Friday, March 9, 2012

Standing the Broom

No, it's not the white man's equivalent to Jumping the Broom. Not even close. Jumping the Broom is a uniquely African/African-American wedding tradition. It's also a funny, heartwarming romantic comedy from writer, producer/director, Tyler Perry. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Standing the broom doesn't have anything to do with weddings or cool wedding traditions. It's an urban legend I hadn't even heard of until my writer friend, Lori Keizer  https://www.facebook.com/readLoriHayes mentioned it on Facebook. But once I saw her post, I had to find out more about this supposed scientific "phenomenon."

Oddly enough, the information I found on the internet was written to debunk the urban legend. But from what I understand, a couple of weeks before and after the spring and fall equinox, March 20 and September 22, the planets and gravitational pull of the earth align in such a way that a broom can stand on its on when balanced facing south.

It sounded like a hoax to me and most experts agree.

According to Joe Ross, a professor at Texas A&M university, it's just a balancing act. He claims anyone with patience and a broom can stand a broom on its bristles any time of the year. The broom he used is a straight broom, so I don't know how he could tell if it was facing south or not, but he did stand the broom straight up. According to Ross, it had nothing to do with the equinox.http://verenettawarner.com/vernal-equinox-brooms-eggs-standing-alone-gravity/

It doesn't have anything to do with gremlins, elves, or some funky phenomenon caused by a planetary alignment. It's just a well-balanced broom.

Yeah, that's kind of what I thought. Not that I sit around thinking much about brooms. I don't even like to think about them when it's time to sweep. I prefer my Swiffer. Or the vacuum. But Facebook and the internet have been abuzz with stories of standing brooms. And yet, in all my internet research, I found nothing to support the claims. All of the websites, blog posts, and such, declared the standing broom myth as nonsense. "If a broom stands alone today, it will stand alone tomorrow, next week, and next year."

That's what I thought too. But those who believe say it's true, especially this year because of the recent alignment of Venus, Mercury, and  Jupiter. Skeptics say it's hogwash:  "the bristles on a broom can be spread apart in such a way that all straight brooms will stand. Astronomers say neither planetary alignments or equinoxes have any physical impact on earthly objects."

  The broom I used wasn't straight. It's angled, not just the bristles, but the handle. And the only way I could get it to stand on its own was to point the handle south. Hey, my dog was impressed. She's all but bowing down to the magic broom. lol!

Does this mean I believe the equinox is responsible? IDK. Maybe it's like author Stuart Chase says: "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." 

I'm not saying I believe, but it was a fun experiment, and you can bet I'll be trying this trick again--after the equinox. Think the broom will stand up then?

Only time will tell... 

21 comments:

  1. I heard about that on the radio this morning! Crazy coincidence...

    Maybe it's just a sign that all brooms are aliens plotting to take over the world. We should throw away our brooms and never sweep again, just in case. ;D

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  2. lol! I do NOT have a problem with never sweeping. Guess I'll hang on to that swiffer though. ;-)

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  3. I'd never heard of this urban legend. It's kind of spooky. I have an angled broom and I'm almost afraid to try, LOL. I do agree with Jutuma - banish the brooms to save the world!

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  4. Don't burn the bras, burn the brooms. I like it. lol!

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  5. Might have to go find a broom to try it out, Lilly. I've got a 'joke' one from last Halloween still unused, and in the wrapper- think that might be pudhing the theory a little too much?

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  6. I'm going to have to try that one. I've tried the egg and it worked for me.

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  7. LOL...fun! Have never heard of this, but I think I just found something I'm going to try with my son later today.

    Thanks for sharing :)

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  8. Very interesting! I may try this on March 20th, but my broom has essentially been replaced by my electric broom. Why not?
    I'm glad your experiment worked.

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  9. Try the Halloween broom, Nancy. Maybe it will fly. lol! Christine, my daughter thought it was a neat trick. It kind of freak her out though, and she's 22. lol! I prefer electric brooms too, Lynne. Did I mention how much I love my swiffer? It has disposable cloths and a rechargeable battery.

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  10. Lilly, you are a researching maniac! Very interesting. I would test this myself, but I'd have to dig the broom out from the back of the pantry and check it for black widows first.

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  11. Ilona, I haven't tried the eggs yet. Too scared of breaking one and having to clean up the mess!

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  12. I love it! We learn something new every day, don't we? This is a totally new one to me. I like the urban myth, or whatever...otherwise, who cares if a broom can stand on end? Thanks for the entertaining post...

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    1. I'd never heard this urban legend either...until I started researching it. Wonder what other weird myths I can unearth?

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  13. Lilly,

    I loved the post and your experiment to prove it! lol Legends and Myths always intrigue me.

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    1. They intrigue me too, Karen. But I spent yesterday evening researching and playing with brooms instead of cleaning or writing. lol!

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  14. I tried it and my broom is lopsided so it didn't work. I must sweep with the broom on one side more than the other! Oh, well!

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  15. I don't think it works on overworked brooms. Mine is obviously not overworked. lol!

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  16. Alexander WinstonMarch 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    I think your kitchen is standing broom only.

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