When it comes to medieval castles, most of us get our information or reference points from TV and film. It could be the red keep from Game of Thrones, or the ins and outs of battle from Braveheart. Regardless, there’s much more to medieval castles than what we see on screen. From defensive structures to necessary rooms, and from complicated French terms to more familiar features — check out these ingenious features found inside the world’s most epic medieval castles.
Arrowslits for Angry Mobs
First things first — castles were generally built to protect whoever was living in them. That means that every now and then, an angry mob or invading army would show up at your castle walls. And then what?
Well, you could just hide behind your high stone walls, but you could also try and cause some damage. Arrowslits were long narrow holes in castle walls that allowed archers to fire arrows from their bows or crossbows. Handy!
Clockwise Spiral Staircases
You might not think of a spiral staircase as an ingenious feature from a medieval castle, but you’d be wrong. Whilst we’re used to seeing spiral staircases in contemporary homes and buildings, back in the Middle Ages, they had a pretty specific purpose.
Inside medieval castles, spiral staircases were always clockwise. This meant that any right-handed medieval knight trying to fight on a staircase would be impeded by the stone wall. It may sound minimal, but anything helps when it comes to battle!
Using Malevolent Machicolations
Of course, when it came to battle, people living in medieval times didn’t go down easily. They needed innovative ideas and ways to protect themselves and the others that lived inside the castle walls. And often, these ideas were a little gruesome. Enter machicolations.
These were introduced after the Crusades, and were a way of attacking enemies. Basically, a machicolation is a hole built into the top of a castle where people could drop boulders or boiling liquid on people below.
Trying Taluses or Batters
Another way of keeping the enemy at bay was to have a talus wall. Taluses, also known as batters, are thick walls that are flared outwards and thicker at the bottom than at the top. This means that attackers are forced to keep their distance.
Additionally, because the talus wall is so thick, it’s difficult for enemies to batter it down. What’s more, the castle’s defenders can drop rocks from their walls, and they’ll bounce off the talus and at least irritate the enemy.
Protected by Chemins de Rondes
Of course, castles have pathways along the tops of castle walls — any Game of Thrones fan will have seen Jon Snow patrol many. In French, these pathways are called chemin de rondes, which means “walkway.” Chemin de rondes are protected by battlements, which allow the castle’s defenders to move around safely.
Prior to these walkways, it was much more dangerous and difficult to defend a castle just from the high walls. The pathways gave the soldiers more of an advantage.
Gap Toothed Crenellations
We’ve just mentioned battlements, so let’s discuss them in more detail now. Also known as crenellations, battlements are the protective stone that’s built along the top of castle walls. Actually, when modern humans think of castles, most of us think of crenellations.
Crenellations are the gap-toothed stones along the top of castle walls and allow defenders to attack, or take cover from enemies. The solid part of a battlement is called the merlon, and the gap between is called the crenel.
The Specially Strengthened Bastion
When we use the term bastion now, we might say that someone is a “bastion of health,” meaning that they’re a great example of a healthy person. It’s no surprise then that the bastion in a medieval castle was a specially strengthened part of the castle wall.
Bastions were often towers and jutted out from the castle wall. Usually, they were at the corner of the castle, or in the middle of a wall. They began to be developed at the same time that cannons were improving.
The Marvellous Moat
Moats are another feature of medieval castles that most of us are aware of thanks to TV and film. We’ve seen villains with moats filled with crocodiles, and we’ve watched as troops have poured into the murky water. Also known as douves, moats are the water-filled ditches around castle walls.
Moats provide a useful barrier for approaching enemy troops, and they stop people from tunneling underneath the castle. Moats could also be used to farm fish, making them useful in times of peace!
A Heavily Defended Gatehouse
Because medieval castles were fortified in all sorts of innovative ways, inhabitants also had to consider the weak points in their defense. This was often the entrance, so a lot of features were added to make it extra strong, and extra protected. First things first, defenders built a huge gatehouse around the entrance, sometimes with twin towers.
The gateway into the castle would be placed back inside the gatehouse to restrict access. Any unwanted arrivals would be met with rocks and boiling liquid.
The Dark, Damp Oubliette
Sadly, many features of medieval castles were pretty unpleasant. For example, the oubliette was a type of dungeon that was entered through a trapdoor high in the cell’s ceiling. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the oubliette wasn’t comfortable. In fact, it was known for being dark, damp, and extremely small.
Even worse, prisoners were left in the oubliette to waste away forever. In French, the term means “forgotten,” and so historians infer that prisoners stayed there until they were no more.
A High-Flying Garderobe
Have you ever thought about how badly people in previous eras must have smelled? Without hot showers and antiperspirant, folks from years gone by probably had a pretty strong aroma. That was certainly the case in the Middle Ages when there still wasn’t indoor plumbing.
Castle inhabitants used the garderobe when they had to relieve themselves. This ancient latrine was a small room set inside or jutting out from the castle wall. Waste would go straight into the moat. Charming!
The Mysterious Bossed Stones
This feature of medieval castles actually confused historians for some time. Bossed stones are when pieces of stone or wood protrude from an unfinished, rough stone plane. Because there were bossed stones among polished ones, initially, researchers weren’t sure of their exact purpose.
After thinking that they could be decorative, or a budgetary feature, they eventually came upon the right answer. Apparently, bossed stones absorb and diffuse the power of rocks catapulted at the castle. This technique comes from before the Roman Empire.
Wet and Wooden Hourdes
As well as having built-in features, medieval castles also had temporary features that could be brought out during attacks. One of these temporary features were hourdes, which were wooden structures attached to the top of the castle’s defensive walls.
These wooden structures were then used as a vantage point, and as a place to attack from. Often, wooden hourdes would be covered in wet animal pelts so that it would be more difficult for them to catch fire.
A Hinged Drawbridge
Again, we’re all familiar with the concept of a drawbridge, but how exactly did it help medieval defenders against enemy troops? Obviously, if your castle has a moat around its perimeters, it needs a bridge so that people can enter through the gateway. A standing bridge would be too risky, whereas a drawbridge could be pulled up if necessary.
The drawbridge could be closed by pulling ropes or chains, and formed a heavy barrier when pulled up to protect the castle.
The Bartizan Castle Tower
Bartizans are pretty similar to bastions. Whilst bastions are specially reinforced parts of the castle wall and are often towers, bartizans are a type of castle tower. Also known as échaugettes, bartizans sit at the top of defensive castle walls. Castle defenders could take shelter in the turrets of a bartizan, and also have a space from which to attack enemies.
Bartizans often had machicolations and arrowslits inside to help whoever was trying to protect the castle. They also functioned as lookout spots.
The Multi-Floored Donjon
Whilst the word sounds like “dungeon,” the donjon in a medieval castle was actually a tall tower with a range of different rooms inside. Also known as the keep, the donjon was extremely strong and built to survive attacks. In fact, donjons had turrets on top so they could be used by archers and other defenders of the castle.
When war wasn’t raging, the donjon was the center of castle life. Among other things, it contained storerooms, kitchens, and the great hall.
A Criss-Cross Portcullis
Here’s another castle feature that we’ve all seen multiple times. The criss-cross pattern of the portcullis — which is the castle gate — was designed specifically to keep people out. The gate would have been made from iron and stout timber, and fitted in the entrance of the gatehouse. As we’ve seen, the threatening portcullis comes with a spiky bottom to trap any intruders.
The criss-cross portcullis was opened and closed using winches and pulleys. Sometimes, castles had two so that they could trap enemies between them.
Very Important Bailey
We know that the donjon contained important rooms, and understandably, this meant that the master of the castle often spent his time there. However, the area around the donjon was called the bailey, and was often a square shape. The bailey also contained a variety of rooms needed for life in a castle.
For example, the bailey could contain space for potters, weavers, and blacksmiths. Or, it could have food and grain stores, or areas for livestock and animals used for hunting.
Secret Passages and Rooms
We might assume that secret passages are just a Hollywood creation, but they were very much real in the castles of the Middle Ages. Secret passages and rooms had various purposes depending on the circumstances. For example, a hidden passageway could be used to escape or hide from an enemy.
Alternatively, secret rooms could be for specific purposes. Warwick Castle in England has several secret chambers, one of which is a bear pit. We’ll stay out of that one, thanks!
The Three-Sided Ravelins
Yet another type of fortified building used for defense in medieval castles is the ravelin. These buildings were usually erected a short distance from the main castle, and were often triangular.
Because ravelins were separate from the castle, they provided the first line of defense, and their triangular shape meant that they could do this from three different directions. Ravelins had low walls, so if enemies climbed onto them, they could be attacked from the castle walls.
Building Barbican Walls
Yet another defensive fortification is the barbican (these medieval folks really knew how to protect a castle). These short stretches of strengthened wall were used specifically to protect weak areas. A barbican meant that castle defenders could hold off an attack on their walls or gate.
There are various types of barbican, including the courtyard barbican and the passageway barbican. As time went on, barbicans were built at an angle from the main entrance, and incorporated a 90-degree turn to prevent access.
Socializing in the Great Hall
In this image, we can see the remains of the great hall in Kenilworth Castle, England. Of course, at its peak, the great hall was the center of the castle, and home to many luxurious and extravagant banquets. The great hall was usually the biggest and most beautiful room as it was used by the Lord, the Lady, and their guests.
Hierarchy was important in the Middle Ages, so seating arrangements were paramount. Guests would sit next to the Lord in order of importance.
Medieval Stables and Haylofts
Here we can see the medieval stables at Dunster Castle, England. Whilst defensive structures were necessary to defend a castle, horses were also essential in many aspects of medieval life. Of course, horses were used in battle, and powerful Lords would have stables full of war-horses.
Horses were also used for transport and communication — essential in a world without cars or telephones. Usually, the stables, hayloft, equipment rooms, repair areas, and groomer’s accommodation were inside the castle’s bailey.
Circular Turrets and Towers
We’ve learned about various different types of towers and turrets in medieval castles, but why are they designed the way they are? Well, in the early days of stone castles, towers were just placed along the walls but eventually, they became more strategically important.
In late medieval castles, towers were added symmetrically, and usually at each corner of a castle. Towers started off square, but burrowing attackers were able to topple these quite easily. Instead, they became circular.
The Double Curtain Wall
The name given to the outer castle wall of a medieval castle is the curtain wall. As its name suggests, this wall covers the entire castle, and is both high and thick. Curtain walls usually ranged between six to ten meters in height, and between 1.5 and 8 meters thick. Imagine trying to penetrate that!
Curtain walls were made from stones or bricks, and cemented with a limestone mortar. The spaces between the walls were filled with stone fragments, rubble, and small rocks, making them extra strong and thick.
The Inner Courtyard
In most medieval castles, there was both an inner and an outer courtyard. Let’s first pay some attention to the former. The inner courtyard was generally a hustle and bustle kind of area.
Both courtyards had slightly different purposes and as far as the inner courtyard was concerned, this was where residential day-to-day life would take place. It was also where the more formal events would happen, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.
The Secret Postern
There was no way that there could be only one entrance/exit to the wall. That’s where the postern comes into play. This was a secondary gate/door that could be found in either the castle curtain wall or the city wall.
The important part though was that they were concealed and only people who knew of its whereabouts could locate it. It provided an opportunity to get in and out of the castle without anyone knowing about it. The term has since been used beyond castles.
The Useful Motte
A motte is an earthen mound on which some castles might be built on. While it might be artificial, there are times when mottes have been part of an already existing piece of landscape. Not to be confused with a moat, which is the ditch that is excavated around the motte.
Usually, a motte and a bailey go hand in hand. However, there have been times when a castle might just have a motte. A flying bridge would usually be constructed to reach the motte.
Seeing that castles were there to keep a people safe and to prepare an army for battle, it made sense for them to have at least a few barracks. These are basically long buildings that will house the workers and military personnel in the castle.
To be more specific when it comes to castles, the barracks would often be found in the bailey. It was here where one would also find workshops, stables, and other storage facilities.
The All-Important Storeroom
When you are shacked up in a medieval castle, you can’t just dedicate every room to some kind of human activity. You need a place where you can store everything, especially because you are catering to many people at any given time.
Most castles of the era had a storeroom, arguably one of the most important features of the structures. It was here where castles would store things such as food, drink, water supplies, and anything else they needed when under siege.
Defended by the Enceinte
While the terms “enceinte” and “bailey” are connected, they are different features with a medieval castle. The enceinte was essentially the main defensive enclosure to a castle. While a castle could have many baileys, it would always have just one enceinte.
An enceinte castle is essentially a castle that has no keep, and so there was a stronger emphasis on outer defenses. This is how most castles were designed before the keep was introduced around the 10th century.
Not Many Castles Actually Had Dungeons
Truth be told, not that many castles actually had dungeons in them. Despite this, it seems like these dark and gloomy underground rooms are the one feature of castles that most tourists want to see the most.
Back in the Early Medieval times, it was less common, but as the Middle Ages approached, it became a normal practice to keep someone prisoner as a form of punishment. Eventually, modern dungeons were made and would often be located away from the castle.
While the moat and the dam would usually be part of the same structure, the dam specifically was a sight to behold in most medieval castles. Obviously, they were manmade and it would take in the water from local streams and rivers to create a pool around the castle.
As you can see, there was something majestic about the water gushing through the dams, almost like a waterfall. This goes to show that no structure was made without an important reason.
A similar discrete exit to a postern was a sally port. This was a controlled way of entering or exiting a castle throw its fortification. The main difference between this and a postern was that it would be protected by some kind of door or fixed wall.
While a postern was a way of secretly getting in and out, a sally port would specifically be used by the castle’s defenders to attack the besiegers by surprise.
The Outer Courtyard
Most medieval castles had both an inner and an outer courtyard. While the inner one tended to be for more formal events and day-to-day matters, the outer one was used for other reasons – messier ones, to be more precise.
Soldiers could often be seen training in the outer courtyard, while it was also commonplace for farmers to tend to their horses and pigs. This would be where livestock would graze and be kept too.
The Solar Chambers
In this image, we can see what the solar chambers at Bunratty Castle, Ireland might have looked like in their prime. The Lord and Lady of a castle wouldn’t have always been in residence, but when they were, they used the best rooms in the castle.
Privacy wasn’t really a priority in the Middle Ages, so the Lord and Lady were privileged to have access to their own rooms. These rooms — the solar chambers — were usually at the top of the donjon.
The Castle Chapel
Of course, you couldn’t have a medieval castle without its own chapel. After all, religion completely dominated society in the Middle Ages. Christianity was very central to medieval life, and chapels had several uses within a castle. Firstly, they were a status symbol and made the castle seem prestigious to others in the area.
Secondly, they were strategically useful. It was considered barbaric to harm a priest, so the chapel also acted as a safe haven of sorts during attacks.
Rotating Embrasures for Archers
We’ve seen arrowslits already, and embrasures are basically the upgraded version. Where an arrowslit is precisely that — a slit for shooting arrows — an embrasure is a rotating cylinder built into the wall. Embrasures gave archers a wide field of vision, and provided shelter and space for equipment.
The image above shows an inverted keyhole embrasure in Fort-la-Latte, France that allows defenders to shoot both arrows and small cannon fire. Usually, the doors to embrasures were very narrow on the outside but wide on the inside.
Water Wells and Cisterns
Whilst they may seem a little mundane to us, water wells were actually crucial to the survival of the people living in a medieval castle. Obviously, wells were needed in order to supply drinking water, and it could take literally decades to build them.
Furthermore, if a castle was under attack, inhabitants needed access to clean drinking water. Therefore, enemies would often poison external wells so that a castle would be forced to surrender. Cisterns were used to collect rainwater from the roof.
The Kitchens and the Bakehouse
This picture from Plane Castle, Scotland gives us some idea of what a medieval kitchen might have looked like. Of course, we know they would have been extremely busy and loud. Medieval castles were often home to lavish banquets, and kitchens would have matched the status of the castle’s residents.
As well as kitchens, many medieval castles also had their own bakehouses for preparing fresh bread. Many also had breweries, where the process of brewing removed disease from water.
While we all are aware of how temporary life is, sometimes we tend to forget it. Ending up in a near-death experience is quite an effective reminder to appreciate life. While we don’t suggest getting into dangerous situations, we surely recommend reading about them. We’ve created this list full of stories of people who have found themselves in near-death circumstances, yet survived to tell the tale.
Love Saves All
This one hurts and makes us feel even more lonely. While we’re all about living the bachelor or single life, stories like these really do remind us about the many benefits of having someone to hold hands with.
Just look at this couple who ended up surviving a strike by lightning — and all because they were holding hands. According to the doctor that treated them, holding hands actually saved their lives by helping to distribute the current amidst the two of them. One could even say that love saved them.
A Close Call
The World’s Richest Man, according to People, had booked passage on the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria but ended up canceling at the last minute. On the final night of its nine-day voyage from Genoa to New York, the ship collided with a Swedish liner and sank off the coast of Nantucket, terminating 46 passengers and crew.
Apparently, Getty had been warned by a fortune-teller that if he tried to cross the Atlantic again, he would pass away, which is what caused him to cancel.
A White Light?
This celebrity has been able to shine some light on the debate of what happens when we pass away. Beloved celebrity Jane Seymour once had an out-of-body experience when she died and was resuscitated. When Seymour was 36, she got bronchitis and needed antibiotics.
However, the antibiotic was administered into a vein rather than a muscle, resulting in anaphylactic shock. In an interview, she revealed that she saw a vision of white light and was looking down at the attempts to save her life.
She Saw Her Soul What?
Although there have been many speculations of life after death and debates regarding the existence of a soul, there has been no definite way to reach a conclusion. Beloved actress Elizabeth Taylor, however, claimed to have seen her soul leave her body, as she had stopped breathing for nearly five minutes during an operation.
She revealed in an interview that during this brief period, she saw her late partner, Michael Todd — who urged her to go back to Earth.
Is That a Volcano… in My Backyard?!
Imagine waking up one fine morning to a huge hill in your backyard that seemingly appeared out of the blue? What if it was actually an active volcano? This is exactly what happened to Dionisio Pulido — a Mexican man living in the village of Parícutin, in the 1940s.
He found a hill that had grown to be over six feet tall and was emitting gas. A raging volcano erupted 165 feet above his property a day later and continued to grow until it finally became dormant a decade later.
Aron Ralston went on a hike near Bluejohn Canyon in the early 2000s. A simple hike for any experienced climber turned into the defining 127 hours of his life — when he slipped and fell after being chased by a boulder.
The boulder caught his arm and pinned it to the canyon wall. He attempted to flee, but his arm was completely stuck. How many people do you think to have what it takes to sacrifice their own arm in order to survive? Fortunately, Aron did.
A Lucky Drop
When people fantasize about going down in history, few mean it literally. This flight attendant was involved in an unexpected plane crash and ended up suffering major injuries including three broken ribs and a split skull.
Despite slipping into a three-day coma, she survived a 33,000 feet drop without a parachute and ended up in the Guinness World Records for it. Talk about a lucky drop.
The Woman Who Was Born Once Again
Could you survive being frozen in ice for 80 minutes? The Swedish Radiologist got into an unfortunate skiing accident, which resulted in her falling into the freezing cold water.
Although she was able to locate an air pocket at first, it only allowed her to breathe for about 30 minutes. Due to the cold and fatigue, she went underwater for another 40 minutes. While this could have been fatal, she thankfully survived.
Survivor of the Little Boy and the Fat Man
This is the story of a man who survived two nuclear bomb attacks within the span of three days. When an American bomber dropped the “Little Boy,” the blast almost obliterated Hiroshima’s entire population.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi luckily only suffered from ruptured eardrums and a few burns. A second bomb was dropped only three days after he returned to his hometown of Nagasaki with his wife and children. Since it was a much more powerful bomb that destroyed the entire city, it was named “Fat Man.”
Struck by Lightning — Not Once but Seven Times
While getting struck by lightning once is coincidental, getting hit seven times is just sheer bad luck. Over the course of many years, Roy Sullivan had many brushes with lightning. The first time, he lost a big toenail.
The second interaction happened around two decades later, which caused him to lose his eyebrows. Other times he ended up with a burnt shoulder, his hair caught on fire twice, his leg was injured, and he received chest and stomach burns. But, he survived every time.
Hit in the Head by Light
How many people can claim that they have been hit in the head by a beam of light? This Russian physicist surely can. Anatoli Bugorski had an interesting accident when a proton beam struck him in the head. Most thought it would take his life.
Bugorski claimed to have seen a light, unlike anything he’d ever seen before. He received hearing damage in his left ear, as well as paralysis on the left side of his face. With these minor injuries, he was able to continue living a reasonably normal life.
Paragliding Into the Storm
Very few people in the world would say “paragliding sucks” and mean it wholeheartedly. This expert paraglider is one of the few. In the late 2000s, Ewa was paragliding when she got entangled in a terrible storm.
She was sucked into a vortex at nearly 50 miles per hour and carried to a height higher than Mount Everest. She passed out for almost an hour due to the lack of oxygen at that altitude. She miraculously remained unharmed in four degrees Celsius, even as hail and lightning roared all around her.
Crawling Towards Safety
As we say, desperate times call for desperate measures. While it may seem impossible for us to travel six miles in four days by crawling, this man did just that in the Peruvian Andes. Two friends were climbing together when mountaineer Joe Simpson broke his leg.
Unfortunately, he and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, were separated along the way. Still, Simpson made it out alive by crawling — and even went on to write a book and direct a film about his remarkable journey.
The Unbroken Man
The story of the “Unbroken Man” — a.k.a. Louis Zamperini — is truly remarkable. The World War II veteran, Zamperini was involved in a search and rescue mission when his plane crashed into the ocean. He then endured 47 days on a lifeboat before getting captured by the Japanese military.
Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe, a sadistic camp sergeant, subject him to excruciating torture. Despite his torment, Zamperini lived to see the end of the war and was eventually liberated. The film, Unbroken, portrays all that Zamperini went through.
438 Days in the Sea
José Salvador Alvarenga had planned to go fishing for just 30 hours. However, when a major storm struck, Alvarenga was forced to abandon his gear and return to his home port six hours away. Fifteen miles off the coast, his engine stopped working.
He and his crewmate rode out five days of storms without a motor and was stranded 280 miles offshore. They survived by capturing and consuming sea turtles and birds for more than a year. Although he made it out safely, his crewmate sadly passed away.
Marathons Are Lethal
Running a marathon ain’t no easy feat. Even so, you wouldn’t ever expect it to kill you. For this marathon runner, however, this almost became true. When Mauro Prosperi ran in the event, it was originally meant to cover 145 miles within six days.
However, an unanticipated sandstorm hit, which caused him to get lost. After days of surviving off of reptiles and his own urine, he was finally rescued and taken to a hospital.
Cut in Two
There are those events or circumstances that do result in death. This next story features one of those said circumstances — except the man survived! Truman Duncan, a railroad switchman, was pulled 75 feet after falling off the front of a moving train.
When the train finally stopped, he managed to make a 911 call despite the fact that only one leg was connected by a single muscle. He lost half his blood, but he was still alive when he was taken to the hospital by helicopter an hour later.
Unluckiest Man Alive
If someone kept ending up in near-death situations, yet survived every single time, would he still be considered unlucky? This is the story of Frane Salek, who cheated death not once, not twice — but seven whole times.
He survived everything from near-drowning in the river to falling off a plane, to getting hit by a bus, and even having the fuel tank on his car explode. Any one of these incidents is enough to take someone’s life, yet he remained unscathed.
Hit by a Car and a Train
Ending up in the hospital because you got hit by a car can be an unfortunate accident. However, getting hit by a train on your way back from the hospital is just a cruel trick played by the universe.
This Colorado man experienced just that when he got hit by a car and then a train within a matter of hours!
Bitten by a Black Mamba
One of the most common fears anyone has is being bitten by a snake. Although there are plenty of non-venomous snakes out there, we don’t get to choose the snake that bites us. The South African research student managed to survive the extremely venomous bite of a Black Mamba due to sheer luck and the assistance of a kind stranger.
By the time he got to the hospital, he was completely paralyzed. However, after undergoing treatment, he made a complete recovery. Remarkable!
Crocodile Causes Crash
This particular story is told by the sole survivor of an extremely bizarre plane crash. One of the passengers had apparently snuck a live crocodile onto the plane in his luggage. When the crocodile escaped, it caused panic amongst the crew and the passengers.
All the people rushed to the front of the aircraft, causing the plane’s weight to move dangerously and throw it off balance, resulting in the lethal crash.
About to Blow Up
Imagine blowing up like a balloon! It’s as unpleasant as it sounds, this is exactly what happened to a truck driver in a small town. Steven McCormack from New Zealand had blown up to twice his usual size and ended up in the hospital in Whakatane.
He slipped between the cab and the trailer of his truck and dropped on a brass valve that connected the brakes of the truck to the air supply. The nozzle pierced him and began pumping air into his body. Luckily, his colleagues saved McCormack’s life by turning off the air supply and laying him down on his side
Not the Kind of Drill You’d Expect
Very few people are lucky enough to survive this kind of incident. When a construction worker by name of Ron Hunt fell off a ladder, he did everything according to the safety guidelines.
He did throw the power drill as far away from him as possible but was unsuccessful. The drill ended up piercing his left eye. Doctors had to remove the drill from his eye, but he did survive.
A Heart-Moving Story
This is literally a heart-moving story. However, in this context, it means something completely different. After a 48-year-old man was involved in a traumatic motorcycle crash, the doctors found that the man’s heart had been forcibly shifted to the right side of his chest after being fully rotated.
The most bizarre aspect was that the man was still alive, awake, and alert. The doctors managed to treat him and the organ slowly returned to its normal position after the air was removed, with no permanent damage.
Self-decapitation was probably featured in one of the public announcement video campaigns called Dumb Ways to Die. It’s astounding how this 74-year-old lumberjack survived this freak accident. When he woke up and realized his chainsaw had managed to cut through his neck, he didn’t freak out as you’d expect him to.
Rather, he drove himself half a mile to a neighbor’s house. Once the doctors were done sewing him up, he ended up making a full recovery and went on to live nearly two more decades.
Surviving the Iron Rod
A railway worker, named Phineas Gage, injured himself during work. The man accidentally impaled himself through the head with a metal rod, which pierced his brain.
While it’s extremely rare for someone to survive such an injury, Phineas did not pass away on the spot. He even managed to take himself to the hospital where the doctors were able to save his life — though he did end up losing an eye in the process.
The Lightning Strikes, Yet Again
There’s a reason why they tell you not to stand near or under a tree when there’s a thunderstorm. This is what happens when you don’t listen — you get struck by lightning, not once but twice. Casey Wagner, a Texas man, was struck by a lightning bolt that passed through his entire body.
He was knocked to his knees by the blow. Tragically, another lightning bolt struck him almost instantly, hitting his leg and knee. Thanks to sheer luck, he made it out without any serious injuries.
The Blink-182 Drummer Survived
This band member had an extremely close brush with death in the late 2000s. The drummer for Blink-182 was almost killed in a plane crash that took the lives of four other people. He was left with second and third-degree burns.
After the plane crash, Barker was hospitalized for four months and had to undergo 27 surgeries. During that time, his mental health was on the rocks as he was struggling with severe depression. However, he recovered soon after and has gotten back to performing.
Sounds Like the Beginning of a Horror Novel
While he has assassinated plenty of the characters in his horror novels, famed writer Stephen King has also had his own share of experiences. He was hit by a van while he was out for an afternoon walk, and it almost took his life
While he laid unconscious, he was oblivious to the doctor’s debate about whether or not his leg needed amputation. Fortunately, he made a full recovery from the accident.
Even Harrison Ford?
Everyone’s favorite actor, Harrison Ford was another celebrity who has experienced more than one brush with death. The first time it happened, he was flying a LongRanger helicopter when it flipped onto its side after reaching the ground too quickly.
That on its own is enough to take a man’s life, yet he survived. The next time it happened, he was in another small plane. He was flying it himself and ended up colliding with the Penmar Golf Course near the Santa Monica Airport.
Attacked by a Lion
Gilligan’s Island star Bob Denver once was almost attacked by a lion while filming on set. Denver was supposed to barricade himself in a hut, oblivious to the fact that the lion was already inside.
The lion leaped from a collection of twin beds. Luckily, they slid under the lion’s weight, allowing the trainer to tackle him. Denver says that it was because of this that he was spared injury and even death.
Too Hot to Handle
Sometimes the heat can be lethal. Such was the case for the celebrity comedian Martin Lawrence. He went out for a jog in multiple layers of clothing on a scorching day and suffered from a severe heatstroke.
He ended up collapsing and was found by his girlfriend on the steps in front of his house. For around three days, the man was in a coma — all because he decided to imitate firefighters and put on multiple layers to beat the heat.
Queen of the Sea
Meet Violet Jessop — an Argentine ocean liner stewardess, memoirist, and nurse. The woman is particularly known for surviving three different shipwrecks.
Not only did she survive the disastrous sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 as well as her sister ship HMHS Britannic in 1916, but Jessop also managed to see another day despite having been onboard the RMS Olympic when it collided with a British warship, HMS Hawke, in 1911.
Aren’t You Glad We Canceled?
There have been times in which someone refused to join a plan or canceled last minute, which ended up being one of the best decisions they could have made. Such was the case for actor Kirk Douglas and his wife. He had intended to fly to New York in film producer Mike Todd’s private plane, but Kirk’s wife objected.
Sometime later, he and his wife were listening to the radio in the car when an announcer announced that Todd’s plane had crashed in New Mexico, taking the lives of everyone on board.
The Lucky Cyclist
When we think of dangerous vehicles, the ones that come to mind are usually motorbikes and racecars. Seldom do we consider the bicycle a risky vehicle. However, if you think about it, a cyclist can easily get into an accident.
In this case, when two vehicles collided in an intersection, a Russian cyclist got caught in between a delivery truck and a car. Luckily, the cyclist didn’t get a single scratch on his body.