The fictional story behind the Tower’s fateful lighting strike isn’t entirely fantasy. Thanks to one lucky YouTube videographer, the spectacular sight of lightning striking one of the Tower of Terror’s lightning rods is seen below:
Legend has it that lightning struck the Tower of Terror during its construction. Is the lightning legend believable? I’d say so!
Lightning Rods: The Modern Cure for Towers of Terror
The lightning strike video demonstrates one of the Tower of Terror’s many safety features: lightning rods! According to the Tower’s story premise, lightning struck the elevator towers in 1939, ripping them from the face of the structure and sending the elevator passengers into The Twilight Zone. Nowadays, however, we’re not too fond of having buildings turned into Towers of Terror so we equip them with lightning rods. All modern buildings (also many roller coasters and other tall structures) over a certain height are constructed with lightning rods.
It’s a simple design with profound capabilities. Fun fact about lightning rods: they don’t actually attract lightning, they just provide a convenient “path of least resistance” for the electrical current to travel along on its way to the ground. In other words, lightning rods provide lightning with an appealing target to strike (instead of, say, our favorite Disney attraction).
The rod is made of highly conductive metal which is attached to a thick length of copper wire running all the way to the ground, which connects to an underground grid. The grid serves to dissipate the lightning safely underground, away from people and buildings. The strike will occur whether or not a rod is present: a rod is just a way of mitigating and directing the force.
Read more on How Lightning Rods Work