The mystery of electricity and the body...

Well, it’s a long story. My mum has been struck by lightning twice at different times in her life, once directly and once non-directly. Ever since, whenever she wears a watch, it runs backwards or too fast (with every watch she wears). Also the cash processing machines in the store stop working whenever she’s shopping. She knows a woman who was also electrocuted once, and she said that whenever she passes by any phone, it rings. Why is this? What can excessive electricity do to the body that may affect other things?

Have you ever, personally, seen her watch run backwards? This would really be cool. Is this a quartz watch, with a battery? Mechanical, wind-up?

Have you ever been with her when the cash machines stop working, or have you just heard her tell you about it?

Actually, excessive electricity can’t be stored in your mums body. Not unless she has a unique molecular structure. So she probably is a great mum, but the only thing that excessive electricity can do to her body is alter her perception of reality.

Tell your mum she’s full of it.

It can’t. The human body has no known charge storage mechanism that would account for anything even remotely close to this.

What lightning can do to you is make your hair stand up on end (just like one of those van de graff generators you may have played around with in science class) just before it blasts the living crap out of you. If mother nature does decide to blast you with a lightning bolt, it can cause nerve damage, severe burns, and can possibly cause your heart to go out of rhythm (at which point you generally die, unless someone happens to be very near with a portable defib unit). Basically, a lightning bolt is just a really really big bug zapper, and you’re the bug.

Funny, no one ever reports flies who have had close encounters with bug zappers causing clocks to spin backwards.

Oh, I’m sure it happens. But only with really teeny clocks.

I had a friend who used to wreck watches rather faster than average. Except for Swatch watches. Never did figure out why. I doubt it was an electrical effect from her body - more likely something she was habitually doing with them.

One thing you have to watch out for are false correlations, and spotting patterns which aren’t there. E.g. every time your mum goes shopping and there’s trouble with the till (she’s not alone with that, by the way) she chalks it up to her lightning strikes, but everytime she shops and there’s no problem she just doesn’t notice it. To see if there’s a real effect, you have to keep track of all the times it doesn’t happen, as well as all the times it does.

If it always happens, contact the media and the James Randi Educational Foundation, because there’s money to be made from such things!

Actually, they have. Thus the expression–“time flies.”



You really should open your mind a little, you’ll be wiser for it.
And yes, this is true. I’ve seen it, it’s really strange. My dad had to put an extremely thick layer of plastic on the back of my mum’s watch before it would even work right. This site here, is interesting-

Now, could that many people all be hallucinating or imagining the same thing?

Couldn’t we all meet there?

I’m open to the possibility, but I’m not willing to just take your word for it. How about a video footage of the watch moving incorrectly?

Yes, they could.

Have your mom contact James Randi to collect her $1 million. You don’t have to send me any finder’s fee.

Now correct if I’m wrong here, but isn’t it a scientific fact that it’s impossible for even two people, not including the hundred others, to have the same hallucination?

Mass delusions and hysteria
courtesy of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

Not at all. I once knew two guys who were unequivocally convinced that I was an undercover narcotics investigator working for the United States Department of the Interior. The rather unglamorous truth of the matter is that at that time I was employed as a maintenance worker at a third rate hospitality service which was roughly the phylogenetic equivalent of Howard Johnson’s. I pretty much changed light bulbs and unclogged toilets for a living.

I think I used to be friends with one of those guys. (Seriously.)

Hey, Bill Beaty’s site! One of my favourites! He used to post here quite a lot, and has forgotten more about electricity than I’ll ever know.

There’s a few caveats to make about various electrical experiences. One is that we receive static shocks all the time, but some people are more sensitive to them than others and so percieve the shocks more often. There’s also the effect of certain clothes - I have a pair of boots which zap the hell out of me if I wear them when driving and then touch something metallic. If I wore them all the time I could well come under the impression that I’m one of the electric people!

Your statement was that whatever watch your mum wears, “it runs backwards or too fast”. If this is true and repeatable it is important, and needs to be looked into. But first can we have a few details - are we talking about one watch running backwards and a few others running too fast? Or are there a whole bunch of watches that ran backwards? Did they work okay again when your mum took them off? When you say they ran too fast, do you mean they were visibly too fast, e.g. the second hand sweeps around once every ten seconds, or something less extreme e.g. the watch was a half-hour ahead at the end of the day?

There’s an easy solution to this problem. Have your mum drink magnetized water.

This sounds similar to those claims people make about street lights turning out when they walk by (the simplest answer to which is that you just don’t know about all the times they turn out when you don’t walk by).

I call BS on the whole thing - vera, you’re describing something paranormal - get thee to Mr Randi and claim your money!

It could be observation bias, or a single incidence of a malfuntioning watch combined with selective memory of watches owned in the past. The phone ringing thing is almost certainly observation bias.

We don’t know how old Vera’s mum is. Before cheap quartz movements and sealed watch electronics became common, most watches were prone to drift and they didn’t cope too well with condensation or water either. It’s not necessarily a paranormal claim, at least not yet. I’d like to hear more details, and how many of these screwy watches we’re talking about.

My mum has never owned a properly functioning watch. Not that she magically makes them malfunction, just that she chooses pretty over functional, with tiny bodies, and usually wind-up movements. She is also a bit clutzy with anything “fiddly”.

In my flat, there are four malfunctioning timepieces. My PC clock, which is par for the course if you play games. The central heating clock on my gas boiler, which is a result of the cheapskate/ignorant boiler manufacturer not bothering to use a temperature-compensated quartz movement. The clock built into my phone, which I assume is either because it’s an awful, cheap piece of crap (which it is) Or because the Broadband low pass filter interferes with its micropower circuitry. And the strapless, semi-knackered watch which serves as my bathroom clock and still manages to work despite being visibly full of condensation. If I wasn’t aware of the various mechanisms screwing these clocks up, maybe I’d come to some unusual conclusions.

I was being treate at the University of Michigan Medical Center’s physical therapy office, and undergoing a long, fairly painless procedure that involved very mild doses of electricity. The process took 40 minutes and I get bored easily, so sometimes the PTs would entertain me with medical stories, which I always enjoy.

One of the PTs used to work on the Burn Unit. According to her, they had a guy come in who has been struck by lightening but never discharged. As I understand it, a lightening strike normally has an “entry wound” and an “exit wound” to put it in very simple terms. However, the charge was still circulating in this guy. Well, they were afraid to hook him up to any monitors for fear of prompting the discharge through his heart, brain or other vitals and killing him. According to her, they were calling around all over the place – including places like Walter Reed, the WHO, and CDC – trying to decide what to do with him. Eventually they decided to just leave him be and the charge dissipated gradually on its own (IIRC this took a few days).

So, my doper friends… could it indeed be possible for a person to hold a high static charge for an extended period of time?