The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - Soils, Manure and the Environment
Chapter: Chapter 4: Weather and Climate

Safety from thunder and lightening

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1416. With regard to places of safety in times of thunder and lightning, Dr. Franklin's advice is, to sit in the middle of a room, provided it be not under a metal lustre, suspended by a chain, sitting on one chair, and laying the feet on another. It is still better, he says, to bring two or three mattresses or beds into the middle of the room, and, folding them double, to place the chairs upon them; for, as they are not so good conductors as the walls, the lightning will not be so likely to pass through them. But the safest place of all is in a hammock hung by silken cords, at an equal distance from all the sides of the room. Dr. Priestley observes, that the place of most perfect safety must be the cellar, and especially the middle of it; for, when a person is lower than the surface of the earth, the lightning must strike it before it can possibly reach him. In the fields, the place of safety is within a few yards of a tree, but not quite near it. Beccaria cautions persons not always to trust too much to the neighbourhood of a higher or better conductor than their own body, since he has repeatedly found that the lightning by no means descends in one undivided track, but that bodies of various kinds conduct their share of it at the same time, in proportion to their quantity and conducting power. It is sometimes stated that certain kinds of trees are never struck by lightning; there is, however, no foundation for this idea.