English Hippies Want Local Wi-Fi Network Turned Off

Turn off that Wi-Fi network — it's disturbing our chakras.

That's what many residents of Glastonbury, a lovely medieval town turned New Age hub in southwestern England, are demanding the local government do.

Ever since the town's free municipal wireless broadband network went online in May, people have been complaining of, as an online petition puts it, "headaches, dizziness, nausea, severe tiredness, brain fog, disorientation and loss of appetite, loss of balance, inability to concentrate, loss of creativity" — all ailments an examining physician would find it difficult to prove or disprove.

"This place is not appropriate for a Wi-Fi trial," resident Linda Taylor tells the local Fosse Way magazine. "People are complaining of headaches, tingling skin among other symptoms. This makes me wonder what is it doing to the children."

Thought by many to be the burial place of the mythic King Arthur, Glastonbury's year-round population of 9,000 swells to about 150,000 every June when the mammoth Glastonbury Festival three-day rock concert occupies a nearby field.

"I don't want my son exposed to risk 24 hours a day, including at his primary school, which is within the Wi-Fi zone," yoga teacher Natalie Fee tells London's Telegraph. "I would be failing in my duty as a parent if I did."

One man has even begun making orgone generators, which use crystals, semi-precious stones and gold to purportedly put out positive energy to combat the negative vibes flooding the town from the Wi-Fi base stations.

"I have given a number of generators to shops in the High Street and hidden others in bushes in the immediate vicinity of the antennae. That way you can bring back the balance," Matt Todd told the Telegraph. "The science hasn't really got into the mainstream because the government won't make decisions which will affect big business, even if it concerns everyone's health."

Todd says the Wi-Fi network is weakening the ley lines, supposed invisible webs of energy running through the landscape that the Druids and other ancient Britons are said to have been well aware of.

Others Glastonburians say their levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and is seen as a wonder drug by natural-health types, have been all out of whack since the Wi-Fi network went on.

"The pulsed microwaves feed the pineal gland with false information," local Jacqui Roberts tells the Western Daily Press. "Melatonin fights the free radicals and cancer-producing cells."

The Telegraph tracked down a physicist who says the health fears are, well, what might be called natural fertilizer.

"All the studies which have so far concluded show there is no evidence of a connection between exposure to Wi-Fi and ill health," states Dr. Eric de Silva of Imperial College London.

Arguments aside, Glastonbury's Wi-Fi experiment may end due to simple economics.

At a raucous town council meeting in late November, one official had to admit that in the six months since the network, which costs about $15,000 per year to operate, had gone on, only 422 people had used it.

• Click here to read more from the Telegraph.

• Click here to read a local take in Fosse Way magazine.

• Click here to read, and possibly sign, the anti-Wi-Fi petition.

• Click here for the Web site of the Glastonbury Why Wi-Fi Campaign.

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