Street light interference

Street light interference, or SLI, is an alleged anomalous phenomenon where a person seems to turn off (or sometimes on) street lights, or outside building security lights, when passing near them.

Although street lights sometimes turn on and off by chance (especially at the end of their life cycle), believers in street light interference tend to claim that it happens to them personally on a regular basis, more frequently than chance would explain. Some propose paranormal explanations for SLI, sometimes based on scientific terminology, such as the explanation that electrical impulses in their brain interfere with the workings of electric lights. Anecdotes about people's experiences of SLI have been reported by news sources. [ [http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9804/21/electric.girl/ CNN reports on street light interference] with interview in a video clip of this person making such a claim.] [ [http://www.assap.org/newsite/articles/Early%20SLI%20reports.html ASSAP Early SLI (street lamp interference) News reports] from the later 1980's to the early 1990's.]

SLI has never been demonstrated to occur in a scientific experiment, and those who claim to cause it have been found to be unable to reproduce the effect on demand; they give the explanation that the effect is not within their mental and physical control. [ [http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa012400a.htm SLIders & the Streetlight Phenomenon] , in About.com's "Paranormal Phenomena", by Stephen Wagner.] Many times they do report, however, that it occurs with "specific" lamps and not just randomly shutting off street lights or electrical lamps in general. [The SLI Effect by Hilary Evans (Pub: Frome, ASSAP - London, England 1993, 2005) pp 12, 23, 24, 25, 26.] [ [http://www.cool.com.au/general-news/observations/street-light-interference-20060125135/ Cool - Street Light Interference ] ]

Hilary Evans and "The SLI Effect"

Hilary Evans, an English author who writes about paranormal subjects, coined the word "SLIder" to refer to someone who causes this effect, in his book "The SLI Effect". [ [http://fr.bookbutler.com/do/bookSearch;jsessionid=E74011032021F7B64071D41D648F64EF?pageNr=1&showMore=true&sortBy=salesrank&searchFor=09521311-0-2&searchBy=keyword&searchIn=de&shipTo=de&amountIn=eur&zip= The SLI Effect] by Hilary Evans (Pub: Frome, ASSAP - London, England 1993, 2005 ISBN 0952131102)] In this book on page 15 he explains that a wide variety of street lamp types show the effect,cquote|the effect is spontaneous and is apparently meaningless; it serves no practical purpose, nor does it seemto provide satisfaction for the individual or in any other way serve some kind of psychological purpose. In the preface of the book Evans says,

On page 16 he explains what seems most likely to be happening,cquote|Most commentators, confronted with the Street Light Interference phenomenon, look - and rightly - for a straightforward physical explanation. For example, when Robert McMorris of the Omaha World-Herald devoted two or three issues of his regular column to SLI reports in January 1990, he quoted Allen Klostermeyer, manufacturer's representative for Lighting Specialists Inc., who pointed out that when a sodium (amber) bulb nears the end of its useful life, it may go into an off-and-on sequence:::"When one of them starts to "die", it requires more voltage. This will cause the lamp to go off temporarily;" ::"when it cools down, it will come on again for a while. Eventually it will die completely."

This, it was suggested, is sufficient to explain the SLI effect; what happens is that the witness just happens to be passing such a lamp during its death-throes, and is led by the synchronicity to imagine that he is somehow responsible. But as the testimony shows, even if we allow the coincidence in place and time, this effect could account for only a small fraction of the reported cases. For one thing, other types of lamp are involved besides sodium lamps. Then again, only a small number ofreports describe anything like a street light going off, then on, then off again. And what about when a witness extinguishes a whole batch of street lights: are we to conclude that the whole batch was purchased together, and so shared the same life-span, and such was the perfection of their manufacture, that they all reached their death-point simultaneously? Yet even if we allow that, there is still the fact that some SLIders extinguish a row of street lights in sequence, each one going out as the witnesses nears it: it is asking too much to suppose that a series of lamps would have been arranged in order of their life-span.

Skepticism of SLI

The skeptical explanation to claims of SLI is to consider it an example of observer bias: people are much more likely to notice when a street light near them turns on or off than they are to notice a street light in a steady state. This is compounded by a failure mode of street lights, known as "cycling", in which street lights turn off and on more frequently at the end of their life cycle.Cecil" Adams. [http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_047.html "Can some people extinguish streetlamps by means of their bodily emanations?"] In "The Straight Dope", October 28, 1994. Retrieved April 6, 2007.] A top high pressure sodium engineer at General Electric, quoted by Cecil Adams, summarizes that SLI is "a combination of coincidence and wishful thinking".

References

*cite book
first = John | last = Waymouth | year = 1971
title = Electric Discharge Lamps | publisher = The MIT Public Press
location = Cambridge MA | id = ISBN 0-262-23048-8

*Spencer, John "The Paranormal: a Modern Perspective," 160 p. Hamlyn, London (1992) [Paranormal Phenomena] .

*"Street Light Interference" article published in scientific magazine Omni, September 1990 journalist Dennis Stacy,
* "Street Light Interference" articles reported by Robert McMorris Omaha World-Herald several issues January 1990.
*"The Paranormal Investigator's Handbook" by Valerie Hope. Publisher by Sterling Co. 1999. ISBN-10:1855857030.

See also

* Paranormal
* Arc lamp
* Sodium vapor lamp
* Mercury-vapor lamp
* Gas-discharge lamp
* High-intensity discharge lamp
* Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena

External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D7EE23B49DFB2BEE Street Light Interference amateur videos]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okE86VRv9xU "SLIder" person illustrating light going out]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2RC0WZs7xQ "SLIder" person illustrating light coming on]
* [http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa012400a.htm "SLIders" and the Street Light Phenomenon]
* [http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1819697 Everything2 article - "Street Light Interference" ]
* [http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071113055029AACk09G Yahoo Answers about Street Light Interference]
* [http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa013100a.htm Paranormal Phenomena: More Illumination on SLI]
* [http://wintersteel.homestead.com/~site/scripts_webpoll/webpoll.dll?CMD=CMDViewSponsoredResults&ht=SLIders_Phenomenon.xpf&s=golden&tp=http://track.homestead.com/~site/Scripts_Track/track.dll&ID=13183617 Web Poll of 1000+ people on SLIders phenomenon]
* [http://wintersteel.homestead.com/sliders_phenomenon.html The Washington Post: "SLIders & the Streetlight Phenomenon"]
* [http://www.randi.org/jr/082704gluton.html#9 "SLI" in the James Randi Educational Foundation's commentary archives]
* [http://www.assap.org/newsite/articles/SLI.html ASSAP - a paranormal organization's view on how SLI should be investigated]
* [http://www.assap.org/newsite/Docs/sli.pdf The SLI Effect] by Hilary Evans, a free download book on Street Light Interference. ISBN 0-9521311-0-2
* [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/239399421.html?dids=239399421:239399421&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Nov+17%2C+2002&author=Linton+Weeks&pub=The+Washington+Post&edition=&startpage=F.01&desc=Bad+Karma%2C+Or+Just+Bad+Lightbulbs%3F "Bad Karma, or Just Bad Lightbulbs? The Mystery of Blinking Street Lights"] . Washington Post (Nov 17, 2002)


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