Back From the Dead
Extraordinary, true & factually documented cases from the book, Back from the Dead and 350 Other Stories of Amazing Luck by Steve Moore. Copyright © 1999 by John Brown Publishing/Fortean Times. Culled from newspaper reports around the globe.
Lady Luck may be fickle, but she certainly has a sense of humor.
UNPLEASANT THINGS seem to happen sometimes in Romania. An 18-year-old girl, declared clinically dead in 1992, regained consciousness while being raped on a slab by a necrophiliac mortuary attendant in Bucharest. Police arrested the shocked rapist, but the parents refused to press charges because their daughter "owed her life to him."
TWO MORGUE ATTENDANTS playing chess on the night shift got the shock of their lives when one of the "corpses" sat up and moved one of the chess pieces. Miguel Garcia had suffered a heart attack and been pronounced dead, but came to on the slab. Disoriented, he grabbed the first thing he saw -- the black bishop. He moved it three squares and dropped it. (How his move affected the chess game isn't known.)
WHEN A TIRE BURST in 1977, the hearse carrying Gerry Allison to his funeral on the outskirts of Los Angeles overturned and crashed tail-first into the front window of a rival undertaker's parlour. The hearse doors burst open and flung the coffin through the window. Bystanders were astonished to see Allison, dressed in white burial robes, step out of the shattered glass. The crash had brought him out of a coma that doctors had mistaken for death.
A SUSPECTED DRUG DEALER fired at the chest of agent Carlos Montalvo of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Westland Shopping Mall, Hialeah, Florida, in 1987. But, incredibly, the bullet was stopped by Montalvo's own gun, lodging in the empty barrel. The agent was treated for facial cuts inflicted by fragments from his 9mm Sig Sauer pistol.
IT LOOKED LIKE DIVINE INTERVENTION when a gunman opened fire at Helen Chavez's car in Los Angeles in 1998. The bullet deflected off a tiny statuette of Christ on the dashboard, and missed her completely.
PATROLMAN TED CARLTON was chasing two escaped convicts in Oklahoma City in 1975 when a bullet smashed through his car windscreen. That reduced the bullet's energy just enough that it was finally stopped by the thin metal frames of his spectacles, and his only injury was a gashed cheek.
A STASH OF CREDIT CARDS rescued 62-year-old Herb Kravitz when a mugger in North Brunswick, New Jersey, blasted him in the chest in April 1993. The bullet ricocheted off his card-crammed wallet, and he escaped without even a bruise.
HER PARENTS didn't like it, but Hayley Chidgey, 15, had a belly-ring put in anyway. Two weeks later, as she walked home in Harefield, Middlesex, in September 1997, she was struck by two lightning bolts, and her passion for body-piercing saved her life. Doctors at the Royal London Hospital told her that she survived because the jewelry diverted the electric charge, and stopped its travelling through her inside her chest.
DECLARED DEAD after falling into a coma in July 1997, Abdel-Sattar Badawi was placed in a coffin and taken to the hospital's refrigerated morgue in Menoufia, Egypt. For 12 hours he lay there, before waking up. Climbing out of the coffin, he began shouting for help, and eventually three hospital employees came along to collect another body. They found him standing there, and one of the three, a paramedic, promptly collapsed with shock and died. His body was placed in the same coffin, and Badawi hurriedly left the premises.
MALE READERS may want to skip this story. Angel Santana, 51, was shot with a .357 caliber Magnum pistol in January 1990, during a struggle with one of the three men holding up the New York store where he worked. The bullet lodged in his trouser zipper and, according to police spokesman Fred Weiner, the robbers were so shocked that they fled, dropping the gun. Santana, unsurprisingly, was treated for trauma in hospital.