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The Courthouse Pub, Dungog

NSW, Australia
July 2003

I was a city girl moving to the country for my Husband's job and had befriended a lady who worked in the kitchen as a cook. My first experience at the Court House Pub at Dungog, was one of surprise as I sat for the first time at the pub bar.

I had ordered a drink and was sitting around listening to the local banter when a fellow appeared out of nowhere behind my friend's daughter. He had a long dark beard and a leather hat. He took a sip from a tankard and vanished. I exclaimed to the people I was sitting with, that there was a man who'd just appeared and vanished. They laughed said that I'd probably seen the ghost of the bushranger that had been hung. One of the local's then told me how the Court House Pub was named. (I am not sure if this is a true story but it is revered as a local legend)

The Court House is the site of where a bushranger had been hung and whose body had been laid out on the very bar where we sat. Apparently the magistrate was not in town and so the locals and the authorities took matters into their own hands. After the hanging they celebrated over the body.

I had turned a little pale at the thought, but thought nothing of it until about a week later, when talking to my friend in the kitchen and to leave, we exited through the dinning room (the dining room is off a hallway at the back of the pub and has access to the kitchen). I became very cold even though it was 35C outside and inside, and had this overwhelming urge to run and leave the room.

My friend said that the dinning room was seldom used as people felt more comfortable eating elsewhere in the pub as long as they were not in the dinning room. I said to her that it felt like something was in the corner of the room. After that, I would never walk through the dinning room on my own and my friend had said that she had always exited through the outside kitchen door, even when serving meals.

Another experience I had had at this little pub was that for whatever reason, and I cannot explain this, I could not, no matter what, bring myself to go up the staircase to the rooms above the pub. In all my two years of going to that pub, I could never set foot on the stairs that led up to the next level. Even when asked to, I would flatly say 'no' and still would today if asked. I have always felt a presence at the top of the staircase looking down at me. And a coldness accompanied by the hair on the back of my neck rise.

I would often express my feelings about the place being haunted to the publican that owned the pub at that time. He would laugh and say that there was no such things a ghosts and that he lived there and had no such things happen to him, but a lot of people who came to the pub to stay, would say that they too felt it was definitely haunted.

NSW, Australia
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