Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Forgotten Mayor

The Forgotten Mayor

 The only South Australian Mayor not to have his portrait displayed in the Adelaide Town Hall, Joseph Clay Hall was Mayor of Adelaide in 1854 to 1855. He married Jane Youd and the couple had one daughter, Elizabeth.
Mr. Hall emigrated to South Australia from England around 1941 and worked as a share broker from the end of Rundle Street at Waterhouse Chambers. He lived in North Adelaide on Pennington Terrace in a home overlooking the park lands.

 Not much is known about Mr. Hall, his name doesn’t appear in a lot of the early literature about the politics of South Australia.
 There is a short blurb about him in P. Hosking’s “The Official Civic Record of South Australia: Centenary year, 1936” in which Mr. Hosking states the following about Mr. Hall’s political aspirations:

“There are, unfortunately, very few particulars available regarding Mr. Joseph Hall, who was the third person to fill the Chief Magistracy. He was first returned to the City Council on 12th October, 1852, as Alderman for Robe Ward, and in 1854 was elected Mayor.
 He occupied the Chair for a year, and afterwards, continued in February, 1857, when his death occurred.
 It is known that at the time of his demise he conducted the business of a broker in an office situated in what is now known as Waterhouse Chambers at the corner of King William and Rundle Streets, and that his private residence was on Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide.
 He was buried at West Terrace Cemetery.
 Mr. Hall’s age appears in the cemetery records as 54 years, while on the tombstone it is given at 51 years.” 

Mr. Hall’s name can also be found on the 1845 “Petition Against South Australia Becoming A Penal Settlement” which was a protest against the South Australian Colony who wanted to bring transported convicts into the settlement to help with labour shortages. South Australia is the only colony in Australia not settled by convicts. 

 Mr. Hall was known for his outrageous and unpredictable behavior. One recorded incident of his unpredictable behavior involved Mr. Hall running through the northern parklands in only his night shirt.
 His wacky behavior would eventually lead to his death.
In 1857 Mr. Hall was going through marriage difficulties and had separated from his wife, leaving their Pennington Terrace home to stay with his friend, Mr. Staines on Kermode Street.
 On the hot summer night of February 10th 1857, Mr. Hall had gathered a large crowd of onlookers to his antics. He was stationed on the balcony of his friends Kermode Street house.
 Dressed in his night shirt, trousers, boots and hat, he was running backwards and forwards along the balcony accusing the crowd below of conspiring to kill him.
 A man brought a ladder to the balcony and tried to bring Hall down, but to avail. Hal ran along the balcony and jumped off, landing on his feet, he began to frantically run around in circles all the while shouting for someone to take him home.
 He was eventually escorted by a Police Sergeant and a local Draper to the North Adelaide Police Station. After a few hours in the local cells, Hall became violently and uncontrollably ill.
 Doctors were called, but it was too late for Hall, who passed away in “a state of madness”..
 At the inquest, held at the nearby Scotch Thistle Hotel, George Thompson, one of the two men that had led Mr. Hall to the Police Station stated that he heard a cry of “police” at about 11pm on the evening of the ruckus.
 He saw a man take a ladder from the Police Station, and followed the man to Kermode Street where he saw Mr. Hall acting erratic on the balcony.

From Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), Saturday 14 February 1857, page 5 regarding evidence given by George Thompson:
 “The man who had the ladder went up and tried to persuade the deceased to come off the verandah. He could not succeed, and came down. Witness went up the ladder and said "Mr. Hall, you know me?" He replied, "Oh yes, Simon Fairlie, I know you very well." Endeavoured to persuade him to come down, but he would not do so. He then grasped witness by the hand very firmly, and witness caught hold of his leg. Was anxious to keep him if possible till someone assisted in taking him. He said "You won't let anyone kill me, will you?" Told him he would not, and tried to persuade him to come down. He said there was a man below who wanted to kill him, and if witness would make them all go away he would come down. Called for those below to go away, and almost at the same moment deceased pushed witness so sharply as nearly to throw him from the ladder. Saved himself by catching at the verandah. Witness ran along the verandah and jumped off. That must have been soon after 11 o'clock. Had known the deceased very well. He appeared more mad than intoxicated—really mad. Had not been aware of his habits—always thought him a particularly quiet sober man.
 The two Doctors that attended Mr. Hall in the weeks before his death, and his regular doctor gave evidence that Mr. Hall suffered from, and died from the effects of Delirium Tremens.
 Mr. Hall consumed large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, which would account for his often erratic behavior, and could possibly be the cause for his split from his wife and daughter.
 He consumed monumental amounts of alcohol in the seven weeks he had been separated from his family, and after the drinking ended, his body and mind began the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that equate to Delirium Tremens, and led to his insanity and death.

© 2016, Written and Researched by Allen Tiller – www.AllenTiller.com.au
1841 'Advertising', Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844), 23 March, p. 2. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71614315
1845 'MEMORIAL BY THE COLONISTS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA AGAINST THE INTRODUCTION OF CONVICTS.', South Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1844 - 1851), 14 February, p. 2. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71600655
1856 'Advertising', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 24 June, p. 4. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49746001
1857 'CORONER'S INQUESTS.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 14 February, p. 5. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158117739
 Hosking, P, 1936. The Official civic record of South Australia : centenary year, 1936 . 1st ed. Adelaide: Universal Publicity Company,.
Wikipedia. 2016. Delirium tremens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delirium_tremens. [Accessed 13 September 2016].

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Into The Unknown

Into The Unknown

First published in Heart-Soul & Spirit Magazine, Issue 2 July/August 2014, pgs 37,38

 As a paranormal investigator, it is your job to walk into the realms of the unknown at every investigation, sometimes walking into places where Angels themselves would fear to tread. You never know what is behind that next door, what is lurking in the shadows around every corner, or what may decide to follow you back to the safety of your very own home.
 Some may scoff at such a thought, “why would a spirit wish to follow me home”?
Good or bad, have you not just asked the very spirit to communicate with you?
 Would a spirit not be just as inquisitive about you as you, are it?
 Also, you've entered its territory to communicate, why can the spirit not enter your home to do the very same?

 There is also the negative connotation to such a thing, a negative entity that wishes to cause you distress and harm, and “feed” on that negativity for its owns reasons.
 I can tell you from experience in this field, that this is not a laughing matter. That spirits and other entities can, and will follow you home, at their will, and leave at their pleasure.

   Not too many years ago I had visited a known haunted location in the town of Gawler, South Australia. I finished my investigation, headed home, and went to bed about 3am. Within an hour of falling asleep I was awoken abruptly by the foot of my bed lifting off the ground and slamming into the cement floor hard enough to take a large chip out the concrete. I of course, waking up so abruptly, was in a state of panic not knowing what was happening. I switched on a light and the heavy atmosphere and lingering feeling of danger vanished in an instant.
I eventually laid back down and fell asleep.

 The next night, I was in bed before midnight, and again, within an hour the bed was shaking abruptly. Being a little bit cluey to these type of communications, I had prepared a torch under my pillow. I swung the bright torch light up to see the shadow of a woman disappear in a flash.  No-one else was in the room, No-one else in the house.
Just me.
Left to ponder two nights of goings on.

 After work the next day, and a long time to think upon the nightly goings on, I came to the conclusion that this spirit may want to communicate only, and may not be harmful, despite my feelings on the first night.

 The spirits actions on night three changed that opinion very quickly.

 On the third night of the bed shaking, the slamming of the bed was much more abrupt, the atmosphere was much more sinister, and when something unseen, cold and harsh grabbed at my leg, that was enough for me to decide to try and move this spirit on.

 At the time, I wasn't a religious person, and my objective was to only document spirits. As I am not a psychic, I did not believe I hold the power to move a spirit on to wherever it is spirits move on too.
 Instead, I sought out different techniques to solve my problems, and went as far back as I could researching into medieval practices. It seems in more “superstitious” times that there was a remedy for everything, but particularly for spirits and other entities.

I read about Vampires being distracted with piles of sand or rice.
That the Vampire is compelled to count, and therefore too distracted to feed upon its victim, funnily enough, this was also an attribute to stop ghostly activity.
 I read about doors painted red, mirrors placed on the back of entry doors with the reflective side pointing out (theory being the ghost would see its own reflection and scare itself). Another interesting remedy was a shiny metal bowl with water inside placed in the room within which the spirit resides, the spirit looks into the reflective water, and is trapped within it. The water, in the morning, can be poured over a tree grounding the spirit. There was one other technique, that I thought would be the simplest for me to try, as all it required was a pair of shoes.

 At the end of any bed that is being moved by a spirit, place a pair of shoes at the foot of the bed before going to sleep for the night. Place one shoe pointing toe first to the bed, and the other heel end to the bed, next to each other on the floor.
Apparently, spirits will become so confused by this, that eventually, after a few nights they will leave out of frustration.
I tried this for myself, and it seemed to work for me. Skeptics will say it is the power belief, and perhaps they are right, but whatever the reason, the bed never shook that hard again for the rest of the time I lived in that particular house.

 Now days, I am much more informed and experienced in the way I approach the spirit realm. I show them the utmost respect and courtesy, and expect the same to be shown to me in return. I often say a couple of prayers before and after an investigation, including St Michael's Prayer for protection, and within those prayers I ask for any spirit to un-attach from me and to not follow me home.

 My wife Karen also has a ritual she has developed for our team, that involves cleansing ourselves with holy water, blessed objects and crystals.
 I have heard many people laugh at such notions, and some say they would prefer the “whole” experience and have no protection at all, but as I always say;“It is always better to be safe than to be sorry”, and that stands true when working with any aspect of the paranormal or spiritual realms.

 Be respectful.
 Be prepared.
 Be protected.
 Be safe.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Contagious Behaviour

Contagious Behaviour

When Karen and I led ghost tours through the North Kapunda Hotel, we set up the tour to be an experience for our guests, not just "another tour".
The idea was to slowly build anticipation for the finale of the tour, The Hallway to Hell. We did this by starting slowly with the history of the town, then some ghost stories, a short video from Haunting Australia, then a walk around the town telling ghost stories.

We were priming our audience intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally), getting them hyped for their experience and for the finale. We wanted everyone to have a good time, get value for money, learn some history about Kapunda and hopefully see a ghost, or at least have some kind of “Personal Experience”.

More often than not, people would come away with at least one personal experience, or an experience they personally attributed to the paranormal.

What we noticed during our two years as tour guides was that the smaller the group, the less likely a “paranormal experience” was to happen. The tour didn’t change, we delivered our information with the same passion and high standards we set for ourselves each week, but for some reason the fewer in the tour group, the less “paranormal activity” felt on the tour.

I now believe what we were experiencing was a form of contagious behaviour. Perhaps this explanation via anomalistic psychology accounts for the higher number of anomalies during tours, or public “ghost hunt” events that are actually personal experiences and NOT genuinely “paranormal” in origin?

What is contagious behaviour?

Contagious behaviour is a type of social influence. The most common form is yawning. See someone else yawn, and more often than not, you will do the same, some of you may even be yawning as you read the word 'yawn' or think about someone else yawning!

Other contagious behaviours can include: smiling, laughing, rudeness, happiness, shivering, fear, anxiety and even risk-taking!

Contagious behaviour is seen within the demographics of protests quite often, when one person begins to punch/kick/ or struggle against authority, their behaviour can lead to others doing the same, and before you know it, you have a riot on your hands!

 In a situation like a ghost tour it is a little bit different. As the person leading the tour, you are seen as an authority on the subject, so when, as a paranormal investigator,  you tell your own ghost stories, it adds credibility to the experience. When you speak about others experiences, and paranormal events that have happened on previous tours, you begin to prime the audience for their own paranormal experience.

 In some guests, you're installing fear, or bringing out subconscious fears. That fear is contagious, and the people around that person will begin to react to it, some will challenge the fear, (the fighters), others will embrace it and become fearful as well (the flee-ers) – their natural “fight or flight” instinct is working away deep in their subconscious. The more people you have on the tour (especially if they are known to each other), the more this fearful energy travels through the group – and as they are there to feel/see/hear a ghost, and are not aware of the many natural explanations (xenonormal) for sounds, smells, etc,  more often than not, they will come away with a ghost story or experience…

…This of course lends to the next tour, as they go tell their friends about their ghostly experience, so the friend is pre-primed before they’ve even done the tour!
 It also adds to the mystique of the location, and to the spreading of urban legend…and so, what was once just another pub like any other, becomes a legendary haunted location with portals to the ghost realm!

So, next time you are on a ghost tour, have a look around at the people you are with, and see who is scared the most, then watch to see if those around them begin to get frightened too.

Thanks for reading – want to comment or ask a question, do so in the box below, or visit the Haunts of Adelaide on Facebook and find this post.


Ogunlade, J. O. (1979). Personality characteristics related to susceptibility to behavioral contagion. Social Behavior and Personality: an International Journal, 7(2), 205.
Holt N & Simmonds-Moore C & Luke D & French C, 2012, Anomalistic Psychology (Palgrave Insights in Psychology). Palgrave Macmillan
Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, David Luke, Christopher French. (2012). Anomalistic Psychology (Palgrave Insights in Psychology). Palgrave Macmillan