My pal is studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth campus. Home is Minneapolis, so he lives in the dorms. Of course, being an avid ham radio operator, he decided to set up a station in his dorm room. Unfortunately, he is rather limited in outside antennas, so he uses the old tried-and-true ham trick: he uses his top-floor window frame as an antenna. And it worked!
One winter break, he was asked to give a ride back to Minneapolis to a fellow student—whom he had never met. The unlucky student lived in the same dorm but on a different floor. On the way home, the student ride-along confessed that he was considering dropping out of school after only his first semester. My friend asked why but it took many miles for the student to admit that he felt he was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Upon further inquisition, my friend learned that the student was hallucinating—but swore he was not a drug user.
More miles pass before the student further confesses that his dorm room is haunted, and no one will believe him. Why do you say that, my friend asked? With a little more cajoling, the student admitted that he hears voices in the night. They are coming out of his radio, but the radio is turned off. To convince himself, he unplugged the radio from the wall outlet, but the voices came back. And, he could never really understand what the voices were saying. When he asks friends to come listen to the voices, the voices are gone.
Some nights, after he goes to shuts off the lights and goes to bed, the lights suddenly come back on. Once, in a fit of anger, he removed the florescent light bulb from it’s fixture and IT STILL CAME ON! He was petrified, he was convinced he was losing his mind, and he was going to drop out.
My friend had finally put two and two together. He knew all about radio interference, having been down that road as a ham radio operator. He asked the student….”are you in Griggs Hall?” “Yes I am,” the student replied. Now, my friend lived in 511 Griggs, so he figured the student must be nearby. Perhaps just below him. So, he asked “Are you in 411 Griggs Hall?” The student was surprised, and said “Yes, how did you know that?”
What a missed opportunity to straighten out an unintended consequence! I do hope that his prank answer inspired the fellow to change rooms instead of quitting the university. It did at least make it the room instead of the person. It would be a shame to lose a potentially good student over something like that.
I do hope your friend eventually "came clean" and explained SSB RF fields and their action on passive receptors. Tricking this poor fellow into believing in hauntings for the rest of his life is some kind of mental cruelty, especially as it was jiggering his decision whether or not to remain in school.
We are engineers, not lawyers. We play jokes, but not the type to cause permanent harm.
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