General Question

Spargett's avatar

Have you ever actually feared for your life?

Asked by Spargett (5385points) January 11th, 2008

Has there ever been a moment? Brush with violence, Accident, Illness, etc.

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29 Answers

segdeha's avatar

I was trekking in the Annapurna range in Nepal in 2000 and was just seconds away from being swept down the moutainside in a mudslide. Had I been a couple of meters further up the trail and I would probably have died.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, quite a few times. Most commonly in cars, planes and boats.

gailcalled's avatar

I hit some black ice while driving a Ford Taurus at 60 mph; car slid into the drainage ditch and was heading towards a very steep incline when the car hit a tree. I blacked out for 30” and awoke to find myself hanging by the seat belt w. the airbag in my face.

Car had flipped over, but the impact stopped the descent. Auto was destroyed; Rescue squad removed me via tail gate; I had only a small bruise on breast bone from seat belt buckle and an abrasion on eye from air bag. Dumb luck.

brownlemur's avatar

Yes, about a month ago in a remote forest in Madagascar. Let’s just say I lost about 12 pounds in a period of several hours, wasn’t able eat for 5 days, and the closest doctor was a 5-hour oxcart ride + a 2–5 hour (depends on the tides) boat ride away. Seeing as how the next ox-cart (really a zebu-cart) wasn’t coming for us for a week, I figured there was a chance I could die. Luckily after 5 days I was able to keep some water and rehydration salts down and began a round of cipro. Obviously I made it since I’m writing this. Of course, even if I had made it to the doctor, the only thing that really would have helped was an IV of saline, and if you don’t bring your own sterile syringes with you, you might as well give up and die anyway.

Perchik's avatar

When I was in Nicaragua last month, we drove up this dirt “path” to get to a coffee plantation on the top of a mountain. The drive up was terrible. The drive down was worse. On the way down, we started gaining more speed then was safe and we veered off the path. We were sure it was the end. Our driver managed to smash the emergency break down just in time.

We all got out to breathe.
Turns out we stopped about 4 inches from the edge of a very large cliff.

artemisdivine's avatar

Yes I was attacked by a stranger in the deserted hallway of high school. It was pretty scary although luckily I got away without being hurt. The whole “life before you eyes” thing pretty much was there.

Poser's avatar

Once when we were kids, my best friend and I found a great game—throwing rocks at discarded bottles we found in the ditch. Unfortunately, we didn’t consider the consequences of smashing glass bottles on a rural thoroughfare. When a very irate redneck found us after shredding his tire, he and his rather large M-16 assault rifle had some choice words for us. I don’t exactly remember if I feared for my life, but I definitely feared for the equanimity of my bowels.

When my brother and I were rear-ended by a drunk driver (we were stationary—he was traveling 60 mph) I was definitely frightened, but as I had no heads-up to the impending collision, I was more bewildered than scared. I didn’t really know what had happened until we were 300 feet down the road and I found myself asking if we were okay.

And then there was the man in Cairo who tried to get me to sit on his camel (no, that’s not a double entendre—a real camel). But I was too worried about the very expensive camera I was holding—which didn’t belong to me—to fear for my own life.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Having lived in Jerusalem during the outbreak of the Intifiada in 2000, and having had bombs blow up just 2 blocks from our apartment, I can honestly say I have feared for my life many times in just that situation.
There have been others, like when I went down too far in the ocean and felt my lungs about to explode when I couldn’t get to the surface. Luckily my brother realized I had been down for a very long time and pulled me up right then.

mimijo's avatar

My husband and I were on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin, when we passed a redneck in a pickup truck who was swerving all over the road. He then followed us for miles to a restaurant and started yelling at us when we got out of the car. Wonder if he was the same guy above?

Poser's avatar

Nah, I doubt this guy could’ve found his way out of a large paper sack, much less Texas.

segdeha's avatar

Oh, there was another time. I was in Australia driving on the highway north from Brisbane. There was construction (road works), so I had to stop. Behind me, a semi-tractor trailer rig didn’t notice the construction until too late. I saw him in my rear view mirror barrelling down on me. He pulled out of my lane to the right just in time and his cab ended up right beside me. Could have been curtains for me if he hadn’t thought to do that!

hossman's avatar

A number of times:

The stunt that went bad while I was playing the White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland,” dropping me out of the balcony into the seats below, giving me a concussion, 32 stitches, a dent in my head, and making me bleed all over the broken bunny ears.

Unknowingly walking into an armed robbery of a Popeye’s Chicken while in uniform. The panicked robber fired at me, missing me, but the chunk of concrete flying out of the wall behind me gave me a concussion and more stitches.

The near riot at the prison I worked at (60 some inmates, 4 of us guards) resulting in being pushed down a flight of stairs, my losing a molar from a punch, and, you guessed it, a concussion and more stitches.

Rolling my VW GTI at 80 mph. Resulting in a concussion, but no stitches.

While diving, a pylon was dropped on and trapped my leg. I drowned, was brought back with CPR and mouth to mouth. I can’t breathe now if I know the water’s over my head.

Many other fights and near fights that looked like they could be very serious.

My brother accidentally dropped a sledge hammer on my head from the garage roof, resulting in. . . a concussion and more stitches.

Attacked by an inmate with a “shank” (homemade knife), resulting in. . . nope, you guessed wrong, another inmate being stabbed, and my having to put my thumb in his artery and hold it there for 20 minutes until they could get us to the emergency room.

I’m sure the dents will be very amusing when I am completely bald in a year or two.

Perchik's avatar



that’s all i have to say about that

Eight's avatar

About 37 years ago I was in San Francisco visiting a friend in the Mission district and hadn’t read the newspaper that day so I didn’t know it was beat-up-a-hippy-day. Walking towards North Beach I got jumped by a gang (cross the street? No way, that shows paranoia…I’ll just walk past them) and regaining consciousness heard an ethereal voice say “Prepare to Leave the Body.” I demurred, found my (mostly empty) wallet, tossed it as far as I could, that got rid of three of them and when the remaining hostile commanded me to “give us your money” while emptying the can of whop-ass on me I said “the other guys’ got it” and that gave me the opportunity to hobble away to a safe house. Three months later I began a two year process of recovering from back injuries including nine months of staying flat on my back during which I learned several computer languages, caught up on my sci-fi, taught myself how to read music and managed the pain with acupressure and meditation.

segdeha's avatar

@hossman, All those concussions… explains a lot! ;-)

rowenaz's avatar

When I was 15 I caught the flu, got on the wrong bus from a friend’s city for home (driver didn’t check my ticket carefully either) and ended up in Providence, RI. in the middle of the night with no money, and a closed bus station. The next bus back to my state wasn’t until the next morning, but luckily, one of the workers said I could spend the night inside the locked bus station. Well, at one point I awoke to find a janitor, who was let’s say intellectually deficient, stroking my long hair. Instead of doing any number of things to my detriment, he left and returned later with a cup of instant soup. While I was sitting there drinking soup, facing the enormous glass windows, a cab pulled up with a guy, who then had an argument with his passenger, and then the passenger pulled out a gun and shot the driver. Long story short, I did get home the following day, my parents had moved to a level beyond distraught, and I believed in God from that day forward.

There was also the time in Poland (1996?) when in the middle of the night the 10 story apartment black near me blew up in the middle of the night. A vindictive mentally ill tenant had gone into the basement and opened the gas pipes. When a woman went to feed the feral cats down there, she flipped on the light switch and the entire building was lifted off its base into the air, and came crashing down, squashing the first three floors and blowing out all the windows of all the buildings nearby, and blowing the parked cars along the parking lot. Scary.

A trucker tried to rape me in a parking lot off the autobahn when I stopped to buy a bottle of water – my travel companion had fallen asleep and didn’t hear a thing – but again, by the grace of God, my anger at being attacked (instead of fear) gave my attacker second thoughts and in his hesitation I freed myself and other people showed up to take care of that situation. It just so happens that a few days before I’d been talking to a friend who was trying to say how you present yourself effects how you are treated, and to not be a victim, etc. – a conversation that may have saved my life.

There is others, including 9/11, but three is enough to share, don’t you think?

stezton's avatar

Once when I was in the ocean in Savannah I got pulled under by riptide. I was nowhere near anyone and when I was underwater I was really scared I was going to drown. Thankfully I grabbed onto someone and was able to hold on until the riptide let go.

syz's avatar

I responded to a seizuring tiger at the facility that I worked at. By the time I got the valium and then entered her enclosure, she stopped seizuring but was very dysphoric. She didn’t recognize me and in her state of fear and confusion, she decided to attack. I called to a co-worker to bang on the outside of the fence and distract her…it worked long enough for me to get out.

I had lots of close calls at the non-profit where I worked (we had about 350 carnivores of various sizes), but that was the closest I came to death.

Jill_E's avatar

During college in upstate New York, a group of friends and I were in a big van traveling from Washington D.C. for a college conference back to our college town, in upstate New York.The van hit a big patch of ice on the freeway and we were spinning around on wheels maybe five times on the freeway and hit another car. Luckily no one in the two vehicles were hurt and the van did not flip. I remember my friends and I were holding on for dear life and we prayed as we were spinning! I will never forget that night.

hossman's avatar

Were you prone to praying before the spinout, or was this a crisis conversion? : )

nocountry2's avatar

@ Hoss….looks like you’re here for a reason, my friend ;)

rowenaz's avatar

I think we should start our own reality series, “I Shouldn’t Be Fluthering” – that would be fun….

deaddolly's avatar

A few times in a car…avoiding accidents. Once when I was 18 and got held up by a guy with a gun, at the store where I was working.
And once when I had a really, really bad (911) asthma attack.

Pandora's avatar

Yes, several times. I grew up in New York City and not in the best neighborhood. I was attacked by a would be rapist but got away before he could harm me, and I was attacked by two thugs who wanted to rob me but got away, and my husband drives like a maniac at times and we came close to accidents several time, and when my appendix burst and I was at deaths door, and when I gave birth to my daughter and my blood pressure dropped and my body was going into shock.

Xann009's avatar

The only two times I have genuinely feared for my life were the two times I was in car crashes.

The first, my friend turned onto a main street into the turn lane. A woman in a station wagon hit his back end and we spun out. Scared the hell out of me, but I was fine, got out, and walked the 2 blocks to school.

The second time, I was in another friends station wagon (why is it always involving a station wagon?!?!) getting some delicious fried chicken. We were going down a hill, and it was rainy. My friend neglected to change his tires EVER, so they were completely bald. We began sliding down the hill while he floored the brakes, and he turned the wheel. We then slid down the hill sideways, on to the side walk, and stopped a foot from a light pole. Also scared the hell out of me.

CaptainHarley's avatar

More times than I care to remember.

TexasDude's avatar

A friend and I were out target shooting when we were attacked by a rabid coyote. I had to shoot it to keep it from mauling us. That was probably the scariest, most dangerous situation I have ever been in.

flutherother's avatar

A couple of times. Once when I built a raft and floated it out to sea. I noticed all of a sudden that I had drifted further from the shore than I would like and was rapidly drifting further. The pole I was using to propel my raft wouldn’t touch the bottom and so I began to panic. I jumped in to the sea and felt my arms weighed down by the woollen jumper I was wearing. I am not a strong swimmer and knew I would never make it like that so I returned to the raft took the jumper off and jumped in again. After an eternity of swimming I tried to touch the bottom and couldn’t and so I swam some more. I still couldn’t touch the bottom and I was caught in an ebb tide and losing strength. I tried once more and I can still remember the blessed feel of sand under my toes. As you will have guessed I made it but it could have been otherwise.

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