Weird | Childhood | Funny | Shock | Risk

My Weird Childhood 3: A Shocking Time

I still wonder what my sister’s boyfriend thought about it

Alan (AJ) Autistic Widower
3 min readMar 5, 2022


This cassette recorder is slightly newer than the one mentioned in the story. Photo taken by the author, Autistic Widower.

Safety Warning

Please do not try to copy what I did! It was dangerous, and I was lucky that no harm was done! If you do so, you do it at your own risk.

Biker Boyfriend

In the late 1970s, one of my sisters had a boyfriend with a motorbike. He was the stereotypical macho kind of guy, and they used to travel around quite a lot at the weekends.

I would have been about 10 years old, and very much into experimenting with all kinds of things. Then I got a library book on electrical experiments, and it started me on the path to something… erm, well… shocking.

Young Experimenter

After learning about electromagnetic induction, I discovered that I could generate a high voltage pulse by briefly connecting a 1.5V cell to the mains plug of my cassette tape recorder. (Not while it was plugged in to the wall outlet, of course.)

Around that time, my sister’s relationship with her biker boyfriend seemed to be getting more serious, and she brought him home to meet the family.

He seemed about twice as tall as me, and with his riding leathers on, he was quite intimidating.

That day happened to coincide with my need for volunteers; I wanted to do a little experiment.

A Child Playing

I got my sister, her boyfriend, and one or two other people in the vicinity to stand in a row and hold hands. Then I handed wires to the people at both ends, and asked them to hold them.

My sister’s boyfriend was the only one who didn’t know the kinds of things I’d done in the past, so he didn’t look particularly concerned.

In his mind, I was going to do a magic trick, or some other cute little childish thing.

Not What He Expected

I used my cassette recorder to generate another high voltage pulse, exactly as I’d done before — and it gave everyone quite a jolt!



Alan (AJ) Autistic Widower

Former electronics engineer & programmer in England, 50-something with a dry sense of humour. Sharing stories & opinions. Tip jar: