“It was just a Friday night at a rock show, then they started shooting.”

“It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre.”

A Facebook post has gone viral overnight, written by a woman who survived the mass shooting at Paris’s Bataclan theatre on Friday.

Isobel Bowdery was one one of the 1500 people that attended US rock group Eagles of Death Metal’s concert on Friday night, and she made it out alive. By playing dead.

“You never think it will happen to you. It was just a Friday night at a rock show. The atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naively believed it was all part of the show,” Bowdery wrote.

Her post, which includes a picture of her blood stained top, describes in harrowing detail the horrors of what went on in that theatre, she says it wasn’t ‘just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre’.

what happened inside the bataclan theatre
Isobel’s top. Image: Facebook.

“Dozens of people were shot right infront 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.”

Bowdery says she played dead for over an hour to escape almost certain death.


“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. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t.”

what happened inside the bataclan theatre
The Bataclan theatre before the shooting.

Bowdery spent the hour she played dead reflecting on her life.

“As I laid down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you, over and over again. Reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those I love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep believing in the good in people. To not let those men win.”

The post which was written by Bowdery just several hours ago, has had nearly 400,000 likes and over 150,000 shares. It’s not surprising to see why, her first person account is a spine-chilling retell of what it was like to be so close to death.

Bowdery explained how the gunmen picked off people one by one, “the way they meticulously aimed at shot people around the standing area I was in the centre of without any consideration for human life … It didn’t feel real. I expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare.”

what happened inside the bataclan theatre
Frightened scenes plagued Paris on Friday night.

Bowdery used her story of survival  to shed light on the unsung heroes that proves humanity still exists on such a dark night.

“To the man who reassured me and put his life on line to try and cover my brain whilst i whimpered.

To the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world.

To the police who succeded in rescuing hundreds of people.

To the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy I loved was dead.

To the injured man who i had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself.

To the woman who opened her doors to the survivors.

To the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so I wouldn’t have to wear this blood stained top.

To all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better.”

what happened inside the bataclan theatre

Bowdery finished her post with a tribute to the 80 people who lost their lives.

“Most of this is to the 80 people who were murdered inside that venue, who weren’t as lucky, who didn’t get to wake up today and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through. I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain.”

Support is available for Australians with friends and family in Paris:

The Australian Embassy phone number in Paris is +33140593300 for those trying to contact friends and family in the region .


Within Australia: 1300 555 135

Outside Australia: +61 2 6261 3305

SMS: +61 421 269 080

Website: Getting help overseas http://smartraveller.gov.au/help/


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