The 10 Most Frighteningly Claustrophobic Moments Ever

Warning: If you’re claustrophobic, you better not read these. The following tales are some of the most breathtaking (literally) scenarios ever experienced. I’m willing to wager these folks will never go near a confined space again.

Man Survives Almost Three Days Inside Sunken Ship
DCN Diving Group / Barcroft USA
In 2013, Harrison Okene survived two and a half days 100 feet underwater off the coast of Nigeria.

A giant wave capsized the tugboat and sent it into the abyss. Everyone onboard died, except for Okene, who listened ominously to the sounds of sharks devouring his shipmates. He found a small air bubble in the pitch-black darkness. Salvage divers found him 60 hours later in the throes of hunger, dehydration, and near-hypothermia.

Okene thought he was only there for a day.

Man Spends Weekend Trapped in Elevator

Late one Friday night in 1999, Nicholas White went outside for a cigarette break. When he took the elevator back up to the 39th floor it inexplicably stopped. He calmly pressed the emergency bell.

It was 11 p.m. and everyone in the building had left. He had no phone, no food, no water, no watch.

In video footage, you see how White spent those long 41 hours trapped in every claustrophobic’s nightmare. He occasionally opened the door to urinate, but didn’t drop a deuce, perhaps because he was scared shitless. Finally someone heard him yelling at 4 p.m. on Sunday and let him free.

White received a settlement from the building and his video has since gone viral.

German Caver Gets Trapped Almost a Mile Underground

In June 2014, a rock fell from the cave ceiling and smashed Johann Westhauser’s face. He lay helpless in the cold earthly depths for 11 days. With a fractured skull and a broken eye socket, there was nothing he could do but wait.

It was the most expensive rescue operation in German history, but alas, they pulled it off. Westhauser survived his harrowing circumstances being alone and injured 3,200 feet underground.

Woman Perishes in Chimney Sneaking into Boyfriend’s Home

Ho Ho Ho. When a house sitter smelled something foul coming from the chimney, she went to investigate and found a woman decomposing only two feet away from the fireplace opening. Turns out it was 49-year-old doctor Jacquelyn Kotarac. She had entered the chimney from the roof trying to sneak into her estranged boyfriend’s home. She’d been there for three days.

Six Feet Under and Survived

When Essie Dunbar suffered a “fatal” bout of epilepsy the summer of 1915, everyone thought she was dead. The next morning they lowered her casket six feet underground and said their prayers. Then Dunbar’s sister arrived 15 minutes late and asked to see Essie one last time.

When they dug up and opened the coffin, Essie sat up and smiled. The ministers jumped in fear (a few of them fell into the hole) and mourners ran from the scene. They thought she was a ghost. For years the community in which she lived thought she was a zombie. Essie lived a long and healthy life until she died in 1955.

Avalanche Buries Kid, Rescued
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 28: Alex White, a first-year CU law student, survived an avalanche just off of Cameron Pass on Highway 14 between Walden and Fort Collins on March 3. Alex White was buried for three-plus hours earlier this month and survived the avalanche after rescuers rode treacherous terrain on snowmobiles to find him. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)
“The last thing I remember thinking was that I was going to die there,” 24-year-old Alex White said. “And aside from a few bursts of panic, it was really kind of peaceful.”

White and his friend were skiing in Colorado when a 1,200 foot wide avalanche struck. Buried in the white nothingness, White thought it was the end. But rescuers came and within three hours they were able to pry him from six feet under snow. Unfortunately, his friend didn’t end up so lucky.

Homeless Dude Gets Stuck in Store Wall

Last November, a homeless man tried to sneak into a Marshalls from the roof in Denver. Somehow he got stuck in the wall.

Employees heard a man screaming, but they didn’t know where it came from. He was there for three days. Officers used a power saw to rescue the man and he was taken away on a gurney. Suspected as a burglar, they agreed his incarceration within Marshalls’s wall would count as time served.

Australian Woman Held Captive in Cellar for 24 Years
In 1984, Austrian Josef Fritzl lured his 18-year-old daughter Elisabeth into a small cellar in the basement of their home, where he chloroformed her unconscious. Elisabeth would remain imprisoned for 24 years.

In the nightmarish captivity, Fritzl would impregnate his daughter and have seven children with her. Two of those children would live with Elisabeth in ghastly confinement for nearly 20 years.

In 2008, Austrian authorities arrested Fritzl for false imprisonment, rape, manslaughter and incest. (They estimate he raped Elisabeth 3,000 times.) Fritzl was subsequently dubbed the “Monster of Amstetten” and hopefully locked in solitary confinement with a broken key.

Greek Woman Screams from the Grave

It’s unbelievable to me that in 2015 there are still people being buried alive. I mean, get with the times, people! Last year a 45-year-old Greek woman was pronounced dead and placed in a coffin. An hour later several people visiting the cemetery heard banging and screaming and muffled sounds coming from the ground.

The police came and dug the woman up, but it was too late. She suffocated. While doctors on scene scoffed at the idea that she could have been alive (she was in a state of rigor mortis), it begs the question … spooky ghosts?

Parents Lock Daughter in Closet for Years

When authorities discovered her, Lauren was only 25 pounds and three feet tall. Urine and feces caked the closet. Her five siblings were told to forget about her and deny her existence. The lovely parents responsible? Barbara and Kenneth Ray Atkinson.

They kept her in a closet for four years.

Her teeth were blackened, her body was riddled with sores, and her hair was infested with lice. From 1997 to 2001, young Lauren spent four to eight trapped in darkness, refused human decency. Let’s hope the Atkinson’s feel a fraction of their daughter’s pain locked away for life.