The Third Man Factor: The Secret To Survival In Extreme

The Third Man Factor: The Secret To Survival In Extreme


    The Third Man Factor: The Secret To Survival In Extreme capacity to transcend extreme conditions."/>
  • Paperback
  • 312 pages
  • The Third Man Factor: The Secret To Survival In Extreme Environments
  • John Geiger
  • English
  • 14 January 2019
  • 0143017519

10 thoughts on “The Third Man Factor: The Secret To Survival In Extreme Environments

  1. Krista Krista says:

    Who is the third who walks always beside you When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or womanBut who is that on the other side of you TS Eliot, The Waste LandThere is, it seems, a common experience that happens to people who confront life at its extremes, and strange as it may sound, given the cruel hardship they endure to reach Who is the third who walks always beside you When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or womanBut who is that on the other side of you TS Eliot, The Waste LandThere is, it seems, a common experience that happens to people who confront life at its extremes, and strange as it may sound, given the cruel hardship they endure to reach that place, it is something wonderful This radical notion that an unseen presence has played a role in the success or survival of people who have reached the limits of human endurance is based on the extraordinary testimony of scores of people who have emerged alive from extreme environments To a man or woman, they report that at a critical point they were joined by an additional, unexplained friend who lent them the power to overcome the most dire circumstances There is a name for the phenomenon it s called the Third Man Factor When asked about the third who walks always beside you in The Waste Land, T S Eliot apparently referenced something he had read in Ernest Shackleton s journals, wherein the polar explorer admitted to a felt presence a shadowy guide who led his doomed group to safety I know that during that long and racking march of thirty six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers, it seemed to me often that we were four, not three Using poetic license, and perhaps a faulty memory, Eliot changed Shackleton s fourth man to a third , giving a name to a phenomenon that is evidently not as uncommon as one might suspect Having had a similar experience himself as a child, when author John Geiger decided to look for a compilation of such stories, he realised that none existed and therefore assembled them here in The Third Man Factor This book contains dozens of stories of people at the very limits of survival who found themselves helped to safety by such a third man , and in addition to these fascinating tales, Geiger looks for scientific explanations for the phenomenonDrawn from all these examples are vital clues of the five basic rules that govern the Third Man s appearance and invest the experience with meaning These rules are the pathology of boredom, the principle of multiple triggers, the widow effect, the muse factor, and the power of the savior Together, they help to explain the onset of the Third Man Factor But they are causal in nature they do not explain his origins or where the power comes from Over the years, various theories have been proposed to explain the Third Man, and running concurrently with these, interspersed among the chapters of the book, are accounts of the search for an explanation These attempts at understanding are themselves a record of man s changing conception of himself They begin with the guardian angel, followed by the sensed presence and the shadow person As clerics and then psychologists, and finally neurologists, theorized about the phenomenon, the trend has been a gradual reduction from the outside in, from God, to the mind, to the brain From Charles Lindbergh reporting that a shadowy figure helped him during his solo trans Atlantic airplane flight in 1927 to Ron DiFrancesco the last person to escape the Twin Towers alive on 9 11, who believes a guardian angel led him through the flame filled staircase to safety Geiger quotes the famous and the unknown, making a compelling case that there is a survival benefit to being able to project an imaginary helper outside of oneself in Extreme and Unusual Environments EUE There are many stories from polar explorers, mountain climbers, solo sailors and other adventurers which begs the notion that this experience islikely to happen to those people who are most open to novel experiences but there are also stories from those escaped prisoners of war, shipwreck or terrorist attack survivors who unwittingly find themselves in extreme survival situations and who nonetheless credit outside forces for leading them to safety Tracing the explanations for the phenomenon, Geiger references William James brother of Henry who, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, placed such encounters squarely in the realm of religious, if not specifically angelic, experience and Julian Jaynes, whose controversial theory of the bicameral mind seems to say that it was only a few thousand years ago at around the same time we became literate that humans began to recognise that our own thoughts spring from our own minds and aren t gods or spirits outside ourselves telling us what to do and that extreme stress can cause people to revert to this pre sentient state Geiger ties in phantom limb theory, children s imaginary friends, sleep paralysis, schizophrenia, and Michael Persinger s god machine there seems to be no end to the ways in which we humans project presences outside ourselves What makes the Third Man Factor so unique, however, is how benevolent and helpful these presences are how integral a role they play in extreme survival situations, and that makes for some great storiesThe Third Man represents a real and potent force for survival, and the ability to access this power is a factor, perhaps the most important factor, in determining who will succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds, and who will not In the end, I was fascinated by both the survival stories and the evolving science that attempts to explain the phenomenon this is certainly a quick and entertaining read I see other reviewers saying that the stories felt too repetitive another polar explorer, yet another mountain climber but it all worked for me if Geiger was attempting to collect as many stories of the third man factor into one book as he could, that s exactly what he achieved


  2. Rowan Rowan says:

    I have experienced the third man factor myself, so it was comforting and somewhat exciting to discover what I had felt was a recognised phenomena, with an entire book dedicated to the subject John Geiger balances a good mix of science and professional insight with a vast array of third man experiences I often found myself researching stories and people mentioned, wantinginformation.Geiger traces the origins of this phenomena from indigenous peoples, to Shackleton s iconic story, right I have experienced the third man factor myself, so it was comforting and somewhat exciting to discover what I had felt was a recognised phenomena, with an entire book dedicated to the subject John Geiger balances a good mix of science and professional insight with a vast array of third man experiences I often found myself researching stories and people mentioned, wantinginformation.Geiger traces the origins of this phenomena from indigenous peoples, to Shackleton s iconic story, right through to present day All the elements behind the third man factor isolation, stress, fatigue, loss were well covered and interesting to read about, especially as I could identify with numerous ones This book helped me better understand my own experiences which was my motivation for reading it That the third man is sometimes experienced as the presence of a deceased loved one like Linenger s Mir experience was very relatable for me.The chapter on guardian angels, God and religion being the third man factor was a little preachy, complete with biblical passages, and tales that seemed to distract from the scientific, rational stories or explanations around it it was monotonous to read Climbing stories made up a disproportionate section of the book, gripping as each of them may be, they somehow began to drag from about half way.The intriguing links between childhood imaginary friends often created during stressful periods and the third man was fascinating, so too the widow effect and awareness of the deceased by their loved ones.Complex neuroscience theories behind the idea, involving wacky scientists was heavy reading at times I felt like I was sitting in a University lecture of a subject I had never studied It dragged and was weighed down in complex wording and poor connections to stories It was the stories themselves which explained enough even though they began growing tiresome too It was a hard slog to get through some of these stories, much like the hard slog undertaken by its characters.Every story seemed to be an explorer, making a poor decision or taking risks on an expedition, suddenly in a critical situation, hears a voice or presence, often over their right shoulder presence leaves once they re safe Some of the standouts were Kenneth Cooke s WWII lifeboat experience, Sandy Wollaston s New Guinea adventures and of course, Shackleton s If anything, this book has confirmed that I was certainly not alone with my own third man experiences The link between the phenomena possibly being a whole body version of the phantom limb phenomena by amputees was an intriguing theory As the book went on, somewhat unexpectedly, many of the theories behind it would go a long way into also being potential explanations of ghost sightings and the supernatural It seems complex neuroscience is the most likely candidate for debunking all ghost stories I came away agreeing with Geiger, in that the third man factor is most likely a symptom of man s evolutionary adaptation to survival The Third Man Factor is a good effort to explain a mysterious phenomena only some of us have experienced it s just a shame it gets bogged down in repetitive stories and complex scientific jargon Sailor William Bill King described it best reflecting my very own experience tooIn this most lonely hour of my life there was no sensation of being alone


  3. Jennifer (aka EM) Jennifer (aka EM) says:

    There is no publisher s description up for this book, and it s out just today I heard an interview this a.m on cbc with the author It sounds fascinating Check out these comments from the author s websiteJohn Geiger s book, his fifth offers an original theory for the evolutionary importance of Shackleton s angel Geiger is well positioned to tackle the historical and scientific background of these close encounters of the wild kindPacked with edge of your seat stories of survival an There is no publisher s description up for this book, and it s out just today I heard an interview this a.m on cbc with the author It sounds fascinating Check out these comments from the author s websiteJohn Geiger s book, his fifth offers an original theory for the evolutionary importance of Shackleton s angel Geiger is well positioned to tackle the historical and scientific background of these close encounters of the wild kindPacked with edge of your seat stories of survival and offer ing compelling looks into the transformative psychology of extreme experiencesCanadian GeographicWith an irresistible blend of harrowing anecdotes and hard science, John Geiger unravels the mystery of how the mind copes under extreme duress and in the process sheds fresh light on what it is to be human A compelling, moving readCarl Honor Author of In Pursuit of Slow and Under Pressure Currency trader Ron DiFrancesco in the World Trade Center, climber James Sevigny in the Canadian Rockies, and diver Stephanie Schwabe in the Mermaid s Lair of Grand Bahama, all shared an experience that an unseen being known as the Third Man helped them to survive against apparently insurmountable odds So did Sir Ernest Shackleton and Charles Lindbergh The Third Man Factor is an extraordinary account of how people at the very edge of death, often adventurers or explorers, experience a sense of an incorporeal being beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive Although some extreme adventurers know about the experience John Geiger s The Third Man Factor is the first book devoted to this virtually unexplored phenomenon.If only a handful of people had ever experienced the Third Man, it might be dismissed as an unusual delusion shared by a few overstressed minds But the amazing thing is this over the years, the experience has occurred again and again, to 9 11 survivors, mountaineers, divers, polar explorers, prisoners of war, solo sailors, aviators and astronauts All have escaped traumatic events only to tell strikingly similar stories of having experienced the close presence of a helper or guardian The mysterious force has been explained as everything from hallucination to divine intervention Recent neurological research suggests something else The Third Man Factor combines history, scientific analysis and great adventure stories to explain this secret to survival, a Third Man who in the words of legendary Italian climber Reinhold Messner leads you out of the impossible from JohnGeiger.com


  4. Frank Frank says:

    Book Review The Third Man Factor Surviving the Impossible by John Geiger Ron DiFrancesco was the last person to escape the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001 He somehow made it from his desk on the eighty fourth floor of the South Tower, through flames, down the stairwell and outdoors to safety before the tower collapsed He says someone, an angel grabbed his hand and guided him at that critical time Also on 9 11, Will Jimeno, a NY Port Authority officer rushed to the World Trade Center to Book Review The Third Man Factor Surviving the Impossible by John Geiger Ron DiFrancesco was the last person to escape the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001 He somehow made it from his desk on the eighty fourth floor of the South Tower, through flames, down the stairwell and outdoors to safety before the tower collapsed He says someone, an angel grabbed his hand and guided him at that critical time Also on 9 11, Will Jimeno, a NY Port Authority officer rushed to the World Trade Center to join in a rescue attempt at the North Tower Jimeno and his team were buried in the debris from the collapse of the South Tower Jimeno was pinned in a sitting position with a slab of concrete on his lap After hours of accute pain he says he saw Jesus and became filled with hope And he knew that his fellow officer, John McLoughlin and he would make it out alive The collapse of the World Trade Center buried about 2,800 people and only 20 of them emerged alive from the pile , including Jimeno and McLoughlin In another time and place, scuba diver Stephanie Schwabe became lost while exploring an intricate underwater cave in the waters off Grand Bahama Island At one point she was unable to see her guideline, her lifeline back out of the cave She only had twenty minutes of oxygen left Her emotions changed from panic to anger Then she strongly sensed the presence of someone telling her to calm down and helping her think through the way back out of the cave She made it back to the water s surface before running out of oxygen These are all examples of the Third Man Factor sometimes called the Fourth Man Factor , the presence of a being who appears in life and death situations to comfort, encourage and, in some cases, lead the way out of danger The book s author, John Geiger spend five years researching and writing the book Over many years a mysterious third man has shown up to help explorers of the arctic and antarctic, mountain climbers, sailors adrift at sea, astronauts and many other adventurers In World War I, angels appeared to safeguard the British Army army during their retreat from Mons in August, 1914 Some famous and semi famous people have experienced the Third Man Factor During his solo trans Atlantic airplane flight in 1927, Charles Lindbergh dealt with extreme sleep deprivation and, at times, severe weather He suddenly experienced a ghostly presence that helped him Lindbergh was known as Lucky Lindy Was Lindy really lucky or was something else at work Also experiencing the Third Man Factor were John Muir, the explorer who traveled much of the American Southwest including the Grand Canyon and Reinhold Messner, considered the world s greatest mountain climber Geiger s book recounts many other such experiences It does discuss God and or angels being involved in some of the incidents but offers other possible explanations such as altitude sickness or peoples mind playing tricks on them under severe, life threatening circumstances Perhaps that is the case in some of these instances but certainly not all of them Could Ron DiFrancesco have found his way from the eighty fourth floor of the World Trade Center, an area where one of the planes hit, made it through debris ridden, smoking hallways and even pass through flames, then make it to safety on his own The book points to an example in the Bible that has a striking similarlity to some of the case histories the author recounts Daniel 3 tells of how Shadrach, Meshach and Abed nego were bound and thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the image of King Nebuchadnezzar When the king saw that the flames did not burn up the three men, he approached the furnace and said to his counselors Dan 3 24 Did we not throw three men bound into the fire I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire and the fourth man looks like a Son of God When I read that passage after already reading several of the incidents recounted in the book, it sent shivers up my spine The Third Man Factor is a fascinating read, especially in light of its spiritual ramifications It leads me to ponder how much God loves and cares for people, especially in their times of greatest need Frank Lewandowski


  5. Christine Christine says:

    I thought the topic of this book was very interesting and enjoyed the stories of survival and endurance However, some stories were repetitive and I found myself wanting to skip past them to get to the next theme I appreciated that Geiger remained neutral throughout the book until the last chapter where he explains his thoughts on the phenomenon I would highly recommend this book to those interested in survival stories and the human psyche.


  6. Grant Trevarthen Grant Trevarthen says:

    In having a near death experience in June 2008, it made me question what is life , what comes after I ve also been reading books by Mitch Albom Dan Millman Not being a regular churchgoer but having an inner faith,I wanted to explore my spiritual side for personal reasons , but also to read other peoples spiritual journeys and experiences I happened to see on TV a teenage American boy, who d had a burst to superhuman strength which saved his Uncle from being crushed beneath a car he was In having a near death experience in June 2008, it made me question what is life , what comes after I ve also been reading books by Mitch Albom Dan Millman Not being a regular churchgoer but having an inner faith,I wanted to explore my spiritual side for personal reasons , but also to read other peoples spiritual journeys and experiences I happened to see on TV a teenage American boy, who d had a burst to superhuman strength which saved his Uncle from being crushed beneath a car he was fixing I had heard of this before in other times and places but never gave it much thought until I saw the author John Geiger interviewed about his book, The Third Man Factor which explained the phenomona once and for all In this remarkable book, Geiger relates real life examples of people from all walks of life,most often people like Polar explorers, Mountaineers such as Peter Hilary son of Sir Edmund Hilary, who was the first conqueror of Mt Everest All these people have described being on the edge of extreme mental and physical torment and seemingly encouraged and spurred on by an other worldly experience or vision of a loved one who has passed on It made me reflect on my own experience, being connected to machines and IV s and waiting as my kidneys were shutting down To make a miraculous recovery in a few days, I must have had a guardian angel looking out for me, obviously it wasn t my time


  7. Louis Louis says:

    The Third Man Factor Surviving the Impossible by John Geiger explores the topic of individuals in extreme physical situations that may lead to their death They sense and sometimes see a presence with them This presence guides them out of danger by encouraging them to make the right decisions, and by being a calming force during this time of stress This book is full of amazing tales of people in incredible times of survival in their lives Climbing a mountain, lost at sea, etc There is no The Third Man Factor Surviving the Impossible by John Geiger explores the topic of individuals in extreme physical situations that may lead to their death They sense and sometimes see a presence with them This presence guides them out of danger by encouraging them to make the right decisions, and by being a calming force during this time of stress This book is full of amazing tales of people in incredible times of survival in their lives Climbing a mountain, lost at sea, etc There is no answer to what this presence is, but the author is respectful and just narrates the stories as told to him or as he has found written in journals He does spend time exploring the possibilities with experts Are they angels, the departed, the result of a body and mind breaking down due to starvation and need for water Is it an evolutionary component of our survival Not a sign of weakness, but rather the last struggle to stay alive where our minds kick in to create a friend to come to the aid of the body The author leaves it to the reader to decide for themselves The phenomenon is interesting enough just to share Near the end he does touch on the possibility that with long duration space travel to Mars in our future, will we see this play out in that arena Or what is the possibility if this is something internal that we could initiate during less stressful times that don t threaten our lives, but nevertheless would be of use to us during hard times All interesting thoughts I ve never been in a situation as described in this book, but it s nice to know that if I was, that I might not have to do it alone, for there would be a kindly other to stay with me


  8. Jane Jane says:

    This is an interesting account of how many people on the verge of death, experience a comforting presence of another person Many of these accounts are from people who have pushed the limits of survival either trekking across Antarctica, climbing extreme heights ie K2 , or shipwreck Frequently the experience occurs when there are multiple triggers some combination of extreme fatigue, isolation, monotony, ambient cold heat, thirst or starvation, injury, sleep deprivation, fear for ones lif This is an interesting account of how many people on the verge of death, experience a comforting presence of another person Many of these accounts are from people who have pushed the limits of survival either trekking across Antarctica, climbing extreme heights ie K2 , or shipwreck Frequently the experience occurs when there are multiple triggers some combination of extreme fatigue, isolation, monotony, ambient cold heat, thirst or starvation, injury, sleep deprivation, fear for ones life The effect has been replicated in a lab by sending electrical impulses to a specific part of the brain, suggesting that humans are equipped with an untapped resource The author asks if there wouldn t be a goodly amount of benefit if this survival mechanism could be called upon at will Is it part of the 6th dimension Our unmapped subconscious Hmmm


  9. Justin Hill Justin Hill says:

    The third man factor comes from Shackleton s voyage where he and two others felt the presence of a fourth man but then T.S Eliot changed it to Who is the third who walks always beside you The book is filled with interesting tales of people in extreme circumstances sensing someone comforting, encouraging, and or advising them Guardian angels or a coping mechanism of the brain The author tells you where he falls in the debate but is very respectful of the other side and provides much food The third man factor comes from Shackleton s voyage where he and two others felt the presence of a fourth man but then T.S Eliot changed it to Who is the third who walks always beside you The book is filled with interesting tales of people in extreme circumstances sensing someone comforting, encouraging, and or advising them Guardian angels or a coping mechanism of the brain The author tells you where he falls in the debate but is very respectful of the other side and provides much food for thought


  10. Michael Michael says:

    Geiger presents a collection of tales of survival in extreme environments where the adventurer or survivor has documented the experience of a presence that comforts and guides them in their time of need From Shackleton s famed Antarctic misadventure, through the high altitude travails of summit hungry mountaineers, to survival in the towers of the World Trade centre, we see this phenomenon emerge again and again Geiger s inquiry into the phenomenon is sober and meticulous but also imbued with Geiger presents a collection of tales of survival in extreme environments where the adventurer or survivor has documented the experience of a presence that comforts and guides them in their time of need From Shackleton s famed Antarctic misadventure, through the high altitude travails of summit hungry mountaineers, to survival in the towers of the World Trade centre, we see this phenomenon emerge again and again Geiger s inquiry into the phenomenon is sober and meticulous but also imbued with the correct amount of awe and mystical reverence Geiger reviews neuroscientific theories on the matter and parallels it with the appearance of imaginary companions of childhood and hallucinations of the deceased in the grieving Also included is the intriguing notion that these phenomenon may explain the origins of various forms of religious experience including those of Moses and Jesus no less These visitations often taking place in solitary environments and often at altitude Geiger contrasts the phenomenon with the less helpful deliriums that may also occur in extreme situations, that often lead survivors to their doom Unlike delirious states the third man is almost uniformly a comforting and empowering experience As a psychiatrist, I found Geiger s review of the phenomenon a fascinating treatise on non pathological hallucinations, something we are generally taught precious little about I myself find an interesting parallel with the dissociated companions of abuse survivors, no doubt another form of extreme environment, that Geiger does not include in his survey of the topic Easy and enjoyable to read Makes you want to stay away from mountaineering


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About the Author: John Geiger

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