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Until the late 18th century, it was widely believed that ringing church bells during a storm would stop lightning from striking the steeple, says The New York Review of Books. This had some rather unfortunate consequences: between 1753 and 1786, 386 churches in France were struck by lightning – and 103 bell ringers were electrocuted

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Apparently the news had not yet reached France that Benjamin Franklin had invented the lightning rod in 1749. :'(

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