Rani #5/365 - Bones


This piece, a 365 piece from Rani arrived today


There is a very strange story behind this. I imagine that this may have been inspired by Ruff Day or perhaps the other way round, but when I opened this piece (I love a bit of drama in mailart - thanks Rani!) I gasped because it felt like Rani had delved into my mind and pulled out a long forgotten incident from my childhood.

As a kid, I used to love buying practical jokes from a mail order company called Joke shop by post who used to advertise in the back of the Beano. You know the sort of thing, stink bombs, whoopee cushions that sort of thing.

One day, when I was about 10, I bought a pair of x-ray spex, which were exactly like this. They are basically a piece of card across a plastic frame with some strange red thread aross a small portion of the eyes.

Rani #5 - bones

So one night, I'm invited to a friends house for a sleepover. I took the x-ray specs with me, cynical as you like about their effectiveness.

All night we were messing about as 10 year olds do, and I put the specs on to see if they worked. Obviously I just saw a bunch of red in front of my eyes and nothing else.

Then, at about midnight (obviously my memory makes it midnight for effect) I held my hand up in front of the TV with the specs on and lo and behold for a fraction of a second I saw all the bones in my hand just like on this postcard! I jumped out of my skin!

I tried and tried to recreate this and swore blind that I saw the bones. I can still see them now in my minds eye. None of my friends believed me and to this day I wouldn't be able to convince anyone.

As I grew older, I became a physics teacher and learned about Roentgens discovery of the xray, which was quite by accident. He was using omething called a Cathode Ray tube, which is the thing that used to power old TVs (he lived before TVs)

Cathode Rays as they were known, are electrons produced by a hot wire. Electrons are negatively charged, so if you put electrons in an electric field they will be attracted to the positive side, so you can quite easily accelerate the electrons.

Rani #5 - bones

Now here's the thing. When you speed up cathode rays/electrons they gain energy and when cathode rays are abruptly stopped, i.e. when they collide with something, that energy has to go somewhere. In some cases, they produce x-rays as a byproduct of slowing down.

To this day, I'm still a little scared of walking too close to those fat TVs, and I'm convinced I saw the bones in my hand through some bizarre x-ray detector that may have been built by a joke shop.

I saw what I saw and no-one can tell me different
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