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If the camera appears to be working properly in some pictures and not others I'm going to suggest you look at your Shooting Modes. It's very possible that the mode dial has been turned to the TV mode which is Shutter Priority. With the Rebel having a shutter speed of 30 seconds to 1/4000 you may click the shutter to take a pictures and the camera appear not to take the picture. A few seconds later the shutter closes and the mirror drops. This also can happen if you are in the Night Portrait mode. The length of time my be longer if the lens cap is immediately placed on the lens.
Change your mode to "P" program until you become more familiar with the camera functions and settings
I think you have a faulty fuse (there are three in total) inside the camera. The fuse might have blown because of bent pin for the memory cards or a faulty cf card. In wich case, you have to repair it yourself, there are pages on the web that describe what you have to do (search for fuse and 350d), or send it to a canon service center ( they will change the complete motherboard because the fuses are soldered to the mainboard and they won't change them)
On a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) like your Rebel, the shutter remains closed until you actually take a picture. The camera cannot display an image on the LCD since there is no way to preview one that has not been captured.
If the camera still "operates normally" with recorded pictures while they are all black, you try to select CMOS Cleaning to see if the shutter really opens or not.
If not, a plastic lever operates the first set of curtains had broken. This could be common for all plastic shutter except EOS 1 series which use metal.