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A Visit To Australia's Most Haunted

April 2003

Just like to share some strange experiences that my travel mate and I had while visiting Australia last year around July.

This is a very long and detailed write up, so please bear with me, as I really want the reader to capture the feelings of the experiences.

We visited 3 places, which were listed as haunted locations in Castle of Spirits' most haunted, one on purpose and the other two unintentionally.

I will talk about the Quarantine Station at North Head first.

We had wanted to do a night tour after seeing it in Scream Test. Being unable to get any travel arrangements during the night, we decided to go for a heritage tour of the site during the day, my travel mate was drawn to the history of the place you see. The visit was largely an uneventful one, but when we reached the Asiatic quarters the situation became spooky. My travel mate claimed that as she moved to leave the hall where they screened the film on the station (Those who have visited the station might be more familiar), the door closed by itself as thought trying to stop our exit. She swore that there had been no wind at that moment.

The shower block gave us strange feelings of great fear, confusion, sorrow and anguish. To this day, my travel mate would not look at a picture that she took of the room with the 2 big circle doors where the migrants' personal belongings were treated.

There were times when I blinked and saw, for short flash, a graveyard where an open field is now and in the shower room, a very thin person sitting in one of the shower cubicles. Our imagination? Perhaps. I felt that we had tuned our senses too high and had neglected to detect the small signs during that visit. But I had a strong feeling of unhappiness that many of the Asians were probably not given the correct death rites they might have wanted. We also felt that the Asians might have tried to make themselves felt specifically to us as we were the only Asians in the group.

Our visit to the Hyde Park Barracks was perhaps the most frightening of all. We had visited the place around 3 in the afternoon. The third floor of the main building made me feel sick on reaching it. Perhaps it was psychological as the carpet strangely stopped at the steps leading to the third floor leaving only wooden floorboards. As I was about to enter the sleeping quarters where they had the hammocks, I thought I glanced and for a short moment saw a lot of people in the room. I did not dare to enter, but my travel mate entered on her own. I walked in the passageway to meet her on the other side of the room. As she reached the middle of the room and I the middle of the passageway, I swore I felt someone blow down my neck and she heard someone hiss into her ear. We did not tell each other about our experiences until later as we did not want to spook each other.

Without saying much to each other, we went to the second floor archeology room where we looked at some of the odds and ends found during the excavation. As we were at the far end of the room, the door was on the other side, we heard the sound of footsteps moving towards us. They sounded brisk, angry and demanding, as though asking the reason for our presence. We snapped our heads in the direction of the sound and it stopped immediately. I looked at my travel mate and she shrugged her shoulders trying to convince herself that it was our imagination. But as we turned back to the exhibits, the footsteps started again! We did not need more indications to conclude that were not really welcomed there!

We made a quick exit while trying not to run and make a fool of ourselves.

On the first floor, my travel mate felt an uncontrollable urge to cry for no reason. In the courthouse, my travel mate saw out of the corner of her eyes the swish of a black skirt with white lace trimmings near the judge's table. To round up the story of the Hyde Park Barracks, we went back to our hotel room to retire for the night. My travel mate complained about something knocking on the window every time she dropped off to sleep. It kept her awake until she had to place a prayer book on the bedside table before it stopped.

Just a note that during the visit to the Barracks, we were quite sure that we were the only ones in the exhibition area, save for a Caucasian lady on the first floor.

We also visited Old Melbourne Gaol during our trip. Thanks to Ned Kelly, they were having an exhibition on his life, I did not really feel anything strange in the place as there was a lot of people moving around. My travel mate however could smell many strange smells, worst of all was in the room next to the hanging platform. She had entered one of the cells, which had the death mask of an aboriginal man, when she saw out of the corner of her eye a tall dark figure standing at the door of the cell. It was so tall that it almost touched the top of the doorway. Thinking that someone wanted to come in, she stepped deeper into the cell to make some space for the other visitor, but nobody came in and the figure had vanished.

The spirits of the Gaol seemed to have followed us back to the hotel as the air-conditioner, which had refused to be switched on for the first few nights of our stay at Melbourne came on by itself and refused to be switched off. We spent a sleepless night huddled together half frozen to death. The next morning my travel mate complained of many hands running up and down her back. Much to my embarrassment, she had to say " Can you please stop touching me!" in a loud voice before the hands stopped. I was left to fend with the eyes of the other hotel guests who turned to look accusingly at me, thinking I was trying to be FUNNY with her...

To wrap up, I only discovered that the Hyde Park Barracks and the Old Melbourne Gaol were listed as Australia's most haunted after I returned from my trip to Australia. We both now believe that what we saw might well have been ghosts.

I have some other stories that I will leave until later as it will need me to explain in-depth the Chinese perceptions of death and dying. Until then , thanks for reading. Also thanks to Castle of Spirits for doing such a great job with the website.

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