All of 40,000 residents died and no one survived—except for this guy.
On May 7th 1902, the town of Saint-Pierre suffered a great loss. More than 40,000 lives were lost, and thousands of houses burned down. The Mt. Pelée volcano suddenly erupted, completely annihilating the said town—but one person survived.
Born either August Cyparis or Louis-Auguste Cyparis in 1874, a man later named Ludger Sylbaris survived the apocalypse. While it seemed like a story from a survival or disaster movie, Ludger’s story has reached millions and has shocked people up to this day.
Apparently, Ludger was known in the town to be a notorious troublemaker. On the night of the disaster, he was arrested for the severe beating of another man. Being known as a regular offender, the police decided to teach him a lesson and threw him into solitary confinement. Little did everyone know, this unpleasant hole will soon save his life.
The cell was tiny and half-underground with no windows apart from one very narrow slit in the door.
Mt. Pelée soon exploded, bringing with it an apocalyptic cloud of smoke that blotted out the sun for over fifty miles around. Everything within a ten mile radius was flattened as superheated gas and burning dust charged out of the volcano at hundreds of mph. Within one brief moment the pressure wave that was over 1,000 degrees in temperature had flattened every building in the town. The people that were not killed by the buildings collapsing onto them instantly caught fire and were burned to death. People who hid in shelters died of suffocation.
So how did Ludger survive without suffocating? He urinated on his shirt and stuffed them in the slit of the doorway by means of protection. He survived, but was heavily mutilated with burns to his body. Four days later, rescuers were shocked and surprised to see that one person had survived.
He was subsequently pardoned for his crimes, and hired to tour with the Barnum & Bailey circus where he was advertised as being a “living relic” and “the man who lived through Doomsday”.