It’s that spooky time of year again! Halloween goes all the way back to Celtic culture, with the Celts believing that it was a period in which the boundary between the spirit world and the physical world was weaker, allowing all kinds of spirits and ghouls to easily go between the two.
So, what better time to explore some of Australia’s terrifying ghost stories and haunted sites?
Aradale Mental Asylum
Located in regional Victoria, this asylum was built in 1865, a time when little was known of mental health conditions. The building administered lobotomies and electroshock treatments on its patients, resulting in over 13,000 deaths on the premises.
One notable ghost that haunts the halls of Aradale Mental Asylum is Nurse Kerry, who is believed to walk the women’s wards – many have heard her voice and the clicking of her heels. Nurse Kerry isn’t the only ghost to remain in Aradale though; some visitors have reported seeing shadow people in the halls, while others claim they’ve been scratched, bitten and pushed.
Adelaide Arcade is one of the oldest shopping arcades in Australia, having operated since the mid-1800s. Behind the glossy storefronts is a dark and gruesome history that lives on through the ghosts that haunt its halls.
The most famous ghost here is that of former caretaker, Francis Cluney. The caretaker’s mangled body was found in the machinery that powered Adelaide Arcade’s electric lighting, and though it is presumed his death was accidental, there are rumours that he was murdered. Cluney’s ghost is apparently around to this day; Manhattan Dry Cleaners stands in the spot where Cluney met his end and staff say that paranormal activity occurs daily, while several security guards claim to have seen the former caretaker.
Young & Jackson Hotel
Melbourne’s Young & Jackson Hotel started trading in the mid-1800s and still operates today. As a result of its vast history, it’s no surprise that the building has a resident ghost.
A number of people have reported seeing the apparition of a woman standing against a light post near the hotel. At first, she appears to be a beautiful woman, but as you get closer, you see that her throat has been slashed from ear to ear. Nothing is known of the ghost, but some believe she is the spirit of a murdered prostitute.
Kapunda, just an hour out of Adelaide, is widely considered the most haunted town in Australia. While Kapunda itself is quite spooky, the North Kapunda Hotel, in particular, has a reputation for being one of the scariest places in the town. The building boasts a number of different ghosts, from the spirits of two little girls to a mysterious malevolent entity in black.
Some of the spirits seen on the property are of two young girls, though it is said that one of the girls remains in the upstairs area of the hotel to avoid an evil spirit.
Another spirit believed to haunt the property is that of Dr Blood (yes, you read that correctly). Dr Blood is said to have performed shocking experiments on humans.
Finally, the man in black is another spirit frequently spotted at the hotel. He is said to dress entirely in black and sport a wide-brimmed hat. He has a misogynistic side, with the spirit terrifying the female ghosts and attacking the hotel’s female visitors.
Old Melbourne Gaol
The Old Melbourne Gaol held some of Australia’s most dangerous and infamous criminals, including Ned Kelly. Visitors can even view Kelly’s death mask, which is on display at the Gaol.
One cell in particular that has a reputation for violence is the mysterious Cell 17. No one knows which ghost inhabits this cell, but many visitors have reported being scratched, bitten and bruised by the spirit in this room.
The Princess Theatre
The Princess Theatre is one of the most famous landmarks in Melbourne, having hosted several vibrant performances over the years.
An actor known as Frederick Federici died during a performance in the 1800s and has been wandering the halls ever since. Even famous actors say they have seen Federici, and some visitors claim they’ve felt his touch.
Monte Cristo Homestead
This Victorian manor house in regional NSW has been the site of several gruesome events, including the death of a stable boy in a fire and the death of a maid who fell from a balcony.
To this day, visitors to the Monte Cristo Homestead claim to see the maid standing on the balcony and the stable boy haunting the grounds. A visitor even reported she woke up in the night to see a family of three staring at her.
Larundel Mental Asylum
The Larundel Mental Asylum in Melbourne has a dark history filled with supernatural activity.
One of the spookiest stories involves the ghost of a young girl who once called the asylum home. All she owned was a music box, and it is said that visitors can sometimes hear the sound of her music box echoing through the ruined halls.
Tasmania’s Port Arthur is among the oldest ports in Australia and one of the original penal colonies. As a result, it has a reputation for being haunted.
One of the famous spirits to live here is the Blue Lady, who lost her child during childbirth and haunts Port Arthur in constant search of her baby.
Tasmania’s Richmond Bridge is notable for two reasons. First, it is the oldest bridge in Australia, and second, it holds the title of Australia’s most haunted bridge.
It is said that a spirit named George Grover lives at the bridge, after being murdered while overseeing repairs. Some claim to see Grover stalking them, with many experiencing an overwhelming sense of aggression from the spirit.