Survival stories: 9 podcasts about overcoming challenges and near-death experiences

round up March 7, 2023

From staring death square in the face to overcoming unexpectedly harrowing situations, the guests on these podcasts have defied the odds and lived to tell the tale. Hear firsthand accounts of being kidnapped and blindfolded, getting held at gunpoint, running for your life, surviving domestic abuse, and other shocking events.

On our list, we’ve included resilient survival stories included in “Against the Odds,” “What Was that Like,” and “This is Actually Happening.” For disasters that took place in nature, tune into “Out Alive from BACKPACKER,” “Tooth & Claw: True Stories of Animal Attacks,” and the “Alaska Bear Attack” season of “Against the Odds.”

Against the Odds

Listen to ‘Against the Odds’

For over 23 seasons, “Against the Odds” has shared resilient stories of survival. Join host/adventurers Mike Corey and Cassie De Pecol as they take on true stories like the soccer team rescued from the cave in Thailand, a woman held hostage by Somali pirates, and beyond. Check out new episodes on Tuesday from Wondery.

What Was That Like podcast art

What Was That Like

Listen to ‘What Was That Like’

Scott Johnson learns firsthand true stories from an array of guests. From plane crash survivors to experiencing a mass shooting, living through a bear attack, a train derailment, and other experiences, hear each guest answer, “What Was That Like?”

Something Was Wrong podcast art

Something Was Wrong

Listen to ‘Something Was Wrong’

Wondery’s “Something Was Wrong” is a storytelling documentary series unpacking abusive relationships, traumatic events, the recovery process, and discoveries that will horrify listeners. Hear accounts from survivors and victims of domestic assault, physical abuse, and emotional abuse.

Out Alive from BACKPACKER

Listen to ‘Out Alive from BACKPACKER’

The wild is a wondrous place, filled with many opportunities for disaster to strike. Avalanches, rivers, and hungry bears – oh my. “Out Alive” shares incredible survival tales where the odds were stacked against humans. From bad luck to packing blunders, and unforeseen circumstances, witnesses, experts, and survivors share their stories. This series is presented by Backpacker Magazine.

This is Actually Happening podcast art

This is Actually Happening

Listen to ‘This is Actually Happening’

Wondery’s “This is Actually Happening” covers a different dicey situation each episode. Guests share how they navigated challenging circumstances and survived situations ranging from cults to abusive households, addictions to getting tortured in an Iranian prison. Check out over 300 episodes running less than an hour on average.

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Tooth & Claw: True Stories of Animal Attacks

Listen to ‘Tooth & Claw: True Stories of Animal Attacks’

For animal interactions gone wrong in the wild, tune into “Tooth & Claw: True Stories of Animal Attacks.” Hosted by wildlife biologist/animal behavior expert Wes Larson, his brother Jeff, and their friend Mike, they explain true animal attacks, and share tips to avoid these sorts of situations. Past episodes covered a black widow bite, a box jellyfish attack, and an angry bison encounter. Be careful out there!

Deadly Misadventures

Listen to ‘Deadly Misadventures’

Even though this series only ran for a handful of episodes in 2020, “Deadly Misadventures” is worth the listen. Hosted by Justin from “Generation Why” and Tyler from “The Minds of Madness – True Crime Stories,” this series explores terrifying, real life stories of people who faced death.

When Dating Hurts

Listen to ‘When Dating Hurts’

When Dating Hurts author Bill Mitchell hosts this podcast by the same name. In 2005, his daughter Kristin died. On the series, Mitchell speaks with abuse survivors, parents of children who lost their children to intimate partner violence, law enforcement, and counselors from domestic violence agencies.

I Survived podcast art

I Survived…

Listen to ‘I Survived…’

“I Survived…” is based on A&E’s TV series and recounts stories of human endurance. Survivors join the podcast to share how they rose above challenges and lived to tell the tale. This podcast is presented by A&E / PodcastOne.

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