National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hit While Under a Tree


I was hit on a hot summer day in July of 1965. I was 11 years old. A sudden thunderstorm was approaching during a baseball game at my grandfather’s farm and after a nearby strike we began running towards the family house and underneath a large apple tree when a large bolt hit. The lightning hit the tree directly. The tree dried up and died by that fall. The strike knocked my three brothers and two cousins headlong to the ground, struck me directly and then grounded through a large oak water barrel causing it to explode. I was knocked unconscious and stopped breathing. My father fortunately had seen a TV show the week before on how to do CPR. It was 1965 and very few individuals at the time knew the procedure. I began breathing but remained unconscious till several hours later in the hospital. I have no apparent side effects but my mother said I was never the same in some inexplicable fashion.