In this world, there are daredevils who refuse to sleep on life, people who knowingly dive into death’s maw only to come out unscathed. This is not about those people.
This is about a breed of people who are even more unique, people whose stories of sheer luck can uncurl the questioning eyebrows of even the most skeptic atheists.
How many people do you know of have avoided death simply by sleeping through deadly situations?
None? Well, you’re about to meet four.
#1 Church Choir Pianist Sleeps Through Gas Explosion
She even ‘saves’ her mother’s life in the process.
It was March 1, 1950, and freezing temperatures blanketed the town of Beatrice, Nebraska.
Marilyn Paul Mitchell was the pianist for the local West Side Baptist Church choir, a 15-person ensemble led by Marilyn’s mum, choir director Mrs F.E. Paul, who expected everyone to be punctual about the choir’s weekly 7:20PM practice.
Marilyn recounts that she “can’t remember a time where anybody came late,” and that everyone was always very punctual and ready to begin practice at 7:25PM.
Yet No One Was in the Church When an Accidental Gas Explosion Destroyed it at 7:27PM
Literally everyone in the notoriously prompt West Side Baptist Church choir was late for practice, preventing what could have been the worst tragedy in the history of Beatrice, Nebraska.
Instead, people now remember the incident as either a true miracle or an astonishing example of sheer luck and coincidence.
In fact, the only reason why the other 14 choir members didn’t make this list is because they had different reasons for being late and avoiding tragedy.
Marilyn Was the Only One Who Literally Slept Through the Incident
Planning to arrive 30 minutes earlier, Marilyn ate dinner early that night. However, she made the ‘mistake’ of taking a post-dinner nap that got a little too deep, which made it hard for her mother to rouse her so they could go to practice.
The pastor’s family was late because their daughter’s dress had been soiled, so her mom had to iron another one before they could leave for church.
Two sisters were on their way to practice when their car broke down, so they had to wait for an alternate ride.
Another choir member simply had to listen till the end of a radio program before leaving for practice.
Joyce Black, who lived right across the church, had been putting off crossing the street because of the cold weather, and right when she opened her front door, she witnessed their church explode, sending sheet music and songbooks flying in all directions.
Whether it was a miracle, sheer coincidence, or a fantastic display of irony – we leave that up to you.
Only one thing’s for sure: Marilyn Paul Mitchell proved that sometimes, sleeping in can literally save your life.
#2 Jonestown Survivor Sleeps Through the Jonestown Massacre
“Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.”
Ever wonder where that phrase came from?
For those who’ve never heard of Jim Jones, brace yourselves.
This is a story that starts off nice, but unlike the first one, it ends in a jarring tragedy that haunts America to this day.
Still reading? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The Story of the Jonestown Massacre Starts with the Story of Jim Jones
Jones was a fiery and charismatic preacher, healer, evangelist, and civil rights leader who became America’s most dangerous cult leader.
He rose to prominence in the 1960s due to his work in promoting the civil rights of non-whites at a time where blatant racism and segregation was the norm in America.
He also founded the People’s Temple, a religious community which later grew into a post-racial, socialist, and utopian vision of what America could become – a haven for the socially disenfranchised.
Jones and his followers planted and harvested crops, built schools, public housing, and even a clinic; they also did everything else necessary in sustaining an independent community filled with honest, skilled, and hardworking people.
As a former member of the People’s Temple explained, Jim Jones captured the zeitgeist of the civil rights movement in the 60s and 70s.
Apart from his natural charisma, it was this genuine passion for people’s rights that drove all kinds of folks into joining his Temple’s ranks – among them a black woman named Hyacinth Thrash.
Moved by Jones’ actions, Hyacinth sold two houses and donated the proceeds to the People’s Temple.
Everything Changed After the Formation of Jonestown
Hyacinth Thrash (and several hundred other African-American followers) joined Jones when he moved the People’s Temple to Guyana in South America to form the Jonestown Agricultural Project in 1977.
As Hyacinth recalls, it was around that time that Jones had been showing signs of being erratic and increasingly paranoid. He even began to show open contempt for Christianity, declaring himself to be “the onliest God.”
According to other accounts, new members would have to sign either blank or covered pieces of paper – something that Jones could blackmail you (and your family) with if you ever tried to leave.
While prohibiting drug-use in the compound, it was later revealed that Jones himself was addicted to drugs (and even drugged people to control their actions).
While it’s true that he still did everything to care for the people of Jonestown…
Jones Stopped at Nothing to Ensure Everyone’s Unwavering Loyalty
Everyone in Jonestown was periodically subjected to what Jones called “White Nights” – drills wherein the entire compound literally practiced killing themselves.
The compound’s loudspeaker would boom with his voice, telling everyone that their lives were in danger, to assemble to the central pavilion, and ultimately to commit revolutionary suicide by drinking juice laced with poison.
Some residents rightly took this a big warning sign and escaped the compound using the natural cover of the woods surrounding Jonestown.
Under pressure from several outside political forces, Jones justified the act of revolutionary suicide as a way to save his people from either being murdered or assimilated by non-socialist and fascist forces that didn’t agree with what Jonestown stood for.
In a way, Jim Jones was right to be worried about protecting his people from outside influence and attack.
Jonestown had become a thriving racially integrated community, and it was no secret that certain forces back in the United States didn’t like it.
Jones’ paranoia against these outside forces culminated on November 18, 1978, when…
Jim Jones Orders Jonestown to Commit Revolutionary Suicide
Those who didn’t drink the poison were held down and injected with cyanide.
Jonestown guards went around with stethoscopes, shooting anyone who still had a heartbeat.
A lot of people literally “drank the Kool-Aid” but a lot of people were also just shot.
A handful escaped into the jungles outside the compound and survived.
Only one person who was actually in Jonestown at the time survived the massacre-suicide, and that person was Hyacinth Thrash.
On the night of the Jonestown Massacre, Hyacinth simply told her sister that she was “sick of Jim Jones” and then refused to go to the pavilion.
After her sister left, Hyacinth heard gunfire.
She closed her lights and hid under the bed, escaping the notice of the guards who combed the compound for stragglers.
No one returned to their cottage, so Hyacinth simply went to bed and slept.
The next morning, she woke up alone and surrounded by death.
Hyacinth Thrash Was the Only Person Left Alive in Jonestown
More than 900 people died that night.
We did warn you it was going to get dark.
#3 Newlywed Aussies Choose Sleep Over a Doomed Flight
Juan Jovel and his wife Simone La Posta know all too well how hard it is to function at work while jetlagged.
Near the end of their honeymoon in Europe, they realized that they needed to get home earlier so they could shake off the jetlag before Monday.
So, they made last-minute plans to book a flight a day earlier than their original booking: July 17, 2014, via Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
That’s because Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine as it was headed to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.
That number would’ve been 285 if the couple stuck to their original plans.
However, because they chose to get more bedtime before going back to work, they also inadvertently avoided tragedy.
So there you have it.
Sleep is essential to life. Choosing sleep over anything else can literally save you from death.
Sleep/Bed/Mattress enthusiasts of the world, unite!
You have nothing to lose but the friends who constantly want to drag you out of bed for whatever reason.