Real cause for spooky phenomenon

Something happened last night which I found very interesting and I was trying to google the reason for it today, but without success – I assume because my search terms are so vague. I am a complete sceptic so I have no doubt the cause for the behaviour is explainable. It would have freaked out the superstitious though.

I was the only one to witness this. My five year was at the table but facing away and I didn’t really want to upset her. It only lasted about ten seconds.

Last night I was sitting at the dinner table and given a bowl of Miso soup. Miso soup is served in a light bowl similar to this … http://japancentre.com/items/3243. About ten seconds after it was put down next to me, the bowl moved by itself. It moved about 5 mm away from me and turned itself about five degrees clockwise in the process. This happened about five times in a row (same distance and turn) until it came to rest against another plate. Despite my moving the plate and watching the bowl it didn’t happen again.

The base of the bowl was probably wet and obviously the contents were very hot. Would it just be expansion of the moisture on the base? Just intrigued as I’d never seen it happen before and we eat such soup in such bowls multiple times every week.

Explanations welcomed.

3 Comments

  • 1
    Vlad
    March 6, 2012 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Interesting. Should it come form someone else, I would blame it on human error.

    I think that the expansion of air at the bottom of the bowl is a most likely explanation. Especially if the table was a bit wet and capillary forces filled the space between the table and the bowl with water creating a ‘seal’. Perceived tendency for keeping the same direction may be due to a small dent on the bottom of the bowl causing that place to be slightly more likely to ‘give in’. I have seen that happening often when I prepare tea although it was never strong enough to move the cup. Just bubble coming out…

    I assume that “Scrumpy Jack” was not involved ;-)

  • 2
    ian
    March 6, 2012 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hehe – thanks for that. No, no Scrumpy Jack or similar was involved. :)

    If I could replicate it at will I could have a lot of fun with this. ;)

  • 3
    Vlad
    March 6, 2012 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Lot of fun or a million dollars from the Randi Foundation!

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