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Julie d’Aubigny was a 17th-century French noble opera singer and very good swordswoman who beat men in duels. She once got challenged to duels by three separate men for kissing a woman at a ball. She also once rescued her lesbian lover from a convent by burning it down. She was pardoned by the king.
32Daniel James Jr.
Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general, hand an Old West-style standoff with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who complied and pulled back after James demanded him to move his hand away from his gun.
In 1976, a Japanese ultranationalist porn actor named Mitsuyasu Maeno died after flying a plane into the house of a yakuza don to punish him for accepting millions of dollars in bribes from Lockheed and betraying the samurai code.
34Ross A. McGinnis
In 2006, a soldier named Ross A. McGinnis was manning the gunner's hatch of his unit's Humvee when an insurgent threw a grenade inside. Instead of leaping to safety, McGinnis shouted a warning, jumped inside and threw himself on the grenade. He was killed instantly, saving his team. He was 19.
In 2006, a man having a seizure on New York subway tracks was rescued by a stranger named Wesley Autrey who was taking his two daughters home before work. He jumped down onto the man and compressed him down by laying on him as five cars passed over him.
Sean Connery once fought and won against six gang members after they tried to mug him. The gang gave him great respect after the defeat and Connery became known as a “hard man.”
An identity thief named Ferdinand Demara once stole the identity of a surgeon and while aboard a Navy destroyer was tasked with performing several life-saving surgeries. He proceeded to memorize a medical textbook just beforehand and all his patients survived.
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Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old female pitcher, struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in a single exhibition game, and subsequently had her contract voided.
An attempt to kill Philadelphia mobster John Veasey failed when the two .22 caliber bullets to his head left him unfazed, and he asked his would-be assassin, “What the f**k are you doing, Frank?” He wrestled the gun and a knife away from his attackers and managed to run and survived.
In 2007, a dog named Toby saved his owner from choking. After an apple became lodged in the woman’s throat and a self-applied Heimlich maneuver failed, the dog jumped up and pushed her to the ground, repeatedly jumping on her chest until the apple was freed.