Wynne, E. et al
A paranormal phenomenon has been sweeping through labs around the globe, where pipettes that appear to be haunted are disappearing and reappearing on neighbouring lab benches, putting serious strain on the researchers who need them to do their experiments. Postdoc Dr. Casey Sunder says she is one of the victims.
“Every time I go to use my P200, it’s on my co-workers bench,” said Dr. Sunder. “The only explanation is lab ghosts. What have I done to upset the spirits? Have I sacrificed too many mice… or too few?”
She says that the pipette has also been set to unnatural volumes
“The other day when I found my P200 on Kim’s bench, it was set to 666uL,” whispered Dr. Sunder. “If that’s not proof that it’s haunted, I don’t know what is.”
Dr. Sunder’s co-worker, grad student Kimberly Dodd, agrees the pipette must be haunted and that it is totally the reason it continually ends up on her bench.
“Uhh, yeah, haunted, sure. In fact, I’ve always had a connection with spirits so it’s really no surprise that Casey’s P200 is drawn to me. Maybe the whole lab is haunted! My own P200 has been missing for months.”
Dodd is convinced that the ghosts aren’t just in the pipettes. “If I leave empty packing boxes on the floor, after a few days, they just disappear all by themselves.”
Pipette haunting can have serious consequences. Grad student Justin Li recounted a terrifying encounter with his multichannel.
“It happened around 3am on the last day of a continuous 72 hour experiment,” recounted Li, who had also not slept in nearly four days at the time. “The pipette flew up to the ceiling and started winding all the way around, more than 360 degrees. Then it started spewing liquid and tips at me,” said Li. Li’s labmates cannot confirm the sighting, but say that they found Li asleep on his bench the next morning.
Although this may seem like a recent phenomenon, evidence of pipette ghosts has been documented for centuries. Pipette service and exorcism technician Dan Moon says that pipette ghosts have existed since pipettes were invented. “Forged in the aftermath of a fatal lab accident with a graduated cylinder, the first pipette ever made disappeared only moments after its creation.”
Moon says pipette haunting can take many forms. “Disappearing is the most common sign of a haunting, shortly followed by pipettes that wind themselves below or above their volume range.” Unfortunately for victims, the cost of Moon’s exorcisms can’t be covered by grant funding.
However, Moon has some advice to help prevent pipette haunting, he says to make sure to register your new pipettes with the manufacturer. “Most people just throw out those documents, but they’re essential. A registration and continuing subscription to marketing emails causes enough pain to keep spirits out of any pipette.”