8 People Who Narrowly Escaped Death And Lived To Tell The Tale

8 People Who Narrowly Escaped Death And Lived To Tell The Tale

Whether you believe in miracles or coincidences, there's no denying that seemingly small decisions can be the difference between life and death. Some people have survived falling off an airplane, others die on an amusement park ride, but there are many who managed to cheat death in the most fascinating ways and lived to tell the tale. Here are some of them:

1. Woman who almost got hit by a train

Earlier this year, a woman in New Zealand almost got herself killed at a train crossing while attempting to get to the other side of the tracks. The Auckland woman stopped to look to her right side, but not to her left before walking, all the while the bells and lights signaling an oncoming train were on.

Luckily, the driver stepped on the emergency brakes and the train missed her by a few inches. She escaped unscathed, but we bet she was shaken for a while after.

2. West Side Baptist Church Explosion

The explosion took place 60 years ago but it still remains in the minds of the members of the choir who would've died had they all been on time for practice.


Each of the 15 members of the church choir had a different reasons for not making their 7:25pm call time, avoiding a natural gas explosion that occurred at 7:27pm. One member's car broke down on the way to the church, another traced their way back home to turn off a furnace they left on, the pianist accidentally fell asleep after dinner and one man lost track of time while taking care of his young sons.

Their miraculous story was the subject of a 1989 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

3. The Woman Who Survived Decapitation

We've all watched enough episodes of  Untold Stories of the ER on TLC to know that anything is possible when it comes to injuries, but Shannon Malloy's story takes the top spot.

The Share Club

Malloy was involved in a serious car crash and when she was transported to the hospital doctors found that the ligaments and tendon connecting her spinal cord to her skull were all severed. She suffered internal decapitation and her head was only connected to her body by skin and muscle.

In most cases, the patient wouldn't survive this type of injury, but after doctors reattached her skull, she recovered well enough to avoid paralysis.

4. The World's Luckiest Unlucky Man

Frane Selak's story sounds like it is straight out of a movie script, but it is indeed true. The croatian teacher has had 7 run-ins with death, but escaped every single time.


Between 1962 and 1996, Selak survived a train wreck, a bus crash, an airplane crash, fell off a cliff, was hit by a city bus and made it out of two car explosions.

In an unexpected twist, the unlucky man decided to play the lottery in 2003 and ended up winning $1 million dollars. He later realized that money can't buy happiness so in 2010 he sold his home on the private island and gave away his fortune to family and friends. The 88-year-old now lives a modest life free of incidents.

5. The Gangster Also Known As "The Cat"

Richard Blass was a notorious Canadian gangster who was involved in Montreal's mafia activity in the 1960s. He was nicknamed Le Chat, French for The Cat because of the numerous times he's cheated death.


Blass escaped his first assassination attempt in 1968 unscathed. Two weeks later, a motel he was staying in was set on fire and he once again evaded death. A few months later, he survived a shot to the head and managed to escape jail twice. Blass may have been lucky, but he certainly wasn't immortal because he died at the hands of the police after they shot him 23 times.

5. The Woman Saved By Gwyneth Paltrow

What started out as a regular morning on September 11, 2001 quickly turned into a day that will haunt Lara Lundstrom Clarke for the rest of her life.

The then 24-year-old account manager was jaywalking to the subway station when she was almost hit by an SUV. When she looked up, she realized Gwyneth Paltrow was behind the wheel. They waved at each other and carried on with their commute, but when Lara got to the station, the train started to pull away. She eventually made it on another train and when she arrived at the Financial District, she witnessed the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

"If I had made that train I would have been at my desk on the 77th floor of 2 World Trade center," she told TMR.

6. The Man Who Lived Through Doomsday

On May 7, 1902, a Martinique man by the name of Ludger Sylbaris (his real name is Louis-Auguste) was arrested for getting in a fight while intoxicated. He was locked up in solitary confinement in an underground cell that had no windows and only a tiny slit on the door facing the sea.

The next day Mt.Pelée erupted and engulfed everything within the eight mile radius. It only took a minute for the 1,075 degree pressure wave to destroy the entire island and kill nearly all of the 30,000 residents on the island.

As for Ludger, he was found alive four days after the eruption by a rescue team. He suffered horrible burns from the flash heat, but he eventually made a full recovery. He was pardoned of his crimes and joined the Barnum & Bailey touring circus to tell his story. More than a century later, Luger's cell is still standing in St. Pierre.

7. The Only Known Meteorite Survivor

There's a slim chance that a meteorite will hit your home but when it does there's a high chance that you won't make it out alive unless you're as lucky as Ann Hodges.

Rare Historical Photos

In 1954, Ann was napping on the couch in her Alabama home when a softball size rock crashed into her ceiling, bounced off a radio and hit her thigh. This rare and strange incident made Ann the only confirmed person in history to have been hit by a meteorite.

Ann donated the rock to the Smithsonian in 1956, where it is still on display. She died in 1972 of kidney failure.

8. The Hangover That Saved "Family Guy"

Seth MacFarlane was among the many famous people who almost made it on one of the doomed planes on September 11, 2001. The actor was drinking the night before and was nursing a bad hangover which led to a schedule mix up causing him to miss his plane by 10 minutes.

Had he made it to the gate on time, he would've been one of the victims of the attacks and shows like American Dad and The Cleveland Show would've never seen the light of day.  

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.