Step Right Up


May 7th, 1902: 
A 27-year-old named Ludger Sylbaris gets tight and starts a barfight in St. Pierre, Martinique. Police arrive and lock Sylbaris in an underground solitary confinement cell.

May 8th, 1902: 
Sylbaris wakes up sweating. It's a late summer morning, but the sky is black. Sylbaris' cell is stuffy, perhaps because, outside, the top of nearby volcano Mount Pelee has blown off in a mushroom cloud. Superheated gas curls down into the city. Screams fade in and out. Sylbaris urinates on his clothes to keep them from spontaneously combusting. 


May 12, 1902: 
Rescuers hear Sylbaris crying through the rubble and dig him out. He is the only survivor in a city of 30,000. After being pardoned for his crimes, Sylbaris goes on to gain celebrity for Barnum and Bailey's Circus as "the man who lived through Doomsday". 

His act: posing in a replica of the underground jail cell.