The Friday Night Light Show.

So Earl, Scott and me just got back from a Friday night field trip. After watching two episodes of “Hot In Cleveland” on the DVR, I declared that we were going to go for a ride (though it had nothing to do with what we just watched). I grabbed two fluorescent bulbs from the basement (after confirming that they worked) and we hopped in Earl’s car and headed out to the countryside not too far from where we live. When I found the perfect spot, we pulled over on the side of the road. Earl asked me to put on the warning flashers.

We were parked under the Marcy-Massena Power Lines. The lines are 765kV and are among the highest voltage lines in North America. The voltage is so high on these lines that the experts call this line an Ultra High Voltage line.

Earl and Scott stayed in the car and watched as I hiked into the field headed toward the closest tower. The first thing I noticed is that there was a slight crackling sound coming from the tower itself. Apparently an insulator was losing a little bit of current to the air around it. Once away from the headlights of the car, I noticed that the fluorescent tube in my hand was somewhat illuminated around my grasp of the tube. Once I touched the tube to the ground, the tube lit up impressively; there was enough light coming from the tube that I could see the writing on my t-shirt. Earl and Scott were able to notice the light.

I then walked back to the car, crossed the road and into the field on the other side. I was now walking away from the closest tower (and the crackling noises coming from the insulators) where the three spans start to dip down a little bit. I noticed a repeat of the tube lighting up around my hand, but it was brighter this time. This makes sense, since the wires were a little bit lower than near the tower. I touched the tube to the ground and it lit up impressively, much more than it did the first time I tried it. Earl and Scott were my witnesses and noticed that it lit up. I picked it up, reducing the light to just around my hand again, and swung it around whilst making light saber noises.

My video didn’t come out good at all. Because I was standing in complete darkness and the light coming from the tube was being powered by EMF (Electromagnetic Field) Radiation coming from the lines, I didn’t have a lot to work with in capturing the video.

I need a better setup without being paranoid about the crackling noises coming from the tower and being questioned for my eccentric activity. I need to borrow a friendly farmer’s field.

Update Sat 21 Apr 12 0006 EDT: I forgot that it was Friday night and not Saturday night. I updated the blog entry accordingly. Duh.


    1. I could be snarky and say that judging by the behavior of many in this area (where all the major powerlines in New York State come together), I would say that it fries brain cells and lowers the IQ. 🙂 Kidding aside, it really can’t be good for you. I told Earl that I felt a “little weird” after standing under the lines for 10 minutes or so but that could just be my own paranoia. He told me I always glowed.

      1. I wonder (frequently, which is odd) what all the power lines in our homes and businesses do to us as well. One has to wonder if our “dependence” on electricity and all the things it gives us is maybe being traded off by a higher chance of, oh, say, cancers, etc.

        1. Like you, I wonder about this frequently. It’s one of the reasons that I take my phone out of my pocket whenever I can. I don’t like the idea of cooked jewels.

          A couple of the folks I work with have the habit of peering into the microwave when they’re heating up their lunch. That can’t be good for them. I, too, wonder about all this electricity we are dependent on. For some reason I feel better about North America where household current is 110VAC vs Europe at 220. I don’t know why I think that reduces the risk.

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