The Third Man Factor tells the revealing story behind an extraordinary idea: that people at the very edge of death, often adventurers or explorers, experience a benevolent presence beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive. If only a handful of people had ever experienced the Third Man, it might be dismissed as an unusual delusion shared by a few overstressed minds. But the amazing thing is this: over the years, the experience has occurred again and again, to mountaineers, divers, polar explorers, prisoners of war, solo sailors, aviators, astronauts and 9/11 survivors. All have escaped traumatic events only to tell strikingly similar stories of having experienced the close presence of a helper or guardian. The mysterious force has been explained as everything from hallucination to divine intervention. Recent neurological research suggests something else. In The Third Man Factor John Geiger combines history, scientific analysis and great adventure stories to explain this secret to survival, a Third Man who - in the words of legendary Italian climber Reinhold Messner - 'leads you out of the impossible.'