Three generations of a German family were reportedly struck down by a single lightning bolt on Tuesday when the electrical charge shot down a tree and across their lawn as they were heading inside to avoid the rain.
One woman, Ricarda, says she was chopping wood in the garden when it began to rain. While she and her family were bringing their toys and garden furniture back into the house Ricarda heard a sudden, loud bang and felt "some tingling from head to toe", the Bild newspaper reports.
"There was chaos. Everybody was just acting on autopilot. A few minutes later the ambulance arrived," she says. Her nine-year-old nephew Elias fell over unconscious and had to be resuscitated by his father and grandfather on the spot. He was being treated in intensive care. Other family members, including the grandmother, Ricarda's two children and her sister-in-law, Judith, went to hospital with minor injuries. Ricarda says her son Cedrick was still complaining of a headache the following day.
There are a couple of good reasons to take this story with a hunk of salt. It originally comes from Bild, a German tabloid best known for splashing naked lady boobies across its front page every day for 28 years. The Bild story is oddly discombobulated and vague, piling grandparents and aunts and nephews into the mix with no surnames, and it weirdly mentions that the family members are Jehovah's Witnesses—twice.
Also, here's the art Bild selected for the story, above the breathless line "SIE WURDEN VOM BLITZ GETROFFEN!"—"They were struck by lightning!":
But hey, they interviewed a meteorologist who conceded that there was a mild thunderstorm in the area that day, and some lightning strikes were detected, and it's possible that a bolt struck the ground, traveled through a wet tree root or underground conduit, and struck the nebulous family.
Make of that what you will. In the meantime, here's a NSFW picture of a typical Bild front page from 2010, pre-boob-ban.