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In the middle of the 18th century, a great many experiments involving electricity were conducted. In England, Stephen Gray demonstrated that the human body could become electrified. He suspended a young boy on silk ropes and, by generating static electricity to charge the boy's body, showed how the boy's hands took on a mysterious attractive power, allowing him to pull light objects towards him without touching them. *
* I'd love to see the parental consent form for that. "I intend to suspend your young boy from silk ropes and then electrify him! Sign here!"
In France, French clergyman and physicist Abbé Nollet carried out the same experiment, and discovered that if a person brought a finger close to the boy's body, a spark was produced. It was said to be an "electric fluid" that passed from one body to another.**
** Tell it to the judge, mate.