In checking out the Women of Esoterica page for the first time, an article on “The Super-Charged Grandmother” caught my eye. Mavis Price is said to have so much static electricity coursing through her body that she gives electric shocks to people she touches and burns out electrical appliances when she tries to use them – completely unintentionally, of course. I was amused to see that the official explanation of this phenomenon is that she must shuffle her feet in a particular way when she walks, and she must walk across carpeting, as this would cause static electricity to build up. Not that she actually does this, but she must do it, because otherwise this wouldn’t happen, right? Well, the very first thought that popped into my head is, the woman hasn’t walked on anything but carpet in over fifty years? Because that’s how long this has been going on for her. It happens at home, at her daughter’s home, at school, everywhere. She tried to take a computer class once, but every time she touched the computer it froze up or shut down. Her instructor was baffled. (I’m picturing the sceptic’s view of her, touching her computer to short it out, then shuffling madly around the carpeted classroom so she can do it again, rather than sit down and get the information she paid for. But I digress.)
So what exactly is this phenomenon? I have to tell you up front that I don’t have answers, but I’d like to tell you about what I did find when I went digging, and about some of my own experiences. The phenomenon has been named SLI, or Street Light Interference syndrome, and people who experience it are commonly referred to as SLIders.
Personally, I believe many more people experience this phenomenon than we know, because many people either don’t recognize it happening to themselves, or are afraid to mention it for fear of being thought crazy. Let’s face it, light bulbs do blow out, sometimes just as someone is walking under them. We all accept that. And traffic lights do seem to turn red for some people and green for others. It’s a funny family joke, right? How about when other people begin to notice it? How about when it happens so regularly that you can predict what the traffic light will do, based on who’s behind the wheel – and it works every time?
I know of a family that lives just a couple houses away from an intersection with a traffic light, and has been in that house for over ten years. Wherever they go, they first pass through that intersection. When the husband approaches the light from their house, it turns green. He never stops at the corner. When the wife backs out of the driveway, the light turns yellow, and is red when she reaches it. Weird, huh? Pretty funny? It’s a running joke in that family, even the kids notice it. They kept a notebook on the dashboard for a while to keep track. It works nearly every time. Nearly...because there’s one exception to the rule. Apparently, if the wife drives the car right after her husband did, she can sometimes slip through on a green light.
This would imply that the traffic light is responding to something about each of these people, possibly an electromagnetic field? It also implies that the husband’s field may be stronger than the wife’s, for two reasons: one would assume that a green light is the desired outcome, which he gets but she doesn’t. Also, and to my mind more compelling, is the fact that after he drives the car, at least the first time she drives it, there seems to be a residual effect, and she gets “his” green light.
I used to work on the fifth floor of a local hospital. Every day, I would enter the building by the same door, walk down the same hallway, pass one bank of elevators, and go to my office by way of the second elevator I came to, at the next hallway intersection. After the first two months or so, I began to notice that I never had to wait for the elevator any more, even though others would be standing there reading the paper when I got there. It came within moments of my arrival.
I thought it was a funny coincidence, or just funny that it appeared to arrive at the same time I did, EVERY DAY, but brushed it off because things like that don’t happen, right? The really weird thing was that one morning, a man who was in a small group waiting for the elevator, glanced up from his newspaper and saw me coming down the hall – and immediately folded up his newspaper and picked up his briefcase. As usual, the elevator door opened as I stepped in front of it, and we all got on.
So apparently, not only did I recognize it, but a total stranger had also recognized it. It didn’t happen for him, but he realized that it would happen for me. After a few more months, the elevators that I passed every day on my way to my office would open for me as well, even though I never got on them.
A few years later, when I changed my job to one in a different department, I still worked in the same building but in a different area, and no longer used that set of elevators. However, I still walked past them occasionally. I noticed that it took two or three months for the effect to wear off, to the point where I could walk past the elevators without seeing them open up.
I never tried to influence the elevators. The husband and wife don’t try to influence the traffic lights (at least, not regularly; I’m sure the wife has probably begged for a green light on occasion, but I’m not aware of any instance when that worked). I was able to walk past one elevator without influencing it, but the other one, the one I used daily, was affected after a couple of months. The couple lived in that house for a few months before they noticed the traffic light reacting differently for each of them, in a consistent way. They’ve never noticed the same effect with any other traffic light, even the ones facing different directions at the same intersection. Only the one nearest their home, the only one that they pass through every single time they go anywhere, is affected.
Magnetic charge can build up. So can electrical charge, as in static electricity. It’s possible that one of these, or both, may provide the explanation. I can at least attest that I do NOT always walk around shuffling my feet on the carpet, as skeptics alleged Ms. Price must do in order to achieve her effects. I’d like to find out more about this, and plan to continue digging for information. My forays into Google searches and Wikipedia have been disappointing so far; all I’ve gotten is a list of articles on why it’s all a hoax or mistake. I’d love to hear from anyone who has info or leads on it, so please e-mail me at email@example.com.