‘Pools of Blood Filled the Floor:’ Paris Attack Survivor Reveals How She Played Dead For Hours

November 15, 2015 Updated: November 15, 2015

A woman who survived on of the Paris terror attacks says she played dead for over an hour while people were being shot around her.

“Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. in an instant. Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless.. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry–not giving those men the fear they longed to see,” said Isobel Bowdery in a Facebook post.

“I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I–to have a fun friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circuling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Bowdery was at the Bataclan Theatre, where an American band was performing on November 13 when the gunmen stormed in and started firing.


you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and…

Posted by Isobel Bowdery on Saturday, November 14, 2015

Noting the surreal nature of what happened, she said she and some others thought at first it was “part of the show.”

But Bowdery also said it’s an opportunity to shed light on the heroes, such as the man who reassured her and covered her head while she whimpered, and the couple “whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world.”

Other survivors took measures, such as two Scottish women who hid in a cellar at the theater for three hours. 

Mariesha Payne, 33, and Christine Tudhope were in Paris to celebrate Tudhope’s 35th birthday and were standing near the stage when the shooting began.

(Isobel Bowdery/Facebook)
(Isobel Bowdery/Facebook)


Tudhope told Sky News she thought the gunfire was fire crackers at first, but she then saw bullets.

“A second round went off, most people ducked, but I just said run, just get out of here. In the confusion, if we had gone left we would have instantly been out on to the street and probably the first people out of the building, but, just confused, we ran right and ended up being in a room that we couldn’t get out of. There were no exits but we found a door to the cellar, which we just ran into but then realised we were trapped and there was no way out of there,” she said.

“A few seconds later the door burst open and we just thought, they’re coming we are going to die. It was two other concertgoers. We managed to barricade ourselves in, turn the lights out and we were then trapped there for the next three hours just having to listen to what was happening.”

A woman lays flowers outside the Bataclan theater in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. rench President Francois Hollande vowed to attack the Islamic State group without mercy as the jihadist group claimed responsibility Saturday for orchestrating the deadliest attacks on France since World War II. Poster reads Long Live France. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
A woman lays flowers outside the Bataclan theater in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)


John Leader, 46, was another survivor from the Eagles of Death Metal concert. The Australian native, who has lived in Paris for a decade and a half, told CNN that he told his son to “stay down” when he first heard gunshots.

“I felt something go past my ear, then I realised something was going toward the stage. At that point I think everyone understood. Everybody threw themselves on the ground,” he said.

“The shooter was standing at the back of the hall and targeting people at the front. He was taking aim. He was not spraying. It was clinical. He was aiming: aim, fire, aim, fire, aim, fire.”

(Alejo Schapire/Twitter)
(Alejo Schapire/Twitter)


Then he spotted a chance to escape.

“To my right I saw people running and saw that someone had opened an exit door. I grabbed Oscar and said ‘Let’s go!’. Then we saw a lake of blood and bodies lying everywhere.”


Benjamin Cazenoves, who was also inside but managed to survive, described the scene via Facebook as “carnage,” confirming there were “bodies everywhere.”

Over 100 people died in the attacks, while hundreds of others were wounded across the city. As many as 80 died at Bataclan.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber