First, a couple blog notes. I haven't been posting as much because my free time has been filled with writing my new book. More info and the cover are in the forums. Also, lots of people have been linking to me recently. I really appreciate it!
For those who don't know, waterboarding is a controversial subject these days. It's an torture method which is used to interrogate suspects and designed to simulate drowning. Supposedly it's so bad that the average marine can only handle it for 15 seconds.
It's done by having the detainee lie on his back with his head lower than his body. A rag is then stretched across his face and water is poured on it. If you're anything like me, you're thinking "What? How bad could that be? 15 seconds? These marines are sisses."
If you're exactly like me, then you decided to test it. A couple friends came over and we set up a piece of plywood in a declined position. To add to the effect we added some ropes to tie down the victim's hands. I was dying to go first.
I lay down and got my hands tied. The rag was pulled across my face and cold water was poured from a bucket. It was a lot worse than I thought.
What happens is water seeps through the cloth and runs down the nostrils straight into the sinuses. Nothing you can do will stop this. The effect of having ones sinuses fill with water triggers that "Holy god I'm drowning" reaction that causes panic. After 15 seconds or so I tapped out and they removed the rag. I pushed the water out of my sinuses and waited for my turn again.
My two friends went and lasted similar times. It was harder than we thought - unpleasant but not painful. It was getting cold, but I tried again. This time I tried methods to breathe that didn't work, but I did notice something. When my sinuses completely filled with water, the drowning sensation ceased to get worse. I can hold my breath for 3 minutes on a good day, so all I'd have to do was put up with the weird water in the sinus feeling.
My last try lasted over 20 seconds and was cut short by the bucket running out of water. Just knowing that it was going to be ok once my sinuses filled made it much easier. I wanted to try again but I was full of water and it was getting cold.
If I ever get taken hostage my plan is to flail after 10 seconds so that they think I hate it (even though I don't), and hopefully they will let me out before it really becomes a problem. Just practicing a few times really made it a bearable torture. Here are some videos :
In the first one it's easier to see what's going on. In the second one I last a bit longer.
Oh, and in case you're trying this at home - for three days when I sneezed it smelled like tap water, and I got a wicked fever a couple nights after.