Lightning strike

The man who survived 8 lightning strikes in his lifetime!

A lightning strike on somebody is widely considered a lethal punishment from some higher power or a sign of ill fate but Roy Cleveland Sullivan was struck by lightning 8 times in his 71 years lifespan & survived! For this reason, he gained the nickname “Human Lightning Conductor”.

Roy Cleveland Sullivan – A Human Lightning Conductor

About 240,000 incidents of lightning strikes happen globally each year. Studies say that there is only 1 in 70,000 chance of being struck by a lightning strike in a lifespan of say 70 years but Roy Cleveland Sullivan, born in 1912 in Greene County Virginia was struck by lightning 8 times in his 71 years lifespan. He got named in ”The Guinness Book of World Records” as a person struck by lightning more recorded times than any other human being.

Roy Cleveland’s interactions with Lightning strikes

He worked as a park ranger at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, he loved the outdoors and lightning kept finding him. The first time he was hit was when he was a child. The next time he was severely hit when he was 30, this time bolt left a hole in his shoe, filled with blood along with severe burns. He was once hit through the window while driving his truck. After being struck several times he started believing that some kind of higher power was out there to kill him.

Roy Cleveland Sullivan
Roy Cleveland Sullivan

Even though the power was not successful, co-workers and casual acquaintances began to avoid him, especially in bad weather. Even once his wife was also struck by lightning but she remained unharmed.

Types of Lightning strikes

Lightning rarely hits people directly – but such strikes are almost always fatal. People are most commonly struck by what are called “ground currents”. The electrical energy, after hitting a large object (such as a tree) on earth, spreads laterally on the ground for some distance, and people in this area receive electrical shocks. Many times lightning strikes water-filled cultivation fields and people standing therein are struck. However, in most of Roy Cleveland’s lightning cases, the strike was direct than how he escaped so many times? How could he survive a direct hit of multi-million-volt current?

How did Roy Cleveland escape so many times?

Mary Ann Cooper, an international medical authority on lightning injuries told abcnews that Lightning isn’t like other types of electric currents and its physics are unique. She told that lightning hits your body in a different way from when you, say, stick your finger in an electrical socket. Most of the current from a lightning strike actually passes over your skin in a phenomenon called “flashover,” said Cooper.

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She explained “Say your body is like a bucket sitting out on the patio somewhere, when lightning hits, it’s like pointing a fire hose at the bucket. Only a small amount of water actually gets in, and the majority of water splashes out and around the bucket”. The heat produced when it passes over the body can cause burns, but the strike lasts for so little time – just a few microseconds – that it rarely causes serious burns.

However, still, a point remains in mind that if so many people die of DIRECT HIT, then how come he escaped every time? and what inside him was attracting the lightning again & again?

Roy Cleveland Sullivan’s death cause

As said earlier, in most cultures lightning strike is considered a punishment from some higher power but what actually that power wanted to do with him? Was that power not capable of managing a perfect strike or the purpose was just to hurt & humiliate him again & again? or was his luck even more powerful than the striking force? However, ultimately he decided to end his tragic life by committing suicide using a gunshot in 1983 at the age of 71.

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