On the edges of the wilderness, though, we’re not always so safe. There are times when the predators that prowl our forests turn from their usual prey toward people—and those people have been forced to fight tooth to nail to survive.
The Bridal Party Attacked By Wolves
In March 1911, a Russian wedding turned into a massacre. A total of 120 people had gathered in the village of Obstipoff for the ceremony. When the service ended, they prepared for the 32-kilometer (20 mi) trip to Tashkend, where the banquet would be served. The party, had the feeling they were being followed. Then they saw what look liked a black cloud billowing over a hill. As it came closer, they realized what it was: hundreds of frenzied wolves charging straight at them. Every man, woman and child in the sleighs lingering behind were devoured.
Vance Flosenzier Wrestled A Shark
Eight-year-old Jessie Arbogast was playing on the shores of Florida’s Santa Rosa Island in 2001 when a bull shark attacked. His uncle, Vance Flosenzier, rushed into the water. He grabbed the shark and pulled it off his nephew. It let go, but Jessie’s arm came with it, lodged in the shark’s throat. Vance dragged the 91-kilogram (200 lb) shark by the tail onto an embankment. Two park rangers rushed over to help. They shot the shark four times in the head and pried open its mouth. The boy lost most of his blood, and he suffered permanent brain damage from the attack.
Ben Cochrane’s Last Stand
In 1922 Ben Cochrane was attacked by a large pack of timber wolves. When searchers arrived at the horrific scene they found the bones of Cochrane’s remains, a rifle with a broken buttstock, and the bones of eleven huge timber wolves. Seven of the wolves had been shot and four had been clubbed to death by Cochrane’s rifle buttstock. Left with no weapon after the stock broke, Cochrane was overwhelmed by the remaining members of the pack.
Tanzania’s Greatest Man-Eater
Rufiji River district in Tanzania were ravaged by a man-eating lion. They dubbed him Osama, named for the infamous terrorist. The lion ended at least 35 lives. It was believed that he had been taught to do so by his mother, who had preyed on the townsfolk before him. In 2004, game scouts hunted the lion and killed him. it was determined that Osama had a cracked molar with a large abscess behind it. The toothache may have motivated him to choose tender-bodied humans as prey.
The 62-Year-Old Man Who Fought A Cougar In His Home
In 1951, Ed McLean was 62 years old and lived alone in a cabin 10 kilometers (6 mi) away from the nearest human life. One day, he saw a cougar watching him. That night, the cougar attacked. McLean managed to kill it by dragging it to kitchen and shoving knife in its body multiple times. He passed out on the floor. He lay there for eight hours, unconscious and dying. Then, at last, someone found him, and Ed McLean survived.
Paul Templar Survived Being Swallowed by A Hippo
Paul Templar was working as a river guide, taking tourists down the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls, when the hippo attacked. It emerged under another guide’s boat, flinging the man, named Evans, into the water. He managed to grab hold of his friend’s hand—and he then felt a sudden darkness and slime all around him. He was trapped in the hippo’s mouth. The hippo crushed him with its teeth. Then it dragged him down to the bottom of the river to drown him. At last, the hippo lurched up and spat him out. By then, though, there were 40 puncture wounds on his body, and his left arm was crushed to a pulp. It was only by luck that a medical team was close enough to save his life. Evans didn’t make it. His body was found two days later, drifted down the river.
The Town Attacked By Wolves
Verkhoyansk is a Siberian town on the Arctic Circle. There are only 1,311 people there in all; they’re outnumbered by the 3,000 wolves in the wilderness around them. When a pack of 400 wolves surrounded the town, they were in trouble. Verkhoyansk fought back. The governor set a bounty of £210 for every wolf pelt claimed and promised a six-figure reward for whoever slaughtered the most of them. By the end, the wolves had killed 313 horses, but the hunters had taken out 700 wolves.
The Wolves Of Paris
In winter 1450, the wolves near Paris were starving. The wolves struggled to find food outside. So, instead, they moved their hunts inside the city walls. The walls were still damaged from the Hundred Years’ War, and the wolves were able to slip through. At first, they raided livestock, but they soon became bolder. A pack led by a red wolf with a bobbed tail went into the city and attacked. They devoured 40 people, targeting women and children. A mob chased them until they were at the front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. There, the people gathered up stones and threw them, stoning the animals to death.
The Grandmother Who Took On A Bear
Sue Aikens was alone at the Kavik River Camp in Alaska, 800 kilomters (500 mi) from the nearest city and 130 kilometers (80 mi) from the closest road. One winter morning in 2007, she went to the river to gather water, was hiding in the river, and when approached, it leaped out and snatched her. The bear rolled her onto her back and bit into her head. Aikens went still and submissive. “Any movement is a sign of encouragement,” she later explained. “When the bear let her go, she went into the camp and patched herself up. Aikens, though, didn’t let it go. She went back out with a gun and shot the bear dead.
The USS Indianapolis Shark Attack
On July 28, 1945, the USS Indianapolis delivered a cargo that would change the world: the components for the first atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan. On the way, the Indianapolis was attacked by a Japanese submarine. The survivors in the water weren’t safe yet. The blood of the dead drew in sharks. At first, they preyed upon the dead, but in time, they turned to the living. For days, the men waited on the lifeboats. Some died from heat or thirst and fell into the water, where the sharks were waiting. It took four days of being slowly picked off by sharks before a plane spotted the men. Of the 1,196 who were on the ship, only 317 remained.
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