Roy Sullivan was a park ranger who was struck by lightning seven times.
He was born in Virginia on February 7th, 1912.
The first time he jumped out of a burning lookout tower and was struck a few feet away after he escaped the flames. It hit his right leg and toe.
The second time he was in his truck. A vehicle would normally act as a Faraday cage and keep the person inside safe, but the lightning hit a tree and bounced into the open window. It burned off his eyebrows and eyelashes.
The third time he was in his front yard with his fourth wife. It hit his shoulder.
The fourth time he was inside a ranger station. The lightning set his hair on fire. He became paranoid after that. He became afraid of supernatural forces and death.
The fifth time he tried to outrun the cloud. He didn’t succeed. It hit his head.
The sixth time he tried to outrun the cloud again. He said it seemed to be following him. His hair was set on fire again.
The seventh time he was fishing. It hit his head, traveled down his body, and burned his stomach and chest. Immediately afterward, he had to fight a grizzly bear.
Roy recalled that once when he was a child, he was harvesting wheat in a field and lightning struck his scythe. He couldn’t prove that one, so he never claimed it.
To a reporter, he said:
“I do not think that God was behind this. If he was, the first bolt would have been enough.”
The probability of being struck by lightning seven times would usually be 1 in 102 to the twenty-eighth power or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
His odds were a little better (worse?) because Virginia has more thunderstorms than most places, and as a park ranger, he was outside a lot.
People started avoiding him. They were afraid that they would get struck by lightning too. This made him sad.
When Roy Sullivan died he was seventy-one. He shot himself in the head.
His headstone reads:
“We loved you, but God loved you more.”