What is lightning?


Lightning is a fascinating and awesome phenomenon. It is also enormously powerful, ruthless and causes an average 1,000 deaths worldwide every year.

It can cause structural damage to all types of buildings. It can also destroy all types of electronic systems and damage electrical and communication systems.

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What is lightning protection?

In medieval times many believed that lightning was caused by evil spirits. The ‘proof’ was that these evil spirits seemed to attack holy shrines such as high pointed churches and cathedrals more frequently than other structures.

Therefore, in truly Monty Pythonesque style, the logic followed that the best form of Lightning Protection was to …..RING THE BELLS !

In many cases lightning bypassed a particular church, striking a tree a few fields away ‘proving’ to the locals that the bell ringing had actually worked !

The fact that the concentration of negative ions at base of the nearby cloud had not reached a significant enough intensity at the time of passing close to the church in question (and thus not inducing enough positive ions to cause an upward streamer to be formed) was completely lost on the fraternity below.

Of course there were many bell ringers who were not so fortunate as was testified to by the finding of a few charred remains and ashes in bell towers after a lightning storm. As far as the congregation was concerned this wasn’t a failure of their bell ringing prowess. Obviously these people were evil themselves and deserved their fate!

Fortunately scientific understanding has greatly improved and lightning protection has moved on.

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