There are tons of famous icons who have had close calls with death, from surviving attempts at assassination to just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here are 10 thrilling stories of people who narrowly avoided the call of death.
1. Frightened British Troops Release A Captured Paul Revere
Before the American Revolution, Paul Revere was the first to create a network of intelligence to spy on the British soldiers in America. On the night of April 18, 1775, Revere was captured by the British on his way to Concord. With a pistol at his chest, he was questioned about the hiding places of the militia and was threatened to be shot if he attempted to run.
The British then marched to Lexington where the first shots of the American Revolution were here. Afraid, they let Revere go and even offered him a horse. Had they known of his espionage activities or had he attempted to escape, he would have been executed.
2. Little Abraham Lincoln Was ‘Apparently Killed For A Time’
Abraham Lincoln was only 10 years old when he came close to death. He was doing his daily chores of taking corn to the grist mill at the neighbouring farm. At this point, mills were still driven by horses and Lincoln guided the horse around.
Getting impatient, little Lincoln whipped the horse saying “Git up, you old hussy. Git up, y – !” Before he finished his sentence, the horse reared and kicked the boy in the head. He was unconscious for an entire night and bleeding profusely. When he did wake up, his first words were “- you old hussy!”
3. Two-Year-Old Eleanor Roosevelt Sets Sail On The Britannic
As a toddler, Eleanor’s parents were having a rocky marriage. In order to cure their marital woes, they decided to do a tour of Europe on the SS Britannic, an ocean liner.
On May 19, 1887, thick fog reduced the visibility and the Britannic rammed into another ship, the Celtic. Out of the 450 passengers on the Britannic, 6 were killed instantly, 6 were reported missing and hundreds were injured. The Celtic reported no fatalities.
Eleanor was only two at the time and narrowly avoided a gruesome fate. She clung to crewmen before she was dropped from the deck to her father on a lifeboat. This memory has left her with a fear of heights and open water that remains even today.
4. Qin Shi Huang Di Nearly Died Before Completing China’s Unification
In 227 BC, King Ying Zheng of Qin was that target of an assassin sent by the prince of Yan. The assassin by the name Jing Ke entered the chambers of Zheng with a map showing a gift of territory.
As He got closer to the king, he unrolled the map which revealed a hidden dagger. He then attacked the king but only managed to tear a part of his robe. Courtiers did not know how to react since it was forbidden to carry weapons into the audience chambers and guards could only enter if they were personally summoned.
King Zheng ran for his life while a physician struck Ke with a medicine bag. This gave the king some more time. When he finally got his sword, he disabled Ke by wounding him in the thigh. In a final attempt, He threw the dagger at the king and missed. The king then stabbed his assassin. The king of Yan ordered for his own son to be executed to pacify Zheng but Yan was eventually annexed and destroyed.
5. Martin Luther King Jr. Had A Nightmare Of A Day
On September 20, 1958, five years before King’s historic speech in Washington, he was in New York at a book signing with Izola Curry stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener. The instruments went through his sternum and was close to severing his aorta. Izola was delusional and screamed “I’ve been with him for six years! Dr. King ruined my life! The NAACP is no good, it’s communistic!”
During the weight for an ambulance, a bystander almost pulled the blade out which would have killed King in seconds. However, another witness prevented that from happening and a the blade was removed successfully in surgery. During King’s final public speech, he recapped the events of that day and told his listeners about the advice of doctors to not sneeze since a small jerk to his body would have pushed the blade in further. Thankfully he wasn’t feeling congested that day!