5 Amazing Things People Managed Right After Being Left For Dead

Is it difficult to get out of bed this morning, because the blankets are so heavy and the sky is so gray? Forget that. You can spring right up. Just look at what tried to keep the following people down, and what they managed to do just to spite the fates ... 

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5
Leslie Coffelt Saved President Truman's Life Despite Having Already Been Shot To Death

We're seeing a renewed push for Puerto Rico to become a state, which is only fair considering years non-representation and wanton acts of Mel Gibson. There's also been an alternative push for total Puerto Rican independence, a push that's now much weaker than the statehood movement. Puerto Rico's probably perfectly fine with a fair chunk of Americans forgetting the independence movement ever existed, considering some of the ghosts of beefs past floating out there. Beefs like, oh, firing on the National Guard, opening fire in the House of Representatives, and, oh, trying to assassinate the President. 

This guy.
National Archives This guy.

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It was November 1950, and Harry Truman was staying in Blair House, a D.C. residence great for hosting guests or staying at when the White House was being renovated. Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo approached the building, planning to kill the President to raise awareness for their cause. As with most awareness campaigns, they didn't really think through how this would advance their cause, and it was rapidly dawning on them that they would most likely not be getting out of this adventure alive.

Collazo's half of the operation didn't go so great. He pulled the trigger on an officer guarding the house, before realizing he hadn't loaded the gun properly. By the time he fixed the gun, the man was aware of what was happening, and Collazo got him in the knee instead of the back as planned. Three different Secret Service agents then fired on him, which was presumably the end of Oscar Collazo. Torresola, however, managed to shoot his target fatally. He fired four times into Officer Leslie W. Coffelt, getting him in the chest, which was presumably the end of Leslie W. Coffelt.

Well, it had to be, right?
Department of the Treasury Well, it had to be, right?

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Torresola then made his way from the guardhouse to Blair's entrance, taking down two more officers with non-fatal shots. But before he could get in the house, he got a bullet got in his head. You know how we said Coffelt was shot fatally? We weren't lying; his wounds would kill him, making him the only person to die protecting a U.S. president (and Coffelt wasn't even in the Secret Service, just a White House police officer). But first, he crawled out of his guard booth, killed Torresola with one shot, then crawled back and blacked out. 

Truman was upstairs during all this, and he went on with his day afterward, saying, "A president has to expect those things." Collazo, despite being shot a bunch of times, actually did survive the adventure. A judge sentenced him to death, then Truman commuted that to life, and President Carter later commuted the sentence altogether and released the man to Puerto Rico. Truman claimed that the assassination attempt actually moved him to reconsider Puerto Rico's status. Then he pushed for a referendum in which Puerto Rican independence wasn't even an option, so we guess that was just some classic Truman trolling. 

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4
A Teenager Lost Both His Arms And Still Managed To Dial For Help

On the afternoon of January 11, 1992, high school senior John Thompson was doing some work on the farm. He lived on a 1,600-acre property in a North Dakota town of 100 people, and no one was anywhere close when he got to work that Saturday. Both parents were out of town visiting relatives, so it fell to him to shovel the barley by himself. The grain moved thanks to a shaft powered by his tractor, a shaft that turned about 17 times a second. All was going great until he slipped on some ice and fell against this rotating shaft, and it tore off both his arms. 

 Shame this should happen to such an innocent kid. He was totally armless. 
SB_Johnny /Wiki Commons Shame this should happen to such an innocent kid. He was totally armless.

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A shaft like that (called a power takeoff) should really have a safety shield, and if this one had had one, John would have bounced off it unhurt. Instead, it grabbed him and rotated him through the air faster than any human should move, then threw him to the ground but kept his arms for itself. John blacked out for a bit then awoke about 20 pounds lighter and spurting blood from two ends. The first challenge was just standing up, no easy feat. Then came a quick 500-foot uphill jog to get to his house.

The door he tried was locked, but he managed to get a different screen door open, probably with his teeth. He hunted for a phone to call for help, but the first few he saw used rotary dials, which were obviously not an option. Finally, he spotted a comparatively modern push-button phone. He tried hitting a few buttons with his nose. But he couldn't press one at a time. 

He probably felt like calling out for his mother. Look, ma, he'd say. No hands!
Shizhao/Wiki Commons He probably felt like calling out for his mother. "Look, ma," he'd say. "No hands!"

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So he got a pencil, held it between his teeth, and dialed. Not 911 -- 911 didn't exist in rural North Dakota in 1992 -- but a cousin, whose number he knew from memory. Then stumbled to the bathroom and lay in the bathtub to await help. He didn't want to bleed on his mother's rug more than necessary.

Help came, though not that quick. The cousin had to start a chain of calls to summon a volunteer ambulance from 13 miles away. When they made it to the house, they were surprised to find John lucid enough to direct his own rescue, telling the amateur personnel how to retrieve his arms, store them in garbage bags, and pack them with ice. He had lost almost half the blood in his body, but the bleeding had stopped as his arteries squeezed shut from the trauma.

At first, he actually intimidated the rescuers, but then they realized he was unarmed.
Aranami/Flickr At first, he actually intimidated the rescuers, but then they realized he was unarmed.

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Not only did John survive, but the doctors managed to reattach both his arms in one of the first surgeries of its kind. He never had perfect penmanship post-recovery, but he was able to drive a car, light a cigarette, and work as a realtor. Last time reporters checked in on him, he was thinking of moving south, to someplace without any ice to slip on. 

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3
A Soldier Bit Through His Bonds And Escaped After Being Bayonetted In The Throat

Jacob Charles Vouza was from the Solomon Islands -- which, if you didn't know, is a small Oceanic country about a thousand miles east of Papa New Guinea. He had a long military career and retired, but then World War II brought Vouza back into service at the age of 50, now keeping an eye on Japanese movements and reporting to the Allies. Early on, he saw an American plane go down and saved the pilot's life. After escorting him to safety, he made contact with the US Marines and offered to take on a more active role, consisting of now spying from within enemy territory.

For undercover missions, he ditched his uniform and switched to stealth mode.
via Wiki Commons For undercover missions, he ditched his uniform and switched to stealth mode.

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This was a lot more dangerous than simply keeping an eye open for random Japanese warships; in fact, Vouza got captured almost immediately. He wore only the loincloth pictured above, but within that cloth was an American flag, and his captors who found it realized who he worked for. The Japanese interrogated him. Vouza said nothing. So now came the torture. 

Judging by how far the torture went, it seems that this session quickly graduated from coercing him into talking to just delivering maximum pain to this islander they hated. They stabbed him in the leg, in the chest, and in the face. They drove their bayonets into his stomach and into his throat. Generally, this is what is known as murder, and it ended with leaving him tied to a fire ant hill to die. 

Death was actually one of the nicer alternatives at this point.
Greg Schechter Death was actually one of the nicer alternatives at this point.

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But once alone, Vouza bit through the vines that bound him and freed himself. He was still miles away from safety, but he struck out through the jungle, leaving a thick trail of his own blood, and he made it back to the Marines. He warned them that the Japanese were planning to attack, and so the thoroughly prepared Marines won the ensuing fight, the Battle of the Tenaru. The commander of the men who tortured him either died in the battle or committed seppuku right after. 

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If Vouza then lay down and died, that might have been a hero's end. But we have to inform you that he recovered fully. He got knighted by the Queen, lived into his nineties, and was buried in a US Marines tunic. 

History does not record if he was buried wearing pants.
U.S. Navy History does not record if he was buried wearing pants.

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2
The Homeowner Who Got Up After Being Stabbed In The Chest And Took Down A Serial Killer

How many people did Wayne Nance kill? We do not know. The Montana man, nicknamed the "Missoula Mauler," may have killed several -- a middle-aged woman in 1974, a 15-year-old in 1980, a 16-year-old (who was long seen with him) who was found in a shallow grave. Also, maybe an unidentified Japanese woman found in Missoula, but definitely a husband and wife he murdered in 1985 before burning down their house. By the time police finally had him and was ready to put all the pieces together, he was dead.

So, he's not behind you, but don't relax, this story is still dark.
Missoula Police Department So, he's not behind you, but don't relax, this story is still dark.

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Nance met his end in 1986, after he talked his way into the home of Doug and Kris Wells. The couple owned a furniture company, Nance worked there as a delivery guy, and he got invited in by asking to borrow a flashlight. Doug walked down with him into the basement, and Nance knocked him out with a pipe. He forced Kris to tie Doug up, then went upstairs and tied her to a bed. Then he went downstairs again, stabbed Doug in the chest just to be sure, then headed back up.

Some version of this scenario's buried in everyone's psyche, either as a nightmare or a fantasy for those who really fancy themselves heroes. Doug Wells' real-life version turned into a combination of both: He got stabbed, but he survived, and then he broke out of the ropes holding him down. He picked up a rifle on his way upstairs. You might think Nance was negligent in leaving a gun next to the man, but 1) Remember, Nance had already (apparently) murdered Doug, and 2) In addition to selling furniture, Doug happened to be a gunsmith. So who knows how many guns were scattered about like a Resident Evil room. 

This story's so dark that basement full of guns is the happy twist.
Hmaag/Wiki Commons This story's so dark that "basement full of guns" is the happy twist.

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He caught up with Nance and shot him with the one bullet the rifle had. Nance fired back with a pistol of his own, but Doug beat him with the empty rifle, wrestled Nance's pistol away, then shot him with it. At this point, if Doug took the opportunity to shoot him several more times in the head till he was dead beyond all question, few would have faulted him. Instead, Doug phoned emergency services so all three of them could be taken to the hospital.

Doug and Kris recovered there. Nance did not. 

1
You Shouldn't Read The Following Story About What Happened To This Man's Penis

We do not know the name of the hero of the following story. That's because it comes to us not from the media, who interviewed everyone involved and perhaps did a feel-good follow-up years later, but rather from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The organization is not so interested in the man's personal details as it is in details of the equipment involved (a "horizontal 30-quart gear-driven horizontal commercial mixer, Thunderbird Model Number ARM-30, Commercial Planetary Mixer, Serial Number 291721"). 

It looks like a friendly robot! It is not one.
Globe Food Equipment It looks like a friendly robot! It is not one.

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In 2007, a chemist was working at cleaning this commercial mixer. It snagged part of his shorts' drawstring that dangled outside, while the inner drawstring wrapped around every part of his genitals. We've already talked today about the danger of rotating shafts. This mixer's shaft now used our hero's drawstring to set his shaft rotating. 

When the mixer turned on, it degloved his penis. If you do not know what degloving means, well, picture what it means to take a glove off your hands. Now picture that happening to you, except it's not gloves coming off but skin. The accident also severed both the man's testicles from his body. But this brave chemist responded with a chemist's calm, picking up the fallen testicles and performing basic first aid on himself before calling for help. With the testicles safely on ice, he turned to the job of cleaning up all the blood from the mixer, floor, and walls. Because he was a conscientious worker.

If you're wondering why no one else was available, well, that's why there was a government inquiry.
Elevate/Unsplash If you're wondering why no one else was available, well, that's why there was a government inquiry.

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The postscript of this story informs us that though doctors were unable to reattach the testicles, a week or so in the hospital was enough time for them to graft skin from elsewhere on his body onto the penis, to reverse the extreme circumcision. But no matter what happened afterward, the heart of the story is the unnamed chemist's strength and fortitude. Truly, this was a man with balls. Was.

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 

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