This happened tonight and having done some limited experiments I've realised that I can do this but my wife can't.
Since I was a teenager I've known that if I run my finger lightly along an insulated electrical cable(*), I can feel the "brrrrr" of the electricity if it's plugged in to the mains. I can't feel it if my finger is held motionless on the cable.
Tonight, I touched my wife's foot when she was holding her iPad that was plugged into her charger and I felt the same effect.
We did a blind test where I closed my eyes, and from running my finger along her foot I could tell if she was holding her iPad or not,
We then swapped places, and she couldn't repeat what I did.
This got me thinking - is my sense of touch really *that* sensitive?
Anyone else experience this? I've read nothing about anyone else being able to sense this, but it never really occurred to me to look into it.
This isn't a vague "woo woo" "I can feel electricity" thing - it's verifiably an effect and a definite conscious experience - and give or take I could probably tell the frequency of the AC electricity if I touched cables with sufficiently different frequencies of AC (let's say 30, 50, 70 Hz).
(*) the bog-standard flex that is used on common household appliances - especially (going back a few decades) rubber-insulated ones - but PVC works almost equally well.
I thought Apple stuff had switched-mode power warts - the frequency of any electricity/noise coming up the lead would be many kHz.
Are you sure you've not got dodgy earths in your house???
It's happened to me in every house I've ever lived in or visited.
Yes the Apple charger will be switched mode, and filtered, so the differential-mode current in the charging cable will be dc with a tiny overlay of several kHz noise-like grunge.
I might repeat the experiment with the assistance of an oscilloscope to see if it sheds any light.
What it *feels* like is that the electric field alters the elastic compliance of my skin, and/or the friction coefficient between my finger and whatever I'm touching, so that when I move my fingers there's a sensation of a vibration that follows the instantaneous strength of the e-field & gets perceived as a vibration with the same frequency as the current.
That's really interesting! I've never experienced this myself, but I know we're all very different, so perhaps you really are just incredibly sensitive to touch.
Indeed! And I was wondering if it provides a way of getting some objective sense about *how* sensitive to touch I am. I never thought I was particularly sensitive (apart from the aversion I have to sandpaper, sand, wooden spoons and chalk!) but of course I grew up thinking "I'm like everyone else" - maybe not!
So you're a closet Theremin player - or are you really Magneto?
very impressive. My explanation would be that you are able to feel the electromagnetic field around a power line.
Have you done any experiments to see if you correctly can tell whether power is on or off, when you hold a cable?
Well it won't be dangerous an is a skill, which probably has very little place in the world other than amusement and interest
I can't tell if the power is on or off just by holding a cable, but can if I'm stroking it! :-).
I don't think it's the E-M field, because I have to be touching it (even a millimeter away and the affect disappears) whilst the E-M field will be of reasonable strength in the near vicinity of the cable & decreases gradually away from it. I also know that the effect disappears if I'm not adequately "earthed" - so it's something to do with voltage.
Talking of theremins and electricity.
I must admit, I find this rather fascinating - though it's not something I've experienced myself (my super-sense seems to be that I'm a "living barometer" for air pressure. I don't count my super-hearing, as that more often just has me crawling up the walls!)
Your description makes me wonder whether it's something to do with earth loops - that there's maybe a static charge around the conductor, for which you complete the circuit, and in doing so, become a kind of aerial, picking up the local mains hum. I've never heard of this happening when a human is part of the circuit, but it's a well known problem for audio engineers, who go to great lengths to avoid multiple paths to earth in order to avoid this kind of electromagnetic "loop aerial" pickup.
Maybe it does I hate sand too - especially wet sand!