Getting struck by lightning seems like a one-in-a-million occurrence (it’s actually more like 1/12,000), even for a lightning photographer. But the much more common occurrence of lightning striking the ocean can be just as damaging, as photographer Brian Skinner recently found out.
While taking photos of a storm off the coast of Newcastle, Australia, Skinner was the victim of a second hand shock. The tripod of his camera happened to be touching the wet sands just at the edge of the lapping surf when lightning struck the water off in the distance. At that exact moment Skinner was fiddling with the exposure for his shot, but the electricity from the strike traveled through the water, up his camera, and right into his hand. The moment that Skinner got struck was captured on video, and in it, you can see him jumping back from the shock.
Skinner, who has been photographing storms for over 25 years, walked away relatively unscathed. According to the Daily Mail, when he pulled his hand away from the camera it was completely blackened, but after seeing a doctor, it turned out that he simply had a number of bruises. Skinner credits his survival to a gold ring he was wearing, which was bent by the force of the shock.
The transferred shock is a testament to the massive amount of power contained in a single lightning strike, but if Skinner is to be believed, it gave him more than just a jolt. As he continued to tell the Daily Mail, for a time after the incident, he gained limited super powers including clairvoyance and enhanced strength.
He noticed soon after the incident that he had acquired psychic ability to read people’s minds and that he could actually “hear” people’s thoughts. He also found that he had super-heightened sensory capabilities and that he could hear and see better than normal.
“For about a week, I had heightened sensory capabilities,” he said. “I could see things you normally can’t see and hear long distance. I even had psychic abilities. It was the weirdest experience, I’d look at people and could hear what they were saying like they were talking to me. I asked myself if I was having delusions, you tell people these sorts of things and they look at you very strangely.”
He said he also felt exceptionally strong and vigorous, and he could lift weights three times heavier than before. It felt as if the lightning had supercharged his body, and he wondered whether being struck by lightning was transforming him into Superman.
“I thought, ‘am I becoming Clark Kent? Am I Superman?’ “
But Skinner has since lost the powers he claims he acquired.