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What They Were Thinking

Getting shocked by the Electric Eel

Every Sunday, Boston Globe photographer Stan Grossfeld asks the subject of one of his photos to explain what’s happening in the shot.

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Who’s up today: Cassie Wesch, partially through the Electric Eel, in which dangling wires give off 10,000 volts of electricity, at the Tough Mudder Obstacle Course Challenge in Seneca, Ill., May 18, 2013

Said Wesch: “I was basically pretty scared about the electric shock to begin with, that was the main obstacle that I was not looking forward to. I got about halfway through without getting shocked. I kind of dodged around them. Then there’s about five of them around my face. So, I kind of froze up and stopped and kind of panicked and thought, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to get out.’ I was thinking, ‘Why do I want to do this?’ It wasn’t proving strength or endurance; it was literally putting yourself in pain. My boyfriend was standing on the side, he had already gone through, and I said, ‘I want to get out’. I’m pretty sure at the time you took the picture I’m probably screaming at him because I was a little bit mad at him. I felt like it was his fault I was in the middle of this mud pit with electric shock wires all over my face. I was stuck there for a while until I said to myself there’s no way out of this thing, so I just have to go. I must have got shocked like 15 times. I thought it would just be a little buzz but it packed more punch than I thought it would. It stings. Certain ones were worse than others. I didn’t get any stings on the last half. I thought I was amazing, but I really wasn’t that amazing. They shut it off, but I didn’t know that. Now, if I had to do it again, I would just dive in headfirst and go. I thought about it too much. I’m a stay-at-home mom, when I came home I told my 2-year-old daughter, ‘Don’t ever do something like this when you’re older.’ ”

Stan Grossfeld can be reached at
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