From Rasputin to Jim Bowie, there has always been a small subset of people who seem to be able to survive life-threatening situations like it ain't no thing. These people may be utter hardasses, crazy-prepared, or just blindingly lucky, but they all have one thing in common: they are exceptionally gifted at shrugging off Death's dick-punches.
And they do it like this:
4Anatoli Bugorski Took a Death Ray to the Face
So it's 1978, and the Soviet Union is dabbling with a large particle accelerator -- basically, past-Communist spin on the Large Hadron Collider. You're a researcher tasked with working on the project, and one day the machine malfunctions. The particle accelerator being a classic example of old-school Soviet technology, fixing it proves to be challenging. Eventually, the only trick left in your book is the "gun-owner's classic": staring into the barrel and trying to see why it won't fire.
Right on cue, the universe invokes the Looney Tunes law: the particle accelerator suddenly starts to work, while its fail-safes and other safety measures unapologetically continue to malfunction (or, rather, not exist).
And that, friend, is how the U-70 Synchrotron particle accelerator at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino comes to fire a high-energy proton beam straight at your face. Straight. At. Your face.
La Boite Verte
Such is the story of Anatoli Bugorski, the mild-mannered research scientist whose ordinary day at work was rudely interrupted by a 200,000-rad dose of death-ray therapy (lethal dose: 500 to 600 rads). With the brightness of "a thousand suns," the beam entered through the left side of his nose, punched its way through his skull at near-light speed, and exited through the back of his head, because there's no kill like overkill.
Yep -- Bugorski received a direct message from the gods of science, and that message was, "Bye."
Even so, dude refused to die. The days after the incident saw the murder-beamed half of Bugorski's head swell beyond recognition and his skin peel off. He moved to Moscow to be probed and poked by his interested peers as he slowly and inevitably perished. However, much to the surprise of everyone, Bugorski started to get better instead. An injury that should have killed him 400 times over left him with just a deaf ear and some relatively minor scarring and neural damage (partial facial paralysis, occasional seizures). Of course, the psychological burden of the experience was so heavy that he never was the same.
Ha, just kidding! Not only was Bugorski all right but the man didn't even stop sciencin'. He calmly finished his PhD and continued his research like being shot with a Star Trek super weapon ain't no thing. Here's a recent photo of him:
Men who eat science-fiction artillery for breakfast dress how they damn well please.
Oh, and if Bugorski's death-fighting powers weren't impressive enough to start with, there's also the fact that the beamed left half of his face doesn't show any signs of wrinkles or aging. So either not moving your face for 30-plus years is good for the skin, or sometimes the universe decides to shoot a man in the head with a death ray and rewards him with 50 percent face immortality if he survives.*
*Results may vary.
3Queen Victoria Powered Her Way Through a Succession of Murderous Lunatics
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As the longest-reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria was an easy target to many disgruntled people. And thanks to several absurd malfunctions in her security detail, she did indeed have to deal with seven different attempts on her life, all by deranged individuals, most seemingly straight out of a goddamn circus.
In 1837, the year she became queen, she experienced her first taste of danger hobo, as a man started running by her unguarded carriage and screaming random bullshit about the crown truly belonging to him. The guy finished his 19th-century spin on the lizard people tirade with a trip to the mental asylum.
The next attacker in line was an angsty 18-year-old waiter, who fired two shots at the pregnant Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, with two decorative silver pistols he had presumably "borrowed" from daddy. When the crowd immediately subdued the kid, he was heard complaining that, actually, women shouldn't rule the country.
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"This is really about ethics in mummy defiling party journalism."
In 1842, yet another attempt (in almost the same spot as the previous one) saw an unknown man fire at the queen and escape when the bullet failed to connect. At that point, Victoria's fucks-to-give meter was strictly depleted when it came to assassinations, so she and her prime minister actually devised a plan where she and Albert would return to the spot again the next day. Yes, Queen Freaking Victoria volunteered as bait to catch a wannabe killer her people would probably have caught anyway. The plan worked; the dude again attempted to shoot her, and the plain-clothes officers that were scattered throughout the area tackled the culprit. Victoria was left completely unharmed, and once the word spread, she rode out again the very next day to bask in the glory of a badass stunt gone well despite just having been nearly assassinated on two consecutive days.
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Meanwhile, a stubbed toe is more than enough to put us out of commission for a week.
Another ill-advised gunman later, Victoria's reputation as an assassination-thwarter (and the shittiness of her security protocol) was so well-known, people actually started crowding in front of the palace gates to see her fired at. Although her security measures were upgraded, it managed only to make things more ridiculous: just a few weeks later, Victoria was suddenly attacked by a hunch-backed, 4-foot dwarf, who attempted to kill her with a (misfiring) pistol filled with paper, gravel, and broken clay. At that point, even deranged assassins realized things had gotten a tad too ridiculous to pass for British, so they stopped their attempts for a full seven years.
The only attacker to ever actually physically harm Victoria was Robert Pate, a retired army officer who managed to get close enough to beat the queen with his cane in 1870, leaving her with a black eye and several bruises. Victoria's reaction was to call the man a coward for beating a lady, then hit the town to see an opera.
A couple of final shooters (guess how it went for them) later, a pattern started to emerge that the only person to ever benefit from shooting at the queen was ... the queen. Every time she took an assassination attempt in stride, her popularity surged and her rule became more secure. Perhaps the rest of the weirdos hiding in the woodwork realized this and wandered away to throw poop at walls or whatever, but the last nine years of her rule were completely assassin-free.