Lightning Struck Wood

Lightning Struck Wood

Lightning Struck Wood

The piece of wood above 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.


Katherine Grossman

Katherine Grossman was born and raised in the greater Washington, D.C area. But for the last 30 years Mrs. Grossman has lived a life of deliberate self-reliance in rural western Pennsylvania. She loves to garden, knit mittens; makes a killer meatloaf and has been known to deliver triplet lambs with her eyes closed. 


  4 comments for “Lightning Struck Wood

  1. Phil/Minnesota
    March 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Very funny post. I’m glad you’re not letting good firewood go to waste!

  2. woody
    May 2, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Wood from a large live oak on my place struck twice in my lifetime will not ignite. It emits a noxious odor and wispy smoke. I used peach that had been hit but it imparted a bad taste.

    • Katherine Grossman
      May 2, 2015 at 11:25 am

      That’s interesting :-)

    • Curious reader
      June 24, 2015 at 2:48 am

      There’s a good chance that the extremely hot electricity and heat the lightning has, carbonizes the atoms of the wood and causes the smoke as well as all the legends about bad luck if one burns the wood. I have a piece of lightning struck wood and it seems to be much harder and ‘dustier’ than the non-struck wood. Almost as if it were petrified. And the carbon dust released by burning can’t be too healthy.

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