‘3096 Days’: Learn the horrific true crime story that inspired the film
Imagine being in prison for eight years. That’s 3096 days. Days where you are locked away from the world, forced to do what you must in order to survive at the hands of a madman. These 3096 days were the reality of Natascha Kampusch: a never-ending cycle of which she felt no way out. Until, miraculously, she was, in fact, able to escape her captor.
Kampusch’s story is one of survival, one of a young girl forced to do what she must, and one of someone who has overcome a truly horrific experience. She would write about her experience and her story would inspire the 2013 movie, 3096 Days, which is a fictionalized retelling of her captivity. Here’s everything that you need to know about Kampusch’s story.
Natascha Kampusch’s story, unfortunately, is one that will sound like a familiar scenario to many people the world over. A young girl walks alone on a street. A white van pulls up beside her. And then both the van & girl disappear. It’s a horrifying scenario that had parents trying to warn their children about “stranger danger” for years. It’s the same scenario that happened to Natascha Kampusch.
A man named Wolfgang Přiklopil, who was a communications technician, snatched her off the street as Kampusch was headed on a five-minute walk home. For the next 3096 days, he held her captive. Kampusch thought that she would be able to escape her abductor quickly, asking him questions about his shoe size, noting anything identifiable, but, unfortunately, her chance for escape will not come until years later.
3096 days in captivity
Přiklopil brought Kampusch to his home in the town of Strasshof, which is 15 miles north of where he abducted Kampusch in Vienna, Austria. Unfortunately for Kampusch, Přiklopil did not kidnap her without a plan. He had made a tiny, windowless, soundproofed room beneath his garage. He made it so watertight that it took an hour to access it.
Kampusch probably could have been saved sooner if police took witness testimony seriously. Someone reported seeing Přiklopil’s van, but police dismissed it, thinking that Přiklopil didn’t look like a monster. Meanwhile, in captivity, Kampusch did what she could to survive. She regressed psychologically in order to protect herself asking Přiklopil to tuck her in bed and read her stories.
Přiklopil, however, believed himself to be an Egyptian god. He made Kampusch call him “Maestro” and “My Lord.” When Kampusch grew older, he started beating her, denied her food, forced her to clean his home half-naked, and kept her isolated in the pitch black. The details of the sexual component of her abuse, Kampusch has kept to herself. Kampusch attempted suicide multiple times, desperate for an escape.
It took Kampusch years to escape. She always looked for opportunities, even when Přiklopil took her out in public, but she was too afraid to make a move. As her 18th birthday approached, however, she prepared herself to confront her abductor. She said to Přiklopil, “[Y]ou can’t force me to stay with you. I am my own person with my own needs. This situation must come to an end.”
A few weeks after telling Přiklopil this, Kampusch saw her chance to escape from her captor after 3096 days. She escaped from Přiklopil’s home and ran. Přiklopil, rather than risking arrest & jail, killed himself by laying down in front of an oncoming train. Before he committed suicide, he confessed, “I am a kidnapper and a rapist”.
Following her escape, Kampusch has written three books on her experiences. One was made into the movie 3096 Days. Her most recent book discusses online bullying of which she has become a target. Seriously? Hasn’t she been through enough? Either way, she appears to be living her life.