People Moving to West Virginia to Hide From Wi-Fi, Cell Phones

Some (different) people are so convinced that Wi-Fi and mobile phones are making them sick that they're moving to West Virginia's 13,000 square-mile U.S. Radio Quiet Zone, which has no wireless technology so as to avoid interfering with the local telescope. Hey, if Wi-Fi makes trees sick, why not humans?

The wireless- and cell phone-fearing folks fleeing to Appalachia claim to suffer from a condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which they believe is caused by electromagnetic radiation emitted by Wi-Fi, cell phones, and other technology. People with EHS can experience any of the following symptoms:

  • reddening of the face
  • chest pains
  • other pains
  • burning skin sensations
  • twitchy muscles
  • headaches
  • Also:

    • "sleep disturbances
    • tiredness
    • depression
    • restlessness
    • irritability
    • concentration problems
    • forgetfulness
    • learning difficulties
    • frequent infections
    • blood pressure changes
    • tinnitus
    • hearing loss
    • impaired balance
    • giddiness
    • eye problems
    • maybe tachycardia"

    Not to forget digestive disturbances. And Morgellons (probably).

    If you've been having any of the above health issues, then throw away your electronic devices, join the five percent of Americans who claim to be EHS-afflicted, and move to Green Bank STAT. If you don't want to live in WV because it's terrible, though, you can also ask your loved one to build you an insulated, wire-mesh Faraday cage, which will keep out electromagnetic waves (and scorpions, and rabid raccoons). EHS sufferer Diane Schou's husband built her a Faraday cage ("here honey, I built you this cage for your birthday"); she tells the BBC that it worked pretty well for a while:

    He covered a wooden frame with two layers of wire mesh and a door that could be sealed shut to prevent radio waves from entering.

    Diane spent much of her time inside it, sleeping on a twin mattress on a plywood base.

    "At least I could see my husband on the outside, I could talk to him," she says.

    Living like a pet parakeet got old for Schou, though! She's an American, born to be free, what do you expect. So she moved her family to Green Bank, and now she doesn't have to live inside an enclosed mesh box or capsule or whatever anymore.

    EHS is a real thing in Sweden, at Louisiana State University, and in the minds of its sufferers. It's not a real thing in the mind of University of Maryland physics professor Bob Park, who told the BBC that Wi-Fi doesn't emit radiation waves strong enough to mess with people's bodies. The scientific community seems to agree with Park.

    Maybe all these people feel better when they move to Green Bank because the air is fresh, the vibe is chill, and they're able to break free from the terrible distractions of cell phones/text messages and computers? It's just a thought. [BBC, PopSci. Image via AP]