Her Body Was Frozen SOLID… Then Something Unexplainable Happened.
For nearly 25 years, people have debated the legitimacy of this amazing story, and for some reason, it's been making the rounds again.
Here's what we know to be true: On December 20, 1980, Jean Hilliard's car skidded into a ditch on a wintry, isolated road in Minnesota. Since this was before the times of OnStar and iPhones, Hilliard had a decision to make: Stay in the car and hope that someone found her, or walk a few miles up the road to her friend's house.
Hilliard chose the latter, but unfortunately, her body's strength against the cold wasn't as strong as her willpower. Just as she reached her friend's driveway, she collapsed. Hilliard spent six terrible hours in the elements, and when her friend found her, she was literally frozen solid.
At the hospital, doctors feared she would die, but they had to try to revive her. They put warm packs around her body, and slowly but surely, Hilliard began to melt.
Hours later, she began to make noises. Later, her hands and arms began to move, and by the third day, she could move her legs. Hilliard made such a full recovery, in fact, that she was able to leave the hospital after six days in intensive care with no long-term damage.
Since that fateful night, Hilliard's story has been controversial. Many believed that there was no way she could have survived. The controversy even prompted the story to be featured on a popular television show, Unsolved Mysteries. Check out this fan-edited footage from the show below.
Today, we have a little more information about the situation. According to most doctors, many patients can recover from severe hypothermia, even if they spend time without a heartbeat. In fact, many doctors share the common saying: No one is dead until they're warm and dead. What does this mean, exactly? Basically, doctors are not able to assess if a patient is alive or dead unless their body temperature is above freezing.
The situation is more common than you might think - but Hilliard's case is still an extreme one, especially because she walked away with not even a hint of frostbite.
The Internet has loved talking about Hilliard's story over the years, and it certainly is fascinating. There has been no reported follow up on this incredibly lucky woman, but wherever she is, we hope she's out there enjoying life and staying warm.