The instructions are very clear. I have to leave my iPhone in the car and make sure I’m not carrying anything that emits an electro-magnetic or radio frequency.
If I do the range of maladies which Jacqueline Lindsey says could afflict her include deafness, ear-pain, dizziness, chest-pain, ‘zaps’ to the head, neurological problems and eye trouble.
“Things got so bad last year I reached a point where I was completely unable to leave the house and had to have the electric cable removed from the outside,” she says.
However: “Because it was semi-detached I could still feel the neighbours’ phones and electricity and became very ill.”
So ill, in fact, she was forced to move from New Milton to the wilds of Wimborne; we are sitting in her mobile home while builders ready her new, detached and very remote property, for her to live in.
Not that she’s ever visited it herself; her mum had to check it out for her because she wouldn’t run the risk of another painful zapping.
“I can’t go into the house until it’s done because I am allergic to the chemicals,” she says.
“I have to live by gas which means waiting 12 hours to get hot water and using candles to light the place. Last year I was very allergic to the sun to the point where I had to shield off all the windows. Sometimes you go in waves, you can do something for a while and then you can’t.”
Jacqueline’s life is hard to get your head round. There is no computer, no laptop, no washing-machine and no trips to the shops (she’s a big fan of the Next catalogue). There is no car-trip (the electronics, she says, make her ill). There is no EastEnders, no theatre and no hair salon. She can’t even use a woodburner because: “Sometimes I react to the smoke.”
Same with the landline. “I can’t even use it for months because the magnetic field is so strong it leaves me completely deaf, I get ear pain and dizziness and chest pain.”
There IS the dentist, when she can persuade a mobile unit to come out and treat her, and the occasional trip to the pub up the road.
“I sit at the table furthest from the building and I always get neck-ache and earache but I can stay there long enough to have a glass of wine and feel human again,” she says.
Not that she looks exactly human when she’s doing it. In order to protect her on the walk to the pub, Jacqueline wears what is possibly the weirdest-looking ensemble I’ve ever seen in my life. Think demented beekeeper and you won’t go wrong.
“If I leave the house I have to cover-up with this fabric – it has 20 per cent silver in it,” she says, clambering into a voluminous pair of grey, shiny trousers and a giant tunic before popping on a full-face silver tulle hat and mask and topping the lot off with a silver scarf.
“It looks ridiculous but I’m past caring,” she says.
“I’ve lost everything in life that makes you feel human; I can’t go on holiday and feel sad at Christmas and festive times when you want to join in but can’t.”
Apart from her beautiful cat, Spook, and a few old mates from London and New Milton, her new best friends are the radio frequency and electro-magnetic testing meters she keeps by her side.
“These guys are very important,” she smiles.
“I’ve come across five people in New Milton alone with this condition,” she says, explaining that she’s trying to make contact with others.
“Even if it’s just the minority, it really is a growing epidemic.”
Her condition seems so extreme it’s hard to imagine that, five years, ago, she was living a normal life as a rental landlord, running properties in Liverpool and having fun travelling and canoeing.
She talks of having her mercury amalgam fillings removed and ‘making the mistake of becoming vegan for 11 years’ which, she believes, made her deficient in Vitamin B12, which can spark nervous system problems. She says she suffered a mini-stroke and from this point our conversation descends into a litany of her unfavourable opinions of conventional medicine and GPs, ‘I really dislike GPs’, and conventional cancer treatments.
I ask if she’s been medically diagnosed by a qualified professional.
“They don’t understand it because they’ve never heard of it,” she says, explaining that the European Parliament ruled that electro-magnetic hypersensitivity disorder should be regarded as a disability, as it already is, she says, in Sweden.
There are two reasons why the medical profession may not either understand or be interested in her condition.
It could be because it really is just all in the mind. There have been many studies and experiments, including a number in Sweden, in which research subjects have been unable to discern electro-magnetic frequencies despite claiming they are sensitive to them, as well as blood tests not showing up conventional factors for increased stress after subjects had been exposed.
But the medical profession may have good reason to suppress news of this kind of ailment simply because, if they did acknowledge it, the cost of caring for the afflicted would be prohibitive.
One thing is certain. Whatever you believe is the cause of her visible distress, Jacqueline is definitely suffering. And she needs help.
- If you believe you suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity then there is a meeting this month in Poole. Call 01258 841189 for details