Would You Kiss An Electrified Woman?

Illustration for article titled Would You Kiss An Electrified Woman?

In the 1700s, scientific demonstrations involving electricity were all the rage. A physics professor came up with a saucy twist called "Electrifying Venus," where he took a young, pretty woman from the audience, electrified her, and then invited men to kiss her.


As crazy as it sounds, the public was ravenous for demonstrations of the strange new phenomenon of electricity. People knew that objects could be charged up, and that those objects could do remarkable things. They could move pieces of paper or make feathers hover in thin air. They could even produce sparks. The fact that human beings could do the same produced a stir, and all kinds of public experiments involved giving people a high charge and watching them produce sparks when reaching for metal door knobs or their fellow human beings.

It was common to charge up a young child for these experiments, but Professor Georg Mathias Bose decided to sex it up a little. He chose a young, pretty woman from the audience. Putting her on a stool that insulated her from the ground, he had her put her hand on a ball of rotating glass of amber until she was charged up. Then he invited men from the audience to try to kiss her.

Though the 1700s were not at prudish as we think, especially for the people who would most often be watching these demonstrations, but kissing a stranger wasn't a general custom. The woman, however, was safe – relatively. Whenever men got close to her, they got shocked, usually on the nose, sometimes on the lips. After a few people tried, volunteers from the crowd diminished. The Electrified Venus got written up in many accounts of the time.

Image: Luminage Photography.

[Source: Sparks in the Dark]



With this dry winter, my girlfriend flinches every time I lean in to kiss her because we've already shocked each other with static way too many times.