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Roy Sullivan was a forest ranger in Virginia who is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most lightning-struck (stricken?) person ever recorded in history. Over a 35-year span, he survived seven separate lightning strikes. (The last one didn't kill him; he took his own life, supposedly over a love gone wrong.)

  • 1942: The first lightning strike shot through Roy's leg and blew his big toenail off.

  • 1969: 27 years after the first incident, Roy's second strike burned off his eyebrows and knocked him unconscious.

  • 1970: Another strike burned his left shoulder. By this point, people were already starting to call Roy the "Human Lightning Rod."

  • 1972: Roy's hair was set on fire; he had to dump a bucket of water over his head. This convinced him to keep a container of water in his truck at all times, just in case.

  • 1973: Another thunderbolt ripped through his hat and hit him on the head, set his hair on fire again (the water came in handy), threw him out of his truck and knocked his left shoe off.

  • 1976: A sixth strike left him with an injured ankle.

  • 1977: The last one got him while he was fishing, and sent him to the hospital with chest and stomach burns.

Roy was born on February 7, 1912, and his astrological chart reportedly does show a prominence of "lightning planets." I could find no other biographical information on the man, except the fact that he never did understand what was up with all the lightning.

The average person's chances of being struck by lightning vary due to location and personal habits. Estimated chances of being struck (once) are estimated at one in 600,000.

The Guinness World Exhibit Halls have two of Roy's lightning-singed ranger hats on display.


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