Weird History There's A Secret Compound In West Virginia For People Severely Allergic To Electromagnetism  

Genevieve Carlton
1.8k views 12 items

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It sounds like a serious medical condition, but there's only one problem – scientists say it doesn't exist. And yet, people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, claim that it causes debilitating health problems, including rashes, heart palpitations, nausea, and headaches. If the disorder doesn't even exist, then what is the electromagnetic hypersensitivity treatment? 

One option is moving to Green Bank, a small town of under 150 people in West Virginia. Green Bank, WV, is in the National Radio Free Zone, a 13,000 square mile area surrounding the world's largest radio telescope, which can pick up radio signals from 13 billion miles away. In the Radio Free Zone, wireless signals are banned and residents live like it's the 1920s. But moving to West Virginia is a pretty drastic choice for a disorder with no medical proof.

Can electromagnetic fields cause illnesses? Will EHS eventually become an accepted disease? Or will artificial intelligence destroy humanity before wifi signals take us down? Could EHS be the first sign of the singularity, where machines become more intelligent than humans and take over the world? Maybe the modern-day hermits in West Virginia are on to something.

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Rural West Virginia Is The Only Refuge For People Who Suffer From Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity


Imagine getting a terrible headache every time a cell phone rings, or becoming nauseous if you run your microwave. How would your life change if electromagnetic frequencies, found in everything from radios and televisions to wifi and cellphones, made you physically ill?

Sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity say that the modern, wireless world makes them sick – literally. And the only known cure is to move to a little known forested part of West Virginia called the National Radio Free Zone. 

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The Astronomy Observatory Requires Absolute Radio Silence


West Virginia is home to the Green Bank Observatory, also known as the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The research facility captures radio wavelengths from across galaxies. In order to search the universe for radio signals, the observatory runs eight telescopes, including the Green Bank Telescope, the largest radio telescope in the world. 

But in order to operate, the telescopes need absolute radio silence – any interference from local radio signals would make it impossible to pick up galactic transmissions. And so the U.S. government established the National Radio Quiet Zone in 1958.

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The World's Largest Radio Telescope Only Works Because Wireless Devices Are Forbidden


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is home to the world's largest radio telescope. The telescope is 485 feet tall. An entire college football stadium could fit inside the dish. And it clocks in at a weight of nearly 17 million pounds. It is so powerful that it can pick up signals from 13 billion light years away – or capture the energy signal given off by a single snowflake hitting the ground.

But the powerful telescope only works because of the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000 square mile area where all wireless devices are forbidden. To people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, the National Radio Quiet Zone is the only place on the planet where they are safe.

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Other Than The High-Tech Telescope, Life In Green Bank Is Removed From The Modern World


For people who live in the National Radio Quiet Zone, life is very different from the rest of the modern digital world. Radio, television, and cellphone towers are banned. There are no cellphones, Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens, or iPads. Even remote control toys and garage door openers are not allowed. Any wireless signal could interfere with the telescope's important scientific work.

And to make sure that no one violates the rules, the town owns a surveillance truck that monitors radio frequencies, acting as the "radio police."