Back in the summer of '87 I purchased a house on South Franklin Street in Janesville, WI. It was an old Victorian 5 bedroom built sometime in the 1880's. It had been empty for several years and was in quite a state of disrepair. Other than the roof, It didn't appear to have ever been updated and needed a lot of repair.
The first thing I did was ran a water pipe to the toilet in the main floor bedroom closet so I could have a functioning toilet. I took my daily showers at my parent's house several miles away in Milton.
Next, I cleaned up the yard to keep the city off by back. Then I decided to completely gut out 4 of the 5 main floor rooms, the kitchen, dining room, living room and the bedroom. I removed all of the old plaster and lath down to the studs. I left the light fixtures and switches hanging so they were still usable. Each of the 4 rooms had a single bulb hanging for light. The front parlor was in decent shape so I cleaned it and used it for my bedroom. It had a 4-foot wide sliding pocket door between it and the living room and a regular swinging door to the vestibule.
I lived in the house through all of the mess. My two brothers helped with the destruction. Every other Wednesday night was my turn to host our poker party for friends at work. There were four metal folding chairs that came with the house. So there were plenty of chairs. Three were tan and one was spray painted red for some reason. (Sounds made up-I swear it's true). Nobody ever mentioned anything strange about the house. (I take that back, my young niece was afraid of the house and would not go inside, it looked spooky). Basically, everything seemed normal.
I had never really believed or disbelieved in ghosts, I had never had any reason to really wonder. I also was not a very religious person at the time. I was, however, afraid of the dark. Pretty funny for a 22-year-old guy that weighed in at 250 pounds.
One night after work and showering at my parents, I came home and went to bed just like I had many nights before (a few months). I would unlock the back kitchen door and turn on the kitchen light, go in and close and lock the door. Then I would go through the kitchen and turn on the dining room light, then turn around and go back and turn off the kitchen light. Then I would go through the kitchen and dining room and turn on the living room light, then go back and turn off the dining room light. Then I would go back through the dining room and living room and turn on the parlor/bedroom light. Then I'd go back and turn off the living room light and go in the parlor/bedroom, slide the big heavy door shut, shut the light off and go to bed.
Just when I was starting to get comfortable, I noticed a light coming in under the big door. I got out of bed and opened the door and all of the lights in the house were on! (except the parlor). I was terrified, but I went all through the house checking to see if anyone was there. The front and back doors were still locked. Even the lights in the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom were on. Even the basement lights. The basement door was still boarded. You have no idea how hard it was for a scaredy cat like me to check the attics and the basement. After I finally calmed down, I shut off all of the lights and went back to bed.
This was the first of 3 experiences I encountered in that house. I'll post the other 2 in "My House On S. Franklin St. II" Thanks for reading. I hope this wasn't too long and drawn out. Jim