From eerie asylums to haunted waterfalls, the Land Down Under has its fair share of spooky locations (as if the giants spiders weren’t enough).
Redbank Range Railway Tunnel
Picton, New South Wales
Redbank Range Railway Tunnel is better known as the “Picton Ghost Tunnel” — and for good reason. The abandoned tunnel closed in 1919; some believe that the tunnel hosts a plethora of supernatural activity. According to local townspeople, the ghost of the ill-fated Emily Bollard haunts the tunnel. Emily, who died in 1916, was killed instantly when a train struck her down in the middle of the tunnel. Horrifyingly, the train carried her corpse all the way to the next train station. Paranormal researchers have experienced strange lights and unexplained drops in temperature in the tunnel.
The Old Adelaide Gaol
Thebarton, South Australia
Opening in 1841, The Old Adelaide Gaol (the old-fashioned spelling for ‘jail’) almost bankrupted the new colony of South Australia. Forty-five people were executed at the jail, including the unfortunately-named convict “Mah Poo,” and their bodies are buried within the grounds. It is alleged that the ghost of murderess Elizabeth Woolcock, executed on 1873, continues to haunt the now-defunct prison. In recent times, paranormal field investigators captured video evidence of the supernatural.
This chilling footage shows a prison door opening and closing, all by itself. Investigators of the incident claim that there was no wind or hijinks to explain the door’s behavior.
The Min Min Lights
The Min Min Lights are bright balls of light that dazzle unsuspecting drivers near the remote town of Boulia in the Australian outback. Hundreds of people have experienced the moon-like lights late at night, and they have been reported to follow travelers for long distances across the lonely country roads. Though first recorded in 1838, the Min Min Lights appear in indigenous stories long before the arrival of any Europeans. It is rumored that anybody who follows the lights to catch them will never return to tell the tale.
Beechworth Lunatic Asylum
Beechworth Lunatic Asylum was founded in 1867. The grand building housed 1,200 patients, yet behind the majestic campus are countless stories of inhumane treatment. Many inmates experienced cruel “cures” for their mental distress: straightjackets, shackles, isolation cages, and primitive shock treatment. It is therefore not surprising that the now-closed asylum is considered one of the most haunted places in Victoria. The ghost of Matron Sharpe, a nurse known for her compassionate nature, can still be seen wandering the steps of the buildings.
Most recently, paranormal researcher Allen Tiller made headlines when he captured an image of a small girl kneeling in an abandoned ward of the hospital. Nobody has been able to explain how the mysterious apparition appears on camera. Some believe she is the ghost of a small girl who appears only to women, desperately trying to communicate with them…
Manly, New South Wales
The Quarantine Station opened in 1832 to stop the spread of infectious diseases in the new colony of Sydney. Crowded and unsanitary in its heyday, thousands of new arrivals died of diseases like smallpox, cholera, and the Spanish flu. Today, the facility hosts popular ghost tours. Visitors have experienced doors slamming by themselves, unusual gusts of winds, and some even report feeling their hand being held by invisible cold fingers. The ghosts of former staff and patients regularly appear to ghost tour participants, including the apparition of a mortician in a top hat, nicknamed Mr. Slimey.
According to quarantine staff, the most haunted location is the first-class shower block. The block is so filled with supernatural activity that some staff cannot bring themselves to enter the building. The showers repeatedly turn on by themselves with no human involvement, and visitors have photographed mysterious images of dark shadows lurking in stalls.
Fremantle Arts Centre
Fremantle, Western Australia
In recent years, Fremantle Arts Centre has transformed this colonial gothic building into a thriving cultural center in Western Australia. However, the sad history of the structure, once an asylum for the criminally insane, continues to reverberate through the walls. Indeed, the center is considered one of the most haunted places in the southern hemisphere.
According to historian Jane Hall, “the spectral wraiths of the poor demented are still active.” The ghost of a suicidal lady still searching for her abducted daughter roams the complex. A little girl can be heard laughing in the lady’s former room. On ghost tours, people report being followed by black shadows, and sometimes the ghost of an old lady joins the tour. And should you plan to visit the centre, be prepared to pucker up for “The Kissing Ghost” who may plant a peck on your cheek.
Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge
HM Pentridge is one of Australia’s most famous (or should that be infamous?) prisons. The “Who’s Who” of Aussie criminals spent time in Pentridge during their lives. No longer operating as a prison, the site now hosts ghost tours for brave souls. During one tour, visitors claimed they heard the voice of notorious inmate Mark ‘Chopper’ Read from Cell 16. The terrified group told the Daily Mail that Chopper’s distinct voice shouted out them: “Get Out! Get Out!” While sections of Pentridge have been turned into luxury apartments, its dark and troubled history lingers still.
Newtown, New South Wales
You might expect spooky activity from the grave of a woman named “Bathsheba Ghost,” and you wouldn’t be disappointed. The former matron can be witnessed taking her nightly patrol around Camperdown Cemetery, a historic graveyard in the bohemian Sydney suburb of Newtown. The cemetery also plays host to the Dunbar Tomb, a mass grave that contains remains recovered from the wreck of the Dunbar in 1857. 121 individuals lost their lives when the predominantly passenger ship ran aground off the coast of Sydney; the remains of some 22 individuals are buried in Camperdown.
Port Arthur Historic Site
Port Arthur, Tasmania
Port Arthur is Australia’s most notorious penal station, known for the harsh conditions endured by convicts. It’s also remembered as the site of the worst post-colonial massacre in Australian history, when in 1996 a gunman opened fire on visitors and claimed 35 lives. During colonial times, the facility housed the hardest criminals from the United Kingdom, and also imprisoned rebellious or difficult convicts from other Australian penal colonies. Conditions were so physically and psychologically brutal that some convicts committed murder so they could escape their present suffering through subsequent execution. Some prisoners went insane from intense solitary confinement where they were completely deprived of light and sound.
Ghostly figures are regularly spotted roaming the complex, perhaps of prisoners who sadly still can’t leave the prison. In other parts of the complex, there are reports of rocking chairs that rock all by themselves and phantom bells ringing at the same time on Monday afternoons. And one photographer claims to have taken a snapshot of three ghostly children, dressed in white, looking outside from an upstairs window.
The Devil’s Pool
Since 1953, 17 young men have died in mysterious circumstances at the Devil’s Pool, a natural rock pool at Babinda Boulders. Local legend claims Oolana, an ancient lovelorn spirit, haunts the waters and seduces young men to their doom. The Devil’s Pool is now heavily barricaded and a plaque has been erected in memory of the pool’s victims. It reads “He came for a visit and stayed forever.”
This story was first published on The Lineup
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