Help with wiring – I’m stumped for the first time

I’m hoping the gurus can help me out. A little background:

– My house was built in the 50’s and had non-grounded wiring. As I remodel rooms I upgrade to wire with a ground and new circuits.

– The previous home owner (or rouge electrician) made some upgrades but I replace them where I find them as they are not to code or just sloppy or dangerous.

I am currently working on my basement and ran across a strange issue. I had a junction box that was above a light. I flipped the breaker and all the lights on the circuit went off. When I went to disconnect the wires I got a zap.

Doing some trouble shooting I found that another circuit was giving wires in the box power so I shut that off.

I traced the wires back to the original circuit and disconnected everything up stream of the box.

I got as far as I could to another junction box but now the other circuit is not working.

Here’s the strange part. When I test the hot and neutral I get no current. However, if I use a ground from a known grounded source (extension wire plugged into a grounded outlet) I get current on BOTH the hot and neutral.

Hot and neutral with the circuit on – no current (ground it not touching – just looks like that in the pic)

Hot wire showing current when I connect the ground to the ground on the extension cord from a grounded outlet.

Neutral wire showing current when I connect the ground to the ground on the extension cord from a grounded outlet.

When I flip the breaker off for the second circuit I get no current – it is only when the second circuit is on.

Did someone cross a hot and neutral in the circuit? Could it be caused by my Insteon light switches on that circuit? It appears from my testing that the ground on that wire is not working as it will not show current when I connect the hot and the ground to the tester.

Any help would be appreciated!

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