Bible Didn’t Stop Bullets

Back in February, a bus driver, Rickey Wagoner, claimed that he was shot at by three teenagers while he was standing outside his bus. But he survived because a Bible he was carrying in his shirt pocket miraculously stopped the bullets. (The version of the Bible was a translation by Eugene Peterson titled 'The Message'.)

Police have now conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the bus driver couldn't have been telling the truth. According to the Dayton Daily News:

Police ballistics tests showed that bullets fired from the handgun - a 25-caliber Raven model semiautomatic - at the same distance as had been fired at Wagoner’s book penetrated the book and traveled 15 inches through a gel designed to simulate the effect of bullets on a human body.

People have been telling stories about Bibles stopping bullets for a very long time. David Emery lists an example from the 17th century, which involved one of Oliver Cromwell's soldiers supposedly being saved by a Bible in his pocket.

Stories about "magic bullets" (as Jan Harold Brunvand refers to this type of legend) pop up pretty frequently in the news. I posted back in 2009 about a woman in Brazil who claimed her life was saved by a wad of cash stuffed in her bra.

As I noted then, Mythbusters once put this legend to the test and found that a hardcover book needs to be at least 400 pages long to have any chance of stopping a bullet. Anything less doesn't stand much of a chance.

Law/Police/Crime Urban Legends

Posted on Mon Jul 07, 2014


Note, though, that in earlier times books - including bibles - used to be bound in more solid materials than mere cardboard, for those who could (or wanted to, in the case of a bible) afford it, and often reinforced as well; and guns of those days were not nearly as powerful. A story about a musket ball bouncing off a copper stud, or even getting stuck in the leather cover, is rather more believable than one of a handgun bullet being stopped by a modern hardcover.
Posted by Richard Bos  on  Tue Jul 08, 2014  at  04:39 AM
Did they test ricochets?
Posted by Ironsides  on  Wed Jul 09, 2014  at  07:01 AM
In the early sixties, Woody Allen had a monologue/joke about someone throwing a Bible at him, but thankfully it was deflected by a bullet in his pocket.
Posted by Kevino Gracia  on  Wed Jul 16, 2014  at  08:30 AM
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