Charles Bukowski in his famous poem ‘Laughing Heart’ wrote: “You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes.” We are all aware that the only constant thing in our life is death. Moreover, when he passes by, it’s hard to get out of his clutches. However, here are five amazing life stories of people who refused to die when death seemed like the most certain thing, and they did it on multiple occasions, which make us wonder whether they were just lucky or somehow learned the art to trick death.
No wonder most of them finally kept their date with death but after evading him for multiple times. These stories are bizarre and inspiring at the same time.
1. Frane Selak
Frane Selak, a retired music teacher from Croatia, has all the reasons to be termed as the world’s luckiest man for he cheated death not once or twice but seven times, and then went on to win a humongous lottery of around Rs. 7 crores in 2003. His story is no less than something straight out of fiction.
He escaped death for the first time when in 1962, his train derailed and fell into an icy river, killing 17 people. He escaped death despite suffering hypothermia, only to get involved in a plane crash years later, in which he was pulled out of the plane. He but landed on a bundle of hay. The crash killed 19 people. Three years later, a bus he was travelling in plunged into a river, drowning four. He survived. He went on to escape death again when his two different cars caught fire while he was driving and one time, his car was hit by a truck in the mountains and he saved his life by leaping out of the car which ultimately fell to the bottom of a cliff. He must had thought that after all these it would be better for him to simply walk. But he was wrong. He was hit by a bus, but as always, he escaped with only minor injuries.
Today, he lives with his fourth wife in Zagreb, Croatia and has given away much of his lottery money to his friends and family.
2. Peter Freuchen
Lorenc Peter Elfred Freuchen was one of the most badass persons that the world has ever seen. When he was only 20 years old and was studying to become a doctor, he went on with one his friends to explore the Arctic and after traveling as far north as possible, he travelled further on a dog sledge and met the Inuit culture (Eskimos). He married an Inuit woman, hunt walrus, killed bears, wolves and one time he was trapped in a blizzard. He was buried alive in a cocoon of ice and anyone else would have died soon enough but not Peter. He molded a knife using his own frozen stool with which he cut the ice for 30 hours to escape his certain death.
He wrote 30 books, wrote script of an Oscar winning movie in which he acted as a villain and then joined the Danish Resistance against the invading Germany. Peter was a Jew and thus when the Nazis took over Denmark, he was arrested and sentenced to death. He reportedly managed to escape from there and fled to Sweden.
He also went on to win the jackpot in a popular quiz show ‘The $64,000 Question’ in 1956. In 1957, he died of a heart attack, three days after completing his final book.
3. Violet Jessop
Violet Jessop escaped death for the first time when she was a child and contracted tuberculosis. The doctors gave her only a few months to live, but she fought off the disease and grew up fairly healthy. She was raised fatherless and her mother worked as a stewardess to provide for the family. Things got worse when her mother fell ill and to provide for the family, Violet followed the footsteps of her mother and took up the job of a stewardess at the age of 21 years.
By the year 1910, she was working in the massive RMS Olympic at a minimal pay of 2.10 pounds per month. In 1911, the ship collided against RMS Hawke, a ship which was designed particularly to sink other ships. This caused major damages to RMS Olympics, but miraculously, it didn’t sink and she survived. In the year 1912, she was one of the crew members in Titanic when the ship hit an iceberg and sank. She was safely placed in lifeboat number 16 that fateful night in which more than 1500 people died. But, that wasn’t the end of her tryst with death. During WWI, she decided to serve as a nurse and was in Titanic’s sister ship Britannic when the ship ran into a mine set by a German U-boat. The explosion was so massive that the ship started to sink immediately and Violet had to jump into the water. She escaped death once again even though she was sucked under the ship’s kneel.
She died as a spinster at the age of 84 years in 1971 after suffering a heart failure.
4. Tsutomu Yamaguchi
Young engineer Tsutomu Yamaguchi, on the morning of August 6, 1945 had reached Hiroshima on the orders of his employer to strike a business deal. It was the time when the world was going through the final phase of the Second World War and Japan was a main player in the war. On that fateful day, at the end of which about 1,60,000 were to die, as soon as Tsutomu stepped out of the tram, the US bomber that was hovering over the city dropped the infamous atomic bomb ‘Little Boy’. Tsutomu was just 3 kilometers away from ground zero. The blast instantly destroyed his left eardrum and made him temporarily blind, but he didn’t die despite of being so close to death.
The following morning, he decided to escape from the city which had become a nightmare by taking a train and reach home, which was the city of Nagasaki. He reached home on August 7 and received treatments for his injuries. On August 9, he was back in office and was the center of attraction for he had just survived a nuclear attack.
At around 11 am of the morning, he was in his office, describing to his boss the explosion and how he averted a sure death when he saw a similar white light filling up the city and the room and the same sound of explosion that he had heard in Hiroshima. The US had just dropped the second bomb ‘Fat Man’. This time, it killed about 70,000 people, but again he was 3 kilometers away from the point of explosion and this time he escaped with minor injuries, beating death a second time.
In 2009, Tsutomu became the only officially recognized survivor of both the bombings. A year later, at the age of 93, he died of kidney and liver cancer.
5. Adrian Carton de Wiart
Lieutenant General Adrian Carton de Wiart’s stories of escaping death again and again might sound like an absolute folklore, but believe it or not, if there were a competition of escaping death, nobody could even come closer to him. He was so much passionate about fighting in battles that at the age of 20 he abandoned his studies against the wishes of his father to enroll in the army and started his incredible journey.
His first big battle was the Second Boer War, fighting in which he was shot several times in the groin and stomach but survived and returned to England. In the WWI, he was in Somalia, fighting for the Great Britain when he was shot again; this time in eye and ear, making him blind from one eye. He moved then to the western front and got shot in his ribs, head, ankle, ear and hip, but survived nevertheless.
During the Second World War, while he was flying to Yugoslavia, his aircraft stopped working mid-air and crashed into a sea. He managed this time to swim across only to be captured by Italians. Two days after that, he escaped but was recaptured by the Italians eight days later. He was finally released to Britain after a compromise between the Italians and British.
Death eventually overpowered him on June 5, 1963 at the ripe age of 83 years.