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  #1  
Old 14 January 2007, 04:31 AM
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Flame Don't burn lightning-struck wood

Comment: Do not burn wood from a lighting struck tree in a home heating
device for heat, saying it will cause harm to you and those within the
home. Why? I don't have the faintest. Please comment.
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  #2  
Old 14 January 2007, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: Do not burn wood from a lighting struck tree in a home heating
device for heat, saying it will cause harm to you and those within the
home. Why? I don't have the faintest. Please comment.
So if I don't know that the wood is lighting struckand I cut it up and burn it, will I be Okay??

Or will I sufffer untold torments??
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  #3  
Old 14 January 2007, 03:40 PM
Koshka
 
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I know you're not supposed to use wood that's been treated with preservatives (like the scraps from your new deck) in a fireplace or heating stove, because most if not all of those preservatives are toxic. I have no idea how being struck by lightning would add toxins to wood -- if it was safe before the strike, it should be safe after.

Or are we getting into sympathetic magic here? The tree has channeled sky-fire (lightning), adding extra fire to it (by throwing in into the fireplace) will overbalance the amount of fire present? (If my D&D game hadn't been on hiatus for the last three months, I could probably do a better job of the magical doubletalk -- sorry!)

Anyone heard this outside the message boards?
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  #4  
Old 14 January 2007, 06:21 PM
Zamboni_Rodeo
 
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It seems to me that lightning-struck wood is burnt. So wouldn't the fact that it's already burnt mean that you can't ignite it anyway?

I wish I knew more about physics. Or possibly thermodynamics. Or both.
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  #5  
Old 14 January 2007, 07:35 PM
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This website (under "Other Taboos Related to Lightning") says that it's a Navajo superstition that one should not use wood that's already partly burned for fuel, as it may come from a lightning-struck tree, and you risk causing illness or bad luck. There's no information on the possible origins of the superstition though, unfortunately.
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  #6  
Old 14 January 2007, 08:01 PM
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From personal experience...hogwash. Dead wood burns just fine, whether killed by lightning, drought, or bark-boring beetle. Pure "magic thinking" without any basis in fact.

(Hell, lightning riven trees are easier to cut down and to chop up! The lightning has burned "weak spots" in the wood, which you can take advantage of!)

Silas
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  #7  
Old 15 January 2007, 07:27 AM
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Lightning struck and killed a tree in my backyard last summer. I was on the porch when it happened--not a pleasant experience, since it was my favorite tree and seeing lightning strike up close scared the hell out of me. We just got around to cutting it down recently. Not surprisingly, nothing happened when we made a fire out of the dead wood.

ETA:

To elaborate on the the link Floss posted, that site is from this book:

http://navajocentral.org/taboos_menu.html

"The source appears to have been Gallup, New Mexico author Ernest Bulow's book by the same title. The soft cover book was first published in 1972 with reprints in 1982. It had its origins in an earlier publication by the Navajo Nation (then Navajo Tribe). The Author was a teacher at Ft. Wingate north of Window Rock for many years.
What is presented here is but a partial list of the taboos and text included in the original publication. At first, the book seems to be more a curiosity for tourists than any serious investigation. Little information is given beyond what is listed as an explanation of the reason for the taboo. The source of many of the items were his students during the 1960's when the Navajo language was still the dominant language in Navajoland."

But also:

http://www.ancestral.com/cultures/no...ca/navajo.html

"The logs must come from trees that have not been struck by lightning and the site must be one where lighting does not strike. The reason for this is that the Navajo consider lightning to be very dangerous, and scrupulously avoid all contact with it."

There appear to be some scholarly articles that mention this belief on JSTOR, but access is restricted.

ETA2:

http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/navajo/hooghan.php3

"The literal meaning of hooghan is "the place home". The hooghan is built in a specially chosen place. Consideration is made of the presence of trees that have been struck by lightning, gravesites, old battlegrounds, ant hills, etc. In particular, the Diné have a strong taboo against lightning struck trees. Lightning is very dangerous for them and their livestock. As opposed to the bilagáana attitude that lightning never strikes the same place twice (demonstrably incorrect), the Navajos avoid places where lightning has struck as places favored by lightning. Trees that have already been struck by lightning are considered to be the property of Lightning. Therefore they are excluded from use in building the hooghans as well."

Last edited by Lemonaida; 15 January 2007 at 07:43 AM. Reason: More information to add!
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  #8  
Old 15 January 2007, 10:28 AM
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I just wanted to mention that, unless there is a fire accompanying the strike, lightning-struck wood is rarely burnt deeply. Instead, the rapid heating caused by the strike causes the wood to crack and splinter. It is not very different from wood that cracks when it gets hot in the fire except that it can heat up internally, causing spectacular cracks that tear off a large limb or even rend the tree in half.
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  #9  
Old 15 January 2007, 10:59 AM
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The OP claim isn't that you shouldn't burn lightning-struck wood. It's that you shouldn't burn it and then tell everybody around you that you're causing them harm by doing so. Which seems fair enough, although it might not be what the commenter meant to write...
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  #10  
Old 17 January 2007, 09:51 PM
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Further notes from Frazier's "The Golden Bough." He says that the Wendish peoples, an Anglo-Saxon folk, would not burn lightning-struck wood in their hearths, for fear that their huts would burn down. He also says that the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, when they *want* to burn down the house of an enemy, affix splinters from a tree that was killed by lightning to the arrows they shoot at their foes.

This was all in Frazier's effort to equate mistletoe with lightning, an effort at a mythic "unified field theory" which many of us consider over-reaching, if not outright balderdash.

Silas
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  #11  
Old 19 January 2007, 12:17 AM
Lawgiver Lawgiver is offline
 
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Default don't burn lighting struck wood

well maybe its because the wood has special powers like others say when they are hit by lighting and everyone in the home will have the same powers as the tree lol
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  #12  
Old 24 March 2007, 06:11 AM
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Just had lightning strike our oak and blew off a huge (3 ft long) chunk of bark, there's bark also buckled and bent still on the tree. It looks to be doing fine.

I took to piece of bark to the herb shop I work at to see if there's anything my boss wanted it for. I'll ask her tommorow if she's heard of this myth.
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  #13  
Old 24 March 2007, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Further notes from Frazier's "The Golden Bough." He says that the Wendish peoples, an Anglo-Saxon folk, would not burn lightning-struck wood in their hearths, for fear that their huts would burn down.
I don't know the exact quote, nor how reliable Frazier is in general, but the Wendish people or Wends was the name the Germanic people gave to the Slavs.
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  #14  
Old 24 March 2007, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joostik View Post
I don't know the exact quote, nor how reliable Frazier is in general, but the Wendish people or Wends was the name the Germanic people gave to the Slavs.
This might be an issue of out-of-date jargon...or... Well, let's just say that Frazier is not the be-all and end-all of mythology...

Silas
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  #15  
Old 26 March 2007, 02:14 PM
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If my memory is working this morning, Mark Twain also made the comment about not burning lightning struck wood is either Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.
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  #16  
Old 26 March 2007, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: Do not burn wood from a lighting struck tree in a home heating
device for heat, saying it will cause harm to you and those within the
home. Why? I don't have the faintest. Please comment.
Aren't you supposed to carve a baseball bat from it?
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  #17  
Old 28 March 2007, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forcadragons View Post
Aren't you supposed to carve a baseball bat from it?
Well, that would seem to be the natural thing to do.
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  #18  
Old 28 March 2007, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forcadragons View Post
Aren't you supposed to carve a baseball bat from it?
That, or make a handle for the Bowie knife you fashion from an iron-bearing meteorite. That baby will kill your enemies before you're even awake in the mornings!
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