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Old 19th April 2018, 03:07 PM   #41
carlitos
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Just yesterday, some strings of under-counter lights at my house were randomly coming on and off - these have previously lit / dimmed / switched on or off without us touching the switch. My wife has previously attributed these to her dead father looking over us. I realized that it was the vibrating of the coffeemaker vibrating the dimmer switches. Her dad drank a lot of coffee, so I suppose she could still be right.
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Old 20th April 2018, 07:09 AM   #42
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We have some Christmas lights that have various settings for different blinking patterns etc. They also have a very poorly documented feature that they turn themselves off after - I think - 8 hours, then turn on again later. (Maybe another 8 hours? Not sure) Can be confusing if you don't work it out, and keep turning them on and off.

Have you tried leaving them alone and seeing if they are on some sort of schedule?
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Old 20th April 2018, 07:20 AM   #43
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My first guess is a weak or intermittent contact somewhere in the circuit (maybe in the switch) so that occasionally the lights just go off without anyone noticing. So at the end of the day they don't get turned off because they look like they already are off. Thus the switch is still on, waiting to spontaneously light up again with just the right amount of vibration.
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Old 20th April 2018, 07:59 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
He posted a picture; it's a little slide. We've got sets just like that but I can't lay my hands on them just now.
AH, yes sorry. And I see he says the switch is in the "on" position when they are lit. It is not posstible for it to change position by itself. Either somebody is pulling his leg or the lights are the type with a timer in them. That type will usually be on for a period like four hours, then go off (with the switch stil in "on" position). Next day they will turn on at the same time as they were turned on. If you are not aware of this function, you might have puzzling experiences.

Hans
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Old 20th April 2018, 08:06 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Worm View Post
We have some Christmas lights that have various settings for different blinking patterns etc. They also have a very poorly documented feature that they turn themselves off after - I think - 8 hours, then turn on again later. (Maybe another 8 hours? Not sure) Can be confusing if you don't work it out, and keep turning them on and off.

Have you tried leaving them alone and seeing if they are on some sort of schedule?
That could be it as some have the 8 hour on 16 hour off so you can leave them on all day and they light up during the hours of darkness (if you time the initial on time correctly).

But my tingling spider sense tells me this won't be the case here....
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Old 20th April 2018, 08:12 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
AH, yes sorry. And I see he says the switch is in the "on" position when they are lit. It is not posstible for it to change position by itself. Either somebody is pulling his leg or the lights are the type with a timer in them. That type will usually be on for a period like four hours, then go off (with the switch stil in "on" position). Next day they will turn on at the same time as they were turned on. If you are not aware of this function, you might have puzzling experiences.

Hans
Yes, and this timer function is often totally undocumented.

Another possibility is that the driver circuit is cutting out because of heat or because of low battery voltage. After it cuts out, the chip cools down, or the batteries regain some voltage. Turning the switch off and back on, resets it, and the lights come on again.
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Old 20th April 2018, 08:12 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
And I see he says the switch is in the "on" position when they are lit.
I may have missed it, but I don't remember him saying that. He said he had to push the switch towards the off position. But how far? Is it fully switched on, or is it still in the off position but just needs a slight push farther to turn off?
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Old 20th April 2018, 08:53 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Forget the washing machine. Just put the light on your booty and start to boogie instead.
You always blame it on the boogie. Typical.
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Old 20th April 2018, 10:23 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
AH, yes sorry. And I see he says the switch is in the "on" position when they are lit. It is not posstible for it to change position by itself. Either somebody is pulling his leg or the lights are the type with a timer in them. That type will usually be on for a period like four hours, then go off (with the switch stil in "on" position). Next day they will turn on at the same time as they were turned on. If you are not aware of this function, you might have puzzling experiences.

Hans
It's a really crappy switch that doesn't have positive action. Sometimes you have to wiggle the slider a bit to get them to actually go off or on, regardless of the position.

Either that or it's pictsies.
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Old 20th April 2018, 10:54 AM   #50
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I'm really hoping we'll get a good test of the switch position hypotheses in the next week or so.
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Old 20th April 2018, 11:15 AM   #51
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Thank you for posting while I was searching for some kind of word pun on the picts and light switches. I never did find one.
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Old 20th April 2018, 11:59 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Thanz View Post
Sometimes these lights just come on on their own. As in, they are off when I leave the house to go for a walk or run an errand, and then when I return they are on - with no one else home.

Most people here seem to have agreed on bad switches as the explanation, but I wouldn't rule out bad memory!

Quote:
Normally, I could think prank here, but I have actually seen them come on on their own while I am there. My wife and watching a show or a movie and then suddenly they all turn on.

In these cases, however, bad memory can't explain it, but I also don't think that bad switches can be the explanation if "they all (!!!) turn on" suddenly.
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Old 20th April 2018, 12:08 PM   #53
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I think this is more appropriate for the Science, Medicine, and Technology subforum. There has to be a rational explanation; a lot of this physical phenomena is invisible.
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Old 20th April 2018, 12:22 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Thanz View Post
They did, once, in succession turn themselves off. At the time, I figured that the batteries just died, as we tend to change all the batteries at once and use the lights at the same time.
Have you been playing "lights out"? Maybe the entity is just really bad at it, and has been stuck trying to win the game.
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Old 20th April 2018, 02:47 PM   #55
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There's this neat trick you can do with a mini-maglight flashlight where it appears to come on and go off on its own or by the "intervention of Ghosts." or "the power of chi."

I've done it as a joke to "Behold, I can make the bulb light up with the power of chi." People drink it up till I tell them what's really going on. Charge gradually builds up a bridge of material over a tiny gap and closes the circuit.

https://doubtfulnews.com/2012/03/new...tion-revealed/
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Old 21st April 2018, 07:27 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
There's this neat trick you can do with a mini-maglight flashlight where it appears to come on and go off on its own or by the "intervention of Ghosts." or "the power of chi."

I've done it as a joke to "Behold, I can make the bulb light up with the power of chi." People drink it up till I tell them what's really going on. Charge gradually builds up a bridge of material over a tiny gap and closes the circuit.

https://doubtfulnews.com/2012/03/new...tion-revealed/
Fascinating how that trick works and how verklagekasper has analyzed it.

What are "ghost hunters" going to do when flash lights with incandescents die out?
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Old 21st April 2018, 08:21 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
What are "ghost hunters" going to do when flash lights with incandescents die out? : D
Change the bulb or the batteries, probably.
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Old 21st April 2018, 08:37 AM   #58
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It seems to me that changes in heat is the best way to explain things, assuming that we're not talking about a prank and that the information given is accurate and complete. If all the lights sometimes come on at the same time, then that suggests that whatever is causing this to happen is something that is happening to all the lights at the same time. Temperature seems like a likely fit.

If the switches are physically moving, then that suggests cheap switches inside which something is happening to the spring. One thing that could affect metal like that would, again, be temperature.

So, yeah, changes in temperature affecting the switches seems most likely to me, if we take the information given at face value.
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Old 21st April 2018, 10:38 AM   #59
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I've been in a house where the ham radio signal interfered with some of the lights, particularly the touch-to-activate things.
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Old 21st April 2018, 11:30 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
If you have a butler, it's the butler.

If you have a ghost, LEAVE THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY!
Why? It seems harmless. I have heard they can become quite friendly if you feed then
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Old 22nd April 2018, 12:01 AM   #61
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I had a Samsung TV that on standby mode used to switch itself on in the night. I woke up often to the sound of voices downstairs. I then simply turned off the power supply to the set and that cured the problem. Obviously it was strange for this to keep happening and I pondered on the cause, but a simple search showed that many owners of this same model had exactly the same problem, so a technical fault was the cause, not poltergeists.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 12:42 AM   #62
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If you take the batteries out, do they still come on unexpectedly?
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Old 22nd April 2018, 12:51 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Thanz View Post
Things like faulty connections could be at play, but it seems unlikely given the timing. We have 4 sets near our TV, and one across the room. At the times that they have come on themselves, they have all come on - at the same time. Also, just the other night, we turned the 4 on near the tv, and the one across the room came on by itself.

Nope.

One of you might be having memory problems.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 01:53 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by This is The End View Post
Nope.

One of you might be having memory problems.
This appears to be another "explain to me how this is not a paranormal occurrence" thread.....
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Old 22nd April 2018, 07:27 AM   #65
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A few years back there was a thread about unexplained things that happen to us. My entry was as follows:

I used to play tennis late on Wednesday evenings. The drive home was mostly highway driving and, at this late at night, the roads were mostly deserted. At least every two weeks I would notice that a highway light, that was previously off, would come on just as my car drove below it. It seemed like some lights were waiting specifically for me to arrive in order to turn themselves on.

Turns out that is exactly what they were doing. Of course, it had nothing to do with me. A reader here, who was a civil engineer, said this is actually a common occurrence. A short in the circuit, or a faulty bulb, would turn on the illumination due to road vibrations brought on by the oncoming car. Similar to jiggling the poor quality switch of the lights in this thread.

This made me think how long it took the highway light to turn off again once I passed by and thereby wait for the next driver to spring to life.

My vote is for bad switch/short circuit. No Woo needed.......in either story.

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Old 22nd April 2018, 09:57 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
This appears to be another "explain to me how this is not a paranormal occurrence" thread.....
Be nice. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the OP went dark as soon as the conversation turned to hypothesis-testing.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 10:01 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by deadrose View Post
I've been in a house where the ham radio signal interfered with some of the lights, particularly the touch-to-activate things.
Yeah, I had a few of them while living next to a 65,000 watt radio station transmitter. They were the three intensity kind so at about 3am or so they would just start cycling through those three settings. Eventually I just put mechanical switches in them.

I had a Discman CD player that I used in my car and at home. When hooked up to the home stereo (at that apartment) and playing, if I held my hand just above it it would skip util I took my hand away.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 10:44 AM   #68
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I had a bit of a "paranormal light flicker" experience the other night. We have a cheap goose neck light clipped on to the back of one of our kitchen chairs, it has a 60w bulb, one of those corkscrew looking ones. I have a cigarette before I go to sleep most every night, I came inside and took off my jacket (more of a heavy quilted shirt) and dropped it on the seat of the chair. When I did this the light flickerd, I grabbed the bulb and wiggled it, it was tight but it flickerd again. I thought it was a short but didn't bother to unplug it, I was too tired to move the cabinet and squeeze in there to reach the plug. The next morning I was going to toss out the light because I thought it was a fire hazard. I went to unplug it and.... It already was! Dun dun daaa.

I replicated the conditions the next night and it turns out it was the static charge from my jacket causing the light to flicker. Could something similar be going on with your lights?
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Old 22nd April 2018, 11:49 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by deadrose View Post
I've been in a house where the ham radio signal interfered with some of the lights, particularly the touch-to-activate things.


The touch-to-activate lights are the ones that my coffee-swilling dead father in law illuminates whenever my espresso machine runs.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 04:18 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
This appears to be another "explain to me how this is not a paranormal occurrence" thread.....

Never rule out someone being messed with. Even by a loved one.

Personally I think there is a fine line between a "prank" and "evil", but tons of people, for whatever reason, like to "mess with" others.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 05:03 PM   #71
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Any updates, Thanz? There were a few actions you could take mentioned here to test the hypotheses.
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Old 22nd April 2018, 09:37 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by This is The End View Post
Never rule out someone being messed with. Even by a loved one.

Personally I think there is a fine line between a "prank" and "evil", but tons of people, for whatever reason, like to "mess with" others.
I don't think there is a line between practical jokes and sadism. Sadists enjoy upsetting, embarrassing and alarming people, falling back on "it was just a joke" if found out.
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Old 23rd April 2018, 04:38 PM   #73
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Goddidit, obviously.
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Old 23rd April 2018, 05:21 PM   #74
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Back when I was a teenager a motorcyclist lost control of his bike and was killed on a lonely back road near my house. A few days later I was bicycling down the same stretch of road at dusk, and was just thinking "this is the exact spot where the guy died," when a glowing circle of light suddenly appeared right in the middle of the road! Surely a ghostly visitation!!

Not really. I had hit some bumps, and the bike's generator spontaneously flicked on and illuminated the light, which happened to be pointed at the ground. Still, what a whopping coincidence -- of all possible places, the light went on at the exact spot the accident occurred! Astronomical odds, right??

Not really. The same bumps that caused his accident were probably the ones that caused my generator to go on.

Moral: Electrical stuff is wonky and reserves the right to do seemingly weird things.
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Old 23rd April 2018, 06:18 PM   #75
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It looks to me from the picture you posted that these are some pretty cheaply-made things. In that case, I wouldn't be surprised if the slide switches are just terrible and defective and slip all the time.
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Old 23rd April 2018, 07:42 PM   #76
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Once I left a toggle light switch at around halfway and sat down on my bed for a minute or so...the light came back on and my heart must've skipped a beat.
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Old 24th April 2018, 06:38 AM   #77
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Hi all.

No time for testing on the weekend, and no further weirdness either. Just changed the batteries last night. Hoping to try some stuff on the switches this week.
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Old 24th April 2018, 01:38 PM   #78
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A few years ago I bought my wife, who's a big Scooby Doo fan, a boxed set of DVDs in a box shaped like the Mystery Machine, it had a sound chip to play the theme music when a button was pressed.

I had my studio flash guns out to test before a job and found that every time I fired the flash this dvd box played the music. I can't see any reason why there should have been a photocell in the circuit so I can only assume that the flashes were unshielded and sent out enough of an emf pulse to trigger it. I never tested the range, but potentially if my next door neighbour had been the Scooby fan they might have had a 'haunted' box set!
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Old 24th April 2018, 03:05 PM   #79
Squeegee Beckenheim
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
I don't think there is a line between practical jokes and sadism. Sadists enjoy upsetting, embarrassing and alarming people, falling back on "it was just a joke" if found out.
You're certainly right that there's a fair few "pranksters" out there who do nasty things and fall back on "it's just a prank, bro!" But there are also pranks that don't upset anybody. For example:

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I can't see how that's anything other than harmless fun.
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Old 24th April 2018, 03:07 PM   #80
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