West Virginia Refuge: The Town Without Wireless

Photo: NRAO

Photo: NRAO

Green Bank, W. Va., is part of the U.S. Radio Quiet Zone, where wireless technology is banned for 13,000 square miles to prevent transmissions interfering with the area’s radio telescopes, BBC reports. It has become an unexpected refuge for people with EMF sensitivity.

One reporter asks, “So who would want to live in such a tech-free town? For one, Diane Schou, who once lived in a shielded cage designed to protect her from electromagnetic radiation caused by wireless waves….

“Schou’s husband built her what became known as the Faraday Cage, which provides two layers of wire mesh and a door that is sealed shut. She would sleep on a twin mattress in the insulated living space. The couple found sanctuary when they moved from their farm in Iowa to Green Bank, a village of 143 in the Allegheny Mountains.

“Living here allows me to be more of a normal person. I can be outdoors. I don’t have to stay hidden in a Faraday Cage,” she says. “I can go to church, I can attend some celebrations, I can be with people. I couldn’t do that when I had to remain in the Faraday Cage.”

Slate Magazine reports: “The Schous often host EHS-sufferers who want to test out Green Bank. One person who relies on their hospitality is Deborah Cooney, a singer, pianist, and voice coach from San Diego. Her problems began in 2010, she told me, when a smart electricity meter was installed on her house. Currently, she lives without running water or electricity in a simple one-room cabin the Schous built at the foot of their driveway, because simply sleeping in a wired building makes her sick. During the day, she shares a nearby apartment with another hypersensitive person, where she cooks, bathes, and occasionally uses a computer.”

It’s a hard compromise for anyone, because there is so little work in the area. There is also some tension between the new residents, who sometimes ask for additional EMF accommodation in public places, and the old, who resent the influx of new neighbors in their small community.

EMF sensitivity is a challenging condition, often unsupported by medical doctors. (Click here for a guide to talking to your doctor about your symptoms. ) Culturally and economically, we are dependent on wireless technologies, complicating our relationships and work lives when we try to control our exposure.

Probably the most sensible strategy for the majority of EMF sensitive people is to take small steps and embrace common sense strategies for building immune health and limiting exposure to EMF. But it’s interesting to think about experiencing an environment as old fashioned and pristine as Green Bank, West Virginia. In a wired world, where cell phone service even in a wilderness preserves is present, if “patchy,” it must be an extraordinary feeling.

by Carol Burbank
Guest Blogger

Read more about Electrical Hypersensitivity (EHS):

EMF Sensitivity Stories From Hypersensitives – Resource: BLACK ON WHITE E-Book

More articles on EHS (electrical hypersensitivity)

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