People Are Just Discovering ‘Third Man Syndrome’ And It’s Freaking Them Out

People are just discovering 'Third Man Syndrome' and it's really freaking them out.
Credit: Alamy

People are just discovering ‘Third Man Syndrome’ and it’s really freaking them out.

No, it’s not some mysterious superhero or a character from a sci-fi movie.

Third Man Syndrome, also known as Third Man Factor, is actually a fascinating phenomenon that occurs in life-or-death situations.

But what exactly is it and what do those who’ve experienced it say about it? Let’s find out.

Listen to man discuss ‘Third Man Syndrome’ after being trapped in an avalanche…

Picture this: you’re trapped in a treacherous situation, or lost with no hope of rescue.

As fear and despair grip you, suddenly, out of nowhere, you feel a presence beside you.

You turn to look, and there, standing by your side, is an unexplainable figure – the ‘Third Man’.

This enigmatic entity offers you comfort, guidance, and a renewed sense of hope, helping you navigate through the seemingly impossible situation.

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Several Reddit users have discussed this ‘presence’, sharing their own personal experiences with the phenomenon.

One says: “Something like this happened to my Dad. He fell off a sea cliff in Alaska onto boulders and shattered his leg and broke his back in a handful of places.

“He lay there alone for hours calling for help with no luck. Then, he said a little girl came down the cliff and kept him company.

“He said she told him stories and sang to him, pet his head, and even put her coat over him to help keep him warm.

But when someone eventually came around the bay and spotted him – there was no little girl.

“It was near a very small remote Alaskan town and no one in that small community had any idea of any little girl who even remotely matched her description.

“We always joked it was his guardian angel.”

Credit: Reddit

Another writes: “I was in a really terrible car accident a few years ago and I was stuck in the car – they had to cut me out.

“During it, I came to and there was a woman who had climbed into the rear seat behind me and was holding my shoulders telling me I was going to be okay and that help was coming.

“I thought she stayed with me until I blacked out and woke up to a fireman cutting the door off and pulling me out.

“The firemen, paramedics, and my mother who had gotten there quickly all said there was no woman at all, that traffic had gone around and no one had stopped because the fire department was only a few blocks down the road.

“I can still hear her voice, I know she was touching me, but no one saw her. It freaks me out still.”

Credit: Reddit

Upon reading about these experiences, many people were creeped out by the apparent phenomenon.

One person commented: “This sh** is so weird. And I don’t normally believe in this kinda stuff.”

Another added: “Woah. This is absolutely terrifying.”

So, who is this mysterious Third Man?

Third Man Syndrome was coined by the explorer Ernest Shackleton, who experienced the phenomenon during his ill-fated Endurance expedition to Antarctica in 1914.

Shackleton and his crew found themselves stranded on the ice for months, battling extreme cold, hunger and isolation.

During the desperate ordeal, Shackleton reported sensing the presence of a ‘Third Man’ with them, supporting and encouraging them through the darkest hours.

This syndrome has since been observed in various extreme scenarios, such as mountaineering expeditions, survival at sea and even in war zones.

American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, says he experienced Third Man Syndrome during his historic space mission.

Armstrong describes hearing a voice offering encouragement and guidance as he took his first steps on the moon’s surface.

So, what is Third Man Syndrome? No one is really certain, and almost no scientific explanations have been put forward.

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Psychologists and neuroscientists believe that it stems from the human brain’s response to extreme stress and isolation.

In these high-stakes situations, the mind seeks solace and comfort, conjuring up an imaginary companion as a coping mechanism.

It’s a survival instinct that helps individuals endure the unbearable, providing them with a sense of companionship and strength.

What makes the Third Man Syndrome even more intriguing is that it isn’t limited to individuals experiencing it individually.

In some cases, multiple people within a group report sensing the presence of the Third Man simultaneously.

So, why does the Third Man Syndrome continue to captivate our imagination?

Perhaps it’s because it taps into our innate desire for companionship and support during challenging times.

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It serves as a rather pleasant reminder that even in the face of adversity, we are not alone.

The Third Man becomes a symbol of hope, guiding us through the most treacherous journeys, both physical and metaphorical.

While the Third Man Syndrome is fascinating, it’s worth noting that it is not limited to extraordinary circumstances.

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It can also manifest in everyday life during periods of intense stress, grief, or loneliness.

So, the next time you find yourself facing a daunting challenge or feeling overwhelmed, remember the story of the Third Man.

Know that you have the strength within you to overcome, and you are never truly alone on the journey.

And who knows, you might just encounter your own Third Man, guiding you towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.