Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center
Electric Shock Induced by Lightning Stroke
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Eugene Starr hunting at Upper Gauno Creek, Oregon. October 1942.
Eugene Starr hunting at Upper Gauno Creek, Oregon. October 1942.

On October 19, 1941, in the north end of the Steins [sic] Mountains at a point approximately 25 miles southwest of the post office of Follyfarm in Malheur County, Oregon, the writer was hunting mule deer in company with two companions. The time of day was about 10:30 a.m. and we were crossing a high, broad ridge at an elevation of approximately 6,500 feet above sea level. For several hours there had been indications of an impending storm, and now it was gathering rather rapidly. There had been no evidence of electrical disturbances and the lateness of the season seemed to minimize the probability of development of an electrical storm.

We were nearing the summit of the ridge when suddenly an apparent cloud-to-cloud discharge took place immediately overhead. The interval between flash and the audible report indicated that the path of the stroke was not more than 300 yards distant and we immediately recognized the danger of our position. At that particular point the terrain was rather flat, but we changed our course and headed for the nearest break to lessen our exposure. Other than the brilliant flash and the intense report, no physical sensations accompanied the first stroke of lightning.