Third Man Phenomenon

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n11pilot
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Third Man Phenomenon

Post by n11pilot » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:59 pm

Two questions:
1. Does anyone have any interest in exploring the so called "Third man phenomenon"?

2. Is this even the correct thread for this since it isn't exactly paranormal or occult but is indeed damn strange.

This phenomenon occurs to people in times of dire extreme such as lost at sea, mountain climbing accident, survival and escape situations, Arctic and Antarctic exploration, etc. It deals with the strange, but strangely accepted at the time, appearance of an extra person in the survival party. Not always a "Third" man but just an extra person.

For example a classic case of this occurred during WWI when a group of British POWs decided to escape from Turkish captivity. In this case three British soldiers of varying ranks engineered an escape from a loosely guarded Turkish POW camp in the desert. The Turks relying mainly on the desert itself as a hindrance to escape. The three soldiers converted small canvas musette bags into makeshift canteens further waterproofed by some means. Some suggest that boot polish or hair pomade was used, others some form of grease. The trio thus equipped set out into the desert at night in the general direction of allied lines. at the end of the second day they were tired and dehydrated from trying to conserve their water. On the third day there seemed to be an extra man in their party. No one made mention of communicating with the extra person but it was later learned that each of the three soldiers knew of the presence of the extra person. They trudged on for two more days and hours before they were rescued by a British led patrol the extra person disappeared. Even though they had never discussed the extra person among themselves all three admitted knowing of the person during official debriefing. British officials credited the extra man to the effects of dehydration induced delusions or delusions induced by drinking water that had been contaminated by canvas dye or waterproofing material. The case was not investigated further.

This phenomenon also sometimes called "The Third Man Factor" has been experienced by individuals such as Ernest Shackelton, explorer Peter Hillary, Charles Lindbergh, and is even mentioned in a poem by TS Elliot.

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AeroDillo MkII
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Re: Third Man Phenomenon

Post by AeroDillo MkII » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:12 am

I've heard of this now and again, but seldom in any detail. Count me in.

As an aside, it's fascinating how many such phenomena are so widespread - if not universal, than common enough to nearly be so. Almost makes you wonder what's hiding down there in the coding of the brain and what purpose it served in times lost to human memory.

Either that or it's aliens. :lol:

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n11pilot
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Re: Third Man Phenomenon

Post by n11pilot » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:57 pm

AeroDillo MkII wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:12 am
I've heard of this now and again, but seldom in any detail. Count me in.

As an aside, it's fascinating how many such phenomena are so widespread - if not universal, than common enough to nearly be so. Almost makes you wonder what's hiding down there in the coding of the brain and what purpose it served in times lost to human memory.

Either that or it's aliens. :lol:
Ha! "Aliens" is one possibility but it was suggested by that guy with the truly strange haircut who also thinks that aliens invented hot dogs so I'm inclined to put that in file "B".

I think that you are right in saying that it is a universal phenomenon and it has been experienced by people with a broad spectrum of backgrounds. The only thing in common is that everyone who has experienced it has been in a dire situation. I have taken quite a few survival classes both in the military and in civilian life and in all of those classes only three instructors have mentioned it and all three from personal experience. Strangely all three refused to discuss it further beyond saying something to the effect,"That person was as real as all of you sitting here."

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Cousi
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Re: Third Man Phenomenon

Post by Cousi » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:29 pm

I had not heard of this until now. I wonder if this is similar to the "dark stranger" that people mention seeing after a tragedy? My more religious leanings incline me to think that this is some sort of guardian spirit; call it an angel or demon or whatever else you might choose. The fact that in the story of the British escapees, I find it interesting that while all three were aware of it, each elected to not mention it. That leads me to believe they each felt it was a delusion of some sort, which is unusual in that in most cases where one is experiencing such a delusion they lack the clarity of mind to understand that it is indeed a delusion. A very curious phenomenon, to say the least.

I shall have to look into it more. Thanks for mentioning it, pilot!

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n11pilot
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Re: Third Man Phenomenon

Post by n11pilot » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:22 pm

Cousi wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:29 pm
I had not heard of this until now. I wonder if this is similar to the "dark stranger" that people mention seeing after a tragedy? My more religious leanings incline me to think that this is some sort of guardian spirit; call it an angel or demon or whatever else you might choose. The fact that in the story of the British escapees, I find it interesting that while all three were aware of it, each elected to not mention it. That leads me to believe they each felt it was a delusion of some sort, which is unusual in that in most cases where one is experiencing such a delusion they lack the clarity of mind to understand that it is indeed a delusion. A very curious phenomenon, to say the least.

I shall have to look into it more. Thanks for mentioning it, pilot!
I don't know about the dark stranger. I think that in every instance of the appearance of the dark stranger the feeling was much more malevolent than that given off by the "Third man". As far as guardian angel or spirit many people who have experienced the phenomenon reported a spiritual or heavenly feeling.
In the case of the British escapees most of the information I can find came from E&E manuals or books on escapes and the phenomenon was only briefly touched upon. Some of the stories can't even agree on the exact number of flesh and blood escapees.

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