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Lightning never strikes twice

Posted by ESC on April 03, 2004

In Reply to: Lightning never strikes twice posted by Wren on April 03, 2004

: Where did this phrase originate?

One reference calls it an old superstition.

LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES TWICE IN THE SAME PLACE - "An unusual event never occurs twice under the same circumstances or to the same person. The proverb has been traced back to P.H. Myers . First attested in the United States in 'The Man in Lower Ten' by American writer Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958)." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). A second reference says the "familiar (and patently untrue) superstition" was first recorded in print by Hamilton Myers in 'Thrilling Adventures of the Prisoner of the Border' ." That must be the P.H. Myers mentioned in the first reference. The "untrue" claim is evidenced by the experience of "Shenandoah Park ranger Roy C. Sullivan, who was struck by lightning on an incredible seven different times between 1942 and 1977. He lived to tell about every one of the seven (a world's record), and his scorched park ranger hats were put on exhibit." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).