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Electric marvels in the age of enlightenment

It makes your hairs prickle and your muscles twitch. It glows like fire and stings like ice. When natural philosophers first harnessed electricity in the 1700s, it was greeted as a near-supernatural marvel. But their growing understanding of the new force brought with it a brand-new way of understanding the human body.

Words by Amelia Soth

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Photograph of Amelia Soth

Amelia Soth

@AmeliaSoth

Amelia lives in Chicago and writes the column ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ for JSTOR Daily.