British grandmother has super powers. Or possibly stretch pants and a shuffling problem.

Electric Lady: Look! She just had an idea!
Electric Lady: Look! She just had an idea!Courtesy YanivG
I initially began this post with a super-hero themed pun. Key phrases: great power, great Price.

Why, JGordon, did you change it?

I'll tell you why: because I respect you. You’re readers, computer literates, science-enthusiasts: you deserve better than punning.

So let’s get down to brass tax: Mavis Price, 60-year-old denizen of Shropshire, like Electro, can shoot electricity out of her body. Sure, it happens randomly, and it kills more electric kettles than it does super-heroes (way, way more electric kettles, actually), but it's still pretty cool.

According to Mavis and her family, a touch from the grandmother will often fatally short out electric appliances, from irons to computers, and that just standing next to her can result in an unpleasant shock (not unusual from grandmothers, in my experience.)

"I went on an IT course, but it was a nightmare because every time I touched the computer it would either freeze or shut down,” claimed Mavis in a British accent. "The technician had to constantly come over to my machine to see what was wrong and he was completely baffled."

Mighty Mavis even has an origin story of sorts: she first recollects her power manifesting more than 50 years ago, as she was plugging in a television set. The TV exploded, and little Mavis was sent “flying across the room.” It could be that she is simply unable to recollect anything at all before being caught in a TV explosion, but we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Unlike scientists. That’s right, scientists, the uber-killjoys, insist that there must be a rational explanation for the Mavis phenomenon. They even suggest that it’s not actually a super power, but a—get this—coincidence! What? Just because it can’t be tested or replicated? Is that what science is supposed to be? Oh. Well, whatever.

Some experts propose that Mavis, or the Shropshire Zapster (as she will no doubt come to be known) is inadvertently perpetuating her condition by building up large amounts of static electricity by walking with a shuffling gate, or by wearing too much nylon like fabric. The friction between nylon clad legs, or old lady feet and carpet, causes a each element to take on a positive or a negative charge, resulting in the kind of zap we’re all familiar with.

But I ask you this: even if this is the answer, what should she do? 1)She’s an old lady—you’d take shuffling away from her? 2) Nylon? Please. What is she supposed to wear? What do you think Electro wears?

Other, less sciencey types, suggest that Mavis’ condition may be similar to the SLI anomaly. SLI, or Street Light Interference, is a similarly less-sciencey phenomenon, which causes street lights to go off as afflicted people (known as SLIders—seriously) walk beneath them. Skeptics point out that this is very probably the result of paranoia combined with a lot of old street lights (dying sodium lights require more voltage, and will shut off sporadically, in such a way that is not to be taken personally). SLIders counter that street light interference occurs with all types of street lights, not just sodium lights. Unfortunately, the SLIders also have no control over their power, and so can’t do it on cue, for, say, a scientific test. Nurts.

But, you know, some people, like Mavis and the SLIders, insist on the reality of their conditions. Anyone here some kind of SLIder, or electro-kid? Check out the Association for the Scientific Study of Paranormal Phenomena website. They might be able to help you out. Somehow.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

Aww that is cool. I wan't to be able to do someting like that, but i don't want to harm people thought

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:30am
flinch619's picture
flinch619 says:

isnt this kinda dangerous? keep this lady away from the community pool dude.


posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:31am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats tight i would be a lil upset if i couldnt hug my grandma without gettin shocked so its tight but on the other hand its kind of scary

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:35am
MrBig621188's picture
MrBig621188 says:

dude i wish i could shock people like that one Saturday mourning cartoon whats it called....static shock or something

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:37am
koallainfestation37's picture
koallainfestation37 says:

super powers huh,
that is prity cool
i wish i had super powers

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:37am
shanee's picture
shanee says:

Super powers huh?? i mean come on people who's actually witnessed this? lets be serious she's probably just very wise..think about it?

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well can somethin like this really happin an why does it have to be coincidence just because they cant sample it an do what they want with it

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:41am
Looney_Tooney's picture
Looney_Tooney says:

I wish my grandma had super powers...
So I can just yell for her when i need help... :))

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 9:55am
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

that is crazy does she like kill cell phones too? i dont think that she would be able to hold a charge from a t.v. exploding on her.
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Thu, 02/28/2008 - 10:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I read somewhere that street lights are set to turn off every once in a while to let them cool off, to save energy or some other reason. I have noticed on well lit streets that one light will go dark for a while with no effect on the overall lighting, so this makes sense to me.

posted on Sun, 03/02/2008 - 11:03am
Twila's picture
Twila says:

When I first saw the article I was like cool I wish my grandma had these powers but as I read on I saw that it happens randomly. That makes me scared.

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 9:59am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

With some grandmas, a lot of things are random.
My grandma, for instance, always said that when she died I would have her candy jar, which seemed pretty random to me.

Never got that candy jar, either.

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 8:11pm
Amanda's picture
Amanda says:

how can a 50 some year old grandmother believe she has an electric shock that runs threw her ever since a television explosion as a little girl? its kind of cool but weird in the same way, im kind of in the middle on this one i dont know i guess i have to see it to believe it

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:02am
Stefania's picture
Stefania says:

wow cool.... okay... she got her power... only thing left is controlling it.....

mabye she could charge my cellphone... it has pretty lame batterylifetime......

DUNG! haha

posted on Tue, 12/09/2008 - 8:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I set up a group on Facebook for people who experience all kinds of strange electrical phenomena. If anybody would like to and write about their experiences it would be great, so people can see there are lots of us out there. There are stories on the group from all different sorts of people who have weird experiences with electricity.

You need to join Facebook if you haven't already: www.facebook.com

and the group is called SLIders but the Groups aren't very aren't easy to find so this link may work once you are a member.


Really hope you join. I have a profile on there too, it's Amy Hancock with the photo of lightning :o)


posted on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 11:15am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

there are many songs i could thimk of but i like water haha

posted on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 4:32pm

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