Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: The Ghost Larrikins

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: The Ghost Larrikins


Before the Magistrates Court in Strathalbyn, 1887, an alleged ghost was put on trial for haunting an alleyway in the town.
 The ghostly offender, who was brought to court after being captured by Corporal Cate, faced Magistrates E. Castle and W Colman, on the charge of Disturbing the Peace.
The previous Wednesday night, a ghost was heard at midnight, wailing down the side alley of several houses. The nearby residents, woken by the strange sound, and a little fearful (these were superstitious times after all!) crept outside for a look.

 One of the residents, Mr Joseph Wesley, armed himself with a dog chain, and made his way outside, then into the laneway. He saw a strange figure, draped in white that suddenly hid in the bushes. Wesley, decided to investigate further, and found the ghost, a young man wearing a puggaree (a thin muslin scarf tied round a sun helmet so as to hang down over the wearer's neck and shield it from the sun.)

The police were called, and after a little investigation, it was revealed that the ghost was none other than local, Ralph Wilson, a young man described as “half-crazy” in court proceedings, and therefore unable to plead for himself.

 Wilson gave up two other young men, who had talked him into playing the ghost. Daniel Bray and J Stephens were both charged with aiding and abetting,

The three young men were very lucky to have received an excellent defense attorney in Mr E. J. tucker, who presented to the court a technicality, which allowed all three young men to walk free from court, but not without a warning from Judge Coleman, who warned them not to be seen in his court again!

...and so, another alleged ghost in Strathalbyn was unmasked!

Researched and written by Allen Tiller.
© 2018 Allen Tiller

1877 'General News.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 24 May, p. 2. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96886495

1877 'MAGISTRATES' COURT, STRATHALBYN.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 31 May, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96886595