Western Australia has its share of haunted places. Whether or not you believe in ghosts a good ghost story is always entertaining. We are collecting stories of W.A. ghosts and including them here. Some of these stories are repeated in the various town entries.
Do ghosts really exist?
They certainly seem to exist in our minds but scientific research tends to cast doubt about the actual existence of spirits or ghosts. Many ghost stories are just folklore and many are hoaxes, but there are people who swear they have experienced supernatural events. Science now explains many of these as areas of unusual magnetism that can affect some people's brain waves. They can result in full blown hallucinations, visions, feelings of being touched and all sorts of other effects that are not the result of ghosts or spirits.
To date there is only anecdotal evidence of hauntings and no positive proof of the existence of ghosts has ever emerged. Even so, they remain an important part of our collective imagination and traditions.
On a cautionary note: Treat any claims of ghosts and hauntings with caution. Businesses promote these sort of things in order to attract more customers. Anyone who has something to gain by telling ghost stories cannot be taken seriously.
People claiming to read fortunes or to be in touch with 'the other side' and who charge money for these 'services' should not be relied on.
Ghostly rescue - Albany.
Jennifer Smith, her husband and family were sailing from Hamlin (sic) Bay over the Easter weekend in 1989. As the yacht approached Albany waters it was in the dark of night with a rising sea and wind. They were confused about the navigation lights and visibility was poor they did not know which way to go when a figure appeared near the bow of the boat. (Jennifer continues the story in her own words:)
'He had a large dark coat with brass buttons in two rows down the front of his coat, his collar was pulled up, a flat black hat pulled down on his head. He had a short cut beard and in his hand a pipe. He nodded his head and his pipe at me an in that moment the harbour opened up before our eyes.'
It is thought that this apparition was the ghost of John Gregory Reddin the lighthouse keeper from 1907-1911.
Other ghosts are said to haunt the old gaol. Amy or Emily haunts the women's section, Joseph seems to haunt the black hole and there is even thought to be a ghostly dog in the building.
Camp Quaranyup - Albany
Originally a landing place for shipping and later used as a residence. The ghost of a young girl or woman wearing a 19th century nightgown is said to have been seen here.
Also a ghost of a young man who was electrocuted and buried under the floorboards of a house at Quaranyup walks the area at night howling.
Old Gaol - Albany
A ghost said to be a soul in torment haunts the old gaol but few details have come to light about who the ghost may have been.
Separated lovers - Albany
Most ghost stories seem to revolve around lost love in some way and the story of Catherine's ghost is no exception. Catherine's husband, Cathal was tried and convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years transportation. Cathal could not read or write and was unable to get word back to his wife about his whereabouts but she eventually found out he was at Albany and made her own way out to join him.
She arrived at Albany and started asking about her husband and found he was living out at Oyster Harbour. She sent word to him and he arranged to catch a boat to join her. As he caught sight of her from the boat he stood up to wave, overbalanced and fell in to the water where he drowned. Catherine died of a broken heart and her ghost is said to haunt to harbour.
Patrick Taylor Cottage - Albany
The cottage is said to be haunted by the ghost of Major Frederick Ingoldby who was a doctor serving in the army during the Boer War. His ghost is said to turn up each September on the anniversary of his death.
The wreck of the Alkimos sits stranded and rusting away north of Mindarie Keys. The ship has been there since 1963 and anyone going too near to the ship is said to be plagued by bad luck. Strange lights have also been seen in the ship at night. The photo below was taken back in the late 1990s and since then most of the ship has broken up and disintegrated.
The story of this ship stretches back to Baltimore U.S.A. in 1943 during World War II when it began its life as the liberty ship George M. Shriver. The ship seems to have been plagued with bad luck and rumors about deaths on board include the accidental sealing of a worker inside the double hull during the hasty construction and a murder suicide on board.
Liberty ships were usually assembled from pre-fabricated parts in ten days. The George M. Shriver took six weeks as sections did not fit together, machinery broke down and accidents slowed down work.
After an undistinguished war service during which the ship spent much of its time in dry dock being repaired, it was sold to a Norwegian company and re-named Viggo Hansteen. Despite the name change the bad luck did not go away. Accidents and repairs were frequent and in 1961 the ship collided with another vessel in a British harbour and was severely damaged.
After the repairs were completed the ship was sold to a Greek firm and became the Alkimos. In 1963 the ship struck a reef off the coast between Perth and Geraldton. For some reason the Captain of the ship did not call for assistance for three days. When a tug arrived to help get the ship off the reef the Captain again refused help and attempted to get the ship off using just the ship's winches. This went on for a further two days before a salvage expert arrived.
The ship was eventually re-floated and taken to Fremantle for repairs during which there was a fire and much of the inside of the ship was destroyed. Meanwhile as the grounding was investigated, the ships First Officer was fined for misleading the inquiry and the ship was impounded due to outstanding debts for earlier repairs.
The owners paid all outstanding fees but decided not to waste any more money on the old ship. Arrangements were made to tow the ship to Hong Kong to be scrapped. An un-forecast gale hit the west coast not long after the ships left port and the tow line snapped. The Alkimos struck Eglington Rocks.
Several attempts to salvage the ship were made but all were plagued with mishaps, breakdowns and in one case the owner of one salvage companies collapsed and died. Eventually the Alkimos was pulled free of the rocks by the tug Pacific Star that had come south from Manilla.
The Alkimos in 1963. WA Museum / Stanley Perkins Collection
After only a couple of kilometres another vessel appeared and the Pacific Star was impounded for unpaid debts. The Alkimos was anchored but broke her chain in a heavy swell and for the third and last time she grounded.
You might think that this would be the end of the story but far from it. members of the salvage crew were stationed on board to guard the ship but soon began to experience strange events. Unexplained noises, cooking smells and objects being moved all unnerved the salvage crew but when they saw a large man dressed in oil skins walk across the deck and vanish into a closed steel door they had had enough.
Other salvage workers were put aboard as caretakers but all had stories to tell about the Alkimos ghost. The story of the ghost began to spread and it wasn't long before people began visiting the ship, some staying over night to try and get a glimpse of the ghost who by now had been given the name of Henry (reported as Harry in some sources).
One party that spent time on board over night included Jack Sue (a member of Z Force during WWII and a recognised diver). With his war experience, Jack was not one to be frightened easily but during his dealings with the Alkimos he admitted to being affected by the strange noises and unexplained difficulties with equipment while on the ship. He returned with a TV crew some time later in the hope of documenting the strange goings on and again was confronted by odd phenomena.
It is said that those who have chosen to associate themselves with the Alkimos suffer bad luck, accidents and even death as a result. The skull of a well known long distance swimmer (Herbert Voight) who vanished on a swim to Rottnest in 1969 was found near the ship (some say inside the ship). During its days of operation the unexplained sound of a barking dog was reported in the engine room and 25 years later when Jack Sue was investigating the ship the same noise was heard.
Whatever the cause of all these things may be, the ship certainly had an unlucky history.
The cursed pearl - Broome
A rare pearl, said to be cursed, was the central figure in a story of theft, murder and intrigue. It vanished when the Koombana was sunk during a cyclone in 1912. The man said to be carrying it was Abraham Davis and his ghost is said to haunt the house he used to own.
Beach party - Broome
A beacon that once used to burn on a beach near Broome was said to dim unaccountably from time to time. It was overhauled and checked with no apparent reason ever found but the dimming continued. One explanation offered was that the ghosts of drowned pearlers danced around the light causing it to dim at certain times of the year.
Haunted light - Busselton
The lighthouse that stands on the cape was opened in 1904 and today is said to
be the haunt of Bloody Mary and Happy Harry – a couple of ghosts.
The ghost of Ted Leighton is said to make his appearance in winter and to cause trouble if ever any part of the hotel is changed or modified. Ted lived in the area and was yardman at the hotel before he died. Strange occurrences like gas bottles being turned on, kegs rolling around, doors slamming and the ice machine being turned off are attributed to Ted’s ghost.
The old Masonic lodge and the Queen of the Murchison Hotel are both reputed to be haunted. Ruins around Cue are also reported to be the sites of unexplained lights.
Arts Centre - Fremantle
This building used to be the lunatic asylum and is reputed to be the most haunted building in the state. Doors open and close, faces are seen at windows, there are strange cold areas, strange lights and unexplained images appear in photographs.
Some people claim to have seen faces at windows that are actually covered over inside.
Some people claim this is the most haunted house in W.A.
(C) Holiday Road
Old Gaol - Fremantle
The old Fremantle prison is said to contain the ghosts of those who were executed there. The tunnels underneath the gaol are where most reports seem to emanate from.
Rose and Crown - Guildford
The Rose and Crown is the oldest licensed hotel in W.A. It is said to be haunted
by the ghost of Charlie the bullock driver. The story goes that Charlie caught
his wife cheating on him and in a jealous rage he murdered her in the hotel. His
remorseful ghost is said to haunt the site of the murder.
It seems that hotels are a favourite haunt of ghosts and the Kalamunda is apparently haunted by the ghost of a young lady who was seduced and became pregnant. When she found out she was too ashamed to face the world and killed herself in room 24. Guests don't seem to stay too long in that room where chills and strange lights have been noticed.
Ghost cat - Kalgoorlie
During the renovation of Warden Finnerty's historic house Jack Tree, the curator, felt that he was being bitten on the ankles but could see nothing to account for the sensation. He said that it felt like being bitten by a cat or small dog. During the work the body of a very flat cat was found under the building. It may have been there since the 1890s. Once the cat had been removed there were no more reports of bitten ankles.
Headless horseman - Kenwick
W.A.'s compliment of ghosts would not be complete without a headless horseman. He is said to appear around midnight on the flyover on the rail line to Armadale.
Heathcoate - former mental hospital
Said to be haunted.
Mahogany inn at Mahogany creek
Said to be haunted by the ghost of Moondyne Joe who once took refuge here.
Montgomery Hall in Mount Claremont
No further details at present.
Mount Lawley Golf Club
We have seen reports from people who believe the golf club is haunted by apparitions and glowing orbs.
People report inexplicable sensations of terror. There is a report of a suicide at the club in the 1930s.
Parkerville - Brook Restaurant
The ghost of a babysitter (from the time when this building was used as a post office) is said to haunt here.
Point (or Cape) Peron
The old abandoned wartime lookout posts here are reported to be haunted.
Railway yard ghost - Mount Magnet
The ghost of a murdered man was said to haunt the railway
yard and the story of his murder is as follows:
Mundaring weir hotel
The ghost of a worker named Paddy, who was killed while working on the weir construction, haunts the hotel. Paddy may be clumsy or may have a bad temper (possibly brought on by not being able to get to all the beet that surrounds him) as he breaks beer glasses from time to time.
Old Bakery - Nannup
The old bakery was said to be filled with ghosts. Voices ordering bread, a man and woman arguing, banging of pots and pans are just some of the reports about this building that was abandoned in the 1930s. The original owners seem to have picked up an left with no explanation, leaving behind all the pots and baking pans.
The flying nun of New Norcia
The figure of a woman (said by some to be a nun) dressed in blue has been seen flying around the clock tower as the bell tolls midnight.
Fitzgerald Hotel - Northbridge
Another haunted hotel is the Fitzgerald that seems to be haunted by a white haired lady in a lace dress. There is no story about why the 'white lady' haunts this hotel but she is said to move things around.
Ghost on the bridge. Pinjarra
The ghost is said to be that of a woman named Kate who died on the bridge in the 1860s. Exactly one year after she was buried Kate's ghost was said to appear at midnight - well it is a ghost story ! - and she appeared at the same time for the next 6 years. When, on the seventh year, several men tried to capture Kate when she appeared she must have decided that enough was enough and she never showed up again.
The ghosts of Rottnest
Rottnest Lodge is home to two ghosts. One, like the Kalamunda ghost killed herself when she got pregnant and her lover refused to admit he was the father. The second ghost is also a woman and is known as Ethel.
A number of Aboriginal ghosts are also said to haunt the island.
Said to be haunted by the ghosts of former patients.
(C) Holiday Road
Haunted Ipswich View bed and breakfast, former gaol and a haunted tavern. Deepdale swimming hole, on private property, is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Ruby Ferguson who drowned when swimming. Glowing orbs have been seen here.
Tim M. wrote to us about his experiences :
I used to live at 196 South Tce. Como as a kid. I believe
this place is haunted, and at times felt as if I was being watched, and at
others, the hair on the back of my neck would stand up and I'd feel scared. The
main corridor from the entrance of the house resembles a letter "T". The top
left arm ended at the main bedroom, while the right arm ended at the bathroom. I
remember one night brushing my teeth in the bathroom and looking into the vanity
mirror that reflected everything over my shoulder and down the corridor. In the
mirror I could see a man standing with both arms resting on each vertical door
frame idly watching me. He was tall, dark haired and dressed in a suit. I found
out years later that the previous owner had died in that room.
If you have any further information about ghosts and hauntings in Western Australia please send us the details.