My Aunt's house is a Frankenstein's Monster. Her late Husband made a number of unique wiring modifications. previous post about the her house: Question on toilet mounting; No visible bolts?

1st, There are hidden switches all over the house. many of the switches we have no clue to what they do (over 20).

I suspect there is some sort of puzzle/code to the workings of the switches. Flip certain switches and things happen- Lighting in 3rd bathroom goes on after 3 years of no power/bypassing the light switch in the room, 4 Big 28" x 7' inwall Metal storage cabinets unlocking & open,then the locking mechanisms locked again unable to close, in the Mud/Wash room the metal mirror slipped down in to the wall to revealing new 2 switches, some switches in the master bedroom are now glowing green.

2nd, There is multiple cross-wired corruption, breakers that are off are getting juice from else where?

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What happened was her 4 Grand Kids went on a hunt for switches and I suspect pressed them all as they found them.

  • Joke: Move this thread to Puzzling Exchange maybe? :) Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 7:12
  • 1
    Be careful. This sounds like a recipe for electrocution
    – JeffG
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 12:40
  • 1
    To me, this sounds like a fun puzzle, but (a) I don't have to live with it and (b) I'm already plannin at least one hidden door in my own place. My concern would be whether any of this wiring comes close to meeting code.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 2:03

2 Answers 2


In addition to what Alan said...

A wire tracer to help trace wires behind walls. Shut off the circuit, connect the tone generator, follow it with the tracer.

A breaker finder: Plug it into an outlet, or connect it to a wire pair. Use the finder to determine the breaker.

You should also have an outlet tester to test outlets.

Note: I have never used these specific tools, just giving an example of the type of tool.

  • @Alan, the tracers don't work very well in the upstairs of the house. 2layers of 1/4 sheet rock. 1 layer 1/2" and plaster and lather, not to mention panneling and Vinyl waines coat. is some rooms
    – gurby
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 8:52

I assume there must be a main breaker panel somewhere. Start by tripping all breakers, shutting off electricity to the whole house.

  • Activate a single breaker. Walk all over the house, seeing what still seems to work. Note that on a (large) drawing. Make extensive notes.
  • Deactivate this breaker. Activate another. Repeat until finished.

This should give you a rough view of what goes where. If there are smaller breaker panels hanging off the main panel, go through the same process.

Some types of detector can help detect live wires, even beneath wall panels. This was on Amazon

(disclaimer: I have never used this particular type.)

By the way, I also assume there must be a building code where you live? And a part of that relating to electrical installations? And that insurance will not cover you for damage (i.e. fires) caused by installations that do not conform to code? You get where I'm going with this.


  • The problem seems to be, that the OP doesn't know of all the devices connected to the electrical system. So turning the breakers off won't really help with that.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 22:17
  • @Tester101: what I would be more concerned with is appliances connected to two circuits at once. :-(
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 5:13
  • @HTH, yes, there is a main breaker actually it looks like 2. but there are 4 breaker boxes in the garage and 2 fuse boxes in the mud/wash room. and there might be another fuse box behind the refrigerator in the kitchen.
    – gurby
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 8:37
  • @gurby A fuse box inside a wash room??? I'm starting to understand what you meant by "Frankenstein's Monster". ;-) (PS: "HTH" = "Hope That Helps")
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 12:24
  • @ ALAN WARD, yeah, not only in the wash room, but directly over the wash pans/utility sink. We had an Electrician walk the house. he has 12 sheets of issues and the appliance plugs between the wash room and the Kitchen still have power with the breakers off and the 2 mains off,
    – gurby
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 18:19

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