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Andrei Melnikov didn’t turn it on. He knew he didn’t turn it on. It wasn't a ghost, and he didn’t think it was a figment of his imagination; he had the melted meat thermometer as proof. So the super and a handyman were called in to help him figure out what happened. After some tinkering and testing, they discovered the issue: Melnikov’s cell turns on his Magic Chef Maytag oven when it rings. In fact, three other units in the Brooklyn apartment building have the same appliance (Maytag Model CGR1425ADW), and his phone activated all of them.

Experts pin this on electromagnetic interference. Kitchen electronics are susceptible to it, just like other gadgets, including baby monitors, radios and heart pacemakers. (People with pacemakers are even urged not to pocket mobile phones near their implants.) I think it's like that annoying thing that happens when your cell’s too close to your speakers. But instead of irritating staticky beeps piercing the air, the oven switches on without your knowledge.

The fluke doesn’t appear to affect all electronically controlled ovens, though. Melnikov’s phone worked on other Magic Chefs, but it didn’t do a thing to GE ovens.

Well, that’s just great. When the bizarre sitch occurs, this brand of oven seemingly loves the broiler and goes straight to the highest setting. Yikes. (I have a pal whose aversion to cooking resulted in hers becoming extra apartment storage. All that stuff would be toast… J: if you’re reading this, take the shoes out of the oven — NOW.)

Chalk it up to a side effect of today’s modern lifestyle. As time goes on, and technology integrates itself into more products, there may be even more reports of weird, random things happening. So if your oven turns on all of a sudden or your vacuum magically starts running itself, check to see if your cell phone is around before calling Jay and Grant from Ghost Hunters.

Want to see this in action? Click here to go straight to the vid of The New York Times duplicating this with Melnikov.

By the way, if you’re curious to know what happened, city fire marshals visited the home to see a demo, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is requesting more info from Melnikov on the issue. As for Maytag, the company states that its appliances meet safety standards from the Underwriters Laboratory and the American National Standards Institute. Even so, it’s offered to replace the unit with a new one and is taking the problem oven back to the labs for testing.


[via The New York Times]


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