Have you ever had the experience where as you walk under a streetlight it suddenly turns off. As you continue down the street the light turns back on again. Is this an explainable electrical phenomenon or the product of unknown energies?
Many have witnessed public streetlights that mysteriously go dark as someone passes below. While some may say this is due to mere chance, evidence suggests that an unknown electromagnetic phenomenon imbues a few individuals with the “ability” to influence electrical devices. Over the years, as these individuals have begun to share their experiences, this phenomenon has come to be known as Street Light Interference (SLI).
But do certain people really have a field of influence on electrical equipment? While there are motion detecting light systems designed, for security reasons, to switch on when it senses movement, public street lights are only triggered when daylight reaches a sufficient brightness. That is of course unless they come in contact with these electrically influential individuals.
Working with the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), Hilary Evans has been studying this subject since the early 90s. His book, The SLI Effect, profiles several cases of SLI in an ongoing project known as SLIDE (SLI Data Exchange). SLIDE compiles these testimonies and explores various possibilities that could lie behind such a curious phenomenon.
“…History demonstrates that there can be widespread belief in a phenomenon which is nonetheless nothing more than an artifact derived from an erroneous interpretation of witness testimony. However, SLI has a basis in physical reality which is amenable to investigation: street lights are physical objects and the SLI effect, if it exists, must be ultimately a physical process. By its nature, SLI lends itself to methodical observation and controlled testing,” writes Evans.
Although there are many reports of SLI experiences, the circumstances of each case can vary widely. Some report switching off a single streetlight close by; others say they have influenced a row of streetlights; and a few possess the capacity to randomly affect only certain streetlights, making it difficult to discern a pattern in SLI. People who supposedly experience SLI, known as SLIders, suffer from a lack of validation from doubtful friends and family, until they witness repeated occurrences themselves. With no sufficient explanation for the phenomenon they experience, SLIders are left to imagine their own ideas behind the influence they seem to possess.
“It occurred to me that the ones I zap are all on light-sensing switches, and perhaps my energy at certain times for who knows what or why, is the right kind and strength to trick the switch into thinking it is daytime,” opines one SLIder in his testimony to SLIDE.
Some skeptics suggest that SLI occurs as a consequence of lights near the end of their life. The globes of sodium (amber) bulbs, or mercury for blue lights, possess security systems that regulate the temperature the lights can reach. These are the two types of streetlights most used in public lighting, and it is not unusual to encounter some lights that begin to fail when the temperature of the gases falls outside of the normal range. A system of electric supply interruption makes these streetlights go without light for a few minutes, until the temperature goes down and a new impulse of high tension makes them turn on. This effect, skeptics argue, could easily occur when a suggestible individual interested in paranormal phenomena passes below as things go dark.
Even so, the intermittent illumination of aging streetlights still does not resolve many of the cases of SLI.
“These appliances need not be street lights, of course: and the reports we have of persons affecting computers, supermarket check-outs, etc. can be seen as providing confirmatory testimony to this. However, there is good reason to think that street lights are particularly sensitive compared with other types of equipment: this could be because they operate at close to the critical level, or because it is not normally considered necessary to provide them with substantial shielding,” writes Hillary.
While most of the reports involve streetlights, a great percentage of SLIers also have a propensity to make small electrical discharges with many of the objects they touch. They can often experience problems with compasses or clocks, causing them to stop or malfunction. Even though the majority of SLI cases happen while walking, there are those who say it occurs while riding on bicycles, motorbikes, or even the bus.
The explanation for many “believers” of this SLI phenomenon is that certain people possess a level of energy that interacts with the streetlights or electrical equipment in a chain of events like those described. Some have observed that radio equipment can also interfere with public lighting, so many attribute SLI effects to an abnormal amount of static in the body. In any case, the issue has never been proven scientifically; the phenomenon perhaps requires, as Evans suggests, a serious investigation.