Read the previous post in the Behind The Scenes series: Top 10 Creepiest Paranormal Legends . . . #7
A man who refused to die by hanging. A woman buried alive giving her husband nightmares. A haunted prison with eerie paranormal activity. A family stalked by a vindictive specter. Grab the nearest table for support – you’ll need it when you read the next one.
The Frozen Living
Movies and tales abound in which people frozen to death are brought to the morgue only to resurrect themselves and walk away alive. The scientific impossibility of such occurrences relegate such tales to ludicrous spin-doctoring at worst and mild, if gory, entertainment at best.
What happened to Jean Hillard, a teenager from North Dakota in the US, in 1980 is enough to revive belief in unseen forces and the unseen hand of God, if not lend a whole new connotation to the phrase “frozen stiff”.
It was late December of the year, a period given to windy and extremely frigid weather. Jean was returning to her parents’ home near Lengby (rural Minnesota) when her car skidded off the road and stalled due to the cold.
Hardly dressed for the weather, Jean nevertheless bravely set off on foot to reach home. Only, she did not reach it.
She was found the next morning by her neighbor Wally Nelson just a few feet from her door. Her body was frozen solid. So solid, in fact, that Nelson had to load her “diagonally” in the rear of his car to get her to the nearest hospital.
At the hospital in Fosston, Minnesota, doctors were blown away by the intensity of the freezing. Her pulse, hardly discernible through her frozen skin, was registering a feeble 18 beats per minute. Her temperature was too low for the thermometer to read. Intravenous needles could not even pierce her skin. Her face was totally ashen and her eyes, completely frozen in place, refused to react to light. Jean, for all practical purposes, was the “living dead”.
Doctors attending to her were completely out of hope. According to one of the hospital staff, “The body was cold, completely solid, just like a piece of meat out of a deep freeze.”
Still, doctors put her on a thawing process, wrapping her body in an electric heating pad. There was hope for a miracle where science had no answers.
And miracle presented itself. Hours later, much to the relief and disbelief of the team of doctors treating her, Jean Hillard revived. Her eyelids fluttered open. As her eyes began to refocus, doctors were beside themselves to explain the phenomenon. Admitted the attending physician, “I can’t explain why she’s alive.”
The last word on her near-death experience, naturally, went to Jean Hillard, as she remarked, “At worst, I might lose a couple of toes.”
So, what kept her alive in a tragic accident that had her marked for certain death? What explains her near-impossible revival from a state of being a “frozen vegetable”? What unseen hand pulled her from the brink of mortal termination? Science and rationale certainly had no answer on the day.
Coming soon: the next post in the Behind The Scenes series.