Every day there are about 40,000 storms that discharge more than 17 million lightning strikes on Earth, that is, 200 lightning strikes per second.  Although this is a very high number, the probability of being struck by lightning is tiny, 1 in 10 million. Therefore, the story of Roy Sullivan, an American forest ranger who was struck by 7 lightning strikes during his lifetime, is a curious one. The fact that none of these 7 impacts caused his death, made him known worldwide as the “lightning rod man”.

The first lightning strike hit Roy in 1942 when he was in a newly built watchtower that did not have a lightning rod. Despite the severe shock, Roy was not seriously injured.

The next occurred in 1969. While driving, the lightning struck a tree near the road, deflected and entered through the window of Roy’s pickup truck, which lost control of the vehicle and nearly fell off a cliff.

In 1970 the third lightning strike struck Roy while he was in the yard of his own home. It struck a transformer, which deflected into Roy’s shoulder.

A fourth lightning bolt struck the ranger’s head in 1972 while he was working. From that moment on, Roy began to think that perhaps there was something about him that attracted lightning. In fact, just a year later, a fifth lightning bolt struck him in the head. On this occasion, Roy took shelter in his truck from a severe thunderstorm until it subsided and as he exited the vehicle he was struck by lightning.

In 1976 and 1977, two lightning strikes struck Roy again, injuring his ankle, chest and stomach. His wife, in a panic after also being struck by lightning while standing next to Roy, decided to end their marriage.

In 1983, after falling into a deep depression, Roy Sullivan committed suicide and went down in history as the only man to survive the impact of 7 lightning strikes, a title he still holds on the Guinness World Record list.