For the 2nd time I've had a lightbulb flash on in my hand after removing from the power socket. The first time the overhead light in my hallway was out for a couple of days before I got around to changing it. This was a cfl bulb and after I unscrewed it and was making my way down the ladder it flashed back on in my hand for about 3 seconds and went back out. I decided to put it back in the fixture and it went back to working. It's now approximately 4 months later and again the bulb went out. I unscrewed from the socket, had the tube end in my hand coming down the ladder when it again flashed on briefly and went back out. I tried putting it back in the fixture and again it has gone back to working. I don't know what to make of this as I've been unable to find any explanation as to how this can happen. What could make a disconnected bulb light up in my hand without any power source? Any thoughts?

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    $\begingroup$ CFLs have electronic circuits with capacitors that can hold charge for a while in the white socket part of the bulb. In pavouk.org/hw/lamp/isotronic11w.png you can see that capacitor C4 may hold up to approx. 0.1J in energy, which would be enough to cause a few short flashes. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Apr 21 '16 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ This happened to me as well,in my hallway too! I was replacing it because it had gone out. Instead, I screwed it back into the socket and asked my brother to turn the light switch on. Then I removed the bulb again and we watched it flash in my hand again! I've never before had experienced this phenomenom. I then attempted to use my powers of concentration to effect another flash while still holding the bulb, but of course that didn't work. So I don't know the answer, but glad to know this happened to others. $\endgroup$ Aug 29 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ That's just like my own experience. Contrary to the replies that suggested this could be a case of static electricity I can attest there was no static whatsoever. My home has a good balance of humidity to dryness and I've never had a problem with static electricity build up anywhere. I think I would have felt an electric shock like one does when you have static on you. Chalk it up to weird unexplained phenomena, possibly paranormal $\endgroup$
    – Rema
    Aug 30 at 22:37

Flurescent light bulbs are known for the way they light up when subjected to static electricity. Here is a video of an instructor using a Van de Graaff generator to light up an old fashioned fluorescent light. CFLs are just old fashioned fluorescent bulbs bent into a different shape with a DC power supply tacked on.


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