There is misfortune and then “there have been seven thunderstorms in the sky at one time” misfortune, and U.S. Park Ranger Roy Sullivan fits this northern section. In his 71 years on Earth from 1912 to 1983, Sullivan survived seven lightning strikes and was probably the eighth that he was unable to verify as a child. It’s a testament to how bizarre his life was that he fought 22 bears with a thought.
For the first time, Sullivan was struck by lightning at a fire look-out tower, where no electric rods had been installed. The tower was hit about seven times and resulted in “fires all over the place”.
He ran outside which was usually a good move (the fire was hot) but soon he was hit by the most painful thunderbolt after that, which burned a strip on his leg and spread a hole in his shoe, from which he bled. “I walked a few feet away from the tower and then blamed myself,” he told reporters after nearly 30 years.
Sullivan saw lightning in two trees on the side of the road, “probably while driving down a mountain road.”
Typically, a car will work with metal as a Faraday cage – a better conductor than you, even if you are judging Sullivan – conducts current around the interior of the car and makes it flow to the ground. However, Sullivan then put his windows down and the charge went through one window and out of the other, making only a short path through the various organs and properties of Sullivan’s body. In this strike, his eyebrows and hair are fried and his wrist watch is destroyed, as the lightning knocks him unconscious and throws him into the ditch on the street.
At an event that seemed suspicious, Buzz knew where Roy lived and wanted to let him know he wasn’t safe there, Sullivan was injured while gardening somewhat, on a relatively clear day. He was hit in the shoulder and was said to be airborne. It was becoming routine to start hitting with lightning. This time in the loft mountain of Shenandoah National Park where he was a guard, in a guardhouse, he fell into the building after being electrocuted.
He heard sizzling, which should have immediately grabbed him at this moment as part of his body. Luckily, it was just her hair. She pulled herself out with a wet paper towel and went to the hospital. He told the press that God seemed determined to give him toast.