The piece of wood below is from a tree that was struck by lightning.
If you look carefully at the photo you’ll notice the black zig-zag line that runs from top to bottom. That’s the path the lightning took when it hit the tree.
Lightning struck wood is the subject of folklore and superstition in many different cultures. Some of the superstition and folk beliefs are quite ancient. The folk beliefs that I hear most often are:
- Toothpicks made from a lightning struck tree will cure a toothache. Folklore opinions differ as to whether or not the tooth falls out after the toothpick treatment.
- Another folk belief is that wood from a lightning struck tree will not burn. This is simply false. The piece of wood in the above photo was on its way to the wood stove right before I took the picture. Often accompanying that particular superstition is that burning lightning struck wood will bring bad luck or disaster usually in the form of burning the house down. My house is still standing.
- A modern take on lightning stuck wood comes from people who are into hoodoo, magick and other associated belief systems. Seems that such wood is prized for making a “spell” more potent and is a preferred wood for magick wands. If you ask me, it sounds like an opportunity for a mail order business for an industrious wood-cutter with a PayPal account.