The Broom Phenomena
Posted: March 23, 2012
When I was a teenager, I remember hearing stories about how popular record albums secretly contained subliminal messages if certain songs were played backwards on the turntable. So, naturally, my friends and I would spend hours trying to deciper what satanic phrases were being communicated when playing tunes by The Beatles and Led Zeppelin in reverse. Aside from ruining the needle on my record player, I don't remember really accomplishing much through the exercise.
Thirty years later, I'm having dinner with my girlfriend and another couple when the conversation turns to the latest fad that has people of all ages wondering how it could be that normal individuals are able to balance just about any broom in an upright position without it falling down.
How is it that a broom can stand on its bristles unassisted? Is it because of a particular planetary alignment? Could it be an unusual occurrence because of the vernal equinox, which is when the days have an equal amount of daylight and darkness - also known as the first official day of spring?
Being the gullible person that I am, I got caught up in the phenomena that has been all the rage on the Internet for about the past two years. But then I did a little more research and the rational part of my brain became more dominant.
A broom can stand upright without any assistance because it's a balancing act. There's no magic to it; nor is there any paranormal activity that causes the broom to remain on its own. Although there is a small reduction in gravitational force when the moon is directly overhead during a vernal equinox, there isn't enough of a gravitational change to alter the behavior of a broom.
Despite the evidence that refutes any planetary effect on a broom standing with no assistance, others in my household have not let go of the paranormal reasoning. As a result, I have awakened each day this week to at least three brooms remaining upright in the middle of the kitchen and dining room floors. (The only time one of the brooms goes down in the middle of the night is when one of the cats thinks the brooms are an obstacle course).
I suppose it could be worse. The teenagers could be scratching up my old records thinking they will hear satanic messages. And that exercise would really get the cats riled up.
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