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A Mysterious Case of a Woman, Jean Hilliard, who Recovered Completely After Freezing Solid at -22ºF for 6 hours

Jean Hilliard

We’ve all heard of miracles. Some might make sense, others may not. But what about the ones that have no explanations attached to them? One such miracle happened in 1980 when a girl named Jean Hilliard was frozen to death but came back to life miraculously. Doctors seem to have no explanation whatsoever of how she made it, but the story is legit.

Lengby, Minnesota: It was December 20, 1980, when Jean Hilliard’s (19) automobile skidded on an icy road and lurched into a ditch. She was headed to her home after being at a friend’s when this happened.

car skidded on icy road
Note: images are for representation purpose only. Unsolved Mysteries

The temperature was 22 degrees Fahrenheit below zero when this happened. She was driving to her home after meeting a friend when suddenly her car skidded on the ice and fell down into a ditch. She was however unhurt at that time.

She got out of the car and started walking on a gravel road to reach someone she knew who lived nearby.

Jean Hilliard started walking
Note: images are for representation purpose only. Unsolved Mysteries

Instead of staying in the car, since she thought she might freeze to death, she thought of walking to a friend’s home who she knew lived nearby. However, it was 22 degrees Fahrenheit below zero and her friend’s house was quite a distance. She walked against the wind and her legs were freezing terribly.


Jean collapsed at the foot of her friend’s driveway after walking two miles in the snow.

Jean collapsed
Note: images are for representation purpose only. Unsolved Mysteries

As Jean later remembers, she saw her friend’s driveway and suddenly collapsed due to immense tiredness, and she couldn’t move. It was around 1 a.m. when she couldn’t gather more strength to walk and fell down.

She lay there for six hours in a state of unconsciousness as her body slowly froze as if turning her into an ice sculpture.

frozen body of Jean
Note: images are for representation purpose only. Unsolved Mysteries

After collapsing, she was lying there for about six hours and her body had turned to ice before her friend (Wally Nelson) walked out at seven in the morning and saw the frozen Jean lying there. He thought she was dead since her face looked pale like a ghost.

She was taken to the Fosston Municipal Hospital at around 8 a.m. where doctors had no idea about how to save her. Her body was unresponsive to any form of medical care. 

Jean at Municipal Hospital
Note: images are for representation purpose only. Unsolved Mysteries

As the doctors say, she was breathing really slow and getting just eight heartbeats per minute. There was even no space to insert the thermometer to take the temperature. She was frozen rock solid. None of her joints were moving. They couldn’t move any of her body parts, and could not even pierce her skin for a needle. Her eyes were unresponsive to light. Everything was dead frozen and there seemed to be no hope of life for her. They just placed warm and moist packs around her body to raise the body temperature.


It was around 1  p.m. when Jean started making noises and requested water. Miraculously, she came back to life after her mother held her hand and prayed.

Jean came back to life
Note: images are for representation purpose only. Unsolved Mysteries

In the night, she could just slightly move her hands and arms. Also, by the third day, her legs were able to move too. Interestingly, no amputations were required and the prediction of the doctors of Jean losing both her legs was proved wrong. The doctors were pretty amazed at this and said it was the first time they ever saw such as thing. She didn’t lose her legs or anything. She spent six days in the ICU before being shifted to a normal room.

After 49 days, Jean was discharged from the hospital and she was as good as new!

Jean Hilliard
Image source: Unsolved Mysteries

This is really strange, but after 49 days she left the hospital and there were no major sufferings or losses. She was just perfect. However, the mystery is still unsolved as it is impossible to understand how could she make it after being frozen to such an extent.

Well, we guess nature is surely wondrous!


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