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Less Than Welcomed Guests


For anyone interested, you may want to start by reading my first story "Restless on the Stairs" which details our first experiences in the Victorian house where I lived with my mother during and immediately after my high school years. Our efforts at renovating the old house continued despite the random sound of footsteps we would hear on the stairs and upstairs hallway at night. We were more or less sleeping through them at this point, having no fear of them and as nothing overtly hostile had occurred we felt it was probably a residual haunting. As work on the exterior of the house began to finish up we were more interested in inviting people over. Mom had wanted the opportunity to invite my sister over to stay with us now that we had a spare room for her. I was more inclined to invite friends from school since the outside of the house no longer looked like something from the Addams Family with missing boards, peeled paint and cracked window frames.

The first real guest ended up being my sister. She came to visit for about a week from San Francisco while on fall break from USF. At first sight of the house she fell in love with it and immediately started asking questions about its history. Of course, we hadn't had much time for research trying to get settled, get the house in livable condition and become accustomed to living in the city again. Sis decided she would take the lead and try to find out as much about the house as she could during her visit. We stayed up late that night talking about her experiences in the city and at school. She was also staying in a Victorian apartment conversion and she thought the architecture was the epitome of style. At about 1:00am we all stumbled off to our respective bedrooms to get some sleep, but my sister, upon entering her room discovered that none of the lights or electrical outlets seemed to be working. In the weeks we had been staying in the house, we hadn't had a single problem with the power going out so we thought of it as a case of "bad luck" it had happened now.

The first thought was to check the electrical service panel, but we couldn't locate one. On the outside of the house, where you would expect to find breakers there was only a meter for the power company. We finally located the old fuse box in the pantry next to the kitchen and discovered that one of the four fuses had indeed burned out. We replaced the old fuse, with an equally old fuse we located in a box on the shelf next to the fuse panel and were relieved to find the lights back on when we returned to sis's room... Problem solved!

Problem not solved... The following morning my sister came down very late. She missed breakfast, but we assumed it was just a matter of her recuperating from driving the day before. We were dismayed to learn that she had overslept due to the alarm clock not working. I went up with her and checked the outlets and overhead lights which were all dead once more. Once more, we checked the fuse panel. None of the fuses were burned out this time but as we removed them and replaced them one-by-one power was restored to my sister's room. It began to raise questions with my mother and I about the state of the wiring in the house and the possibility that the guest room might not be ready to be occupied yet after all. The power failed again in the room that day, and again that evening when my sister prepared for bed. She was sitting at a small desk in the corner of the room brushing her hair when she felt the room get very cold. She turned to the window to see if it had been left open, and as she turned back the lights went out, throwing the entire room into darkness. This certainly frightened her and she let out a scream that both my mother and I heard downstairs. When we reached the room it was decided that the wiring was simply too sub-standard and my sister would spend the rest of her visit in the converted living room.

We called a local electrician the very next morning, someone who had experience with all the older homes in the area. He informed us that he wouldn't be able to visit until a few days later and that we should remove the fuse for that part of the house and leave it out until he was able to check. We did as instructed, which was fine as the fuse only seemed to effect the one room in the house. Thinking back, I don't know why that didn't throw up any "red flags" for any of us since that would mean two bedrooms, a bathroom and mom's sewing room were all running on a single circuit while the guest room had its own. This was also when we began to experience other electrical problems throughout the house. Most of the rooms in the house still had push-button light switches that dated to the 1920s. They were unreliable and sometimes had to be toggled on and off multiple times before contact would be made. In the front parlor, after running the overhead and wall sconce lights for a long period of time, they would begin to dim and flicker, sometimes creating a strange buzzing. After turning the lights off, bright flashes of light would pop at random in the room. Sometimes just one, sometimes a few in rapid succession. We were sure this had to do with the wiring but were unable to determine what could be causing it.

At last, the day of the electrician's visit had arrived. He started by taking a look at the fuse box which shocked him as the box appeared to be original to the first wiring of the house in the early 1920's. He was surprised to learn that this one antique fuse panel was still powering the entire house and tested it for voltage. The readings were negative... There was no electrical current passing through the points in the fuse panel! He then removed all four fuses and showed us that power was still on throughout the house.

At some point, the house's original 1920's wiring had been changed to accommodate newer technology and he was able to locate a more modern breaker box in the attic. It at last began to sink in to everyone that the power had been going out in my sister's room and we had been restoring it by messing with fuses in a fusebox that wasn't even active anymore. The electrician verified that the breakers were NOT self-resetting and that if one had been tripped, it would have required one of us to manually reset it. Of course, this was impossible as none of us even knew this modern box existed. That night, we finally told my sister about the footsteps in the hallway and on the stairs. They only happened randomly, and as it happened they hadn't occurred during her stay. That night however, as she prepared to sleep on the couch, the electricity failed in the living room. Frightened into a frenzy she raced up the stairs into my mothers room and stayed there for the night.

The next morning she packed her things and returned to the city, swearing that she would never come back. The electrician came to make repairs and replace wiring in the parlor which had been arcing to cause the light flashes after turning off the switch. He verified again that there was no way changing the fuses in the old panel would have any effect on the electricity in the house. Mom and I decided that it was the invisible occupants of the house having their fun, or chasing an unwelcome visitor away. We weren't sure why the house, or the entities in the house hadn't decided to play this trick on either of us but we were grateful just the same they hadn't. Over the next few months I tried to have guests over as well. Some of them would get very restless or start to feel sick, one of them even told me that the house "felt wrong." I tried to inquire as to what he meant by that but he just shook his head and said... "there's just something wrong." A girl I was dating at the time refused to even come up the steps when we would go out. She would stop on the sidewalk across the street and wait for me to come down. She would tell me it felt like the house was "watching" her with its large bay windows. The one time I was able to convince her to come in, she went to use the bathroom on the second floor when the lights suddenly blacked out. Needless to say she never let me convince her to come in again.

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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, Zack84, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
11 years ago (2013-03-21)
This is going into my favourites... A really interesting read... I would like to hear more from you and your experiences... What happened with the medium?
Zack84 (8 stories) (32 posts)
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
Yes I'll post more stories, including the seance.

Valkricry: Those push-button switches were a (sarcastically) ton of fun... Yes, they would frequently get jammed behind the panel and as bad as the wiring already was, I so looked forward to fishing around with a butter knife trying to dislodge them. We discovered chopsticks were best as they didn't conduct electricity.
mamachong (11 stories) (228 posts)
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
Hi Zack84,
Do you have any more stories about this house? I would love to hear them. And one more question, you have my curosity, how did the house debunk a local psychic/medium?
valkricry (49 stories) (3267 posts) mod
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
A working nonfunctional fuse box? Can we say 'freaky'?We just recently replaced a push button light switch like the one you spoke of. They can be... Rather finicky in operation. Did the buttons on yours try to hide behind the plate now and then? House where I once lived had a phone that rang at very odd hours. Problem? The phone jack that the ringing came from wasn't even wired anymore. Had a phone repair guy come, who was kindof smirky. I could tell he thought I was imagining things - until it rang with him right there! 😆 But your fuse box beats that by a good mile or more!
Now come on and tell us about the seance 😊!
Argette (guest)
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
I think you have the makings of a great novel here, Zack, and since you have a very good writing style, I hope you will consider that some day.

That is not to say that I think this is fiction, because I do not. I believe you.

Please share the seance story with us, too!
Zack84 (8 stories) (32 posts)
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
My sister came back once, but I wouldn't say it was peaceful. She came to participate in the first and only seance held there during our family's ownership. It was a great event though not due to spirit participation. I'll just say "the house" helped us debunk a local psychic/medium.
Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4999 posts) mod
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
Zack - talk about a house with "personality" LOL Although I'm not sure your sister would find it funny, huh?

I am hoping to see another story from you as I've enjoyed both of these very much.
BadJuuJuu (guest)
11 years ago (2013-03-12)
This went straight to favorites, that house sounds so, well, awesome. Coolest thing ever that the nonfunctional fuse box was affecting the lighting. Did your sister ever get to visit in peace?

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