When our backs are up against the wall and our lives are at risk, many of us will do just about anything to survive. This was the case for one Swedish man who got himself trapped in a pretty horrific place.
Once he realized how dire his situation was, he couldn’t figure a way out of it. What happened next almost took his life and his sanity. But, the worst part was, no one even realized he was missing…
Some would describe 44-year-old Peter Skyllberg as a “loner.” Few people knew him, but a local gas station owner seemed to know his whereabouts. It appeared he was homeless as he had been living in the forest and sleeping in his car.
At A Low Point
Andreas Ostensson, the owner of the gas station saw him regularly come up to fill up his tank and buy hot dogs, bread, cigarettes, and coffee. It was obvious he had very little money and had fallen on hard times…
Friendly Yet Withdrawn
Peter was living in Sweden and had previously worked as a carpenter before his money troubles. Ostensson said that when Peter came into the store, he never spoke to other customers. He was kind of odd but always very nice to Ostensson, who said he’d seen him laugh on numerous occasions.
A Strange Life
Ostensson got the impression that Peter had driven through all of Sweden and stopped nearby and told himself, ‘this is a good place, I will stay here.’ Still, Ostensson saw it as odd that he would live in the forest and he wondered what he was doing there all day…
Was He Really Gone?
But, Peter was good looking, was always shaven and had good hygiene, so the forest must have been treating him well. That was, until, last May when a friend of Peter’s claimed that he had disappeared.
Cut All Ties
Peter had not been in contact with family members for over 20 years, so many failed to notice his absence. Yet, Siv Skyllberg, Peter’s aunt, said that he had broken off relations with his family two decades ago due to a scandal that she refused to repeat…
He Was Always A Loner
As Siv tried to give insight to police of Peter’s whereabouts, she had very little help for them. She knew that Peter was a loner even before his disappearance and when she used to babysit for him more than thirty years ago, he rarely played with his five siblings.
“Trapped In A Crazy Place”
Still, the police searched for Peter, who became notorious for living in his car, so he could have been anywhere. Looking for a homeless person is not exactly easy. Yet, after about two months, police found Peter’s car “trapped in a crazy place.”
He was miles off from the forest he usually resided in and it was -22ºF (-30ºC). Police thought there was no way he could have survived there. The two men opened the door of Peter’s car to find his emaciated body inside, but he was luckily still breathing. The frost-coated interior of the vehicle was littered with old paper cups, used tissues and empty cigarette packets.
Surviving On Cigarettes And Beer?
There was an empty bottle of beer, some rolling tobacco, and a homemade pipe. There were also camping pans, a sleeping bag, rolls of kitchen towel, and a pack of extra large napkins. It seemed apparent that Peter wanted to die out there in the cold, but Peter told the police otherwise…
Trapped For Two Months
He said he had been trapped in his car since December 19, and it was noticeable because he was very frail. But, no one understood how any human being could have survived in a snowed-in car for two months.
“A Natural Igloo”
Doctors believe that over the period that Peter had been in the car, the air trapped around the vehicle had formed a natural igloo. And if Peter was wearing very warm clothes and had a sleeping bag, that made it more like an igloo. But how could he have survived such a period of starvation?
He Could Have Survived Without Food
One well-renowned Swedish doctor says that anyone can tolerate starvation for one month if they have water to drink. And if you have body fat, you will survive even longer, although Peter was in very bad shape when he was found.
Many Are Skeptical
Many people, however, are skeptical of Peter’s story saying there’s no way he could have survived in his car for that long. It was discovered that Peter had gotten into a lot of debt and then he just “disappeared.” Magnus Jernberg, Peter’s old neighbor said that Peter had a girlfriend who lived with him for a while but then she ran out…
Difficult Financial Times
Peter had previously worked as a handyman for a local landlord in the iron-manufacturing town and the landlord gave him one of his flats where he lived. But his money troubles began after he tried to buy a block of apartments. A local court order then ordered his properties be seized after he was unable to pay debts of $1.6 million.
Escaping His Problems
With a failed relationship and a mountain of debt, it’s no wonder Peter wanted to escape his problems, but he nearly killed himself in the process. Still, no one can understand how Peter was only one mile down from a road with civilization, yet he was unable to get out of his car to seek help…
Willingly Trapped Himself?
At the spot where his car was, you could hear frequent revving from the snowmobiles which buzz up and down the tracks. So there were people driving by. One of the policemen who rescued Peter said that he could have escaped if he wanted to.
Something Appeared Strange
“It wasn’t snowed in. Not the right passenger door…If you look at the back door, on the left side, it was very compacted snow, but on the right side, it was very loose snow,” said Andreas Gidlund. The door appeared to have been opened every now and then…
He Ate Snow To Survive
Although the snow was well over three feet thick, Peter was able to able to open the door to eat snow to survive. It’s possible he became too weak to even get himself out of the car or try and seek help. When he was found, he reportedly told his rescuers, “I wanted to hibernate,” and for a moment, they debated whether to leave him, as he requested.
We’re Still Left With Questions
However, the horrific smell in the car convinced them that if they allowed him to stay, he would have died. He was wearing some clothes when he was rescued, including tracksuit bottoms, t-shirts and a couple of not-very-warm jumpers. He also had on a pair of ski pants and a wool hat. Peter recovered in Umea’s Norrlands hospital and he refused to speak to the press so we’ll never really know what really happened to him.