TAMPA, Fla. -- A Florida man says he might be the unluckiest guy in the world. He claims that, in separate incidents, he's been robbed at gunpoint, stabbed in the chest, bitten by snakes and, most recently, struck by lightning.
Four years ago, John Wade Agan told deputies he was robbed at gunpoint in his taxicab, roughed up and stuffed into the trunk of the car.
Three years ago, he drove to a fire station with a butcher knife sticking out of his chest.
Two years ago, in a news conference from his hospital bed, he told the world he'd been bitten by two different snakes at the same time, a claim experts doubted.
He told the St. Petersburg Times he might have been the unluckiest man in the world.
Now, Agan, 47, occupies another hospital bed, befallen, he said, by yet another freak calamity: lightning.
He said it happened Tuesday evening during a severe storm. He was leaning over a metal kitchen sink, holding a corded phone up to his ear, when he heard a loud boom. He said he blacked out.
His 26-year-old daughter, Misty Agan, was standing just feet away from him and said she heard the phone drop. "Oh! Oh! Oh!" she said she heard her dad say before he crumpled to the ground and began to shake.
Agan said he awoke surrounded by paramedics, finding his right shoe off and a big hole in his sock. "It felt like it was on fire," he said.
On Wednesday, Agan, propped up in bed at Tampa General Hospital, told a St. Petersburg Times reporter he was sore and had a ringing in his ear.
He knows what people say about him -- what they said after reading about his snakebites, what some will say when they read this story -- that he's lying or somehow hurting himself, maybe to get pain medicine.
"I don't care what people say. Any day of the week, I'll go take a drug test," Agan said. But not today; he was getting pain medications.
There's no way to prove someone has or hasn't been struck by lightning, experts say. Agan doesn't have any obvious burn marks. Most victims don't.
Two lightning experts said a strike while using a corded phone didn't sound unusual.
"It's certainly possible," said Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, a widely cited expert in the narrow field of lightning injury research. Agan, who plans to seek county aid as an indigent to pay his medical bills, said he didn't want to be in the hospital.
(Contact Alexandra Zayas at azayas(at)sptimes.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.scrippsnews.com)