5 People From History Who Were Absurdly Hard to Kill
We like to celebrate extraordinary people, even if their most notable accomplishment is an ability to absorb a ridiculous number of bullets without dying. Hey, as talents go, it's not a bad one to have.
Just consider the fact that ...
Jim Bowie Was Immune to Blades
James Bowie is a 19th century American pioneer and frontier legend. The world-famous bowie knife is named after him -- which is appropriate, as he was known to have a 9-inch hunting knife on him at all times, just in case. And with Bowie, those "just in case" situations came up a lot.
"That's why I always wear my business tie."
For instance, one day Bowie was serving as an aide to one of two opposing duelers. The actual duel was a pussyfooted thing that got resolved with a handshake. Naturally, this being the Wild West, the lack of Eastwoodian antics disappointed the audience, which promptly got rowdy and started breaking stuff. In the ruckus, Bowie was shot in the hip. Unfortunately for his random shooter, Bowie saw where the shot had come from and instantly launched himself at the man.
Panicked at the frontier hellbeast charging at him, the shooter emptied his gun at Bowie, hitting him three times. He then bashed the still-attacking Bowie on the head with the gun itself. This finally took Bowie to his knees ... temporarily.
Just long enough for him to remember that he was a T-1000.
Seeing Bowie down, the nearby Major Norris Wright (an old rival of Bowie's, who once got into a fistfight with him after denying Bowie a bank loan) saw his chance to rid the planet of Bowie once and for all. He fired, but missed. The wounded Bowie noticed, shot back and hit Wright. This is when Wright, who we were totally picturing as Dick Dastardly even without this next part, drew his cane sword and plunged it into Bowie's chest.
Jim Bowie, in happier days, fighting a bandit while nailed to a log.
Bowie went down, as men pierced by swords are wont to do. However, the blade sat tight in his chest. The gloating Wright couldn't wiggle it out, so he put his foot on Bowie's chest to pull out the sword. That was just the opening Bowie (who apparently had treated the whole "he's wiggling a sword in my chest" thing as little more than an elaborate ruse) had been waiting for.
He grabbed Wright's leg, dragged the screaming man down and disemboweled him with his trusty hunting knife ... while the poor man's cane sword was still very much stuck in his own chest.
The fight, known later as the Sandbar Fight, made Bowie's name and guaranteed him and his knife a place in the pantheon of Wild West icons.
Later in life, when James Black created the famous version of the bowie knife made legendary by the fight, Jim adopted one ... and tried it out by killing three assassins who jumped him. He would probably still be walking the earth and swinging big blades at bankers if he hadn't happened to be in the Alamo when being in the Alamo was a really bad idea.
Charles de Gaulle Was Impervious to Damage
Charles de Gaulle was the leader of the French resistance in World War II, founder of the French Fifth Republic and one of the most notorious presidents in the history of France (if not the most notorious). Oh, and there were 31 recorded attempts to assassinate him.
De Gaulle, seen here composed of (roughly) 7 percent shrapnel.
Seriously, at one point an actual SPECTRE-like terrorist organization was formed by his worst enemies, and one of their primary goals was to end de Gaulle's life. Despite the ever-present threat of death, de Gaulle remained a man of the people, constantly appearing in public, continually giving them new chances. Some of the brushes with death that de Gaulle survived:
* A full-on assault became a rampant gunfight between his supporters and Vichy troops during his return to France on the very last days of the war. During the shootout, de Gaulle walked around greeting people like he didn't even notice the bullets flying back and forth.
"Attention citizens: Running in fear from the explosions only makes them stronger."
* A French naval officer tried to shoot him during a rendition of "La Marseillaise." De Gaulle paid it no mind as another officer wrestled the shooter down, movie style.
* While driving, a huge bomb exploded the road ahead of him into a giant fireball. De Gaulle's comment to the chauffeur, as they were driving toward the fire: "Faster."
Finally, the assassins figured out that they were going to have to get serious about the job and went right for overkill. Several cars full of snipers with submachine guns, grenades and Molotov cocktails attacked de Gaulle's convoy. Twelve snipers bombarded the car with 140 bullets, obliterating his entourage.
"Sorry I'm late, there was traffic. And also a dozen men with machine guns."
This time, of course, de Gaulle was doomed ... to once again barely notice the attack. His aide begged him to get down on the bench several times, until finally he agreed to lean slightly forward to humor the man. When the barrage was over, he just brushed his shoulders off and continued the trip.
But he couldn't hide from death's cold embrace forever. Charles de Gaulle died watching television at home, at 79 years of age.
He's strangling angels now.
Richard Blass Shrugged Off a Bullet to the Head
Richard Blass was a badass Canadian boxer. Yes, that's apparently a thing. When his boxing days were over, he embarked upon a new career as a badass Canadian gangster. Yes, that's apparently a thing, also.
Blass, apparently wielding some bizarre gun-shaped maple syrup bottle.
Blass notoriously hated the Mafia, to the point of ordering his men to attack anyone who even looked like they might be associated with the mob. For some reason, organized crime families don't appreciate this kind of attention. A hit was ordered, but the poor goons who had to act it out soon found out Blass was a tough nut to crack.
First, they tried to gun him down at a bar where he was currently getting wasted. As they opened fire, the unimpressed Blass dodged the hail of bullets and ran right the hell away, completely devoid of gunshot wounds.
Two weeks later, the mob decided to give it another go. They tracked Blass down to a motel, waited until he went to sleep ... and lit the whole damn place ablaze.
"Nothing is more subtle than fire!"
Blass walked away from the inferno unscathed.
The next time around, the mob took a month's timeout, presumably hoping that a few weeks of inactivity would be enough time for Blass to forget how to dodge bullets. And they were right! A second firearm-fueled ambush left Blass with a head wound from where a bullet grazed him and two bullets lodged in his back. And with that, Blass was dead.
Just kidding. This did absolutely nothing to stop him.
The bullet never made it past his hair helmet.
After a quick trip to the hospital (where he gained some respect by refusing to name the culprits to the police), Blass was back on the streets, now equipped with the name "Le Chat" ("The Cat," on account of apparently having nine lives) and an even more burning desire to bring down the mob.
A dozen Dillingers' worth of bank robberies, arrests and Sopranos-style gruesome murder scenes later, Blass was finally cornered by the police in a small cottage. They had him completely surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned. So naturally, he attacked them. The ensuing gunfight finally managed to finish him off.
They only had to shoot him about 20 times to do it.
King Zog of Albania Finds Assassinations a Mild Inconvenience
If you thought that de Gaulle's 31 assassination attempts was some kind of world record, it's not even close. The fantastically named King Zog of Albania is the undisputed champion in that field.
Actually, that's King Zog I, Skanderbeg III of the Albanians to you. But his given name is the still awesome but less video game villain sounding Ahmet Muhtar Bey Zogolli. King Zog was a remarkably hard man, just as anyone bold enough to choose a name like that should be, and survived a whopping 50-plus attempts on his life.
There's something about tiny mustaches that just enrages armed men.
In one instance, the assassin managed to shoot him twice from close range as he was entering the Assembly Hall. Zog let his guard subdue the dude and, unflinching, walked on into the hall and took a seat at his desk, blood spurting from his wounds.
After a while, he noticed that everyone else was understandably freaking the hell out. So he stood up, covered in blood and riddled with bullet holes, and delivered them a little shruggy speech that basically said "Yeah, this happens quite a lot. You get used to it."
"Multiple gunshot wounds ain't nothin' but a thing."
His one and only foreign trip, perhaps taken in the hopes that he would find fewer assassins abroad, led to an even more ridiculous attempt. While Zog was in Vienna in 1931, an assassin struck as he was getting into his car after an opera. Zog's reaction to the impending doom was characteristically impressive. He turned to face the assassin -- and pulled a big-ass gun and opened fire right back at the guy.
And yes, if you were wondering, that made him the only member of royalty to ever unleash a can of whoop-ass back at an assassin, chasing him away.
King Zog remained unharmed by his enemies until his final days. He died in exile in 1961, 100 percent death-by-assassination free.
Frane Selak Lives in a Final Destination Movie
No one was trying to assassinate Frane Selak. Why would they? He's a mild mannered, chubby music teacher from Croatia. He has never angered half a nation with his politics or been targeted by the mob. Yet his place on this list is probably the most deserved; his adversary seems to be Death itself. For over three decades, the world has tried its level best to kill Frane Selak in increasingly creative and desperate ways.
His first brush with disaster was in 1962, when he escaped certain death in a train crash. Sorry, did we say "crash?" We meant "The train mysteriously jumped the rails and plunged into the icy river below, killing 17 passengers." Frane Selak got out of the sinking train and swam to the shore, despite a broken arm.
And, we like to imagine, wearing that exact same unitard.
A year later, he had to travel again. This time, he wisely opted for a different mode of transport -- flying. A malfunctioning door caused his plane to crash. Frane Selak was blown out of the open cabin door just prior to the crash and landed safely in a haystack below.
Adding airplanes to his rapidly expanding "fuck that" list, Selak decided to stick to buses from then on. That is, until 1966, when he found out the hard way that trains aren't the only thing that can lose control and plunge into a river. Again, Selak managed to swim to safety and crossed out yet another method of transport.
This left pretty much no other options but driving everywhere himself, so that's what he did. That is, until 1970, when his car spontaneously caught fire on a motorway and exploded. Selak, in yet another movie-worthy scene, managed to run to safety mere seconds before the fuel tank caught fire and went boom. Although we understand if you'd prefer to picture him walking away slowly as the vehicle exploded in the background.
Even that wasn't enough for him to hermit up in his house and refuse to go near any kind of transportation, so he got himself another car. This one didn't explode. Instead, it turned into a flamethrower, as a faulty fuel pump sprayed gas all over the engine. The ensuing flames blasted from the air vents at Selak, who lost most of his hair and, somehow, absolutely nothing else.
Nothing starts the day off right like a face full of fire.
Now officially flamethrower-proof, Selak was now freaked out enough to lay off the driving. This served him well for years, until 1995, when death finally realized that he wasn't going to go near vehicles anytime soon. And the next thing you know, Frane Selak was hit by a bus. Again, he survived with minor injuries.
Now back in the driving business, because at least that way you have some protection, Selak managed to enjoy a whole year of glorious "everything is not trying to kill me for once" time. Then, death pulled out all the stops.
In 1996, Selak was driving his Skoda on a mountain road when a huge United Nations truck came screaming at him. The impact sent Selak's tiny car flying through the crash barrier and straight into the 300-foot gorge below. Only Selak wasn't in it.
Somehow, the now out of shape, elderly man had leaped from his skidding car seconds before it fell off a cliff and landed on a tree near said cliff.
The United Nations, dedicated to global unity and killing the unkillable.
After Selak had pulled that off, Death and he apparently reached an understanding. Maybe they finally found out they had been the same person all along, or maybe there is just no point in trying to off a guy who can pull the kind of cliche last-second rescues even Hollywood would call cheesy. Whatever the reason may be, no further attempts at his life by the universe have taken place. Another telling sign of the newfound truce is the fact that in 2003, Frane Selak won the lottery.
Read more of Pauli Poisuo's articles here or observe him in a controlled environment through the magic of Twitter and Tumblr.
For more badasses throughout history, check out 5 Soldiers Whose Horrific Injuries Only Made Them Angry and 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how to make yourself hard to kill. (It involves watching Hard to Kill.)
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