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25 Nov, 2014 16:42

Google buzz: Static electric field around London HQ has hair-raising effect

Google buzz: Static electric field around London HQ has hair-raising effect

A video has emerged of a man walking into a patch of static electricity outside Google’s offices in London, with his hair visibly rising.

Simon Legrand and a friend felt a “strong electric field” as they were walking past the office building on Friday night. In the video, Legrand said: “Alright, so there’s this static electricity beam, right next to the Google building in London.

I’m going to go inside the beam, and my hair is going to go up. (Legrand’s hair is seen rising from his head) It feels really weird on my forehead.”

As the camera moves towards the building, there is a large crack of static electricity and his friend Nick shouts: “Oh my god, can you hear that?” before the video ends. Legrand adds the charge is affecting his phone.

The mystery became a hot topic on Reddit, where several people have reported feeling the static electric field.

One Reddit user described a visit to the area around the office and said he felt the same effect. However, when he went to the same area at 2am, the static effect had ceased, he said.

“I definitely don't feel well,” said another Reddit user. “I was stupid and went in a second time to shoot the video after another passerby got her hair turned into a giant blonde afro in the same spot. She was not laughing.” The veracity of these claims however cannot be established.

Reddit users speculated what might have caused the static electric beam.

“Assuming it's not a hoax, I cannot even begin to imagine what could cause something like that to happen in the middle of a street,” said Reddit user AndyAndrophile.

“It can't be stray voltage from power lines underground because you need a static field (DC) to get this effect.”

He added he had “seen such a phenomenon occur naturally … during a thunderstorm when the voltage gradient becomes very high on the ground just before lightning strikes, but that is impossible here because they're all deep within the lightning shadow of the tall buildings surrounding them. Very intriguing and difficult to explain if real.”

A Reddit user, BlinkingZeroes, who used to work in the area, said: “This used to happen to me too (hair would stand up) though it's never had any effect on either me or any of my colleagues beyond that.”