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Monday, June 24, 2013

Lightning Strikes Multiple Generations

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Is there an organic explanation to why we attract what we fear most? This is a question the Olsen family has been asking for years. The old saying goes that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but this provides little comfort to the members of a family that appears to attract strikes by lightning spanning four known generations. Unfortunately for them, it has been proven that lightning can indeed strike the same place twice. Lightning has absolutely no memory and has as much chance of striking any place despite its previous actions. But, what is the likelihood of it hitting moving members of a familiar line multiple times? According to National Geographic, "The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000." 


Apparently, if you're an Olsen, your odds seem to be much greater! After examining and mapping the family tree, something mysterious was revealed. Since 1899, ten members of the Olsen family from Illinois have been struck or nearly struck (within feet) by lightning. 

In May of 1899, at the age of 23, Christ Olsen was killed during a visit to his fiance's home. Oddly, years later in 1921, Ollie, Christ's brother was struck and killed at the barn door while checking on animals during a storm. Understandably, their sister Christine lived the rest of her life in fear. In 1941, Christine's worst nightmare came true. While caring for her grandson, Bill, Christine's living room was struck by lightning. Thereafter, she'd race to the car hoping the four rubber tires would insulate her from another strike during a storm.

However, that's not the end of the stormy strangeness. Two decades later, in 1961, Bill the now grown grandson and his daughter were barely missed by a ball of lightning that struck his kitchen. Five years after that incident, in 1966, Bill's cousin Connie was walking to her sister's car after leaving work when she was zapped by lightning. Despite the hit, Connie survived. Four generations later lightning is still attracted to the Olsen family. When Bradley Hampbel visited his grandmother, he was nearly struck by lightning that hit a nearby barn door. A black chard mark reminds him just how close he came. 

Is there something organically inherited, passed down the genetic line of Olsen's that makes them more likely to attract lightning? Is it a curse, something supernatural or mere coincidence? Who knows, but the events do seem extraordinary.

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