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The Cause, Stopping the Pain, and "Electric People"

©1997 William J. Beaty


While dry weather and carpet-scuffing will charge up your body, the source of some human-body sparking is a mystery. There are reports of rare people, "Electric Humans," who spontaneously develop high voltage on their bodies and suffer the continuous problem of "static" sparks. Their sparking occurs regardless of footwear, clothing, humidity, or even motion! Electric humans are forever getting zapped when they touch people, or when they touch large metal objects. For the rest of us, "static sparks" can only occur after we walk across certain carpets when humidity is low, or when we wiggle around while sitting upon certain car seats or chairs. And for the rest of us, the problem vanishes when the humidity is high, or when we go barefoot or avoid wool or nylon sweaters/pants, avoid plastic seats, etc. But the bodies of "Electric Humans" are different, and seem to become electrified all the time, all by themselves, without involving the friction or the contact/separation of differing surfaces.

R.A. Ford mentions two cases in chapter 13 of his book HOMEMADE LIGHTNING (1991 Tab Books). In one case from 1837 a woman could repeatedly jump sparks 1-1/2" long to a large smooth metal object while she stood unmoving on a thick carpet, or she could continuously create 1/16" sparks much faster (once per second.) Another case took place in 1920, when prison inmates in upstate New York suffering from Botulin food poisoning were found to be "electrified." They were able to attract paper, create sparks, etc., even when partially submerged in a bathtub. (Obviously the 1920s bathtub must not have been attached to grounded pipes, otherwise the excess charge would have vanished instantly.)

In modern times an Electric Human would have additional problems besides irritating sparks. Computers, stereo equipment, digital watches, etc., are easily damaged by high voltage and spark discharges. All sorts of electronic appliances would not survive very long under the electrostatic barrage. An electric human would be advized to buy mechanical watches, and to avoid buying any appliance which contains a microprocessor.

Unfortunately, scientific skepticism is currently at an all time high, so if a person with this sparking problem was to seek help, they would probably be ridiculed and their sanity questioned! Scientists don't believe in "electric people." Reputable scientists "know" that Electric Humans are mere superstition and cannot exist. Therefor anyone claiming to have this problem is irrational, perhaps deranged! At least the internet is there, giving opportunity for 'charged humans' to tell their stories (for example, at: REPORT YOUR UNUSUAL PHENOMENA)

As a Seattle resident, do you get doorknob sparks even in the summer? Zap your loved ones? Kill all computers, wristwatches and light-dimmers? If so, would you be interested in playing with different ways to stop your static charges problem? I have some ideas for cures, but no victims on which to experiment! If you live in Seattle (or Tacoma, Bellingham, etc.), contact me at

What could cause the "Electric Human" problem? First, shoe sole material and clothing material needs to be eliminated as a possible cause. Maybe you aren't an "electric human" at all. Maybe you simply have electric shoes! If sparks are ALWAYS a problem, regardless of wearing various conductive clothing (cotton) or various shoe soles (leather, metal foil, etc.), then perhaps the problem isn't from "frictional" charging, and it's something mysterious.

In order to create a static electric imbalance on our bodies other than through "contact electrification" or "frictional" methods, we would have to be sending out ELECTRICALLY CHARGED AIR (and so our bodies would take on an opposite charge.) Perhaps the skin does this somehow. Or maybe the membranes of our lungs can somehow emit air which is electrically non-neutral. If a person were to constantly be breathing out negative ions (charged air molecules), then unless their body was electrically grounded to the earth, they would rapidly accumulate a positive charge-imbalance on their body, an imbalance which is equal and opposite to the charged air being breathed out. But why would our lungs be producing electrified air? One possibility: when microscopic bubbles burst, the natural surface-charge of the water will cause the spray of tiny droplets to have a negative charge. If the liquid on the inner surface of alveoli should be full of micro-bubbles, then our lungs might become VandeGraaff generators. Another possibility: certain viruses grow outwards from cells using long filaments. Smallpox does this. If you catch a virus which spreads through the air because it launches "spores" from your lungs, those spores might carry enough of an electric charge that they will stick to any surfaces that they encounter (such as other nearby humans.) Evolution might favor such a capability. But the spores would also act as charged air, and whenever you breathed outwards, your body would aquire an increasing opposite charge. In other words, the "electric human syndrome" might be caused by viruses, it might be an actual disease that you could catch from another "electric human!" Think about it: cold viruses spread themselves by causing people to cough and sneeze. The "electric human" virus would spread itself by causing people to breath out virus-laden air (and the annoyance of the electric charging would be a side-effect.) Hmmmm, maybe those prisoners in 1930 didn't actually have Botulin poisoning, maybe they had some other illness...

Another, more exotic possibility: maybe it's not static. Maybe it's something else, Torsion Fields for example. The Russians believe that Torsion Fields explain telepathy, psychokinesis, hands-on healing, and many other "paranormal" phenomena. If the human aura exists, then Torsion Physics might explain it, and the "electric human" effect might come about because of a super-strong torsion effect which surrounds a particular person.

NOTE: In private communications M. Foster mentioned that if you blast a hair dryer through a PVC pipe after first wetting the inner surface of the pipe, the pipe becomes highly electrified. The cause is unknown, but it might involve the bursting of microbubbles (which are known to launch negative water droplets into the air.) This might indicate a mechanism whereby human bodies can becomes mysteriously electrified WITHOUT scuffing any shoe soles on carpet. If the wetted PVC pipe is replaced by human lungs, and if the hair dryer is replaced by the act of breathing, we have an analogy for the infamous "electric human." But do the surfaces inside human lungs spew out droplets of water? We're not talking about condensation here; the wet surfaces would have to eject droplets. (Maybe they do, since doctors find that the air coming from the mouths of victims of chicken pox and other diseases can infect others.)


Are you an unexplainable human oddity? Here's a possible way to test it: first see if you can create sparks without moving around and rubbing against things. First, put on some thick shoes, hold a metal object in your hand, then sit on a non-conductive chair that's within reach of grounded metal. Faucets, sinks, radiators, and the screw on an electric outlet all are examples of grounded metal. The best "insulating chair" would be a plastic-resin lawn chair, or perhaps an upside-down plastic waste basket. If the chair has metal legs and metal bolts on the seat, then it is *not* a good insulator, so sit on a phonebook or a thick stack of newspaper.

Next, turn off the room lights, sit down, firmly hold your small metal object, and slowly touch it to grounded metal. Watch closely. Was there a spark where the object touched? If so, then your body is no longer charged. But the first spark is normal. Now, as long as you don't rub your back or butt against anything, YOUR BODY SHOULD NOT CHARGE BACK UP BY ITSELF. Sit there for a couple of minutes without moving. Don't lean back in the chair, since you don't want your back to touch/peel from the plastic chair back. Now, touch the metal object in your hand slowly to the grounded metal again. Watch carefully. There should be no spark. If there WAS a spark, then something very weird is going on. Wait another few minutes and try again. If you can keep on creating sparks in this way, yet nothing except your arm is moving, then you are an "electric people." Hey, if this works, drop me an email note at . Maybe we can write this up and force the mainstream research community to take this phenomenon seriously. At the very least, please add your report to:


Another way to test yourself. Get a flourescent tube and find a darkened room. Use a piece of wire with clean ends to connect the pins on one end of the tube to a ground connection such as a metal faucet. Lay the fluorescent tube on a table within easy reach. Turn off the room lights. Hold a small piece of metal and touch this metal to the OTHER pins, to the ungrounded pins on the other end of the tube. See any flashes inside the tube? (The first flash is normal.) Wait for a few minutes and try touching the pins again. A true "electric human" should be able to make the tube flash repeatedly by touching the pins on one end of the tube while the pins on the other end are grounded. A normal human can do it too, but only if he/she is scuffing maniaclly on a rug while the humidity is low.

Possible cures: buy some conductive ankle-straps that lead to adhesive conductor foot-pads attached to your shoe soles, then walk only on conductive mats which are electrically grounded via a wire. These products are used in the elctronics manufacturing industry and are available through "ESD" abatement companies (perhaps search for "ESD", "static", or "wrist strap" on the WWW.) ESD stands for "Electro-Static Discharge."

Simple but crude cure: wear a thimble on your finger, then constantly touch grounded metal objects during your travels. The painful "zap" will be eliminated, since it doesn't blow a pinhole in your flesh when the spark jumps. An un-tried high-tech cure: buy an "ionizing blower" from an ESD-abatement company. Expect to pay $200 or $300. (Don't mistake these for "negative ion generators", you instead want a "balanced polarity" blower intended for stopping ESD in electronics manufacturing.) These blowers send out large quantities of both + and - polarities of charged air. This adds neutralised yet movable charges to the air which make the air itself become conductive. The air then silently discharges any charged objects in the room (including any "Electric Humans".)

Created and maintained by Bill Beaty. Mail me at: .
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