All lights/elec.sys died when starting engine
I never experienced electrical problems with this 1999 Taurus Wagon w/ 3.0 Duratec before. Today after about 30 min stoppage I tried to start engine. All lights (cabin, dashboard) died when I turned the key to "starter" position. A strange boiling(?) or zooming noise appeared -- seemingly from a small black box attached to the right side of the battery. In a minute or so the noise disappeared and cabin light appeared again. With the key in "Accessory" position, radio worked. When I re-tried to crank the engine, electrical system died again (re-vived in ~ 2 min when the same strange noise ceased). Electrical system would also die on turning the low beam light on. After about 2 hours, the only sign of life in the car is the "Theft" indicator normally blinking; all other systems are dead (cabin light, remote opener, braking lights, etc.). What could it be?
Another observation (not sure if related at all): about 3 days ago when I started the engine, the "Theft" indicator started rapidly flashing; I stopped and re-started; the problem never disappeared.