The odds of being hit by lightning are roughly one in a million. On today's episode of Metamorphosis, we tell the story of a man who is that one in a million. Dr. Anthony Cicoria was a successful orthopaedic surgeon. He was happily married and the father of three young children. But a bolt out of the blue changed everything and resonated through every aspect of his life.
In August of 1994, Dr. Circoria and his extended family had gathered at a pavilion overlooking Sleepy Hollow Lake in upstate New York. Taking no notice of the storm gathering over the water, he took a break from barbequing and walked over to an outdoor payphone to call his mother. Just as he was about to hang up the receiver, there was a loud clap as a lightning bolt struck the pavilion and the payphone. The lightning came through the receiver and struck Dr. Cicoria in the face. After being thrown backwards, Cicoria reported experiencing a near-death experience during which he says he was floating above his lifeless body which was lying on the ground.
Dr. Cicoria was revived by a nurse who had been standing behind him waiting to use the phone. After a few weeks, he seemed to have made a full recovery. But there was an unexpected side effect from the lightning strike: an inexplicable obsession with classical music, in particular the music of Chopin.
He suddenly had an insatiable desire to listen to and play classical music. And he was haunted by an unfamiliar piece of music that kept playing in his head.
His musical obsession would cost him dearly, but 18 years later, Tony Cicoria believes he's now got it under control.