Bolt out of the blue: Asheville man describes getting whacked with lightning bolt


Jason Marlin, who works for the website Ars Technica, which offers IT news, reviews and analysis, describes how he was struck with a bolt of lightning Wednesday. He survived and was apparently unhurt, but the incident sure got his attention:

At that moment—and this part is a little foggy—a bright arc of electricity shot through the window and directly into my chest. I’m not sure whether the arc originated from the sky or the ground, but it knocked me out of my chair. I hit the concrete floor and bounced back up to my feet, which were shuffling at top speed into a bookshelf. I remember thinking, “OK, going to die now. Do not fall down. Do not pass out.”

I’ve read that being struck by lightning is akin to a being hit by a huge defibrillator. I’m not sure about that—but it did feel magnitudes worse than the time I touched an electric fence as a kid.

I stumbled out of the studio and toward the house where my wife and children were staring out at me in horror. They had seen the flash and heard the tremendous crack that comes with a nearby lightning strike. My son Felix said the flash was so bright that he thought it had gone through the kitchen. As I staggered into the house looking like a wide-eyed psychopath, everyone knew something had happened. “I, I, I… think we need to call 911!” I stuttered.

At this point, I still couldn’t sit down, so I paced the house like a coked-out fratboy, clutching my heart while my wife Kris spoke with 911. “I’m sorry, did you ask if he had shoes on?” she said, then directed the question to me. It turns out there’s something of an obsession with shoes and lightning, the predominant belief being that rubber soles offer some insulating protection against the current.

Click over to read Jason’s remarkable story. Glad you’re OK, dude.


Zeus May 28, 2013 - 8:49 am

This guy is full of it. You don’t take a direct lighting strike to the chest without a mark. He probably got a nice jolt of static electricity. Sounds like there is some family lore building up his perception of how lighting works.

Bruce Bijesse May 24, 2013 - 1:59 pm

Please look at his eyes. Does he still need a Doctor?

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