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The bat mobile is a nursery mobile, that became highly popular in the early 90's, when a study showed that the flapping and screeching of live bats has a soothing effect on infants.
The invention of the Bat mobile
In 1989 the famous paediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock discovered, by accident, the soothing effects of live bats on infants, when a bat flew in on one of his patients. He subjected various infants in a test group to live, agitated bats, and let several other infants in a control group sleep undisturbed. The results were astounding. While the babies in the test group slept peacefully without exception, several babies in the control group awoke at different times during the night.
Marketing and Early Success
Dr. Spock wasted no time in developing, and patenting his ideas for a bat mobile, to be hung over a baby's crib. By February 1990, one month after the controversial results had been published, the bat mobile was ready for mass production. It was an instant success and Dr. Spock appeared on many talkshows to promote his invention. The original version of the bat mobile contained the unassembled plastic frame, five wires, a hook for attachment to the ceiling, and four live bats. Due to its success a second version was quickly developed. This version included an extra bat and a small musical speaker that played soothing death metal, as the bats flapped and screeched over the calmly resting infant. Several themed bat-mobiles were also produced, including a Christmas bat mobile, and a fourth of July bat mobile.
In 1992, a study was published, showing that stress-induced heart attacks among infants had increased by 465% since the invention of the bat mobile. The study also showed that fatal bat attacks among infants had increased by 510%. Dr. Spock quickly gave a press conference, stating that these results were purely circumstantial, and that the positive effects of the bat mobile had been proven scientifically. A further criticism was that data regarding infant heart attacks and infant bat attacks before the invention of the bat mobile was remarkably sparse, casting some doubt on the result of the study.
Soon after, Dr. Spock's original study was repeated, leading to wildly differing results. Upon close review of the original study, it was shown that a small human error had had a drastic effect on the outcome of the tests. Dr. Spock had accidentally used dead infants in his test group, and live infants in his control group. The tests were quickly repeated with dead infants in both groups, to show that the results were still valid, but public interest in the bat mobile had all but disappeared, and it was finally taken out of production early 1994.
The Bat mobile today
Today the bat mobile remains something of a collector's item. A mint condition bat mobile, with the original bats still alive is worth over 3500 dollars.