Monday, 23 November 2015
A bell-ringer is a person who rings, tolls or peals a large bell, usually a church bell, by tugging on a long rope. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the sound of a bell could disperse thunder. A large number of bell-ringers were electrocuted as a result.
In France between the years 1753 and 1786, 103 bell-ringers were killed during thunderstorms as a result of holding on to wet bell ropes. The Parlement of Paris enforced an edict in 1786 to prohibit the practice. Deaths likely continued until the 19th century, when the lightning rod came into general use.
(via Everlasting Blort)