Thanks to YouTube, curious and intellectually hungry people like you and me can look up tutorials on pretty much everything in the world and have a go at doing it ourselves. However, a lot of these tutorials, particularly the ones surrounding science experiments, come with HUGE disclaimers for people that recreate them at their own risk – and sadly, a 15-year-old boy from Ohio took that risk.
Morgan Wojciechowski was found dead in his parents garage on Tuesday after trying to recreate one of the ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ science experiments he had been watching on YouTube. Even though his family were aware of his experiments and fascination with the project, Morgan conducted the tests by himself after seeing a tutorial online (it is not known which specific video lead Morgan to do it himself). After his parents were drawn to find his body after hearing “a loud noise”, Police and Fire teams tried to resuscitate Morgan on the scene before later dying in the hospital.
The science experiment Morgan had been recreating was the lethal ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, a dangerous prop made famous by its appearances in old school science fiction movies, which sees an arc of electricity travel up two long pieces of wire. In the description of the above YouTube tutorial, the channel explicitly states; “A standard microwave oven transformer [key component of the experiment] will output several thousand bolts with a current high enough to kill you. Only attempt this if you know what you’re doing with high voltage equipment”.
The Superintendent of Morgan’s high school posted the following message on their Facebook page; “Morgan was a vibrant student and athlete who was well-liked at Vermillion High School. Our thoughts and prayers are with Morgan’s family, and we continue to be available for anything they need”. Unfortunately this isn’t the only time people have died imitating science and death-defying stunts from YouTube, and we’re afraid it won’t be the last.