Short of strapping a giant lightning pole to someone's forehead or covering them in a suit of metal, is there anyway of making a person a susceptible target for lightning in a storm?

Prerequisites: The lightning need not be fatal, as lightning often isn't, but it does have to strike from the clouds. Size and effort do not matter, no matter how fantastical it may be, funds are no objection.

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    $\begingroup$ Your user name makes questions like these feel really weird... If he's standing on a high point he would be an easy target. Basically don't do the things in this guide on How to Protect Yourself in a Thunderstorm. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ How subtle do you want to be? $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2017 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Secespitus this is part of a pattern of questions from this person.... $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2017 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus Well, "Benevolent Dictator" tends to be too unwieldy for most Usernames- they tend to have a character limit. And subtlety is not required/preferred- though if a subtle measure exists I'd be interested. $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2017 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeKissling Well, a lot of my world already exists and I don't really have questions about it because of that. It's set in 2020 so it's hardly so far in the future I need to have questions about massive worldchanges and it features a hidden organization that's actually quite well hidden (thanks to already asked questions). Generally my main questions are from stuff like physics, technology, and societal interactions, which is what a lot of my questions are about. $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2017 at 21:53

3 Answers 3


Wire on a rocket from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34NpyA2OuaE enter image description here

The video is cool. In the screenshot you can see where the lightning hits the rocket and then follows the wire down. I bet that greenish tint is the copper ions in the plasma.

If you fired a rocket with a wire up near someone, lightning would come down near that person. If you had a drone flying above someone with a wire dangling down that would be more subtle. The wire does not need to touch the person. Lightning would be fine jumping off the end of the wire and finishing the circuit through the person.

If you decide to see if a drone dangling a wire could call down a lightning strike, please post video. Please do not electrocute anyone with a drone carrying a wire, including yourself.


Triggering Death By Lightning

About Lightning

Firstly, a quick overview of lightning and specifically the cases between the cloud and ground. You probably get a lightning bolt when the charge potential between the base of the cloud and the ground reaches the electrical breakdown of the air. These charges are built up by the motion of water/ice in a storm. There are other possibilities for the trigger, which be explored shortly, but the root is the massive charge difference between the clouds and ground. There are several forms of lightning but generally speaking, the charge flows from the cloud to the earth.

enter image description here

Method #1: Laser

Give the energy a path to follow, a laser can create a channel of inoized air that the electricity could travel down. Essentially creating a plasma conductor between the cloud and the ground (target).

Method #2: Charged Particles

A stream of high-energy particles may have the same effect as the laser. Cosmic Rays may serve as the trigger for natural lighting so it's possible artificial streams of charged particles may do the same.

  • $\begingroup$ The US Military already has a laser-based lightning gun (Method #1).. it just takes a ridiculous amount of power to operate - and the lightning is man-made and of terrestrial origin. $\endgroup$
    – Sam Axe
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 22:00

Find some way to charge the victim positively, before they leave the house/car and they would become a good conductor. Maybe have them walk along some big carpet, or somesuch, to give them a positive static charge. This would encourage a lightning strike of negative charge toward the victim.

Although there are positive lightning discharges, they account for only 5% of all lightning strikes. So giving the target a net positive charge would I think, give you the most chance of success. Also positive lightning discharges can be much more powerful and so more likely to be fatal, so if you want to keep your victim from a more likely death then you want them to get hit by a negative discharge. The Positive and Negative Side of Lightning

How much charge you would need to give to the individual to give him an appreciably higher likelihood of getting hit, would depend on the weather conditions mostly I think. You'd want to put your target beneath the lowest point in the storm to maximise your chances of success and certain periods in the life of a storm are more likely to produce lightning than others. How Lightning Develops Between The Cloud And The Ground


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