Please be warned, this Article features
graphic content and is not suitable for those with a good imagination
and a weak stomach!
Last week we learnt about the tragic circumstances of the death of Mr Francis Frederick Cluney at the Adelaide Arcade in 1887.
This week we are going to feature some of the graphic details of his death as reported in various newspapers around the country.
As you will see the newspapers don't all have the same information, so one has to assume that somewhere along the lines of communication, details were misheard or exaggerated for effect.
In our times, such gruesome reports would not make the newspaper, but as we know, they are easy to find online.
Our first report is written some time after the accident, August 6th, and comes from the “Territory Times” newspaper. (Northern Territory Times and GazetteSaturday 6 August 1887 - page 3)
It is as follows:
It is as follows:
“It took all the strength of six men to drag the fly-wheel back so as to extricate the body of the unfortunate victim. The engine has two fly-wheels parallel to each other and about 4 feet apart. The body was found with the head and shoulders jammed in between the right fly-wheel and the body of the engine. The upper part of the man's head was smashed to atoms, the fragments of the skull being' scattered upon the floor and the engine. The head disfigured beyond recognition, and one foot was torn off. No one saw the accident, and the unfortunate man seems to have been killed almost instantly by the revolving fly-wheel, one of the spokes of which smashed the skull. As far as can be judged Cluney must have fallen accidentally against the inner edge of the fly-wheel, which is five or six feet in diameter, and was then jammed against the engine, his body checking the machinery and causing the extinction of the light”
The South Australian Register reported a slightly differing account to the Territory Times. The S.A. Register account is almost identical to that which was printed in the Advertiser, of which one of its workers was a witness to events and helped remove the victims body from the machinery.
South Australian Register - Saturday 25 June 1887
“Dr. B. Poulton said he examined the body of deceased in the engine-room at the Arcade shortly after the accident. Found the skull fractured in many places, and about one-third of the right side wanting. The right arm was broken in several places, and attached to the trunk only by the skin. The ribs on both sides of the upper half of the chest were shattered in many places. The breastbone was fractured, and the walls of the chest were driven back inwards towards the spine. The left shoulder was fractured. The cause of death was laceration of the brain and a rupture of the lungs, blood vessels, and organs in the chest. Death must have been instantaneous on receipt of the injury to the brain and chest. Such injuries would readily be caused by deceased coming into contact with the machinery in motion. “
I imagine someone, somewhere, right now will be criticising me for posting such graphic descriptions of Mr Cluney's Death, wondering about my motives for posting such details.
It's quite simple really, the first reason is to highlight the fact that you cant always believe what you read, as noted in the description printed in the "Territory Times", Mr Cluney's foot had become detached, as of yet, I have found no other report of such a thing happening, even in the coroner reports!
Was it a case of misunderstanding?
A communication error?
Or was it simply sensationalising an already grisly death that had over shadowed other national stories?
We will most likely never know for sure, but it does highlight the need for researchers to correlate the facts they print, double check, cross reference and make those references available for all to read, publicly and clearly to validate statements made online, on tours, or in books.
The other reason for posting it brings us back to the Adelaide Arcade Haunting, since his death in 1887, Mr Cluney has often been seen wandering around the Adelaide Arcade building. Shop keepers have often seen him, with one former employee at the Arcade stating in an 2010 interview that he had seen Mr Cluney on more than 20 occasions He was quoted as saying
“He sticks to the roofspace of the Arcade, so few people actually see him these days,”
Now my interest here is how Mr Cluney would appear to people, would he be the mangled mess after the accident which caused his death, or would he be the British Army uniform wearing Beadle that so many people had high regard for?
|Police in uniform for the 125th year|
celebrations at the arcade
Or would he be limited by the physical world in which he lived in his day? We have all heard stories of ghosts walking through walls, only to be told that once there was a door way in that spot, or the wall never existed, leading many to think that ghosts are limited by the physical properties of the world they knew in life, but as I said before, there are no rules when it comes to ghosts!
It is also said that Mr Cluney does not like loud aggressive people in his arcade, that it makes him angry and he makes his presence known, I am not saying you should go test this speculative theory, but it does seem interesting in light of events just before his death.
Another rumour is that speaking of electrical devices, or electricians doing any work in the Arcade brings forth Mr Cluney's ghost, I myself have had a story related to me, from a very reputable source in the air-conditioning trade, of one such an encounter.
|Figure in the first few seconds of the "Adelaide Arcade Ghost"|
video found on youtube
|Is this a ghost entering a shop in 1972?|
One would have to believe Mr Cluney would be instantly recognisable as a spirit with his English Military uniform, but there are, as of yet, no really descriptive representations of his look from reports to date.
Although it is said that sometimes he is seen with a woman... who could she be? What of the other ghosts said to roam the Arcade? A child is said to be heard, could this be the Byron child, who died of asphyxiation in an upper room, or could it be Florence Horton, murdered at an entrance way by her husband?
It will be interesting to note if Mr Cluney is now seen wearing his distinctive uniform in future reports after the publishing of this blog!
Next week we uncover another intriguing arcade story in
Territory Times Report:
South Australian Register
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