at Saturday 15 September 2007
Sullivan was hit by lightning on seven different occasions and survived all of them. In his lifetime he gained "Human Lightning Rod" as a nickname.
Roy suffered assorted losses during these encounters: toenails, eyebrows, hair, and eventually his nerve. After the fourth incident he started to believe some higher power was trying to kill him, according to a 1989 St. Petersburg Times article; the fifth time came after he tried unsuccessfully to outrun a cloud he thought was following him. Lightning didn't end up killing Roy, though — he took his own life at age 71.
Two of his ranger hats are on display at two Guinness World Exhibit Halls in New York City and South Carolina.
The Seven Lightning Strikes
* 1942: Sullivan was hit for the first time when he was in a fire lookout tower. The lightning bolt struck him in a leg and he lost a nail on his big toe.
* 1969: The second bolt hit him in his truck when he was driving on a mountain road. It knocked him unconscious and burned his eyebrows.
* 1970: The third strike burned his left shoulder while in his front yard.
* 1972: The next hit happened in a ranger station. The strike set his hair on fire. After that, he began to carry a pitcher of water with him. He also started to believe that some higher power was trying to kill him, according to a 1989 St. Petersburg Times article.
* August 7, 1973: A lightning bolt hit Sullivan on the head, blasted him out of his car, and again set his hair on fire.
* June 5, 1974: Sullivan was struck by the sixth bolt in a campground, injuring his ankle. It came after he tried unsuccessfully to outrun a cloud he thought was following him.
* June 25, 1977: The seventh and final lightning bolt hit him when he was fishing. Sullivan was hospitalized for burns in his chest and stomach.
Ignoring Bayesian considerations, the chances of being struck seven times in your life are about 1:1.6 x 1025.