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 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.
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?”
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.