Scott Gottschalk describes near-death experiences in book

KIMBALL, Minn. - Scott Gottschalk says he's a safe person.

Astrid Gottschalk took the photo of her husband, Scott, featured on the cover on his book, "Nine Lives to Eternity." The photo was taken at the cemetery with their gravestone. Their joke is he has one foot on the grave, not one foot in the grave.

KIMBALL, Minn. - Scott Gottschalk says he's a safe person.

His guardian angels may quarrel with that.

In his 55 years, Gottschalk said there's 27 times where he probably should have died.

There was the incident where, at nine months, he drank ant poison. His parents lived in Rochester at the time and rushed him to Mayo Clinic to have his stomach pumped.

He was an adrenaline junkie growing up, he could never have a fastest enough horse, motorcycle or car. He lived on the edge.


"It hasn't killed me yet to this day," Gottschalk said.

He broke his first bone when he was playing capture the flag at church camp.

"Things started breaking pretty fast after that," he said.

He's had 26 different fractured bones, averaging out to about one every other year. He's been rendered unconscious five different times. He's had a handful of surgeries and hundreds of x-rays.

Somehow he survived. He doesn't know if it's an angel or the helping hand of God, but he knows someone is watching over him.

"I passionately believe that the Lord has a determined assignment for me, and until that role on this earth is finished, my life will continually be spared," Gottschalk writes in his latest book, Nine Lives to Eternity. "The underlying theme in my book provides my own personal witness as to how the Lord can impact and influence lives by miraculous means."

The book's 28 chapters chronicle Gottschalk's adventures or misadventures over the years.

"I don't know if I'm just unlucky or I've been in the wrong place at the right time," he said.


The chapters include mishaps while farming, leading wagon trains, motorcycling and while serving as an international dairy consultant in Third World nations.

In chapter 16, titled Buffalo Lunacy, Gottschalk describes a run-in with a buffalo at Custer State Park in South Dakota.

It's common knowledge that people on horseback need to give the buffalos who roam the park a wide berth, especially the older bulls kicked out of the herd, Gottschalk said.

Typical of his risk taking behavior, he rode his athletic mule up to a buffalo that was off in the distance expecting to chase the buffalo. Instead, the buffalo whirled and charged. His mule turned so fast he nearly fell out of the saddle.

Just at the moment the buffalo was going to gore his mule, the cowboy hat he was wearing flipped off his head and landed on the buffalo's face. The buffalo stopped, shook his head, stomped on the hat and urinated on it.

He was irritated at the time because it was a $50 hat.

Another time, when he was 29 and his now grown children were six months and eighteen months, there was what he calls the Runaway Carriage Adversity.

He and his wife, Astrid, were the wagon masters for a Camp Courage Wagon Train. The wagon train left from the Olmsted County fairgrounds and headed west. It was somewhere around Belle Plaine that several TV stations had gathered. One of the camera men spooked the lead team of mules, Gottschalk said. He had a hitch of four big draft mules running as fast as they could across a soybean field headed for a steep riverbank cliff. His wife and their children were in the wagon.


There's a picture of his wife's arm trying to pass the baby back to a horseback rider just before they go over the cliff.

Gottschalk was able to stop the mules just in time. He wrapped all the reins around his arms and pulled back with everything he had in his adrenaline-fueled body, breaking out the front of the wagon where his feet were.

"Trust me, you can't make this up," Gottschalk said.

A serious motorcycle accident a little more than a year ago and a little encouragement from his younger son convinced him it was time to write his second book. His first, The Folk and Their Fauna, was published when he was in college.

His children don't know about many of the incidents that happened to him while he was growing up near Byron and before they were born. Similarly, his parents don't know about all of the incidents he's experienced since leaving home and moving near Kimball.

"I've always enjoyed writing," Gottschalk said. "I write because I enjoy writing, it's not a job to me."

As he began putting his thoughts on paper, he became kind of nervous. He's kind of superstitious, he admitted. He's always been kidded that he's got nine lives like a cat. What if the motorcycle accident was his eighth chance?

Once Gottschalk went past nine and then past 18, he figured he needn't be superstitious anymore.


He chose to self-publish Nine Lives to Eternity to release it sooner. The two or three traditional publishing houses that would be interested in the title are two to three years out, he said.

Conversely, he was able to release Nine Lives to Eternity in six weeks using self publisher Xlibris.

The book was officially released as an e-book, paperpack and hardback on Dec. 13. More than 500 copies have sold worldwide.

What To Read Next
Get Local