Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dead Man's Pass - The Ghosts Of Gawler: Part Two

Dead Man's Pass

The Ghosts of Gawler: Part Two

The Para-Pass, as it was known in 1837, has long been a notoriously haunted location in Gawler, South Australia (about 40 mins north of Adelaide).

I grew up nearby in Gawler South and spent a lot of my time as a child playing in the reserve around Dead Man's Pass, collecting tadpoles, sailing boats through the streams, and discovering caves and other hidden secrets throughout the area. I was also intrigued by the endless ghost stories I heard over the years from other friends who used to play there as a kid.

The area was first used as a crossing point for Bullock dray teams, carting goods from northern outposts like Kapunda, it was a good place to camp also, refill water supplies and have a break under the shady trees. Colonel William Light passed through the area, as did many other famous explorers.
 The crossing got its name after an exploration party returning from the Barossa ranges came across an exhausted traveller, whom they offered respite too. Once stopped at the crossing they checked on their new companion who had fallen asleep in the back of their dray, only to find him dead.
 Having no tools with which to dig a grave, they placed his body upright in a hollow tree and covered it as best they could with sticks and branches.

Not long after, another travelling party happened across the gruesome site, and, after taking samples of the gentleman’s clothing, encased him with clay in the tree.

A Sign at Dead Mans Pass - Photo by Allen Tiller
The name “Dead Man’s Pass” was adopted in 1842 as the permanent name of the South Para River ford where the hollow tree coffin was located.

 Before European settlement, Dead Man's Pass and the Gawler region were the home to the Kaurna Peoples, Australian Aboriginals who used the area for hunting food, shelter and water. There are numerous caves hidden throughout the location, some containing Aboriginal paintings.

The area has seen much death, in 1927 there was a swinging walk bridge installed across the river, a Mr J Bald, a local man, leaned over the side of the rope bridge, and nearly severed his head when he slipped.

In 1901, Patrick Condon, a Gawler Corporation employee had a fatal accident where his night cart flipped when it fell down an embankment, and landed on him, killing him.

Also in 1901, a young boy, who was also crippled, was found dead in a billabong. Anton Johann Linke's clothing was found on the banks by another young lad, who went to search for him, only to find Anton floating in the water, dead.
Do any of these people now haunt the location? That we cannot say, however, a number of other ghost stories have surfaced over the years.

There are many stories of paranormal encounters at Dead Mans Pass. If one cares to visit the “Ghost Village” website, one can read the story of a young man and his mate who were riding their bikes down First Street. They were going too fast, and one kept hearing a voice in his ear say “go right!” indicating to turn right into Gawler Terrace.
 The boy didn’t have much time to make a choice, if he swept left around the Dead Man's Pass bend he would go into oncoming traffic, if he managed to turn right, he wouldn’t make the turn.
 Going against his instincts, he turned right, and ploughed straight into the curb, flying through the air, and hitting a massive gum tree.
 He lay there stunned.  He looked up and saw two figures standing over him. A man and a woman. The man said, "You're lucky to be alive, lad," and the Lady said, "Take heed, boy, you only get one chance like this!"…
The boy's mate came over to see if he was ok. Laying on the ground, without a scratch on him, he asked his mate where the old people had gone. His mate replied that he hadn’t seen anyone, but he had heard his friend talking to someone. He then said he had watched him fly through the air, over 33 feet of gravel, and then land, almost softly on the big gum tree. ( read the entire story here: http://www.ghostvillage.com/encounters/2006/10022006.shtml ).

Another more recent story involves seeing a woman, in period clothing standing near the back of the Ambulance station. This is a personal experience story that may appear later in another publication on this blog if the witness is prepared to offer it.
Allen with other S.A. teams in Dead Man Pass
Recently, I was down in the Pass myself, showing some other paranormal teams around the place who had never been there before. As we were walking through, one team noticed something odd, and began filming, what appears on the video is a younger person hiding in the bushes watching us, we don’t believe anyone else was there at the time, at least not in the exact location we were, which was very far in the reserve, and no-one left while we were there over the next few hours. Was it a ghost? Well of that we are uncertain!

 Dead Man's Pass remains a mysterious place, but not one to wander in to at night alone, due to dangers with the living more so than the dead!

© 2013

Allen Tiller


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Spring-Heeled Stephen - The Ghosts of Gawler: Part One

Spring-Heeled Stephen

The Ghosts of Gawler - Part 1

In 1941 Gawler, Angaston, and the Gawler River area were under the intimidation of a particularly violent ghost, who was making itself known to young women and children.

Making his first appearance at Gawler River in a lonely farmhouse, the ghost “played spooks” around the outhouses of the farm until he awoke a young farmhand who chased him down and threatened to hit him.

 The ghost duly melted away into the night, but he returned later and was found in the house after a number of children awoke screaming that they had seen a ghost in the room.

 The ghost jumped through a window to make his escape!

Spring-heeled Stephen's next haunting was at parkland's in Willaston, just north of Gawler, where he chose to attack more young ladies who were out enjoying the evening. Reports of his ghostly attacks grew, and soon the young ladies of Gawler and Willaston were too afraid to go out at night.

The ghost soon appeared at another well known haunted location, the Old Spot Hotel in Gawler's main street (now the Golden Fleece Hotel). 
A young lad, who was sleeping in his cot outside on the balcony, was seized by the ghost and violently dragged out of bed. The boy, yelling and fighting woke his father, who looked for the attacker but found nothing.

Don Liddy, then owner of the Old Spot, released his Alsatian dog.

  The dog tried to track the ghost, but to no avail, he seemed to have disappeared into the night. Later the same evening, the ghost returned once again and was seen peering in the bedroom windows of the Hotel.

Spring-heeled Stephen made many appearances around Gawler in 1941 but faded in oblivion not much later...

© 2013 Allen Tiller

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Skeletons on Rundle Street - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Skeletons on Rundle Street

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Reverend H. Howard first met each other on-board a P&O boat, en-route to Fremantle, Western Australia. 
The subject of ghosts came up, as it often did with spiritualists and paranormal investigators. During the conversation, a story surfaced about a real human skeleton photograph taken in Rundle Street, Adelaide.

  Mrs McElwin, a lady of Adelaide, was asked if she could find a copy of the photograph and have it sent forward to Mr Doyle for him to peruse and speculate over.

  There were, in fact, two human skeletons in Adelaide on display. Both skeletons were for sale at the time that Mrs McElwin began searching for the photograph of one to send to Doyle. Whether she found the photograph is unknown. What is known is that one of the skeletons could be found in the store of Kuhmels Piano Emporium at 134 Rundle Street in Adelaide
Although Kuhmel's was primarily a music business, he did on occasion sell items for other people. In this case, an articulated human skeleton (a real human skeleton) was for sale via a relative, who had two such skeletons in his possession. The other human skeleton was for sale in a suburb outside of the Adelaide City centre.

It is not known what happened to either skeleton, but during my research, we discovered these were not the only two human skeletons for sale in Adelaide!
Adelaide city of bones?

© 2013 The Haunts of Adelaide 
Written and researched by
Allen Tiller

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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Yanyarrie Ghost Story

Yanyarrie Ghost Story

Just some 17 miles from Cradock, the town we visited last week in the Flinders Ranges region of South Australia, sits the small town of Yanyarrie. A tiny location that is known mainly for a cattle station and a creek that floods from time to time.

In a small house near Yanyarrie, owned by a farmer named “Hamdorff”, a number of strange phenomena occurred, the most prevalent being knocking sounds, heard by many witnesses.

The local Mounted Constable, accompanied by a Mr Hayward and a Mr A J Graham decided to take it upon themselves to investigate the strange occurrences. Arriving at the pine-and-pug residence at 8:30 pm in darkness, it didn't take long for the investigators to survey the location and make note of a waterhole some thirty yards from the residence.

The owner of the house had left for Quorn, taking with him his wife and his seven-year-old daughter, who seemed to be at the centre of the phenomena, as the knocks were most prevalent in her vicinity.

Yanyarrie Creek
Two young boys were left in charge of the property while the parents and sibling were away, aged nine and fourteen.
 The group of men and boys ate dinner as the boys told how the ghost usually likes to appear at about nine pm.
just before 9 pm, the candles used to light the rooms were extinguished, and the group waited anxiously for the ghosts appearance.

Within minutes the sound of a splash was heard outside, then distinct footsteps.
Followed by a knocking sound against the chimney. At once two of the men went outside to investigate the strange noises whilst the other man stayed with the boys.

From inside the house, the knocking sounded like it was outside, and from outside, the men said it sounded like it was coming from inside. The men stood asking questions and received replies by knocking, one of the men asked the knocker to “knock louder” of which the following knock is said to have “shook the entire house”.

The noise ceased at 10 pm sharp. The men and the boys made camp in the living room and feigned sleep, hoping for more activity,. Which was to come at precisely 2 am and lasted until 3 am, but leaving no trace of its source.

The men went around the house searching for clues, to find nothing, no footprints and no sign of human interference, the men recounted the story the next day to others,  attesting that they would lead better lives from now on.

Once the story broke in the media, local ghost legends become exposed in the local community to a wider audience, a tale of a Shepard drowning in the water hole, and people seeing strange lights surfaced.

One fact though often brought the haunting case into disrepute, and was the vocal repertoire of sceptics, the house was currently rented by the Schultz family, the same family who had a daughter that would later be found to be hoaxing knocking noises in Cradock...(see last weeks story)

Is it possible that the father was in on his daughter's deception, and on this occasion sneakily made his way back to the house and hid in the chimney, making the knocking sounds? That is something we will never know for sure but is a plausible explanation in this case.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below

© 2013 The Haunts of Adelaide
written and researched by
Allen Tiller

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Cradock Mystery - an investigation by The Society of Psychical Research

The Cradock Mystery

In 1887 South Australia faced a mystery, in the town of Cradock, some 370 km's north of Adelaide in the Flinders Ranges. Not far from the town of Hawker, a young girl was falling into trances and mysterious knocking sounds could be heard, often in reply to questions being asked at the time.
The story created somewhat of a sensation in South Australia, and throughout the colonies of Australia.

The Cradock Hotel
A young girl named Sissy Schultz had experienced paranormal phenomena in the family home.
 Sissy would fall into a trance-like state which would facilitate paranormal phenomena, in her case, loud knocking would be heard manifesting from her bedroom.
 It was claimed the knocking was not from the young girl, but from a phantom, that was in the room with her. There were also claims of odd electric shocks and one occasion, the sighting of a young child’s apparition by Sissy.

Mr Kirkham Evans, a member of The Society of Psychical Research, took it upon himself to travel the almost 400 kilometres to Cradock from Adelaide to investigate. 
 He sent forward a telegram of his intentions and discovered that the resident Schoolmaster, Mr J.A. Jones was also a member of the society.
Mr Jones had himself already set about investigating the case but had made little headway into discovering the source of paranormal phenomena.

The two gentlemen, armed with a small tin of flour, some black lead, string, an electric magnet, a bottle of strong ammonia and a thermometer, set about to investigate the haunting.

Cradock Church
The paranormal investigators allowed two other men to enter the room with them;  Reverend Hancock of Port Pirie and Mr A. Healy of Blackrock.

On entering the room and examining the child Mr Evans had this to say; 
“We saw sissy, a plain-looking child of nine years but tall for her age, at times full of life and activity, bold and fearless, simple in manner, but upon entering into conversation with her she showed remarkable cunning, suggestive of; “I know you; you are laughing in your sleeves” a remark which, by-the-way, we once heard her make” (South Australian Weekly Chronicle – June 11, 1887, page 22)

After making a few notes and preparing for their investigation, the men made their way into the back of the store to Sissy's bedroom. They evaluated the location and could find nothing out of the ordinary or untoward in the room. The Father told the men that this was the only room in which anything out of the ordinary had happened.

It was decided that their objective for the night was to find out if the young girl really was sleeping or “shamming it”, and then how the knocks were made. 
Careful notes were made that the child lay on a double bed, of which she could not reach the sides when laying in the middle, but if she rolled to the left she could easily knock on the floor from under her covers, unseen.
It was also noted how the child had been over-the-top excited about having the gentlemen there, then in no time at all was ready for bed and in a minute and a half sound asleep, not bothered by the talking of men in her room.

Soon Sissy was laying in bed, with the light on, rolling her head from side to side, her Dad remarked: “ It's coming, put out the light!”
Mr Evans keen eye for detail noticed as the lights were being put out that the child rolled to her left side and that her arm stretched out toward the wall.
Shortly after, very faint raps were heard in reply to questions asked.
Evans and Co decided to lay some black lead dust around the room and again turned off the lights. When the candles were relit, it was discovered the girl had black dust on her hands, and so the fraud was detected!

A report was drawn up and signed by the gentlemen investigators.

" We agree from the observations of Wednesday, June I.—
1. That the child is awake or semi-conscious, and we believe she shams asleep.
2. She produces the raps herself with |her band, or any available object, this including her own body.
3. The raps could be easily simulated.
4. That she is open to suggestions.
5. From the observations, we made on this particular night we don't feel justified in imputing to any person in the room the charge of collusion with the girl.
    —W. E.L. Jones, Kirkham Evans, Blackrock, June 2,1887."

Even though the evidence was more than stacked against the Schultz family, it did not stop them making their way to Adelaide to put on paid performances of young Sissy's ability, however, this did not last long as eventually, the father found himself in the courts for fraud!

Next week we are staying in the local area and visiting some stories from Yanyarrie Station, just 17 miles from Cradock, another location the infamous Ms Schultz placed her ghost story, but this time, it would seem, there may be something else going on...

© 2013 The Haunts of Adelaide
written and researched by
Allen Tiller