For When You Wake Up and Everyone You Know Is Dead

posted in: Uncategorized | 17

February 1st, 2012


The following is a firsthand account of true events that happened in 1986 in a small town near a lake. I have taken the liberty to edit the account slightly, for clarity, though full citations are listed below.


“I was the first person to come out of the area. I was with my daughter who came to spend holidays with me. It was getting late and we were sitting at the table reading, working on her schoolwork. Then she went to bed and fell asleep. I also went to bed without noticing any sign of anything. We didn’t have any sign of anything.

It was around midnight when I started feeling some heat. It felt as if rain was threatening to fall, so I got up from bed, and closed the windows. Then I went back to the house and went back to sleep. I was in a very deep sleep. I felt as if it were becoming hot. The start of the rainy season always comes with a hot first rain. Yes, I felt that feeling that very night.

Then I fell back to sleep. I heard some sound, something loud, like an airplane. It came and bounced with a boom. It was as if I was in a dream. I heard that noise as if I were dreaming…

All of a sudden my skin became very hot and I could smell something dry. I could not open my mouth because the terrible smell would enter my mouth. I could not speak. I just closed my mouth and remained silent. I soon became unconscious.

All of a sudden, I heard my daughter snoring in a terrible, very abnormal way. I forced myself to stand up from the bed, though I was already weak. I tried to see what was happening with my daughter and perhaps figure out what was smelling in the house. Just when I stood up, I fell. When walking over to my daughter’s bed, in the middle of the floor, I collapsed and fell again. I remained there on the floor since I couldn’t stand up. I was there until the morning. I don’t know whether I was sleeping, I don’t really know. I was there until a neighbor of mine came and knocked at my door. The door was locked, so he hit it loudly, with such force that he woke me. I heard it as if I was dreaming. I was surprised to see that my clothes were red. It looked as though they had some stains like honey. My arms had some wounds about the size of a quarter. I didn’t really know how I got these wounds, or where they came from. My face, too, had some wounds, these marks. They seemed to bleed slowly. I finally managed to stand, and eventually, to open the door. I was unable to speak. I wanted to speak, but my breath would not come out. I stood in silence for some time. My friend was talking, asking me a question, but my voice would not come out. I was breathing abnormally…

My daughter was already dead. I didn’t know that she was dead. I thought she was still sleeping. It was almost noon. I drank some milk and water, and fell back to sleep. I went to my daughter’s bed, thinking that she was still sleeping. I slept until the early evening. I slept with my daughter, not knowing that she was already dead. When I recovered enough, I stood up to clear my senses. I still felt as if I was dreaming. I never knew what was happening until I went outside. Everywhere was quiet, I managed to go over to my many of my neighbors’ houses.

They were all dead. I tried my neighbors’ doors. They were bolted from the inside. I shouted through the window, but I saw them all lying motionless on the floor. I went to my neighbors house, the one who came and knocked at my door. I went to him and I saw him resting the same way as I had. He was just lying on the bed. He told me that he could not stand up. I knew I had to go back to my house.


When I arrived home, I saw that my daughter was already dead. It was starting to get dark. I felt that I had a little strength so I knew I had to leave. The rest of my family was in a neighboring town, so I decided to go to them. I thought that this thing must have happened all over and most my family may already be dead. I thought that if I am dying, I will die on the way. I walked to my garage. When I just started my motorcycle, I heard the sound of the engine and it was quite normal.

I tied a shirt around my face, to use as a mask in case of any smell. I went to my neighbors house and carried him on my shoulders to my motorcycle. I rode thirty-six miles to the nearest town to find help. My hands felt frozen when I reached the hospital. My body was completely weak…

When I rode through my town, I didn’t see any sign of any living thing; the only other person was that friend that I carried.”


In August of 1981, Lake Nyos suddenly emitted a large cloud of CO2, which suffocated 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby towns and villages almost immediately. There were only six survivors in Nyos.



So what would you do if you woke up and everyone you knew was dead?

17 Responses

  1. whoa. better live Our fullest life Now.

  2. Wow. Living in Florida I’ve gotten used to the annual threat of hurricanes. We at least have an idea when they are coming. I couldn’t imagine barely awaking after nearly suffocating.

    More living is an imperative!

    • Charlie, since I’m currently in Florida for the next who knows how long, I have become fascinated by the thought of hurricanes and mass destruction. There is probably something wrong with me, but yes, living passionately, right now, is imperative!

  3. Yikes!! I can’t even imagine. When I was first reading this I thought it was some zombie type situation but then to find out its real life… Heavy! To be honest I would probably relocate to a foreign country and try and start my life over. It would not be easy.

    • Meg, I would have preferred a real life zombie tale, but this will have to do for now. 🙂

  4. Fascinating story…I’m surprised that I never heard of this disaster before. Thank you for sharing it. The response to such a situation is unimaginable. I would only know what I’d do after going through it.

    • Charlie, you’re likely quite right. I would be hard to actually know what youd do in this situation, but knowing these things actually happen force one to consider the importance of their life pursuits.

  5. Wow! This is a great piece. Thanks.

  6. what a horrifying story. I have no idea what i would do if this happened to me. I can’t believe this really happened or that it could really happen. This story is etched in my memory now. I hope i can sleep tonight.

    • Annie, don’t fall asleep! That’s the point of the story! You just may not wake up! 🙂

  7. Great read! I just wish I hadn’t done so before bed.

  8. Wow.. what a tale.

    If I woke up and everyone I knew was dead… I don’t know… I love my (grown up) kids so much and just became a grandma. I think it might kill me… the grief.

    If not… I would move away… to my spiritual home on an island in the BVI. I don’t know how I’d do it financially but I’d find a way. I’d leave and never come back.

    • Sandra, I appreciate your honest answer. This piece makes me think of how little we know about life, but that we may as well do everything we can right now. Because once its all no longer there, life will go on. We will survive. But it will be like you said. It’ll all be different and a hell of a lot lonelier.

  9. […] For When You Wake Up and Everyone You Know Is Dead – Can you imagine this? […]

  10. Well, I would have done the exact same thing in your circumstances.

    Carbon Dioxide are Hydrogen Sulfide bad by themselves, killers but the two of them together would be a horrible way to go.

    Glad you got out of there but sorry for your child, neighbors and friends that all passed during that horrible evening.

    The first thing I was thinking was that you could have had was low level radiation sickness and burns but then reading further down the page, I saw where you were when this occurred. Then I realized it was hydrogen sulfide causing a lot of your physical wounds.

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