It can lay claim to being one of the most eerie, seconds-before-disaster photos ever captured.
A haunting image has once again surfaced – decades after its taking, we might add – showing two brothers sporting broad grins as they laugh at each other’s hair standing on end at the top of a mountain.
According to reports, Michael McQuilken, who was 18 at the time, and his 12-year-old brother Sean went hiking in Sequoia National Park in California way back in 1975. They were joined by their older brother Jeff, their sister Mary, 15, and Mary’s friend Margie.
Upon reaching the summit of Moro Rock, Michael and Sean fell into fits of laughter at their respective appearances. Their hair was standing on end, lifted by static, and the result made for a fairly comical photo opportunity.
Sadly, none of the young group had any idea of what was about to happen…
Recalling the taking of the photo, Michael told NBC News in 2013: “I took a photo of Mary, and Mary took a photo of Sean and me.
“I raised my right hand into the air, and the ring I had on began to buzz so loudly that everyone could hear it.”
That, in and of itself, should have been enough to warn those present that something was seriously awry. The temperature suddenly dropped, and Michael and Sean decided it was time to head down from the mountain.
Yet not long after the group had begun its descent a lightning bolt speared from the sky, electrocuting both Michael and Sean.
Michael remembered the sensation of being lifted off the ground for a few seconds. Sean, meanwhile, was knocked unconscious, and when Michael went to check on him smoke was pouring from his back and elbows.
Incredibly, however, the younger brother was still alive, though he had suffered third-degree burns.
Michael and the others were able to carry Sean down to the parking lot, where those that needed it were given medical attention.
As for the eerie photo snapped on an old Kodak Instamatic camera moments before disaster, it was handed to local park rangers, who used it to warn other hikers about potential lightning strikes atop the granite peaks found in the park.
As per the Mirror, electrical charges in the air that day in 1975 were responsible for Michael and Sean’s hair in the photo. Unsurprisingly – and unfortunately –neither of them understood it as an indication of an imminent lightning strike.
“We were from San Diego and really stupid,” Michael said in 2013. “We thought it was something funny.”
Now 66, Michael added that he still goes trekking from time to time, but flees the area when he sees clouds gathering around mountainous peaks.
Tragically, Sean died by suicide in 1989. Michael is now an advocate for hiking safety, aiming to spread awareness of the dangers associated with adverse weather.
I can’t believe I had never seen or heard of this picture before! It reminds me of the warning regarding never entering the sea if you notice the currents forming in the below manner…
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