Personal stories showing how intuition, signs, awareness and divination are used to give direction and aid survival in daily life, relationships and crises.

May 12, 2008

Elisabeth Fritzl’s Amazing Survival

The story of Elizabeth Fritzl’s survival after spending 24 years entombed in a cellar enduring abominable treatment from her father is one that will go down in history and remain strong in the minds of everyone who breathed fresh air, felt the sun on their face and the wind in their hair during those years that she was denied daylight. It’s a story that surpasses all of the other horror stories happening around the globe and, as Dagna points out, it particularly strikes a raw nerve in claustrophobics and women because it addresses primal fears.

“I am claustrophobic – I use an elevator because there’s no other way to get into my workplace, and I suffer cold sweats every time I do – but I have always avoided flying and other claustrophobic situations,” confesses Dagna. “The thought of being entombed underground is too horrible to contemplate; I would literally die of fright. I think this is true of most people, though, not just claustrophobics, and I cannot imagine what would have been worse for Elisabeth – being subjected to her father’s vile attentions or her situation.”

“Many people, women especially, claim that they would have committed suicide under these circumstances,” says Dagna, “but the human spirit, the intuitive survival mechanism is so strong that we do not really know what we are capable of enduring until we are tested.”

“I think I can speak for all women concerning the fear of rape – yet being raped by your father and impregnated by him is so unspeakable that we don’t want to address our feelings about it,” sighs Dagna. “We are advised in a rape situation not to resist, and although that is apparently what Elisabeth did I am not so sure I could be passive. I think my natural instinct would be to fight back, to murder the rapist even – but then, I have never been in that situation and I don’t know.”

“It must have been terrible for her in the early years – being totally alone in the cellar – and not much better when the children came along because then she had to worry on their behalf, too, about emergencies such as an electricity black-out, a flood, a fire or the demise of her father – or herself.”

“Did her father, Josef Fritzl, really cover all bases, or was he prepared in some situations to leave his cellar family to their fate?”

“As an electrical engineer, it’s likely that Fritzl had an emergency generator set up to operate in the event of a black-out, but what about a flood or a fire? How far is Amstetten from a river? Could the town be flooded in a storm? Had an upstairs bathroom flooded, water seeping into the cellar would have drowned the cellar family, too. Did Fritzl have an emergency pump set up to operate in this event, too?”

“The worst type of emergency would have been a fire,” says Dagna. “Imagine poor Elisabeth having to prepare meals, on an electric or gas stove, terrified that something may catch fire one day, sucking up the limited oxygen in the dungeon. Did Fritzl have an emergency sprinkler system for this emergency, or was the whole place fireproofed?”

“He maintains that the door was designed to open automatically if something happened to him – but since he was regularly away for months at a time enjoying holidays abroad one wonders what time period he set for the door to open and whether the cellar family had enough food to cover that time period? And what if something had happened to Elisabeth while he was away?”

“If the door opened automatically after, say, three months, then if Elisabeth had died and the children were too young to fend for themselves or know how to escape then they, too, would perish. Imagine being in a cellar with your dead mother’s body rotting away, polluting the sparse air.”

“All of these fears would have gone through her mind,” says Dagna, “and yet she persevered.”

“It’s really amazing that none of the cellar children – apart from the unfortunate twin who died shortly after birth – had been seriously ill before Kerstin’s recent malaise, but maybe they had and somehow pulled through with Elisabeth’s ministrations.”

“That Fritzl left Elisabeth to give birth on her own, time and time again – and disposed of the dead baby in the incinerator - shows that he had no contingency plan for illness or death in his cellar family, and that if Elisabeth herself had become seriously ill he was probably likely to let her – and the children – die. After all, they were already entombed and nobody would miss them.”

“In his statement to police Fritzl said that he intended to free the cellar family shortly, and had a letter written by Elisabeth as proof of his intentions – that they’d arrive at his doorstep one day, saying they had left the sect and wanted to come home – but does this ring true or was it a bluff to keep Elisabeth quiet, complacent and hopeful in her dungeon?”

“Having succeeded in fooling everyone about the circumstances of the three cellar children raised upstairs by Rosemarie, there is no way he could get away with Elisabeth and the remaining three cellar children suddenly appearing in the ghostly and ghastly state they were in.”

“Even if they were sworn to keep their terrible secret – and there’s no way a 5 year old boy can keep his mouth shut, he was bound to blurt out ‘daddy’ one day – the authorities would have been alerted by their terrible mental and physical condition to ask questions. Where was the sect? Who was the father? Who brought you here to the house? Why is the eldest boy stooped? Why can’t you bear sunlight? Were you kept as prisoners in a cellar with a low ceiling? And so on, and so on until the truth came out.”

“Unless Joseph Fritzl had his own bolt-hole planned, in Thailand or South America, and arranged their release at the same time as his departure from Austria for good, odds are that he had no intention of freeing them and their death would occur at the same time as his, only they’d die without a funeral and without mourners for nobody knew they existed.”

“That Fritzl would agree to Elisabeth’s demand to take the sick daughter Kerstin to hospital is amazing and her control of the situation was a masterstroke of calculation. She dutifully carried Kerstin to Fritzl’s car and allowed him to lock her back in the cellar after breathing her first taste of fresh air and seeing the outside world for 24 years.”

“That she didn’t scream to alert attention or run for her life – as much as her legs were capable of carrying her – attests to what a remarkable woman and mother she is (her two other children were still in the dungeon and their lives depended upon her coming back.)”

“When the hospital saw Kerstin’s ghostly and ghastly state Fritzl explained that the mother was in a sect and had dumped her, like she had three former children, but that didn’t tally with the careful, loving note Elisabeth had written for the doctors about the treatment she had previously given Kerstin.”

“Elisabeth was probably banking upon the doctors being smart enough to realize that something was amiss, and that is exactly what happened. An appeal was made on television for the mother to come forward, and again Elisabeth outsmarted her father by convincing him that she should at least make an appearance and then return to the dungeon.”

“Trusting Elisabeth and believing with incredible hubris that the doctors would be satisfied after that, Josef was thwarted when the doctors got the truth out of the equally ghostly and ghastly Elisabeth and he was held and forced to lead authorities to the dungeon to release the other two children.”

“It turns out now that Kerstin isn’t as dangerously ill as it first appeared she was – and perhaps pretending that the girl was dying was part of Elisabeth’s ploy, too.”

“To risk 24 years of subterfuge by agreeing to take Kerstin to hospital defies belief,” says Dagna. “He was either totally convinced that he could get away with it – with Elisabeth’s compliance no doubt on the threat of murdering the remaining children – or he was too old to care any more.”

“Whether Elisabeth finally outsmarted him or he was too old to care any more is something we may never know, but we do know that Elisabeth had hope of freedom and this hope raised her spirit sufficiently to survive.”

“When you consider the incredible mental and physical disabilities that Elisabeth must now bear as a result of prolonged deprivation you look at your own disabilities and feel downright grateful,” adds Dagna. “As a tribute to her, in recognition of her amazing bravery, I am planning to take my first trip on a plane soon and when I do I will take a deep breath and think of her.”

See also:

Secrets of Elisabeth Fritzl’s Age

Secrets of Josef Fritzl's Age

Elisabeth Fritzl’s Neighbors

locked up living fritzl dolls

Rosemarie Fritzl Wasn’t a Fat Housefrau

Austria’s Aryan Heritage

Elisabeth Fritzl Locked Up For Smoking

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