7 Tips To Remember In The Event Of Your Kidnapping

Most of us will get kidnapped at least once in our lives, often while distracted reading a Cracked article about kidnapping tips.

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That was probably the wind.

To defend yourselves from this certainty, you could hire some security expert with a South African accent and forearms thicker than your neck to train you in kidnapping-survival techniques. But this training is expensive, often meant for executives, foreign aid workers, or wealthy blonde teens. So what are the rest of us to do?

Collect tips off the Internet, that's what. I did just that, gathering the hottest, freest tips on surviving a kidnapping I could find. Then, in the interest of presenting you with the best possible information, I decided to get myself kidnapped to find out if any of this advice actually works. Here's what happened next.

#7. Do Your Homework

As we'll see in later tips, understanding your kidnappers and what's motivating them is key to surviving a kidnapping. But you don't have to wait until you're kidnapped to begin this learning process. You can probably guess who might be kidnapping you before it even happens, unless you're wildly unpopular among many different groups.

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And if you're reading Cracked, you might be.

If you're an executive working in a country full of revolutionaries, you can learn who those revolutionaries are, what they care about, and what they tend to do with hostages. Ditto if you're a social worker in a country full of people that hate you. Are your parents wealthy? Then if you ever find yourself in a sack, it's probably because of money.

How I Managed When I Was Kidnapped:

Although I have many enemies who'd be willing to kidnap me, including Marxists, Capitalists, the Girl Scouts, time travelers, and my own family, I didn't want to give any of them the satisfaction.

Instead, I chose to better simulate the shock and uncertainty most kidnapping victims feel by selecting a kidnapping-of-me target at random. After walking around the parking lot of a mall trying car doors until I found one unlocked, I climbed into the trunk and began excitedly weeping. What kind of psychopath or political idealist or unsuspecting housewife would do this to me?

#6. Pay Attention

Once you've been kidnapped, you need to immediately calm down and open your eyes and ears if possible. Nostrils too.

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All your orifices in fact. Just crank 'em open.

If you're being taken somewhere, try to figure out where. Count the number of turns, length of time between the turns, and the sound the engine is making. With a bit of knowledge about the area, you might be able to guess where they're taking you, which could be useful information if you need to attempt an escape.

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If you're on a camel, count the humps. Two-humped camels are found only in Central Asia.

Pay attention to your kidnappers themselves. What do they look like? How do they talk? What brand of cigarettes are they extinguishing on your flesh? Do they make eye contact? Are they somewhat inclined to treat you like a human being? Or are you just an object for them? This can help you gauge their mood and ultimate motivation, in particular whether they need you dead or alive.

If this kidnapping goes on for some time, pay attention to patterns. Are your guards working on an obvious shift system? Are you always fed at the same time? If you're ever released, this might be useful information to relay to the authorities to help rescue any other hostages.

And even if none of this information turns out to be practically useful, gathering it will serve one other important purpose: It will help to keep you sane. By giving yourself something to do, you'll resist falling into a spell of hopelessness, which can do more damage than the kidnappers themselves.

How I Managed When I Was Kidnapped:

I thought I was doing pretty good at figuring out where my kidnapper was taking me, but it turned out I had left and right backwards, and then I forgot how East worked for a bit, and, long story short, by the time I was confidently certain we were driving across the middle of the ocean, I realized that that was a dumb idea and that I had no idea where I was.

Trapped in their trunk, I was also unable to make any direct observations of my kidnapper's habits, tics, or political views. I eventually settled on "Alien Nazi ISIS agent," because it seemed pretty plausible and also because I'd probably inhaled just a smidge of carbon monoxide by that point.

#5. Cooperate

Your greatest priority during the early stages of a kidnapping is to simply survive. Your chance of surviving a kidnapping tends to increase as time passes, so in the first few minutes and hours, don't do anything to aggravate your kidnappers. Comply with their requests and, within reason, try to make their lives easier.

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"Who wants to untie me and get a back rub?"

A related piece of advice: If you happen to have been kidnapped or held hostage with a group, you don't want to be identified as the troublemaker. If anyone's getting killed to prove the kidnappers are serious, it's going to be that one hostage no one can stand. Can you stand the company of every other hostage in your party? Then watch out, because the irritating one is you.

How I Managed When I Was Kidnapped:

I resolved to behave as well as I could during our transit, a decision aided by an unexpected loss of consciousness (that carbon monoxide again). I awoke, still in the trunk, some six hours later, the most dangerous part of the kidnapping well behind me.

I smiled. Everything was going according to plan and it was a good plan and I had nothing to regret from embarking upon it.

#4. Become Their Friend

As time passes, you'll want to establish a rapport with your captors. The simple passage of time will be on your side here -- this is why it's so important to survive those first few hours and days -- as continued exposure to you and your hilarious jokes and wailings and smells will make you seem more like a human in their eyes.

Sergiy Tryapitsyn/iStock/Getty
"Damn you capitalist dogs and your beefy, capitalist farts."

You will still have to use a bit of guile while doing this. Your kidnappers will become suspicious of you if you appear overly cooperative or friendly, so work up to friendship slowly. Ask for a single, small favor first. Nothing suspicious.

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"If I had a gun I could cover the door if the cops come."

Try asking for something like a blanket first. Not only will this make them sympathize with you as a human being (everyone gets cold), it will make bedtime a lot more fun.

How I Managed When I Was Kidnapped:

I decided after regaining consciousness that this situation was stable enough to ask for a favor. A pillow or a small plate of nachos was what I had in mind, so after finding the emergency trunk release, I made my way out of the dimly lit garage I found myself in, crept through a deserted suburban house, and found my captors plotting their next move from the bed they were sleeping in. I made my simple, earnest request, crossed my fingers, and let the chips fall where they may.

They didn't really fall where I'd hoped.

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Chris Bucholz

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