The Human Lightning Rod
September 28, 1983 - It was on this day that one of the unluckiest guys in the world finally had enough. Roy Sullivan was a park ranger in Virginia for 35 years, and during his lifetime he was struck by lightning at least 8 different times.
Roy claimed that people avoided him out of fear that they would also be struck. The very first time he got hit with lightning was as a child. He said he was working in a wheat field with his father when a bolt hit the scythe he was holding.
The next strike would get him while he was manning a fire lookout tower. It ripped his pants to shreds and blew a hole in his shoe.
The next one got him while he was driving. The bolt bounced off a tree and came right into the cab of his truck. It singed off his eyelashes, eyebrows and most of his hair.
Another one caught him in his front yard and burned his shoulder.
The fifth time he got hit, he was in the ranger station and the lightning ignited his hair. He ran to the restroom but he couldn't fit his head under the sink faucet so he had to douse the flames with wet paper towels. It was after this particularly painful incident that he really began to think somebody or something had it out for him.
A year later he was making his rounds in the park when he saw a storm cloud moving in. He jumped in his truck and drove in the opposite direction, but it seemed that the cloud chased after him. It nailed him with a lightning bolt as he climbed out of his vehicle. This one also caught his hair on fire. A similar incident ended with the same result a couple of years later.
Roy's last documented strike came when he was fishing in a freshwater pool. A lightning bolt hit him in the head and burned his chest and stomach. As he stumbled back to his truck he surprised a bear that was trying to steal the trout on his fishing line. He claimed he hit the bear with a tree branch and it ran off.
You would think that eventually Roy would succumb to the mysterious forces that nature kept throwing at him, but in the end it was an unrequited love that sent him over the edge. Heartbroken and weary of the world, Roy killed himself with a shotgun blast to the stomach.
The odds of a normal person being hit by lightning are 1 in 3000, but every year approximately 90 people are killed in the United States by these powerful bolts out of the blue. Sadly, many more (like Roy Sullivan) die of broken hearts.