Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Engelbrecht Caves: Ghost of the South Coast part VIII

Engelbrecht Caves

One of Mount Gambier biggest tourist draw cards is the Engelbrecht Caves
The Cave system was explored in 1864 by John Stratford, Charlie Brad , Albert Grosser and 10 year old Charlie Grosser, in a canoe built by pioneer settler Dr Edward Wehl.
The adventurers explored, but soon found themselves caught in strong currents in the underground cave system and were pulled through the network. They had a hard time making it back to where they started, but made note of the enormous size and beauty of the caves during their trip, which was eventually written about much later in 1933.

The caves are formed of Gambier Limestone, and by a process of chemical dissolution have formed over thousands of years, the limestone being originally formed some 35 to 45 million years ago!
The cave gained its name after a Mr Carl Engelbrecht arrived from Germany, and bought a nearby flour mill, turning it into a whiskey distillery. He used the caves to dump all of waste and by products, evidence of bottles can still be found today!

After a group of divers explored the caves by request of local council, it was decided they wouldnt be suitable for a tourist development due to the large piles of rubbish inside and the possibilty if people being hurt in small lakes and waters inside.
Almost 15 years later, The local Lions club took over the site and set about cleaning it up, after 3 years and $10,000 they handed the caves back to council, and from there it became the tourist attraction we know today.
In late 2008 a tourist was enjoying the caves when she took a random photograph, as tourists do, she got a hock when looking at the picture, when she found the face of a small boy looking out at her from behind a rock.
The boy seemed to have an unearthly blue glow too him.
She was stunned, and sent the photo to be viewed by the tour group. Someone in the tour group leaked the photo online, and soon it was in all the local papers and a media frenzy grew around it. The photo was also available online.
This led to a large number of new tourists becoming interested in the caves and the story, and all of course looking for the little lost ghost boy in the caves.
The media attention also caused a large backlash by non-ghost believers, these people began to attack the authenticity of the ghost photos, and even made personal attacks toward to photographer, which in turn led to the photo being removed from all media and internet sites as per her request.

I am lucky enough to have a copy of the photo, but as per the copyright holders request, cannot display it here.
Interestingly a local paranormal investigation team named Abandoned Australia investigated the caves back in May 2009, but found nothing at the time they thought was paranormal, but also stated that this did not mean the location was not haunted – for more about their investigation please follow this link:

Mount Gambier also offers Ghost Tours, you can find them here via this link: http://mountgambier.localitylist.com.au/yellowresult.php/goal/Detail/ckey/2043

So are the caves haunted by a little boy? If they are, whom is he, and why is there, in a cold wet cave?
These are the questions no-one has an answer too right now...
More investigation and enquiry needs to be done to verify the existence of the boy and the authenticity of the photo's, but this is highly unlikely on both accounts, so the ghost boy for now, will remain another of the mysteries of the area...

That concludes our look into Ghosts of the South Coast for now, we will return to the area at a later date as we have uncovered a number of other local stories as well, but we feel it is important to not dwell on one area for too long. So we will move on for now, and come back down south at a later date.

© 2013 Allen Tiller

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