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Cleaning Out The Basement


My mom passed away at a fairly young age this past fall - since then we have been cleaning out our old house. We had moved when she was sick, and she was very sad about losing her house to foreclosure, though it had not actually happened yet. A few weeks ago I was sorting some things in the basement, which is still very full of all of our old belongings. I was sorting through some clothes, talking to her about them, asking why she had 7 of the same white sweater, things like that. Therapeutic, as I am still having trouble dealing with this. This was the first time I was at the house by myself since she passed away, but it was a nice sunny day outside and I wasn't expecting anything weird. I've never experienced anything weird either, and am a pretty rational person, so I wasn't looking for anything either.

I have to go on sunny days because there are no utilities on in the house. No electric, no gas, no water. They were all turned off for non-payment back in the fall. The house is freezing, which is another reason I wait for warmer weather. So in addition to light from outside, I had my iphone on a shelf with the flashlight app on while I sorted the clothes. Suddenly I hear a familiar appliance come on, but I am not surprised since it's a familiar sound from living there, and realize it's the water heater - but it occurs to me all the times I have come back there since, I have not heard the water heater or the furnace. I know the electric is off since the lights don't work, but was thinking maybe the gas was left on somehow, although I doubted it. I looked at it for about 20 seconds just frozen, wondering if something could explode from it turning on with no water or electric. And as I'm standing there, my flashlight app shuts off. Then turns back on. Shuts off, then back on. That has never happened using that app. I had a little over 30% battery. So I figure, maybe this is my mom? So I go back to what I was doing, just to see if anything else will happen, as my phone continues to occasionally turn off and back on again.

I decide to work until my phone hits 20% and leave, since I am freezing and my hands are getting numb. I get a text from a friend so I shut off my flashlight and text him to tell him what's going on, and I went upstairs for a minute, then back downstairs again. He told me to check to see if the water heater was hot, and it was. Then, at 16% battery, my iphone POWERS OFF. This has never happened before or since. I take it out to my car to charge it, and it's immediately at 8%. So something drained the power.

A few days ago I went to the house to work on some sorting with my friend, and I felt the water heater to see if it was warm from coming on since then, and it was ice cold. They aren't legally allowed to turn off the gas in PA between Oct and March, so that couldn't have changed.

Any thoughts on this?

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, st8mint21, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

510mot (3 stories) (262 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-29)
You doubted the gas was still on but then you end your story with the fact of it being illegal to turn off the gas between October to March? How much time had passed between visits? What did I miss? 🤔
DragonStorm80 (1 stories) (440 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-29)
My sympathies for your loss, I like that you "talk" to your mother while you are sorting things out in her home, I'd like to think that your mother was trying to look after you with this story, Has anything else happened since then?
Thomas98 (1 stories) (5 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-29)
Maybe it was your mum trying to keep you warm. Sorry for your loss: (
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-28)
First let me offer you my sympathies for the recent loss of your beloved mother. It is always a tragedy to lose ones so near and dear to us, and worse that it was such a young age. My heart goes out to you at this time of sorrow and loss.
It would be a simple thing to say that it was your mother who interfered with the workings of your cell phone lamp, and I am not here to deny that it was. But from what you have reported here, the freezing temperature in the basement that day, this may very well have been the cause for it. It is well known that batteries lose functionality when the temperature drops to the level you described, and this could very well have been the culprit.
The water heater... You said yourself that the state law prohibits the gas company from turning off the gas before the month of March.
Those are just alternate possibilities, and by no means am I saying that is what occurred. After all, I was not there, and it is highly possible your mother was sending you a communication. It is typical for a mom to want to provide you with some heat to warm your frozen fingers, and the flashing of the light on your phone is another typical way in which spirits will let us know they hear and understand us. She may simply have wanted you to know that she is at peace now. ❤

Jav ❤
anna2012 (4 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-28)
I believe it is your mom that is trying to take some energy from your phone. Since the battery was already at 30%, your mom didn't have enough to show you her presence. She may have wanted to tell you that she is in peace.

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