If lightning is the anger of the gods, then the gods are concerned mostly about trees. ~ Lao Tzu

As it turns out, it's no longer just trees. Back in September, 2013, SOTT reported that lightning strikes on people appear to have become more common. Whether or not there are actually more cases of lightning harming humans -- for example, such cases may just be reported more often -- it still appears as a serious deviation from the "norm", even after taking into account the official statistics:
  • According to the 2008 annual Lightning Detection Conference, an estimated 24,000 people are killed by lightning strikes around the world each year and about 240,000 are injured.
  • According to the NOAA, over the last 20 years, the United States averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities.
  • According to this site, men are killed by lightning four times more often than women.
  • Statistically, males account for 84 percent of all lightning-related deaths.
  • According to the National Weather Service, a new record low of only 23 people in the US died after being struck by lightning in 2013:

But how to reconcile this data with facts on the ground? Because daily reading of world news and common sense suggest that there is something very strange going on, and statistical data can't save us from reality striking us on the head. The bottom line is, if lightning were the only natural calamity disturbing our lives on this planet, we wouldn't feel like raising the alarm or asking questions, but more frequent and intense lightning appears to be just one symptom of a much larger and more serious syndrome:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - April 2014
Signs of change: Extreme weather, seismic activity, and meteor fireballs in April and early May 2014

Considering the above, take a look at the result of our quick news sweep. Most of the news items are no more than a week old.

Child killed by lightning in Iraq, brother hurt
The girl and her brother, whose age was not specified, were tending to their sheep just outside their house in a village in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar when lightning struck them on Monday, Al Nasiriyya news network said.

"The girl died instantly while her brother was seriously hurt and rushed to hospital...a number of their sheep were also killed," It said.Lightning Strike Sparks Muskogee House FireLightning Strike Sparks Muskogee House FireLightning Strike Sparks Muskogee House FireLightning Strike Sparks Muskogee House Fire
Lightning Strike Sparks Muskogee House Fire

The house is heavily damaged from a tremendous amount of fire, smoke and water damage
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Lighting is always a potential danger this time of year in Oklahoma. A Muskogee couple is working to see what they can save after a lightning strike Monday caught their house on fire.

The house in Muskogee that was struck by lightning has extensive damage, but despite all the damage, the couple says they're just thankful to be alive.
Lightning strikes, sparks blaze in northeast neighborhood, SAFD says
SAN ANTONIO -- Lightning lit up the sky most of the night, and in one northeast San Antonio neighborhood it sparked a fire.

Lightning strikes twice... at least in Sequim
Two homes were struck by lightning during a thunderstorm that passed through Clallam County Friday morning.

A single-family home in the 90 block of Elizabeth lane in Sequim was struck around 11 a.m., Clallam County Fire District 3 officials said. The lightning caused damage to outdoor siding, gutters and one wall of a home. The owner was at home during the strike, officials said, but was not injured.
Lightning: 11 flights struck landing at Salt Lake City
Several flights at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) were canceled Thursday after 11 inbound flights were struck by lightning there on Wednesday.

SLC spokeswoman Barbara Gann tells The Associated Press that 10 arriving Delta flights and one United Airlines flight were struck.

While lightning strikes are not uncommon, 11 strikes in a single day at a single airport is unusual.
East Texas Man Killed by Lightning Strike
Investigators say an East Texas man has died after apparently being struck by lightning while outside his home.
Lightning strikes Newark horse pasture
Rochester NY - 13WHAM viewer Stephanie LeCesse said she was filming her horses when a lightning bolt struck near her horse fence in Newark.[...]

A state of emergency has been declared in a county in the Finger Lakes region after flash flooding caused by heavy rains forced evacuations and closed roads.
Lightning strike sparks three house fires in Austin
A lightning strike sparked three house fires in Austin overnight, according to the Austin Fire Department.

"It's very dangerous, especially we were very busy tonight. This is our third fire due to lightning strikes," said Austin Fire Department Lt. Randy Elmore
Lucky escape for couple as lightning strikes Gateshead flat

Terror hit Tyneside when lightning struck at a flat while two people were inside.

The bolt hit the roof at the property in Meadow Croft Mews, Bensham, Gateshead, at around 8.15pm last night.
Tampa man possibly killed by lightning in Seminole
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether a Tampa man died from a lightning strike at a Seminole construction site Wednesday.

Navarrete-Guerrero was working at the condominium construction site. As thunderstorms moved through the area, his roommate/co-worker went to their vehicle to shut the windows and found Navarrete-Guerrero face down in muddy water, unresponsive, deputies said.
Lightning strikes telecom tower in Rotterdam

Entire family in Germany struck by lightning
A family got hit by lightning when they were in their garden on Thursday during a strong thunderstorm in Saxony, Germany. A nine year old boy of the family was laying motionless on the ground afterwards and was revived by his father and grandfather and brought with severe injuries to the hospital.
Makkahs clock tower power disrupted by lightning
Lightning disrupted the world's tallest clock tower in the Saudi town of Makkah before power was restored a few hours later, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
But that's not all. A new study apparently suggests that solar winds hitting Earth may trigger an increase in lightning.
The research finds an increase in the number of lightning strikes after the streams of plasma and particles known as solar wind arrive on Earth from the sun. Exactly why this correlation exists is unclear, but researchers say the interaction of solar particles might somehow prime the atmosphere to be more susceptible to lightning.

The idea that lightning has roots in space is not a new one. In 2013, researchers found evidence that cosmic rays, which are high-energy beams of particles that likely originate in supernovas, may trigger lightning when they enter Earth's atmosphere. As they stream through the atmosphere, cosmic rays knock electrons off of atoms, potentially causing a chain reaction when those electrons knock into other atoms, dislodging even more electrons. In the 2013 study, researchers found that thunderclouds contain already-charged water droplets and ice crystals, meaning a normal level of cosmic rays could push these clouds over the edge into lightning territory.

Not all researchers are convinced that cosmic rays play a role in generating lightning. But if they do, strong solar winds' magnetism should strengthen the magnetic field that surrounds Earth, Scott said in a video about the new findings.

And that's interesting, because it's another example of the likely electric nature of the Universe, and our Sun in particular:

Thunderbolts weekly review: Mythology, the electric nature of 'Star Forces' and why our Sun is literally like a giant light-bulb
Electric Universe: Clue to earthquake lightning mystery
SOTT Talk Radio: The Electric Universe - An interview with Wallace Thornhill

And if the above wasn't strange enough for you, read this article to learn that lighting can not only strike in the same place twice, but, according to popular belief from days gone by, lightning can actually select and pursue its victims!