The Paris glitch, or How all the pendulum clocks stopped in the French capital

The Paris glitch, or How all the pendulum clocks stopped in the French capital

Categories: History | World

There are sometimes phenomena in the world that science cannot explain. One of them is the so—called "Paris Clock failure". On the night of December 29 to December 30, 1902, all the pendulum clocks stopped simultaneously in the French capital. At the same time, the spring mechanisms continued to work as if nothing had happened.

The Paris glitch, or How all the pendulum clocks stopped in the French capital

A clock with a pendulum mechanism has a rather loud stroke. Therefore, when at 1:05 a.m. it became quiet in the houses of Parisians, it was noticed by everyone who was awake, and even some who had already fallen asleep. At this moment, many citizens, especially the elderly, felt ill. They felt weak, dizzy and nauseous.

The Paris glitch, or How all the pendulum clocks stopped in the French capital

Of course, the inexplicable phenomenon caused a violent reaction from Parisians. The failure was actively discussed everywhere from kitchens and cafes to universities and the government. Almost all the morning newspapers wrote about the Paris crash, and the next day articles about the anomaly appeared even in the Russian press.

Scientists, of course, became interested in the inexplicable stopping of the clock. A lot of hypotheses appeared, though none of them were plausible. The thing is that there were no tremors or even weather anomalies recorded that night. By all accounts, it was the most ordinary winter Parisian night.

The Paris glitch, or How all the pendulum clocks stopped in the French capital

Disputes in scientific circles continued for a long time, but the luminaries of physics, mathematics and philosophy did not come to a common denominator. An outbreak of solar activity, magnetic anomalies and even Nikola Tesla's experiments were blamed for the failure. Everyone knows that the pendulum works according to the law of universal gravitation. This means that something happened that night with gravity.

The most plausible version was considered the appearance of some fluctuations, the direction of which was opposite to the movement of the pendulums. But, as we have already said, the instruments in the scientific and seismological laboratories did not record anything unusual.

The Paris glitch, or How all the pendulum clocks stopped in the French capital

The investigation into the Paris glitch has continued into the present day. In the 1990s, scientists again revised the records of the readings for 1902. They found only one unusual fact. At the moment of the failure, the famous Foucault pendulum installed in the Paris Pantheon building also behaved strangely. He drew an unusual trajectory, and then worked again as expected.

It turns out that even the giant mechanism felt some kind of impact. Alas, this did not bring the scientific world closer to understanding the situation. The Paris clock failure even now, after 120 years, remains an unsolved mystery for us. Physicists say that only in one case will the riddle be solved. If the failure suddenly repeats, modern equipment will almost certainly be able to determine its nature.

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