100 Million Volts of Lightning: Head to Toe

The possibility of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 3,000, according to National Geographic. The force of electricity and heat five times greater than the sun can cause a tree to explode. In humans, it may cause respiratory problems, third-degree external burns, and paralysis. Hair may singe or catch fire and any metal object could sear into the skin. It is not uncommon for hearing loss, cardiac arrest, coma, or even death to occur in the three milliseconds it takes for a jolt of lightning to course through a body.  Dave Gilmore of Huron, Ohio, met his match with a lightning bolt one summer day and lived to tell an amazing story.

Wild Party Weekend

In 1986, Dave Gilmore had big plans for a wild weekend of cutting loose with friends and letting inhibitions go along with all the other things that can happen at a large biker swap meet. He had no boundaries and lived a rowdy and wild lifestyle. His mother tried to discourage him, saying she had a bad feeling about it.  He assured her he would be fine.

He never made it to the party.

Dave Gilmore & bike in field

Used with permission by David Gilmore

Dave got on his Harley and started the two-hour drive to Orville. Gazing at the beauty of God’s creation that summer day, he began to admire the artistry of God. It brought awareness of his deteriorating relationship with God. Feeling the need to be open and honest, he began to confess out loud. He told God everything he planned to do at this party, even though God already knew.

Dangerous Prayer

As he cruised down the highway, he said the distance between him and God became overwhelming. “Father, you know where I’m going, and you know what I intend to do. Nothing is hidden from You. I’ve been on this path for 15 years. Now it feels like I have gotten very far away from You. I don’t know how to get back to where I need to be. So, Father, I’m going to ask you something I never thought I’d ask. I need you to do whatever it takes to bring me back to you. It scares me a bit to say this, but I trust you. Only You can do this. I need our communion back in my life. I know you love me, but I need to feel that love in my heart.”   Dave thanked Him for an answer and continued his journey.

Awakened to a Drenching Rain

He arrived at the campsite – a cornfield large enough to accommodate 8,000 people surrounded by trees. He set up his tent near two friends. Saturday morning, they awoke to a steady drenching rain. Dave’s first thought was to get coffee and find the nearest porta-potty. His two friends joined him and found many other people waiting in line for the same place.

Growing up in the country, he decided to go into the woods out of sight. Noticing no rain coming through the trees, he beckoned his friends to join him. They stood under the tree canopy laughing at all the people getting sopping wet. They wondered why more had not taken refuge in the woods. The guys waited under the trees making plans for the big party later that night and waited for the rain to subside. They mentioned that it was strange there wasn’t any lightning. Some say you can smell nearby lightning in the air. Others say you can feel it in your hair, like a tingling sensation. None of that happened.

Shelter in the Trees

They saw another guy with a brunette on his right arm and a blond on his left start toward the trees. The very attractive blond wore a white tee-shirt soaked by the rain. One of Dave’s friends pointed her out to him.

“Get a load of her, Dave,” they laughed, knowing he’d like what he saw.

To see past them, Dave moved two feet beyond the tree. “Nice,” he responded with a grin. The next thing he knew, he was laying on the ground looking up at the brunette.

“Don’t worry, everything’s going to be all right,” the girl said while leaning over him.

Struck Down by a Jolt of Lightning

Gilmore recounts, “There were no memories of anything happening with this girl, but a group of onlookers held a leather jacket above us. Grinning, I thought she had me pinned.  “What do you mean I’m going to be all right?”


Surviving a lightning strike -mindcircle.com

Dave’s hands moved in slow motion as he tried to grab her arms and sit up. He couldn’t figure out where they were or how they got there.

The girl pushed him back down. “Don’t move. You’ve been struck by lightning.”

Shock set in as the realization rocked his mind. Breathing became extremely difficult.  The girl told him the ambulance was on its way. Dave said that’s when he began to pray for God’s help.

The medics quickly put Dave’s body in the ambulance and administered oxygen as he gasped for air. “Hang in there, buddy!” one of the medics said, “we’re almost there! Sorry for the bumpy ride.”

“I…I’m… I’m trying to …to hang….to hang in there,” his voice came out in short gasps.
They kept talking trying to assure him he would be okay. He wasn’t so sure. He couldn’t move.

He had been struck to the ground by a jolt of one hundred million volts of electricity.


By David Gilmore, as told to C.A. Simonson (c)2018

Come back to read the rest of Dave Gilmore’s experience — coming soon.

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A Ball of Fire Through the House!

70c1618322e03cc72738470e07b20bdb“When this much electricity goes through a house, it’s fortunate that anyone comes out alive,” said the fireman at an Ozarks residence hit by lightning earlier this year. (See story below).

When lightning strikes, it is nothing to joke about. The temperature of lightning can reach around 50,000° F. The electricity in a single bolt can reach 200 million volts, according to curiosity.com.

MaryAnn Ellingson tells about lightning hitting their house when she was a small girl.

“It was a terrible lightning storm,” she remembers. “We had a boy who lived with our family. Mom had just brought us three girls downstairs to be safe from the storm when a ball of fire came through the house, down the stairs, and out the front door.” She recalls her mother being beside herself remembering Don was still in his room on a wire-framed bed. Running back upstairs to see if he was all right, she found him still sound asleep, not aware a storm hit.

“God protected us and our house that night,” says MaryAnn. “Nothing was even charred or singed.”

MaryAnn Ellingson lives in Lake Preston, South Dakota, with her husband Martin.

* * * *

In May of 2018, lightning ripped a hole through the roof of Dave and Carol Damanskis of Ozark. Awakening them in the early morning hours as the storm approached, the couple agrees, “We are blessed to be alive, and are so thankful.”

Damage from Lightning

It blew the ceiling off the rooms — Courtesy of KSPR33

The Damanskis were still in bed before 5:00 a.m. when they heard the thunder and lightning getting closer.  Dave said he thought about getting up, and breathed a quick prayer. “Lord Jesus, keep us safe.” Less than a minute later, it felt like a sonic boom went off above their heads, according to Dave.

They found ceilings, sheetrock, and insulation covering their floors. Sheetrock blocked the front door. Fire was on the roof. Electrical boxes and wiring were charred, and internet wiring was blown out of the ground. Yet, the house was not burned down, and minimal damage occurred inside.

Carol said, “It was a true, true miracle that we got out of there alive without a scratch.”

See the whole story from KSPR33 here.


What happens when lightning strikes a person? Few have lived to tell about their jolting experience. More stories coming.  Miracles – or coincidence?

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Surviving the Carr Firenado

“We weren’t under evacuation orders. The fire was approaching from the west and the Sacramento River was between, so we weren’t panicked. Then in a flash, this guy was driving down the street with a bullhorn screaming “GET OUT!”

Video from YouTube shows the #CarrFire just before it hit the Lake Keswick Estates. You can see the ‘firenado’ beginning to swirl as wind and fire blend together.

“FIRENADO.” According to the National Weather Service, preliminary reports indicate the large fire whirl that occurred during the Carr Fire reached speeds in excess of 143 mph and was equivalent to an EF-3 tornado. Read more-

Super fires = Terrifying —  EF-3 tornadoes = Horrifying

143 mph Firenado = Apocalyptic

“Terrifying,” said Nick Bender of KMBC. “The fire whirl collapsed high tension power line towers, uprooted trees and stripped trees of their bark. Maximum winds were estimated at 143 mph, which is equivalent to an EF-3 tornado.”

Sherry Lalonde of  Lake Keswick Estates in Redding said, “This ‘thing’ was at the end of our block in seconds, surprising everyone, the sound was deafening – scariest moment of my life!”

They had prepared all the items they thought were important and had them ready by the front door. They could see the fire approaching from the west, but the Sacramento River was between them and the fire.  No evacuation orders had been given, so they weren’t really worried.

Across the street - Sherry LaLonde

Picture of their house taken from across the street by Ring.com bell – Picture courtesy of Sherry Lalonde

“All of a sudden a man rushed through the street with a bullhorn screaming “GET OUT!” The fire had breached the river a mile or two south of us and was coming up a canyon creating a 700-foot plus firenado and flanking us. It ripped out trees, picked up trucks and threw them. We had less than two minutes to escape. It surprised everyone.”

Sherry continues, “The look on the faces of the emergency personnel directing traffic was like something you’d see in a horror movie.”

The cat hid under the bed and there was no time to get him. Grabbing their dog and go-bag by the door, they had less than a minute to run. Sherry and Alan saw the immense fire tornado than 4-5 houses away at the end of their street in the now infamous July 29 #CarrFire.

“The sound was deafening as we raced to get away. It was terrifying and we are grateful to be alive and shocked that this monster,” she said on her Facebook page. “It felt like being in a Hollywood disaster movie where they get out at the last minute – very dramatic.”

They made it out in the nick of time with a fire tornado hundreds of feet high flanking them. Grateful to be alive and well, they believed the house was probably gone. The tornado was about 1,000 feet wide where it touched the ground and it burned up to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the  San Francisco Chronicle.

Until they came back to view the damage.

Carr Fire- Sherry Lalonde home

The arrow points to Sherry Lalonde’s home amidst the carnage

Their home was one of the few untouched. Why would the fire discriminate and leave a few homes while taking all the others?  Coincidence?  Happenstance?  Or a miracle?

Sherry Lalonde home

Their home – untouched – Picture courtesy of Sherry Lalonde

Sherry and ALan

Sherry Lalonde and Alan Ernesto Phillips

Sherry said, “I’m in shock at a miracle…all of our neighbors in Lake Keswick Estates have lost everything and we assumed we did too. Ours was one of the only homes left standing! This is bittersweet thinking of our neighbors.  Respect and love to the firefighters and sympathy for my poor neighbors.  How our home made it is a wonderful mystery. I hope to never see something like that again.”

They must replace broken windows (being blown out by the heat) and repair the smoke damage but are very thankful they still have a home in the midst of destruction all around. They are also glad they were able to save their cat.

As of August 15, 2018, the Carr Fire burned 214,527 acres and destroyed 1,077 residences, 22 commercial structures, 500 outbuildings. Many more structures were damaged, according to www.fire.ca.gov. The base of the fire was over 1000 feet in diameter, winds 135-165 mph. Gases peaking over 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. It is still only 71% contained and has been burning over three weeks. 


Thank you to Sherry Lalonde for permission to share your story.

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Too Close for Comfort

“It felt like a huge boulder smashed me in the face,” he said.

Watching fireworks in the city park of Safety Harbor, FL, this 74-year-old man never expected the fireworks would come so close. But it wasn’t the kind of fireworks he thought. He was sitting in a lawn chair with his face toward the sky watching fireworks when it happened.

From somewhere in the crowd, a bullet fired into the air as the fireworks finale began. It came crashing down on Richard Smeraldo’s head. The Tampa Bay News reported: “It clipped through the bill of his hat, struck the bridge of his nose, exited his nostril and bored a path from his lower lip through the fleshy nub of his chin. Exiting his lower jaw, it struck his rectangular silver medallion necklace.”  The medallion was engraved only days before with his mother’s favorite Bible verse: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed . . . nothing shall be impossible to you.”

“It’s sort of a miracle when you think about things like this,” he said at his Clearwater home Thursday. “It’s a brush with death, in a way. If my head was moved an inch …” said Smeraldo.

Smeraldo came through this experience with a new lease on life and appeared as if he had only taken a tumble. Although they investigated, the police never found who shot the bullet.

God still is in the miracle-working business. Thank God He watches out for us. He is good — all the time, and all the time, He is good. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

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Run Off the Road

The car came to a screeching halt when something smashed into it in the middle of the highway. They didn’t see it coming and were amazed when they found out what flew toward them.

Risner's totaled car

Courtesy of Pamela Risner

Jean and Pamela Risner and a couple of their friends decided to go to Silver Dollar City near Branson last December 29 to see the festive Christmas lights.  On their way south of Springfield,  they were jolted to a stop as something slammed into their car setting off all four airbags. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they found out it was a 24-foot bass boat which flew into their lane, hit their vehicle and ran them off the road.  Where did this huge boat come from, traveling 60+ mph through the air straight toward them? Continue reading

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God’s Unexpected Blessings

Does God know your need before you do? Will He meet that need before you even ask? According to Ben Lombardi, sometimes God’s blessings are a surprise.

Does God know your need?

car in rainIt was Christmas night. His car was full of gifts as he headed home from his parents’ place. It was raining and cold when his car suddenly decided to go out of control. Ben says “I was finally able to put it in neutral and slow down enough to park.” His cell phone died so he couldn’t call anyone for help. Then the police showed up. They asked if he was drinking and made him get out of the car. They suspected he had stolen it.

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Swept Away in a Flood

After surviving hurricanes in Florida, the couple moved to the Ozarks. They didn’t think about Missouri’s flash floods and tornados.

The water was rising fast. They made it to their car with their dogs, but when she stepped out, the current took her away. Deathly afraid of water, with her two dogs under each arm, her husband watched as the raging flood sucked his wife under. He attempted to help but the water was fierce, pulling and pinning him against a tractor. Their home and property were destroyed – but somehow, they lived through it. Yet this woman says she wasn’t fearful even when underwater because God spoke to her.

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