Ludger Sylbaris was an Afro-Caribbean man who was born in the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1875. He became popular after being the sole survivor of the Mt. Pelée volcanic eruption in 1902. He gained fame through his time travelling with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He first worked as a laborer in the town of Saint-Pierre before the momentous volcanic eruption. He was notorious in his town for being a troublemaker and he even got convicted multiple times because of his unruly behavior.
Sylbaris started a riot in town after he went out to drink on the night of May 7, 1902. Due to the trouble he caused, the authorities decided to teach him a lesson by detaining him in a cell located underground. The only source of light was a small slit in the door as the cell had no windows at all.
The following day, doomsday for the residents of Saint Pierre came in the form of a volcanic eruption. Mount Pelée, located in the northern end of Martinique, erupted causing a recorded 40,000 fatalities.
Sybaris survived this calamity because of the placement of his cell. To prevent heat from entering his cell, he urinated on his clothes and then used it to cover the slit in the door. His detention cell luckily turned out to be the safest spot in the entire island during the disaster. He was rescued four days after the eruption.
He was granted a pardon and then subsequently got hired by the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He was dubbed the “Living Relic” and “The Man Who Lived through Doomsday.”