98 years ago, there was a terrible volcanic eruption on Martinique, an island in the Caribbean. What’s been dubbed as the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century, it killed all residents—except the sole drunk in this prison.
Two other Martinique residents survived also, a girl who sailed a boat into the ocean and a shoemaker who also lived to tell the tale, by falling into the ocean. Ludger Sylbaris, however, survived because of his fondness for drink—he’d been arrested and was thrown in the simple stone prison, which has just a slit for air.
The Mount Pelee eruption swept throughout the city, with all residents being burned to death, killing over 30,000 people in total. Four days after the eruption, Sylbaris was found by rescuers, who heard him through the stone walls, and despite his lungs being burned due to the 1,000+ degree heat, he survived thanks to his prison.
His crimes pardoned, Sylbaris found fame with the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus as “The Man Who Lived Through Doomsday.”