by Peter Bromley
A few years ago I spent hours of endless fun at my mother’s house chasing mice…or emptying traps. They seemed to be fairly regular visitors and she hated them almost as much as the telemarketers who specialised at calling at tea time. A mouse with a phone – the ultimate pest!
When she saw the PestXit somewhere (probably Bunnings or Dick Smith) she wanted to try it. My experience with this sort of thing had been extensive – I bought one for mosquitoes when I was young and woke up eye to eye with a mozzie that was actually sitting on the device. It didn’t look stressed at all. In fact, all it needed was a cigarette and magazine.
I tried to talk her out of it. I couldn’t find much information on the net but what I did find was not promising. There were even kangaroo repelling gadgets for cars! But guess what. She got the bloody thing and the damned mice disappeared. How am I supposed to answer that?!
“Coincidence!” I said. She wasn’t impressed. I don’t blame her.
There are now traces of mice, again. They’ve left their little calling cards around but, so far, remain unseen. So now we’re moving the device to different sockets.
“Maybe, it just doesn’t work?” I suggest hopefully.
“It worked before.”
It’s old and wearing out. It’s pointing in the wrong direction. It’s too high. It’s too low. Every reason possible except it doesn’t work. The problem is, it certainly appeared to work for at least a year.
So, how do you convince someone that something is crap when it seems to work? Do these things actually have potential? Or plausibility? Have they ever been properly tested?
I wonder if we still have mice at school…
Peter Bromley is a Drama teacher and thespian who achieved stardom as the presenter of the Australian Skeptics Bed of Nails video