Carl Bouley, 16, of Grand Isle had a hunch that lightning really could strike the same place twice – and now he’s got a viral video to prove it.

As a storm rolled in on Wednesday evening, Bouley went to his front porch to train his camera on the St. Gerard Catholic Church across the street. The church had been struck by lightning on August 4, 2007 – Bouley’s birthday – and he had a hunch that it might happen again.

“Everything felt the same, the wind, the atmosphere,” said Bouley.

He filmed for about five minutes and was “about ready to stop recording” when a violent bolt lit up the sky and sent showers of sparks raining down from the church spire – and it was all captured on Bouley’s camera.

Warning: this video contains explicit language

Bouley, who is also a junior firefighter, then put down the camera, got his gear together and assisted in the Grand Isle Fire Department’s response to the incident.


The church, he reports, did not suffer any fire damage, although there was damage to its electrical systems.

According to John Jensenius, a meteorologist and lightning safety expert at the National Weather Service’s Gray office, there are over 55,000 lightning strikes across Maine in a typical year.

Lightning is attracted to the tallest object in the immediate area, and so “it’s not uncommon” for lightning to hit a single church steeple more than once, Jensenius says. “But you don’t see it that frequently, either.”

As of Thursday morning, Bouley had already heard from “three or four” reporters interested in learning more about his video, including producers from the Weather Channel.

More on the web:

Lightning safety information from the National Weather Service

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.