Lift of Terror

Trapped in a lift

I’m going to tell you a story so scary you will never be able to look at a lift (or elevator if you Americans) the same way again. Stairs will become your new best friend. What I am going to tell you is a true story of how I suddenly found myself trapped in a lift, between floors in a deserted building.

The dictionary describes a lift as such:
Function: noun
A platform or an enclosure raised and lowered in a vertical shaft to transport people or freight.

But I describe a lift as so:
Function: evil
A platform dangling over the void of darkness or a claustrophobic enclosure of terror raised and lowered in a vertical shaft of doom and death to transport and create fear in people or freight.

It all started one Saturday evening a few years ago. I was working late, during my free time, trying to complete my work in time for a deadline. I was the last person in the building. Around 10pm I finally decided it was time to go home, shut off my computer and got in the lift to go from the fourth floor to the ground floor… if only I had taken the stairs.

As the lift moved down the shaft it suddenly jerked to a stop. At first I thought nothing of it. I thought I had arrived at my destination. Only the doors did not open. I tried hitting a few buttons, nothing happened. It only took a few seconds to realize I was trapped between the first and second floor. It was a Saturday. Monday was a bank holiday. I realized there was a good chance I would not be getting out any time soon and I might have to eat my own arm to survive. I was trapped in a lift.

Trapped in a lift

I don’t mind telling you that for the first couple of minutes I was very scared. Visions of the lift falling down the shaft danced through my mind. Shouting and using the emergency buzzer did no good. There was no one else in the building. No one was coming to my rescue. In my panic I tried to open the doors with my bare hands. They opened easily but what was behind them was another horror like something out of the ‘Twilight Zone.’ An old red brick wall up to waist height and then the outer lift doors. I tried to force open the outer lift doors but they would only open an inch and no more. For a while I let the panic in, pacing up and down the small space of the lift (but being careful not to shake it too much).

Then, as I started to calm down, came the moment that every man who grew up watching 80s TV dreams of… MacGyver time. Also known as ‘The bit at the end of the A-Team where they made something cool’. So I found myself thinking, “What would MacGyver do?” I took stock of my inventory.

1)A laptop with only a little battery power remaining
2) A mobile phone with a dead battery
3) Some paper
4) A technical drawing pencil
5) A can of coke
6) And my back pack itself

I started thinking things like, “Maybe I could somehow wire up my laptop battery to my mobile phone and charge it up. No.. wait… the lift is a dead spot for mobile phones.”

“Maybe I could use the technical drawing pencil to chip away at the mortar around the bricks and tunnel my way out. No… no good either, I might bring the whole building down.”

“I could open up my laptop, find a long wire and tie it to the Coke can. Then I could shake the Coke can really hard, open it and use it as a rudimentary grappling gun to climb up and out of the shaft. Dam… that wont work… there is no hatch in the lift to open.”

“Ah screw it… I’ll use my backpack as a pillow to sleep on till someone comes and rescues me.”

I used the paper and technical drawing pencil to write a note and push it through the small gap in the lift doors in case anyone came along while I tried to sleep. I wrote my SOS on both sides of the paper since I did not know how it would fall when I pushed it through the gap. Luckily I only ended up with spelling errors on one side.

Then insanity started to set in. The creaking and groaning noises the lift was making started to get to me. It sounded like evil mocking laughter telling me no one was coming. The only thing I could do to keep my spirits up and block out the sound was to sing to myself. No songs came to mind so I started making up my own. I came up with great hits like:

1) I’m stuck in a mother %$#@! lift.
2) I hate this lift.
3) Why does this %$#@! have to happen to me.
4) I should have asked that girl out. Now I’m going to die in a lift.

After a while I tried to sleep. In a strange way I had come to accept what was happening to me. There was nothing more to do but wait. Panicking served no purpose and if the lift was going to drop me to my death if would have done so by now. Still I could not sleep. The mocking laughter of the lift kept me awake.

How did I escape my fate you might ask. The simple answer is… I didn’t. I’m still here, using the wireless connection on my lap top to send this blog entry in the hope that someone will see it and come to my rescue.

Ok… maybe not. Here is what really happened. The sounds from the lift and thoughts of what I would have to do if I needed to go to the toilet kept me awake. Around 2am I heard something… not the lift… something else… movement… from down stairs. I jumped up and started shouting. I was found by a very surprised Dutchman in a suit from one of the other companies in our building. I don’t know what he was doing showing up at 2am. I did not care. All I cared about was I was saved.

One thing I feel really bad about was I never remembered his name. It went in one ear and out the other because of all I had been through (If you are reading this I am sorry about that). He phoned the fire brigade and sat and chatted with me while we waited. He even tried to hand me a bottle of Bacardi between the small opening in the lift doors but it would not fit and we did not have any long straws.

Eventually the fireman arrived, opened the lift doors with a crowbar and pulled me out. I could have hugged them… in a manly way of course. I thanked everyone, signed some forms that the firemen gave me, walked out of the building and took in a lungful of the air of freedom. In total I had been trapped for a little over four hours. I never saw the man who found me again. Maybe he was an angel… or a smartly dressed cat burglar, I don’t know. I’ve also never set foot in that lift alone again and never ever late at night. I still swear when ever I hear the lift creek it is saying, “I’ll get you next time Stuart and you’ll never escape.”

Think this story sounds to crazy to be true? Then let me leave you with a scan of the actual note I wrote that fateful night:

Trapped in a lift note

31 responses to “Lift of Terror”

  1. marycub says:

    hee hee

  2. Paul says:

    Great story

  3. Rose says:

    Well good thing youÂ’re not married. Try explaining that story to your wife.You were stuck in there for some time. Glad someone found you. Thanks for the laugh at your expense.

  4. RM says:

    Think of the life expieriences you’re missing out on by NOT travelling in lifts….

    Didn’t work? Didn’t think so. I’ve always wondered what something like that would be like – I guess it’s one of those things you say you want to expierience until you’re actually living it.

  5. hedgehogman says:

    like wathching movie here
    I claps my hand for the nice end
    well I think the helper is an angel. The Mag’s thought also nice and funny.

  6. roxanne says:

    I will never ride a lift(elevator) again without this popping into my head. Thank God for that drunk dude that saved you.

    Love the SOS note. I don’t think you could have had any more exclamation points on there if you tried!!!!!

  7. Invader Stu says:

    Paul – Thanks

    Rose – It would have sound like the worst excuses ever to make to a wife. “No love. I really was stuck in a lift. IÂ’m not seeing another woman.”

    RM – It was an interesting experience and I can look back at it and laugh now. Other people have been trapped in the lift since but only for half an hour and not while they were the only one in the building.

    Oh… and by the way everyone. This is not the last crazy story I have.

  8. marycub says:

    ARGH! I can’t imagine it, i hate lifts… but i’m too lazy to climb my uni building’s 3 flights of stairs :/

  9. marycub says:

    Well they do break down A LOT but thankfully i’m never in them when they do! But i definitely will never taken them after hours just in case what happened to you happens to me :/

  10. Invader_Stu says:

    Hedgehogman – Thank you

    Roxanne – There were more on the otherside

    Marycub – If you are lucky your lift at uni is not pure evil

  11. sharlet says:

    Quote #1: “might have to eat my own arm to survive”

    Quote #2: “How did I escape my fate you might ask. The simple answer isÂ… I didnÂ’t. IÂ’m still here, using the wireless connection on my lap top to send this blog entry in the hope that someone will see it and come to my rescue.”

    Quote #3: “He even tried to hand me a bottle of Bacardi between the small opening in the lift doors but it would not fit and we did not have any long straws.”

    Hilarious!!! XD

    Fantastic post! Now, picture this done comic book style! :D I await thy book, Stuart the Great!

    (Btw, I liked how you subtly implanted the idea that the Dutch guy who saved you might be a ghost. ;D)

  12. Invader_Stu says:

    Marycub – Wise indeed. The lift might just be waiting for the right time to attack.

    Sharlet – Thank you again :) Maybe one day I’ll get around to doing more comic strips but no promises at the moment.

    … and who knows. Maybe the guy who saved me was the ghost of a previous lift victim.

  13. /.Church says:

    Now THAT is a story for the grandkids, also I really like the template.

  14. Aisling says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahahahahaha.

    Sorry, I’m laughing at your trauma. But that was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read!

    I’m glad you escaped from the lift. I, however, prefer them because I have an irrational fear of escalators. I hope your story won’t make me dread elevators because then I will be reduced to jumping off landings to get from floor to floor.

  15. Lisi says:

    Hi Stu, terrible experience and very well written. I’m claustrophobic, I can’t stand even to think about the idea of getting stuck in an elevator. I would just go crazy on the spot and go straight to an institution even if I get rescued.

  16. Invader Stu says:

    Church – ItÂ’s not the only crazy story I have for the Grandchildren

    Aisling – ItÂ’s something I can look back on and laugh about as well. Don’t worry, not all lifts are evil, only most.

    Rose – Are you drunk posting again? How many times do I have to tell you… lol

    Joking aside I’ve only seen one comment from you and its still there. I have not deleted anything.

  17. JaG says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    I am now afraid of lifts.

  18. Invader_Stu says:

    Lisi – I went a little crazy in there as well and I’m not even claustrophobic.

    JaG – I’m sorry. First I tell you about Mr Bobbly and now I’ve made you scared of lifts.

  19. Helen says:

    I’m surprised. Over here, every elevator has a telephone in it, that calls directly to the answering service for the elevator company. Maybe you need to be in the US Stuart! ;)

  20. Martin Bryant says:

    Cool. Our lifts are also evil. One has stopped working completely because it’s too hot in the lift shaft. This is caused by the direct connection to hell not being closed off properly. The maintenance company claim it’s because of the hot weather and the fact that the lifts are in a glass enclosure, but what do they know.

    The second lift is telepathic and can be seen leaving the basement (carpark level) as soon as I enter the lobby area. I can try running to hit the button, but it knows that I’ll never make it. It then proceeds to spend as long as possible on each of the seven floors above me before being forced by the now, bordering on violent occupants, to come down and collect me.

    As the doors open you can hear it chuckle…

  21. Rigmor says:

    Amusingly written. Also loved your note.

  22. Worm says:

    Great story. Think how different it would have been if you were trapped in there with.. a girl! /gasp

    If this had happened to me, my wife would never have believed me.

  23. Colleen from Tix-Comix says:

    Lift mishaps are more common than the big companies would have you to believe. I’m glad you got out before the elimination urges became too strong.

  24. Dave2 says:

    The Dutch don’t require manufacturers to put an emergency phone in their lifts? Obviously this is a government conspiracy to regulate the population. I hope you survive living in the Netherlands a bit longer… there’s no telling what other horrors await you!

  25. MP Moreno says:

    Obviously you haven’t seen “the lift” a Dutch B horror movie from the early 90’s. Otherwise the experience would have been even more scary.

  26. Lisa Jochim says:

    Classic! This is too funny but I’m sure it was terrifying! I’m so enjoying your stories! ~Lisa

  27. Spidermonkey says:

    Reminds of that Simpsons episode where Bart throws a microphone down the town well and remotely acts like someone is stuck in the well.

  28. rochejagu says:

    I remember an incident with a lift in a London hotel. My friend and I were in the lobby and pressed for the lift to take us to the 3rd floor. The lift descended and stopped just above heads. We could hear a group of American tourists shouting that they were trapped inside.
    No problem we shouted back, we will call maintenance. After a while we heard one guy shouting instructions to the rest, “lie on the floor, the air is purer there” also “take your coats off to stop getting overheated” and finally “shall we pray together”. The maintenance man turned up and let them out. They were almost weeping with joy at being released and hugged us all for helping them get out alive, after being trapped for a terrifying 15 minutes!!!

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