John G. Geiger

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John Grigsby Geiger

John Grigsby Geiger is an American-born, Canadian author. He is best known for his book The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible,[1] which popularized the concept of the "Third Man", an incorporeal being that aids people under extreme duress. The book is the basis for National Geographic Channel's Explorer: The Angel Effect, in which Geiger appears.[2] A book of the same name was published in 2013.

His four other books of non-fiction include the international bestseller Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition. He was the editorial board editor for The Globe and Mail, a senior fellow at Massey College, and is currently the chief executive officer (former president)[3] of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.[4] Geiger was born in Ithaca, New York, grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, and studied history at the University of Alberta.[5]


John Geiger is currently the CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

In September 2014, John Geiger was a participant in the Victoria Strait Expedition that searched for Sir John Franklin's ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. The HMS Erebus was successfully located, though Geiger himself was not among the search crew who found it.[6]


In 1987, Bloomsbury Publishing released Frozen In Time: The Fate of The Franklin Expedition, written by Owen Beattie and John Geiger, with a revised edition in 2004 that featured an introduction by Margaret Atwood. The book has been published in seven countries and became a bestseller in the United Kingdom, and subsequently in Canada and Germany. Geiger spent three field seasons in the Arctic as historical investigator for the Knight Archeological Project, a scientific investigation of the 1719 James Knight Expedition disaster, research published as Dead Silence in 1993. Geiger's book Chapel of Extreme Experience: A Short History of Stroboscopic Light and the Dream Machine (2003) was made into an award-winning film FLicKeR, by director Nik Sheehan. It contains a foreword by the writer and socialite Leila Hadley. Nothing Is True Everything Is Permitted: The Life of Brion Gysin was published in 2005.

In 2008, Geiger authored, with Dr. Peter Suedfeld, the scholarly study, ‘The Sensed Presence as a Coping Resource in Extreme Environments.’ In 2009, The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible[7] was published in 13 countries. The foreword was written by the writer Dr. Vincent Lam. The book is about the Third Man factor where people at the very edge of death, often adventurers or explorers, experience a sense of an incorporeal being—a "third man"—beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive.[8][9][10] The experience, which resembles a guardian angel, has been reported by scores of people, including well-known figures like Sir Ernest Shackleton, Joshua Slocum, Frank Smythe, Charles Lindbergh, Reinhold Messner, Ann Bancroft, and Stephanie Schwabe. Ron DiFrancesco and another survivor experienced the Third Man factor in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.[11]


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