Telephones used to be responsible for a quarter of all lightning injuries sustained indoors in the UK
While death by phone may sound like an urban myth, it can really happen. In 1985 a 17-year-old in New Jersey was found dead, lying on his bed while still holding a telephone receiver to his ear. Investigators were initially puzzled by the lack of burn marks on the victim’s body and on telephone equipment, but an autopsy concluded that his heart had stopped due to a huge electrical jolt.
Lightning striking wires outside the house had been conducted through the phone line and earthed through the victim’s body with fatal results.