Super Colossal

Forty One Hours Trapped in an Elevator

Tuesday, 22nd April 2008

The New Yorker recently ran a completely fascinating article on the world of elevators – “Up and Then Down” – by Nick Paumgarten. It details the mechanics of elevators, the likely hood of something going wrong, a history of Otis, all of which is interspersed with the story of Nicholas White.

White was a hapless employee of McGraw Hill who was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours; the whole ordeal of which was captured on surveillance cameras, a time-lapse version of which follows:

Watching the video is a little like watching a bug in a jar, a body quickly attempting to come to grips with its enclosure, looking for areas of permeability, hopelessly opening the doors periodically to check to see if the scenery outside has changed from a blank wall to an open floor, measuring the dimensions of the space by lying across its length and width, resignation and desperation.