Jesus hit by lightning

Christlight This photo is so amazing I'm not entirely convinced it's real, but it reportedly shows Rio de Janeiro's 130-foot-tall Christ Redeemer statue getting hit by lightning.


  1. I’ve always wondered actually how often that statue gets hit. It’s obviously one of the highest points around.

    Can’t wait for the viral video. :p

  2. what would be more amazing to me (keeping in mind that i’m easily amazed) would be if such lightening strikes never occurred there

  3. Saw this on another site. I honestly do not believe it’s the real thing. Capturing lighting on film is easy, but being at the right time and place to capture it striking a landmark such as this makes me a bit skeptical.

  4. FACT. When statues are struck by lightning, they come to life. FACT.

    If giant stone Jesus tries to step on you (and he will), try to stand directly under the giant hole in his giant stone foot.

  5. g.park:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about a giant stone Jesus. Even if the statue comes alive, it will only be lucky enough to have come alive just to be crucified by the giant stone cross. This isn’t as big of deal as when you have a giant stone Abe Lincoln come to life.

  6. It happens all the time. It’s pretty, but not any different than lightening stiking any tall object. Besides, Christians are not supposed to worship idols–that’s for pagans. Idolatry is a no-no.

  7. @ #5

    Assuming they have the same types of evening storms I’ve seen in other tropical/semi-tropical places, I’d imagine that the statue gets struck on a fairly frequent basis. Probably just a case of setting up the camera, letting it run through the storm and then scrubbing through the film until you find the shots you want.

  8. (because I’m a video game geek) Round One – Thor Versus Jesus – FIGHT! (joke stolen from my friend Roe A.)

  9. @Bzishi

    That’s why the builders of the Lincoln Memorial wisely put a roof over the Lincoln statue. It’s effectively lightning-proof. The builders of the Statue of Liberty had the foresight to build safeguards in that would ensure that nothing short of purple goo and Jackie Wilson songs would animate the statue.

    Even so, in a showdown, my money would go on Giant Stone Lincoln over Giant Stone Jesus, hands down.

  10. This was on fark a few days ago… I am actually sort of surprised how much attention it got. A tall isolated pointy grounded object such as that is bound to get struck by lightning frequently, and this is hardly a compelling photograph. If someone who lived near there set up a good camera with a tripod and automatic trigger during a nighttime thunderstorm I’d expect it wouldn’t be too hard to get a much better photo.

  11. 1) Photographing lighting at night is easy. You just need a storm and a camera that can take long exposures. Here is a shot I took this summer.

    2) As others have stated that statue is the tallest thing around and probably gets struck often.

    1 + 2 = likely to be a real photo.

    That being said, I don’t put much religious significance in the photo. I bet the statue of liberty gets struck all the time.

  12. Not real if it is a photo (as opposed to video). The way lightning strikes are captured is that the camera shutter is left open then closed after the strike. That means it needs to be a very low light or night situation. Compare it to other lightning strike shots, it doesn’t look right.

  13. Custodio Coimbra is the photographer according to the rights holder so I imagine it’s legit. While this obviously took some planning, it is not an impossible shot. The trick (beyond being in the right place at the right time and not getting struck/wet yourself) is to use the slowest ASA speed and the smallest aperture you have. It wouldn’t surprise me if Custodio also used ND filters. This will allow you to expose for 10-15 seconds at a time.

    Now I am inspired to take some lightning shots of my own. Bad news is we don’t get a lot of thunderstorms in winter…

  14. Not to mention lightning strikes don’t create little glow balls at the point of contact. I suspect someone borrowed the “look” of a lightning strike from a picture of one striking an antenna or spire that has an air traffic warning light on it (like the top of the Empire State building, e.g.)

  15. “2) As others have stated that statue is the tallest thing around and probably gets struck often.”

    Actually it didn’t, it hit just to the side of the tallest thing around (the statue’s head). Could have been an aesthetic decision made because striking Jesus in the head wouldn’t sell nearly as many souvenirs. I’m still calling fake.

    Can anyone find a lightning strike pic where it shows lightning striking slightly off target? All the tree strikes I could find had lightning entering the very top of the tree, couldn’t find one that was “a little to the side”.

  16. Jesus Christ, it’s obviously a shop…. lightning would never hit that statue for fear of going to lightning hell.

  17. Long exposures at night when there’s any light around (like would be present in, well, let’s say Rio de Janeiro) result in a “daytime-like” sky.

    I had a friend refuse to believe that a photo I took was of the full moon over the Amazon. He swore it was the sun. Because the sky was bright.

  18. dculberson:

    Except that this wasn’t shot at night. If it were shot at night there would be illumination from the lightning all around the strike point, and the bolt itself would probably have more of a glow. Lightning is very bright, and it will expose the area around the lightning strike very differently than the rest of the picture.

  19. @the_pants

    Lightning forms along the path of least resistance, which is not necessarily the shortest path to ground. I found several pictures on flikr where the bolt seems to hit off center. Here’s one of them.

    Wikipedia says that the O Cristo Redentor is constructed from reinforced concrete meaning that it is full of metal rebar. If the photo is real, then strike probably occurred where the rebar was closer to the surface of the concrete.

    The one thing that make me judge the authenticity is the quality of the photo. If someone went through all the trouble to set up the shoot, why not use a decent camera?

  20. gabrielm:

    That is a great example that is closer to the same conditions as this photo. Certainly gives this photo more credence, but your example still looks more real to me. At the very least, I think this photo looks shopped. Thanks.

  21. When I saw this on metafilter, I had just come back from Brazil. The only reason I didn’t make it up to the Corcovado was because of the rain and electrical storms. That’s what made me feel like it was a legit photo.

    In response to the other comments that “wouldn’t there be more photos of such a famous landmark being struck” (much like those of the empire state building): Jebus is atop a pretty high mountain and is often in the clouds. In the week I was there, I could see the statue for an hour. Most times that Jebus would be struck, he’d also be in the clouds. Additionally, most of Jebus’s neighbors are pretty poor, so that means there are likely few web cams close enough to see him when he’s in the clouds…

    I think it’s real.

  22. #10 – Thor vs Jesus? That combat has no real emotion. I mean, Jesus was defeated being nailed to a cross. And Thor happens to have a BIG MAGIC HAMMER.

    Hammer? Nails? Anyone else fail to see the correlation?

  23. Never thought about the human scale of it before. The image is well known, but that shot with the base jumper gives it a meaning in terms of human accomplishment. 130′ tall, on a mountain peak, wish I could have watched them build it.

    Why do we waste so much of our best efforts on things which deny the divinity of man?

  24. People don’t realize, but the statue has metal spikes running across both its arms on the top and it also has a crown of spikes on the head, I’m assuming this is so that birds don’t sit or nest on the statue and crap all over the touristas.

  25. It’s definitely real. I just saw today on the TV news a scene of a lightning hitting the Christ (at the same spot, btw). It’s not difficult to catch lightning images here in Brazil, because lightings hit us VERY often. Maybe the photo is taken from a video, that would explain why its quality is terrible.

  26. #8 – I’m Pagan, and I don’t worship Idols. Funny though, millions of Americans of many religious affiliations do, they call it “American Idol”. Hahahahaha

    #11 – ROTFLMMFAO

    #22 – Kudos on mentioning the FSM, but it is to me to invoke Godwin’s Law, thus, “I think it’s just another one of Hitler’s strange ark quests gone awry!”

    #40 – I gave you a 5!

    #41 – Maybe that’s why Thrym had stolen it, YHWH and Jesus are like the god mafia, and they didn’t want a hit put out on JDawg.

    #42 – Aye.

  27. This picture was in the cover of a major newspaper here in Rio de Janeiro, “O Globo”, the after we had a major electric storm, no rain in my neighborhood unfortunately since rain usually gets the temperature down a bit ‘:-/.

    The Christ statue is also the highest point in the city, so I would bet it does get hit a lot, but usually when no one is aiming the camera to it.

  28. “FACT. When statues are struck by lightning, they come to life. FACT.”

    …Nonono, you’ve got your myths confused. Corpses come to life when struck by lightning. Statues are like snowmen, and only come to life when you put a magic hat on them.

    Still, one does have to wonder if Jesus shouted SHAZAM!…:)

  29. can you imagine horrible the caption if this was covered in the Family Circus??

    Jeffy: “Jesus’s daddy is recharging him!”

  30. I don’t know if the photograph is true or not, but I am currently living in Rio de Janeiro and I can confirm I saw a few storms and (pretty bad) rain this weekend.

  31. “can you imagine horrible the caption if this was covered in the Family Circus??

    Jeffy: “Jesus’s daddy is recharging him!””

    …Or something else along the lines of:

    “Okay…CLEAR! [Za-THUMP!] No pulse! Go to 40…”

    “The Energizer. It keeps on dying for your sins! And dying. And dying. And dying…”

    “Your Electric Company is working for you…”

    “Shortly after the lightning strike, Jesus found himself still on the cross. Only now he was covered in straw, and being harassed by crows near a Yellow Brick Road…”

    “So, as little Jesus found out, Mr. Weather was right about not playing outdoors in the middle of a thunderstorm…”

    “Whoo! Sure beats the hell out of a Plasma Ball light!”

  32. hi,

    It’s real, and took place 2 weeks ago. A very good friend of mine was *looking* when it happened. The ‘Christ, the Redeemer’ statue kept on the dark for two days afterwards, while people were fixing some damages on electrical connections.

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