#3. More Than Half of the Passengers Survived the Hindenburg
We realize this one probably doesn't apply directly to your life unless you intend to board a zeppelin built exactly like the Hindenburg at some point in the future (hey, who can say where life will take you?), but it's still a great example of how really hard it is to kill a human being.
After all, this is the freaking Hindenburg -- its very name is synonymous with an enormous ball of fire so big that it made a reporter shit his pants on the air. It wasn't the worst accident in history -- you can only fit so many people on board a blimp -- but it was certainly the most spectacular one ever captured on film.
The aircraft had its stunning explosion over Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937, and it was probably a good thing for the Nazis that the Zeppelin Company went against pressure from Joseph Goebbels to name the airship after Hitler. The accident resulted in 36 fatalities and a memorial not nearly as awkward as it could have been.
In an alternate history, the marker is known as the Adolf Hitler Memorial Plaque.
It's no wonder the video of this thing going up in flames became one of the most famous newsreels of all time -- the footage looked and sounded like an old-timey star destroyer going down. So for passengers on this doomed aircraft, they had to deal with not only being in the middle of a supernova of burning hydrogen gas, but also plummeting to the ground a second later.
Yet, incredibly, the odds of surviving the enormous fireball were actually pretty good. Out of the 97 passengers and crew aboard the floating airship, only 35 were killed when it exploded.
What a 65 percent survival rate looks like.
The chief reason your chances of having survived the Hindenburg were "more than likely" instead of "zero" was because the mechanics of the disaster happened to play out like a quick-time event similar to something out of Resident Evil 4. All the passengers and cabins were on the underside of the airship, so once it went aflame and lost its lift, surviving just boiled down to timing. In the following video, you can actually see the passengers and crew waiting until the dying zeppelin slowly drifted close enough to the ground, pressing "X" to "jump" and then doing what any sane person would do: running like hell.
Also, you may have noticed that's 35 passengers and crew killed in a disaster involving 36 fatalities. That extra body was a particularly unlucky soul named Allen Hagaman, whose cause of death was having the fucking Hindenburg fall on top of him.
#2. You Have a 99 Percent Chance of Surviving a Black Widow Bite
The female Latrodectus, perhaps better known by its stripper name, "black widow," just might be the most feared spider in North America. It's a black latex-wearing fetish artist with a universally recognizable tramp stamp and a reputation for dirty deeds.
All those glossy books in elementary school didn't lie to you: A black widow can kill a human. As such, if a black widow ever bites you, it's a pretty safe bet that you'll be the next one to bite it, so to speak, as well. Right?
But not before you spank it to death with your shoe, obviously.
Not exactly. Even if a black widow manages to pump you full of her poison, her venom has a natural death rate of a whopping "well under 1 percent." That's even less than the danger posed by the anti-venom your hospital would probably not treat you with.
"My professional advice? Stop getting bitten by goddamn spiders."
In short, if a black widow ever bites you, consider it a divorce and not a death sentence. Yes, it's probably going to hit you where it hurts -- this poor kid described it as "excruciating" -- but hey, if you had to choose between a black widow bite and an STD, which would you pick?
#1. Getting Struck by Lightning Only Kills 10 Percent of Victims
Getting struck by lightning is a lot like winning the lottery, except instead of money, you're winning a zap from God's finger gun. Either way, you're going to wind up looking like a charcoal briquette, right?
After all, we're talking about a blast of energy to the tune of 30,000 amps that heats the air around it up to 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yet ... you hear freaky stories of people surviving lightning. Here is a video of an old man getting struck by lightning while walking across a street and shaking it off because, screw it, he still had a street to walk across. But that's why stories like that get famous -- because they're rare. Right?
Not really. According to the mad scientists at the National Weather Service, an estimated 400 people got struck by lightning in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010. Out of those 400 unlucky lightning rods, only 40 died as a result. That's a 90 percent chance of survival right on the money, granted with a severe risk of "chronic pain, hypersensitivity, memory lapses and impaired thinking and concentration skills."
"Can you hear the light, too?"
So no, you're not going to enjoy a lightning strike too much, and it might fairly well scramble your brain. But you'll have a hell of a story to tell afterward.
Jacopo is a history nerd who was recently interviewed by Ripley's Believe It or Not! about the great Andrew Jackson Cheese Party of 1837. He also has a new book coming out called The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy and he is on Twitter.
For situations you won't make it through, check out 6 Deadly Injuries You Think You'd Survive (Thanks to Movies). Or discover the 5 Animals That Are Terrifyingly Hard to Kill.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how to stop bullets with your mind. (We don't recommend trying this at all, ever.)
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