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Juiced up

Wow. I mean, just, like…WOW.

Shocking phenomenon: Alabama man struck multiple times by lightning in his lifetime, then gravesite also destroyed by lightning
Childersburg, Alabama is known as the oldest continuously occupied settlement in America. The city, which sits just 37 miles southeast of Birmingham was settled in 1540.

Legends and lore have passed through generations over the years, but one story, in particular, is a bit shocking.

William Yeldell Cosper was struck by lightning at least five times. However, two of those times were after death.

Born to the Rev. James Berry Cosper and Sarah H. Dejournett Cosper in 1844, Cosper would live for over seven decades before succumbing to his fate.

Rumor has it that Cosper survived being struck by lighting the first time. He was sitting on his front porch at the time. He was injured and it took time for him to recover. According to gravesite records, his wife, Martha Carolina Butts Cosper, helped nurse him back to health.

However, he had already had a close call before. A month prior to the strike that hit him, he and Martha were sitting in the front room of their house, spinning wool. A lightning bolt struck the wool, setting it on fire.

Certified Broadcast Meteorologist JP Dice said when a person is struck by lightning, injuries can vary.

“You can see someone’s heart stop because of the disruption of the electrical signals that drive the heart,” Dice said. “They can be revived by CPR in some cases. Also, when they are struck by lightning, there can be severe burns. A bolt of lightning can be over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hotter than the surface of the sun.”

There are no details on what Cosper’s injuries were, but he is thought to have had a short recovery. Not long after recovering from the shocking event, Cosper was inside his home in Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, when it happened again.

Historical accounts do not reveal exactly where Cosper was in the house but this time, he would not survive the lightning strike. According to death records, Cosper died in 1919. He was 74 or 75 years old.

Cosper’s body was brought back to where he was born and he was buried in the Childersburg Cemetery.

And that’s when things started getting REALLY weird. All in all, a perfect opportunity for two (2) appropriate Tune Damage embeds, I do believe.

(Via Irish)

Update! A fun little Behind The Music story the first vid reminded me of, which I just cannot resist sharing with y’all. I’ll tuck it below the fold, so as not to annoy the non-guitar amp geeks who aren’t interested in this sort of arcana.

Soon after I’d moved to NYC, I went with my gf Jen and our roomie Lisa to see Social Distortion open for the Ramones at Roseland Ballroom. We were on the pest-list, with all-access passes, courtesy of the girls having been good friends with the band for years.

Note the amp Ness is playing in the vid: a 63 Blonde Bassman piggyback, a rara avis Fender product highly prized by discerning guitarslingers everywhere. Hanging out backstage just shooting the breeze with Mike during the Ramones’ set, he asked my opinion of his new rig; he’d always played Marshalls until a friend in LA hipped him to the fat, sharp, surprisingly crunchy tone the Blonde Bassman amps were capable of. I told him I’d never played one myself, but agreed with him that it did sound fantastic.

In those days, I knew a guy named Ralph Santiago from Lawn Guyland who eked out a decent living for himself as an independent guitar-amp dealer. Ralphie had a truly uncanny knack for unearthing prime-condition vintage finds in oddball places, and when I told him about my Bassman conversation with Ness his eyes took on this glassy, glazed sheen I’d seen there a time or two before. Sayeth he, “I know where one of those is, I can get it for ya really cheap!”

As it turned out, it was cheap mainly because it wasn’t a matched set; the head was a bog-standard 63 Blondie, but the cab was an odds-and-sods 63 1/2 with the scarce-as-hen’s-teeth sparkly grill cloth (a non-standard item, available exclusively via custom-order). The head had recently been gone through and lovingly refurbed by a superb and well-known NYC amp tech; the cab was loaded not with those shitty (far as I’m concerned, at any rate; most people fall all over themselves praising the crappy things) Jensen C10Q speakers, but a pair of robust 12-inch Celestion G12T-75s, which he knew I had a fondness for.

Thus the hook was set. Ralphie knew it as well as I did: there’d be no wriggling off and swimming away for this little fishy, he was all but landed. Knowing it was hopeless, I didn’t even try.

The mismatch and the mods spoiled the amp’s collector value, which I cared not a whit about anyhow. I was a player, not a collector, and this would be a player’s amp, not some museum piece gathering dust in the living room, obscure gear-geek store, or rehearsal space of some nebbish scared to lay a finger on the blasted thing, much less actually turn it on and crank it the fuck UP, as God and Leo Fender had intended.

So I scrounged up a relatively paltry 700 bucks—slightly more than a night’s pay at my regular Friday bartending gig at No-Tell Motel—and took ownership of one of the finest, most ferocious-sounding tone MONSTERS I was ever privileged to lug up onto a stage, plug into a wall socket, and bludgeon eardrums with. That thing was so good I held onto it longer than any previous amp I’d ever owned —well over ten years, which for me is really saying something.

I ended up scoring another amp from Ralphie not too long after taking my beloved Blondie off his hands, a 65 Blackface DeLuxe (the no-reverb model) in A-1 mint condition—a salty, sassy little scamp which sounded like a smaller, lower-volume version (ie, 20 watts versus 50) of the Bassman. Which is praise indeed, trust me.

A few years later I was hanging out backstage with Mike Ness again in ATL during his first solo tour in support of his Cheating At Solitaire release, and informed him his example had inspired me to go out and get myself a Bassman like his. He grinned like a fiend, grabbed my arm, and said, “See, didn’t I tell ya? You love it, don’tcha? I KNOW you do, man, I KNOW you do!!” I smiled back and laughed, “Hey man, how could I NOT? Great minds and all that jazz, y’know?”

He gave me a happy little shake, roughhoused me into a bear-hug tight enough to collapse a lung, and proposed a pact: “We don’t tell anybody else about ‘em, aiight? Not a soul! That way, there’ll be more around out there for us!!” I readily agreed, he climbed onto the tour bus, and I went on home. I’ve run into him several times since, and the first thing out of both our mouths is always a gruff, low “BASSMAAAAN!

Good times, good times.

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