Originally Posted by trogdor
After tying the plug's grounding wire to the neutral wire from the wall, everything fires up great.
"In building wiring, a bootleg ground is an electrical ground that is wired from the neutral side of a receptacle or light fixture in an older 2-wire home.  This essentially connects the neutral side of the receptacle to the casing of an appliance or lamp. It can be a hazard because the neutral wire is a current-carrying conductor. In addition, a fault condition to a bootleg ground will not trip a GFCI breaker or a receptacle that is wired from the load side of a GFCI receptacle. Bootleg grounding is illegal and against code in many places. A safer and legal alternative to bootleg grounding (where a local electrical code allows it) is to install a GFCI and leave the ground screw unconnected, then place a label that says "No Equipment Ground" on the GFCI and all downstream receptacles."
But I will say that the most voltage above ground on the neutral wire is probably ~ 3vac. I guess in principle someone could feel a shock if they had very low skin/body resistance, less than 3v/(.001A) = 3000 ohms. You'd almost have to soak your hands in salt water.