If you've ever tried to imagine what you would do in kidnapping situation, you probably pictured yourself as one of those cool, calm, smart victims. And though that's usually much harder than it sounds, this list tells the stories of victims who did just that and actually outsmarted their captors. These are victims who talked their way out of danger - like Benedict Cumberbatch, who survived a kidnapping attempt in South Africa. And then there are other stories of quick thinking, like the little girl who faked an asthma attack to escape her would-be abductor.
All of these cases are impressive feats of bravery and will have you taking notes just in case you ever find yourself in the same scenario. Read on for the amazing survival stories of people who outwitted their captors.
It was every parent's worst nightmare, but 12-year-old Rebecca Savarese was able to think on her toes and outsmart her would-be abductor.
While walking alone to school in 1994, a man came up to Rebecca and pressed a gun into her side. He commanded her to walk to his car. Rebecca did as she was told, but as they got closer, she pretended to lose her breath. Her attacker was startled, giving her enough time to run away. He was left holding her backpack, and then jumped in his car and took off.
Eyewitness accounts eventually led to his capture, and it turned out that he was responsible for the deaths of at least three other children.
This is truly a tale of staying calm in an insanely stressful situation.
In 2002, Michelina Lewandowska's fiance attacked her with a Taser, bound and gagged her, and then buried her alive. After waking up in a cardboard box underground, Michelina was able to use her engagement ring to cut herself free.
Her fiance apparently committed the crime because he wanted complete control over their three-year-old son and had "grown tired of her." Michelina says she was able to survive by thinking about getting back to her child.
Years before he became the crime-solving super-detective Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch had to outsmart criminals in real life.
In 2005, he was filming the miniseries The Ends of the Earth in South Africa and was traveling back to his hotel after a scuba-diving lesson. The car ended up getting a flat tire and when he, actress Denise Black, and a friend pulled over to fix it, they were ambushed by car jackers.
The men frisked them, tied them up, and forced them into the car. After driving for awhile, they stopped and tried to force Cumberbatch into the trunk. Thinking quickly, he told them that he had a medical condition that would cause him to have a seizure if he were forced into the small space. "I will be a dead Englishman in your car. Not good," he said.
The ploy worked and the car jackers released Cumberbatch and his friends. He said the ordeal inspired him to "live a life less ordinary."
Even in the middle of a horrifying nightmare, Jennifer Holiday was able to keep her wits about her.
While driving with her 18-year-old cousin Anna in east Texas, the women were suddenly ambushed by gunfire. Jennifer had been badly wounded in the arm, and the shooter approached the car to inflict more damage. He shot Anna in the head, killing her, and then dragged Jennifer into the woods to assault and torture her.
With no help in sight, Jennifer knew her only chance at survival was to ask to go to her attacker's house. He was clearly on drugs, and if she could maintain control over him, she knew she'd be able to get away.
After arriving at the house, she convinced him that he had saved her from a car wreck. She was then able to call 911 right in front of him and, while keeping her voice completely calm, made the dispatcher realize she was in the presence of her attacker. Jennifer survived the ordeal, and the man was captured.