Living With Lightning Strikes

Roy C. Sullivan must be the unluckiest man alive. He’s been hit seven times by lightning.  On the other hand, he’s one of the luckiest men.  He lived.

There are hundreds of people struck by lightning every year, and the effects of being struck are never the same.

From a lightning strike support group, the members include:

Cheryl, hit while phoning her husband to warn him about a storm: petit mal seizures. Mike, hit while golfing: completely paralyzed but slowly recovering. Rachel, hit once indoors, once outdoors: no lasting effects. Geneva, hit once indoors, once outdoors: headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems, fatigue, sensitivity to barometric pressure. Angela, hit three times: severe neuropathy, chronic pain, digestive problems, aphasia, apraxia, frontal lobe damage, short-term memory loss and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Not everyone survives.

There are places in the world where lightning is more common than others.  The most frequently lightning struck part of the world is near Catatumbo River in Venezuela, where there are 40,000 strikes every night, for most of the year.

In the United States, Florida has the greatest number of lightning strikes every year.  It is for this reason that, when I developed the character Unnur Guillory for The Branded Rose Prophecy, I made her a local of Lakeland in Florida, where lightning is experienced the most.

Unnur is a lightning strike survivor, who wears a brace on her leg because it has been permanently weakened by the lightning passing through it and into the ground.  She has a starburst scar on her cheek and suffers severe migraines.

She can also tell the future.  She knows her gift was a result of the lightning strike that stirred her brains for her.  As a result of the events in The Branded Rose Prophecy, her abilities are enhanced and magnified.

It’s not a coincidence that her surname, Guillory, is derived from a Germanic name, composed of the elements wil, meaning “will”, and ric, meaning “powerful”.

Have you ever seen lightning strike something or someone?  What was the result?


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Tracy Cooper-Posey
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4 thoughts on “Living With Lightning Strikes”

  1. Your info about your story was, as always, very interesting. I read about that place in Venezuela and always thought it was kind of scary. My Dad would purposely go running in the storms when he lived in FL; he’s lucky he never got struck. When my brother and I were kids we sit by the window and watch and count between the lightening strikes. I’ve never been struck or seen anyone get struck. But 3 times now I’ve seen transformer boxes get hit; one started a fire . That was scary as it was right next to our backyard neighbors house and it was very loud, we called the fire department and ran to there house to tell them to get out. The other two just loudly blew up and sent out Sparks

    1. I’ve heard of transformer boxes being hit before. They’re metal, and up high, so I guess they’re a natural point for lightning to strike. I didn’t grow up in a stormy area, so lightning at all was rare and I’ve never seen lightning strike anything, but there’s a little kid in me that would love to, one day!


  2. Gail Radford-Ross

    Dad was hit twice by lightning and our house was hit once. Don’t know about Dad’s first time, but witnessed his second. It was pouring rain, had been for some time, and chicks on our farm in Manitoba were running around in ever-deepening water. Dad went out to try and save them, was standing in water, and was hit. It knocked him unconscious. Eventually he came to and crawled into the house. Mom didn’t dare go out to try and rescue him because if she got hit, too, it would leave three small children alone and unprotected. Effects? Unknown because Dad had been gut-shot on August 29, 1944, while fighting in France in World War II and he suffered multiple problems from it until the day he died.

    In the early 1950s, not long after Dad had been hit the second time, our house was hit. The strike travelled along the roof antenna to our large upright battery radio in the living room and blew it to smithereens. The pieces went into our china cabinet and some of the backs of the chairs. Fortunately Dad had just taken us all into a bedroom and closed the door, otherwise the results could have been much more devastating. To this day, I am terrified of lightening.

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