Roy Cleveland Sullivan was born on February 7, 1912 in Virginia, United States. He was a park ranger in several national parks in his country and is known for having survived seven lightning strikes between 1942 and 1977. This makes him the person who has been struck by lightning the most times recorded in history, according to the Guinness Book of Records. In this article, we will guide you through each of the 7 events where Roy was struck by lightning.
The 7 lightning strikes that hit Roy Sullivan.
Sullivan’s first encounter with a lightning bolt occurred in April 1942 while working in Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was fleeing from a burning fire lookout tower when he was hit by a direct lightning strike on his right leg. Although he survived, he lost the toenail on his big toe and was left with burn marks on his leg.
Sullivan couldn’t avoid a second encounter with lightning in July 1969 while driving his truck. This time he was rendered unconscious, with his eyebrows burned and his wristwatch destroyed.
The following incidents occurred in 1970 and 1972. In the first one, Sullivan was hit by a lightning bolt while he was in his garden and his left shoulder was scorched. In the second one, a lightning bolt set his hair on fire while he was in a lookout tower. By then, Sullivan had already been nicknamed “The Spark Ranger” or “The Human Lightning Rod.”
In August 1973, Sullivan was struck again while inside his vehicle. On this occasion, both his hair and legs were burned. As if that weren’t enough, Sullivan injured his ankle and burned his hair again in June 1976, when he was struck by lightning while on a hike.
The last lightning strike he received was during a fishing trip in June 1977. On that occasion, Sullivan was left with burns on his chest and stomach. According to records, after that date, the ranger was never struck by lightning again.
And if that wasn’t enough, it wasn’t lightning that was responsible for his death.
Despite the injuries he suffered in each of the encounters, Sullivan survived all of the lightning strikes. It is important to note that being struck by lightning is extremely dangerous, as it can cause death in a matter of seconds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S., the likelihood of being struck by lightning once in an 80-year lifespan is less than one in a million. Meanwhile, the probability of being struck twice by lightning in a lifetime is one in nine million.
After his last lightning strike, Sullivan decided to retire as a ranger and work at a theme park. Some experts believe that the fact that Sullivan was a ranger, and spent a lot of time in the mountains, increased his chances of being struck by lightning. However, there are also those who suggest that his bad luck could be related to some genetic or even psychological factor.
Despite everything, Sullivan’s life was not easy. In addition to his encounters with lightning, the park ranger also had to face other challenges. In 1969, for example, his wife died in a car accident. Even having survived so many lightning strikes, Sullivan took his own life in September 1983, at the age of 71.
Ultimately, the story of Roy Cleveland Sullivan is a testament to the strength of humanity in the face of adversity, and a reminder of the need to respect and understand the power of nature. Whether it is a natural electrical discharge, a storm, or any other natural force, we must take steps to protect ourselves and be prepared for the unexpected. Life can be fragile, but it is also amazing and resilient.
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