People who have passed away don't typically have a lot to say about the experience. That's sort of the nature of the whole death thing.
But people who have come very close to shuffling off this mortal coil — and then managed to survive — can tell us a lot about what the other side may be like. Or maybe their stories can give us some insight on just how precious life is.
A recent AskReddit thread asked people to share their own near-death experiences. Here are 12 of the most shocking tales of people staring death right in the face...and living to tell the tale.
I was at an outdoor gun range, down range during a ceasefire checking my target. Some moron either didn't hear the ceasefire or didn't properly secure their gun because I heard a bullet whiz by just above my head.
I hit the ground fast, and by the time I was sure everything was OK I got back up and walked back to the shooting booth where I found the guy who fired a shot being physically thrown out of the range. Range officer then apologized to me, waived my fee for the day, gave me two boxes of ammo and a voucher for 3 free visits. They really didn't want to get sued. – MrHorseHead
Out on the Appalachian trail. I went with a few buddies, none of us have ever been backpacking before. We had our trail mapped out and our camping sites reserved and took off. After day one, a ranger came out and saw us. He asked to look at our map and suggested we take a different way to our next site that would cut off 1/2 a mile. We said that it looked like the trail would be difficult and had a massive rise in elevation. But he insisted it would be fine. Huge mistake.
We took off the next day and headed up that trail. Just as we started the day it started pouring rain. The trail he put us on was on the side of a cliff that had a 40-50 foot drop on one side. and heavy vegetation growth on the other that was pushing off onto the trail which was not properly maintained. The side of the trail kept sliding off and falling down the side of the cliff. Every step had to be perfectly placed.
At one point, my friends were a decent ways ahead of me as I was struggling to go up. I took a step, the trail gave out and I went down with it. It happened incredibly quick. But I adjusted my body so that I fell facing the trail. I reached and grabbed for anything as I fell. I was able to grab a large tree root that was sticking out of the trail. I looked down and around in shock for a moment as my feet dangled. I pulled myself up and kept walking. – Economy_Cactus
I’m currently living in Rome, and every time I cross the street here is Russian Roulette. I have stared death in the face, and it looks like a 57-year-old Italian man in a smart car who isn’t intimidated by anything so petty as a Vehicular Manslaughter conviction. – SomethingsQueerHere
That first night out in Tokyo, when I was throwing up on the railway while waiting for the last metro, after having drunk way past my limits, and I didn’t see the coming train, about to smash my head. The station agent pulled me back on time, but no one else could have. – Paulo-san
Almost drowned in South America with a friend. We wanted to smoke weed without people coming over and beg for a little or make problems so we went to an empty beach. After the joint we went for a swim in the sea, laughing at how the sea was gently pulling us deeper in without having to spend the effort ourselves. Until we realized we couldn't swim against it. I remember I felt death coming at that moment of realization, terror and fear struck me, and I saw the exact same thing in my friend's eyes.
We were being pulled more and more away from the coast with no one else in sight. We swam as hard as we could but it was no use. The beach slowly faded and meanwhile we were getting exhausted very fast from swimming so hard. Even though we knew we couldn't keep up for long, our thrive to survive kept us going, wasting all our energy on swimming.
Then I saw something which at first looked like a f**king alligator but thankfully was a tree branch which we could hold onto. After about 2 hours we saw a boat that we were able to signal and we were saved. I've never dared to swim in the sea or ocean ever again, except for as long as I can feel the ground under my feet. – iF**ckfor40minutes
About 4 years ago I was driving like an asshole on a donut (spare) tire and as I drove on an overpass my tire blew up, I lost control of the vehicle and I went over the edge, fell 70ft onto the vehicles roof. I remember very little of the events up to the accident and almost none thereafter. Luckily, an army medic and his nurse wife were driving behind me and came down and pulled me from the wreckage just before the car caught fire.
I suffered multiple lacerations, broken collar bone, dislocated hip (both of which were seatbelt injuries), collapsed both lungs, and had knocked my head pretty good. Was in a coma for 3 weeks and in the ICU. For 2 more weeks after that. Had to relearn how to walk, doctors were shocked I didn’t need to relearn to read or write, said I had “the most miraculous recovery" several of them had ever seen. – Rhinoplasty1904
Vacationing in Mexico at all inclusive resort. There was a bar in the swimming pool. I proceeded to have many many long island ice teas before brilliantly deciding it was hot tub time (as soon as my bf went to bathroom btw)... I passed out... My boyfriend (returning from bathroom) saw me face down in the hot tub. [He] jumped in, lifted my head and I immediately threw up all over him. Not sure what would have happened if he'd taken longer. 10 years later...He doesn't let me live that down (rightfully so... not my finest hour). –NamiRuiz
I was doing a first aid drill involving fake blood while on staff for a course. The staff knew it was fake, but the participants didn’t. Turns out I was SEVERELY allergic to the fake blood. I immediately went into anaphylactic shock and my throat started to swell shut. I could barely speak, and no one believed I was in trouble because all of the staff thought it was just really good acting. The participants — a.k.a the only people who believed me — had no access to cell phones, so I was SOL... I ended up have to push, shove and rasp my way out of the building to contact 911, then they realized I was being serious... – jeep_200061
I once stepped on a snake. I don't know if it was venomous but every snake is venomous when you step on it. – aTron6424
2 and a half years ago I broke my neck while diving into shallow water. Never had any paralysis, neuropathies, or pain. Multiple doctors swore I should be dead, or at least paralyzed. Sometimes I wonder if I died that day under the water and, upon coming above the surface of the water, have been living a second life in another dimension or something. – shanelunday
My church group stopped at a little water park one time. It was really just a river with a 10 ft waterfall you could jump off of, nothing fancy. I was afraid to jump off the top, because I'm afraid of heights, but they told me I would be fine, it was only 10 feet. As I went to dive, my feet lost traction and rather than jump 3–4 feet out from the wall, I was falling head first about 6 inches from the sheer rock.
Right before I hit the water, I remembered to put my hands in front of me. As I hit the water, my arm came into contact with a boulder that was only about a foot beneath the surface and I fractured my right arm. That would have definitely crushed my neck and skull if I hadn't put my arms out. Still don't like heights, as you can imagine. – Young_Aria
When I was about 4 years old my dad was cutting firewood in the backyard and me being 4 years old I walked up behind him just watching him. I was trying to get his attention when he turned around sharply and the chainsaw he was holding grazed my head and my right ring finger and made a pretty deep cut but luckily the blades were not rotating fast.
So I passed out on the ground and with blood flowing from my head my dad picked me up and him and my mom drove me to the hospital flying through red lights — I probably had a better chance of dying in a crash that day vs the cut. I received 12 stitches in my head and 2 in my finger. You can’t really see the scar on my head because of my hair and I’m 6 ‘4’’ but the one on my finger is very visible. – Danontheradio