Is That A Fact!?
Aubrey Beardsley’s “On This Day” Fun Facts and Trivia
On this day, in 1976, Roy Cleveland Sullivan was struck by lightning and survived to be struck again the next year.
Mr Sullivan started working as a US Park Ranger in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia in 1936. The first few years passed without too much excitement, but then in 1942 he started being struck by lightning. He went on to be struck a total of seven times between 1942 and 1977, survived them all, and earned a place in the Guinness World Records as well as the nickname, Human Lightning Rod. But the stories of each strike are strange.
The first strike followed him into a tower, knocked off his big toenail, and put a hole in his shoe. The second strike went through the window of his truck, burnt off his eyebrows, and knocked him unconscious. And then the truck kept driving until it stopped on its own seconds before plummeting off a cliff edge. The third strike jumped from a power line to his front yard. The fourth strike set his hair on fire and he had to rush to the rest rooms for a wet towel to put it out. It was so bad that he started carrying a can of water everywhere in case of a strike. The fifth strike started as a storm cloud, which Sullivan drove away from at great speed until it had disappeared. But then the lightning caught up, struck him, knocked him out of his truck, knocked off his shoe, and set his hair alight (which he put out with his can of water). The sixth strike was another cloud which Sullivan said was following him, caught up with him, and he ended up with an injured ankle. The seventh strike occurred while he was fishing, setting his hair on fire and burning him right down to his stomach. A bear then tried to steal the trout from his fishing line and, despite his injuries, Sullivan struck the bear with a tree branch. Sullivan also had a history of repeated confrontations with bears and said this was the 22nd time he had chased away a bear with a branch. He then went to hospital to recover from his chest and stomach burns.
Mr Sullivan also bore an uncanny resemblance to Gene Hackman. Although Gene Hackman was never a park ranger, before he was famous he was apparently a dog catcher at an animal shelter in San Bernardino, California. Gene Hackman has been in a lot of movies, including a lot with dogs, but one of his most notable roles was in Crimson Tide starring alongside Bear the Jack Russell Terrier. Gene Hackman also starred in the brilliant The Conversation (1974), a mystery thriller about surveillance and paranoid delusions.
And it’s the Festival of Popular Delusions Day! The festival began in Germany, 5 June 1945, which was one day before the anniversary of D-Day. It was said to mark the end of the Nazi delusion of ruling the Earth for a thousand years. And today it has become a day for the end of all popular delusions of the day. We have so many to choose from in 2017! But I think it should be the Festival of Unpopular Delusions Day. Some popular delusions, like 5 dogs is the new 4, should stay. *wink wink*
But most importantly it is the United Nation’s World Environment Day. This year’s theme is to connect to nature. There is so much creativity in nature, so much life in diversity. So, all you humans, love your neighbour today. We’re all in this Earth together.