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The Third Man Factor

The Third Man Factor: the secret to survival in extreme conditions

John Geiger

The Third Man Factor presents an astonishing idea: that people at the very edge of death, often adventurers or explorers, detect an unseen being beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive.

If only a handful of people had ever experienced the Third Man, it might be dismissed as a delusion. But the amazing thing is this: over the years, the phenomenon 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 tales about 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. In The Third Man Factor John Geiger combines history, science and great story-telling 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’.

About the Author

John Grigsby Geiger was born in Ithaca, New York, and graduated in history from the University of Alberta. The author of five non-fiction books, including the international bestseller Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, his work has been translated into ten languages. He also authored, with Dr. Peter Suedfeld, the scholarly...

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304 pp
Text publication date:
31 May 2010
AU Price:
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Praise for John Geiger
andThe Third Man Factor

‘Fascinating to read…This deeply humane book is more than the sum of its parts: Geiger elegantly demonstrates how these divergent and very personal experiences reveal our profoundly social nature…Geiger is relentless and persuasive in investigating the science behind the experience, and describing the cascade of factors involved.’

The Third Man Factor is a mystery story that takes place in some of the most horrific environments imaginable. Geiger’s book has a lot going for it: The many accounts of Third Man visitations in perilous situations make for edge-of-seat reading, and the citations and explorations of the theory of the sensed presence give the book scientific weight. It even contains a moral.’