Australian lets sparks fly with "elec-trickery"

Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:47am EST
 
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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - While most men are happy tinkering with their cars, Australian Peter Terren likes to create half a million volts of electricity, just for fun.

Terren, from Bunbury in Western Australia, is a medical doctor who gets his zaps from producing and playing with electricity, creating spectacular shows in his backyard which he calls "elec-trickery."

Terren uses 500,000 volts at a time, conducting it between anything metal - including a cage with him inside it. He also uses a homemade coil which acts as a giant lightning machine, creating long bolts into the night sky.

"This all started when I was a child. I built my first radio at the age of 12 and I've sort of gradually built up from there," he told Australian media.

"It is very dangerous, the base of the coil is completely lethal, the big sparks are going to be incapacitating, may well be lethal as well," he added. "I'm very careful, I've been doing this for 50 years and I intend to be doing it for some time yet."

Terren, who has always been interested in physics, said he builds his gadgets from junk and scraps. He wears protective gear while conducting his tricks, and is reluctant to give details of his experiments due to the extreme danger involved.

Despite the risks, his family say they don't mind his hobby -- as long as it doesn't interfere with the television reception.

(Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Miral Fahmy)