A customer called [my auto electric shop] and said he just purchased a car from the police auction, but it had some sort of strange noise coming from the driver’s side electric seat. It seems every time he moved it there was a strange electrical sound. He thought there was something wrong with the seat motor.
He was coming to me, an auto electric technician, to get it fixed.
“Sure,” I said. “What kind of car is it?”
“It’s a Peugeot,” he answered.
I’m not much on Peugeots, but I told him I could take a quick look at it and see if I could do anything for him.
A day or so later the car arrived at the shop. After pulling it into a bay I tried the driver’s seat. Sure enough, as you moved the seat forward an inch or two, a horrible loud buzzing of electricity emanated from under the seat. Rolling the seat back would stop the noise. Well then, what to do? I rolled the seat forward to the spot that made the noise. It seemed to be pretty consistent, same place, same noise. When I moved the seat to the spot that made the noise I got out of the car and looked underneath. The noise immediately stopped … nothing, not a whisper of any strange noise or buzzing.
The car had an all black interior, black seats, black carpet; even the seat rails and brackets were solid black. It looked fine to me. Of course it’s still a Peugeot, and I just don’t go poking my head under Peugeot seats every day, so I must’ve been missing something.
I rolled the seat forward and back several times and still no noise. What in the world was going on?
I called over my helper and told him “Listen to this, see what you think.” The noise was gone. I explained to my helper what had happened. He was at a loss. I climbed back in the car and, sure enough, as long as I was sitting in the seat, it would make the noise. Getting back out of the car and trying it, nothing. Sit in the car and the noise happened every time. This is ridiculous. I heard the sound myself and I’m not going crazy, am I?
I got out again, but this time I had my helper get in and move the seat. He moved the seat forward and within a few inches it starting making the noise. I told him to lift his butt out of the seat…the noise stopped immediately. He tried several times. I tried a couple of times. We didn’t think anything of it. Actually, we were having fun with it. One of us would sit in the seat and make a fake pistol with our fingers as if we were shooting each other. Raise and lower our butts in and out the seat and play like we were Buck Rogers or something.
“OK, enough fun, sit back down,” I said, “I’ll look underneath this time.” I got down to where I could look under the seat at about the same time he was putting his weight back into the cushion. Then I saw the problem. Oh my! I had to look again and again just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.
My helper asked: “What is it?” with great surprise and anticipation. As I looked underneath the seat I could see a perfect bluish white lightning bolt glow about an inch or so long. It was pointed right at the bottom of the cushion but only a fraction of an inch from the metal bracing of the seat.
In a very calm voice I told him, “Now listen carefully, I want you to raise your butt out of the seat, and I’ll move the seat towards the rear. There is a police taser pointing at your keister right now. Move very carefully, and I don’t think you’ll get shocked.”
I think it shook him up a bit. But he carefully lifted his weight out of the seat. The taser was the exact same color as the carpet and under side of the seat. It was so well camouflaged that it appeared to a part of the seat mechanism. If it wasn’t for the lightning bolt, I don’t think anyone could have spotted it. It really looked like a part of the seat brackets. After moving the seat back, the taser eased off of the button and came back to rest with the business end pointing harmlessly away from his “derriere.”
I then reached under the seat and pulled the butt buzzer out from under the seat. I called the customer and told him what I found. To say the least he was shocked.
So were we for that matter… well, almost.