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Low voltage electroscope operation
One side of the 100V AC current supplied to homes is earthed (grounded) by a transformer mounted on the utility pole, and the human body is also indirectly earthed via a variety of routes. 

When a human operator approaches the non-earthed side of a wall socket with an electroscope, a pseudo AC xxxV is applied and an electrical field generated. The electroscope detects this field and responds (with a buzzer or lamp).

Given the above,
if the operator approaches the earthed side of the socket with an electroscope, the device will not react, and will only react on the non-earthed side.
Posted at:2012-06-13
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