The mystery of electricity and the body...

A lightning bolt’s worth? Not a chance.

A lightning bolt isn’t even static anyway. It’s a conductive pathway carrying very high current between the Earth and the sky. If you’re struck by lightning, the current keeps flowing, mostly along your skin if you’re lucky.

I’d say that either the PT was winding you up, or she was repeating a “friend of my sister-in-law” story that was told to her. It sounds like an emergency room UL.

What make you think that disagreeing with you indicates a closed mind? The phrase “I’m rubber, you’re glue” comes to mind.

No. Your story just doesn’t make sense. Lightning strikes you because your body is the easiest path to the ground - it conducts electricity much better than air does, so lightning will strike you if you complete the circuit by helping it connect to the ground. It’s only the fact that lightning is able to instantaneously leave your body that motivates it to strike you in the first place (pardon my anthropomorphizing.) It doesn’t just hole up inside a person; if it somehow were inside you, it would do anything it could to leave your body because you’d carry an electrical charge as a result and the lightning would repel itself.

If they had been thinking, they could have used him to power their household needs for a few days.

coughBULLSHIT!cough - Crikey, I’d be looking to discharge myself from the hospital and admit myself to one that had at least made it into the 20th century.

Yes, if that person was placed on an insulated pedestal before the charge was applied, otherwise, no.

Sure, if your floating in mid air.
As soon as you touch the ground and become “grounded” all the charge would flow right out of you.
Whenever I go to the store and get into a checkout line it always moves slower than all the other ones. Same thing when I’m on a busy freeway. I wonder if I’m electrified?

Why wouldn’t he just have grabbed onto a metal bar stuck in the ground with whatever hand he felt he could live without the easiest?

Well, they were visibly too fast, such as the hour hand was moving like the minute hand, the minute hand was sweeping by like a second hand. It stopped when she took the watch off, and all of her watches over the years have either stopped, gone visibly too fast, or too slow. She buys high quality watches, and different brands and types. She can wear a watch now because my dad applied a thick layer of plastic on the back of the watch. It now runs normally.

The problem being that plastic wouldn’t do a thing about it. If your mother was emitting some sort of electrical or magnetic field that was screwing up her watches, plastic would be completely transparent to them. A layer of metal is more likely to do the trick. If she was actually emitting electricity, then plastic might insulate the watch, but being zapped with electricity wouldn’t cause the effect you describe, it wouldn’t last after, say, a tenth of a second past the lightning strike, and there’s no mechanism to cause it. Plus, you’d notice if you ever gave her a hug: you’d get an electric shock.

Electricity is not a mysterious thing; it behaves under very well-understood rules.

Actually, think about it - the lightning/hospital incident described third or fourth hand by Hello Again could be (if it isn’t just an UL) just a simple case of miscomprehension; man admitted to hospital after being struck by lightning; medical staff, expecting to find a burn on his ankles, can’t find one and are mildly perplexed about it, but shrug it off; they hook him up to monitors to make sure the shock hasn’t damaged his heart rythm or ruptured his lungs, he tells them he feels fine and can he please go home?; they tell him no, they can’t possibly discharge him until he’s been properly looked over. Amplified and mutated a little in the retelling and you have Bob the Human Battery. It all fits!

Well, you know what they say about extraordinary claims. Do you have a camcorder footage of this happening? And what type of watch was it, mechanical or quartz?

Even if this were happening, it’s not because her body is still somehow charged up. There’s just no way to store a significant amount of electric charge in or on a human body for a prolonged time. Even if you were on an insulated pedestal, the charge would dissipate in a matter of hours. (Saw this on Discovery Channel recently, it was pretty cool - an assistant was nearby charing a bucket of feathers with the opposite charge, and the feathers flew and stuck to the charged man. Took tens of minutes for the feathers to fall off.)

:slight_smile: I like the cut of your jib, mangetout.

Is there anything she could be DOING that might cause this with the watches? Like washing dishes, getting them wet, banging them around? Hooking them up to battery chargers?

When the watch goes backward, time doesn’t change does it? You don’t notice any strange marks on anyone in the family do you? Perhaps it’s an implant of some sort.

Okay. That’s pretty well inexplicable!

Suggestion: go see your mum, lend her your watch, see if you can reliably reproduce this effect. Then beg or borrow a couple of other watches and see if you can reproduce it with them. Do this first! BE SURE.

Then, email James Randi at the link I gave you earlier. He is brusque and ultra-sceptical, but IMO he tries to be scrupulously fair. (Others on these boards would disagree.) The quality of your writing is better than a lot of the stuff he gets, which will help.

Describe what your mum can do. Be VERY specific -don’t say “all watches, any type” and don’t say “visibly faster or slower”. Say which brands and models, say that they keep time accurate to e.g. a minute over a day when your mum isn’t wearing them, and lose or gain at least ten minutes an hour when she is wearing them. (That’s an example. You’ll have to measure the real drift.) Ask if this would constitute evidence of the supernatural, and state that you wish to claim the $1000,000 prize.

If he agrees that it constitutes evidence of the supernatural, then you will have to negotiate a test protocol. He will probably suggest a way to test and record this effect. If it seems fair to you, you can agree to it. If it seems unfair, you can suggest ways to alter it that make it fair. If you’re unsure, I’d be happy to help.

If you agree on a test protocol, then he will put you in contact with someone reasonably local for preliminary testing. This should be someone in the same country as you - the JREF has members and afiliates in many countries. Note that you will have to pay your own expenses and travel costs, but you may be able to get a local or national newspaper interested enough to sponsor you.

Assuming your mum can demonstrate her watch effect in the preliminary test, then you will almost certainly be able to get a newspaper to sponsor you for the main test, which will be a repeat of the test protocol you have agreed on. Go get the money!

I’ve worked in three burn units. I saw and cared for several lightning struck patients, some had entry and exit burns, some had neither, or only one. It depends on the conditions present at the time of the strike. Nothing magical about not having an exit site.
Also, burn units are critical care units. No patient would ever be “let be,” they are critically ill. He may have only been in the Burn Unit for a couple hours. If someone is awake, can move everything, knows his or her own name, they’d get kicked in short order.
Its very likely the Burn Unit nurse were have fun with her. For one thing, CDC deals with infectious disease, not lightning, WHO , or Walter Reed would have no special information on burns or lightning strikes either.

vera, would you like $1 million? I assume you do so I’m puzzled as to why you are continuing to post on this message board rather than going to collect it from James Randi. Your mothers affliction would definately count as supernatural, if you can prove it to Mr Randi, you get a cool million bucks.

You’ve heard what she can do to clocks, what fool would dare approach the lady with a camcorder! :stuck_out_tongue:

I suppose it’s possible for heavy shock to decouple the hour hand from its gearing and jam it in such a way as it rotates with the second hand, but that would be pretty unusual.

Another possibility is that the hour hand fell off, or became decoupled from its gears and stuck to the underside of the minute hand - this scenario would also require the user to have forgotten that there was a second hand - what you’d see is a long hand sweeping second, a slightly shorter one sweeping minutes and no hour hand - in the absence of the hour hand you could (possibly, but it’s unlikely) mistake the second hand for the minute hand and the minute hand for the hour hand.

Lastly, some of the more expensive analogue quartz watches don’t use the winder post to adjust the hands - it’s all done under motor control by the watch electronics - these watches can do really clever stuff, including moving the hands all at once in opposite directions - a watch like this, if something went wrong, could concievably do what is being reported here.
But the point is that the more expensive analogue quartz watches tend not to go wrong so often - any reasonable scenario we might dream up is compounded right out of the picture by the assertion that this has happened multiple times with different watches.

Highly unlikely. Thecapacitance of the human body is between 100 and 300 picofarads. A voltage of 10000 will arc over a distance of 3 mm in dry air. At 10000 volts a 300 pF capacitor contains 3 microCoulombs of electricity. If this discharges uniformly in 1 millisecond the current is 3 nanoAmperes.

The air around us contains ions that are created by the constant rain of cosmic rays. Even if you don’t touch anything and are charged to a few thousand volts, you will discharge in a relatively short time as a result of the conductivity of the air around you, small as it is.

Does your mother play any type of sports like tennis or golf?
A lot of watches can be ruined from this type of activity.