Regarding the article on whether personal emmantions can extinguish streetlamps, I submit for your approval an account told to me by a friend twenty-odd years ago. I don’t mean to suggest this explains the mystery in general, but it does explain a specific case.
When my friend was in college, cheap, self-contained lasers were a relatively new phenomenon and, of course, were all the rage in the physics department. Someone got the bright idea of mounting a high-powered rifle sight on one, allowing it to be aimed precisely from a great distance. The top of the physics building afforded a grand view of the campus and, in particular, a main street passing through it. There was no lack of victims to light with a red spot. They soon discovered that streetlights could be extinguished by hitting the photocell at the top with the laser. Then the real fun began as they waited for pedestrians to come walking along only to have the streetlights extinguish as they passed beneath them.