Roy Cleveland Sullivan was famous because he was hit by lightning on seven different occasions an survived all of them between 1942 an 1977. He was a United States park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. He is recognized as the person struck by lightning more recorded times than any other human being by the Guinness World Records. He was given a nickname “Human Lightning Conductor” or “Human Lightning Rod”.
Sullivan, born on February 7, 1912 in Greene County, Virginia, started working as a ranger in Shenandoah National Park in 1936. He has a resemblance to the actor Gene Hackman as he is a brawny man with a broad and rugged face. Due to their fear of being hit by the lightning, people avoided him later in his life an this saddened him very much. He recalled, "For instance, I was walking with the Chief Ranger one day when lightning struck way off (in the distance).
In April 1942, the first documented lightning struck Sullivan as he was hiding from a thunderstorm in a fire lookout tower. There was no lightning rod in the tower at that time because the tower was newly built. Sullivan recalled that fire was jumping all over the place. As he ran out, he received a burn of about half an inch all along his right leg and toe. Lightning left a hole in his shoe. He considered this to be his worst lightning strike.
In July 1969, he was hit again while driving in his truck on a mountain road. The lightning was deflected into the open window of the truck after hitting nearby trees. Sullivan went unconscious after the strike and burned off his eyebrows and eyelashes.
Sullivan was struck in his front yard in 1970. The lightning deflected from a nearby transformer to his left shoulder.
In 1972, another strike occurred when he was working inside a ranger station in Shenandoah National Park. This strike set his hair's on fire. He smothers the flames with his jacket and rushed to the restroom.
In 1973, Sullivan saw a storm cloud forming, while he was out on patrol, and drove away quickly. As he decided it was safe to leave the truck, he was struck by a lightning bolt. Acc to sullivan, he actually saw the bolt that hit him. The lightning set his hair on fire, moved down his left arm and left leg and knocked off his shoe crossing over to his right leg just below the knee. Sullivan poured the can of water over his head which was on fire.
The next strike injured his ankle in 1976. It was reported that he tried to run away from the lightning.
In 1977, the lightning hit the top of his head, set his hair on fire, traveled down, and burnt his chest and stomach while he was fishing in the freshwater pool.
He was found dead at the age of 71 on september, 1983. He died under mysterious circumstances from a gunshot wound to the head. Two of his ranger hats are on display at two Guinness World Exhibit Halls in New York City and South Carolina.