirk was left to die on an island in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, after having ran his mouth about the captain’s ship. Basically, Selkirk voiced his concern that the ship would not make it to their destination, as it wasn’t in the best shape. To show him a lesson, the captain left young Selkirk behind with minimal weapons, tobacco, rum, food, and a bible. In the end, it took Selkirk over 4 years to get rescued by another ship.
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