How It Feels to Be Attacked by a Shark

What I’m Reading: 

How It Feels to Be Attacked by a Shark: 
And Other Amazing Life-or Death Situations 
edited by Michelle Hamer

Thirty-seven first-person accounts of being in difficult situations, from weighing 500 pounds to choking on a cheeseburger. I, of course, grabbed it for the shark attack and found several other stories from, shall we say, the Night Side of Nature:

-attacked by a crocodile
-mauled by a Rottweiler
-debilitated by dengue fever.

These are fascinating accounts, full of details you  don’t usually hear about. The shark victim, for instance, mentions trying to slow his heartbeat when he saw the great white approach because he assumed the shark would sense it. The Rottweiler victim frankly mentions having been bitten on her breast. The crocodile victim notices the “beautiful golden-flecked eyes” of her attacker.

The stories are brief; I found myself devouring them like potato chips. And then I took a bite that made me spit: “How It Feels to Be Abducted by Aliens.” Surprisingly, I here encountered yet another bite on the breast; our narrator bites in self-defense as a couple of lady aliens try to take liberties with him, even though, as he says, one of them has hair “like Farrah Fawcett’s when she was in Charlie’s Angels.” Having bitten off the alien’s nipple, the gentleman is later asked “if I checked for it in my bowel movements, but that never crossed my mind.”

It didn’t really seem worth going on after that story. I leafed ahead and found the next story was called “How It Feels to Be an Animal Psychic.” Yeah, I’m quitting here. 


  1. The alien story is just gross XD Breastless grey aliens for me anyday, plz.

  2. The guy also mentions that one of the alien women is "Asian." The mind boggles.

  3. Ooooh I think Im starting to understand what he meant by aliens... XD

  4. A vet tech friend and I shared a good laugh once over how easy it would be to pass ourselves off as "animal psychics"--based upon simply having a good working knowledge of animal behavior. I'm not saying inexplicable stuff doesn't happen--it does--but anyone who's had animals can tell you with reasonable accuracy when an animal would be feeling upset, happy, frustrated etc. (granted, these are human terms but I would say apply well enough to "higher" animals such as canids, elephants, primates and certain birds.)

    1. "There are more things in Heaven and Earth..."

      There's no doubt in my mind that there are people out there able to sense things most of us don´t- I know at least three people with that ability and I have had my own little experiences as well although nowhere near as impressive as theirs. It really isn´t the kind of thing you go around telling everyone. I even feel kinda ridiculous saying it here, but hey, the truth is the truth. So, knowing that, I am not closed to the possibility of "pet psychics" even though I'm sure there must be scores of charlatans out there as well. In my experience, most people with such abilities are everyday folks who don´t make a business out of it and one of the people I mention would probably be much happier if he didn´t have the ability at all.

  5. Oh, I don't doubt that things happen which cannot really be explained other than to say somebody sensed/intuited what an animal was going to do, and there are plenty of cases where logic dictates there was some level of communication at work--the classic is that of dolphins helping a struggling swimmer, but there are others: my favorite is one of an old lady who was rescued, of all things, by a semi-tame herring gull that flew to her sister's home and summoned help when the old woman fell over a small cliff on the beach. But as you correctly state, most of these things are "quiet" and matter-of-fact episodes that the people involved might not even consider remarkable, or which might happen once or a handful of times. I would even credit that some people begin with a basic demeanor and attitude that lends itself to working with a certain category of animals--dogs, horses, parrots, whatever--and with experience, develop a "sixth sense" for their work.

    In general, where I tend to become cynical is when overly complex "messages" are ascribed to an animal, or which would be wildly out of character for its species (e.g.--a wolf "saying" that he wanted to work as a seeing eye dog, if we wanted to pick a really awful example) or an animal that does not have the emotional makeup of a mammal or bird--and which sometimes cannot be said to even "think" as we understand thinking; I always tell people that as much as I love my snakes, if they have one major thought a week other than "MICE!" they're doing pretty good--is credited with a range of emotional complexity which would do justice to the most dramatic of human teenagers.

    1. I'd also add that the reason for the proliferation of kooks and outright fakes is doubtless our inability to accept that animals are animals and have reasons for doing things (or not doing them) which may have little or nothing to do with us. We seem to have trouble with not being the center of their attention, positive or negative. :)


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