Inside the Great Electromagnetic Resistance
Convinced Wi-Fi is making them sick, they’re covering their homes in foil or moving to the desert. Now they’re terrified the 5G revolution will leave them with nowhere to go.
Illustrations by Sam D'Orazio
One fall day in the early 1990s, in the basement of an old Staten Island home, 8-year-old Ashley Portman was electrocuted. A combination of factors were to blame: the faulty wiring of an old house, the curiosity of a child left to her own devices, the intrigue of endless rooms, and the lure of unfamiliar odds and ends belonging to a distant family friend.
Portman had gone exploring. In the basement, she found a treadmill, and for fun, she began to walk in step. The machine faced a high bar top, upon which a small television set was perched. When she turned the knob, the screen filled with the gray fuzz of television snow, so she reached to adjust the metal rabbit ears. She managed to scream before her body went as rigid as a pole. Her hands burned, and she could not release her grasp on the antennae. Decades later, the memory of the electrocution is like swimming through a dream. It remains unlike anything she’s ever felt — “an indescribable, invasive pain.”
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial