Sunday, 15 July 2012


THE Theatre Royal's resident spook is well known to anyone who has worked or performed in the historic Hobart playhouse. And he is even hailed as a hero, suspected of saving the building from a fiery fate.

The building itself dates back to 1837 and is Australia's oldest functioning theatre.

Beneath the theatre is a dusty void that used to be the Shades Tavern, a notoriously rowdy drinking hole frequented by actors and other less savoury characters.

There are conflicting legends about how Fred came to be a spectral fixture in the theatre.

Some say he died tragically on the stage, while others suggest he was murdered in the Shades Tavern.

Fred, a figure in old-fashioned clothes, has been seen wandering through the aisles. He's also been heard calling actors' names backstage.

Many actors claim to have spotted Fred watching them onstage during rehearsals.

Actress Jacki Weaver reported seeing Fred's dim figure sitting quietly in the dress circle and a wardrobe mistress once saw Fred wearing a costume and singing "gaily" down the aisle towards her, appearing to be solid and substantial before vanishing when he reached the stage.

He is blamed for occasional cold chills and slamming doors around the theatre and in 1984 received credit from some for saving the Theatre Royal from a potentially devastating fire.

The blaze was prevented from spreading and gutting the entire building only by a fire curtain that mysteriously dropped across the stage when nobody was in the building.


THE Parsonage at Port Arthur is thought to have as many as seven different ghosts, the most famous of which is the Reverend George Eastman.

Eastman died in an upstairs bedroom in the mid-19th century. Ghostly activity began soon after.

Visitors since the 19th century have reported a range of strange phenomena, including the smell of rotting flesh, strange lights, moaning noises and ghostly apparitions in the house.

Eastman, a huge man, was a terrifying presence when still alive. A true fire-and-brimstone preacher, he was known for his savage and energetic homilies.

His imposing figure has been seen in the upstairs windows of his old parsonage.

In the 1980s, a group of tradesmen staying in the parsonage while doing renovations was driven from the building after a terrifying night of strange events.

Among the cacaphony of bangs and bumps, one of the men said he experienced a feeling of being pinned down hard by an invisible entity.

Another worker allegedly saw a woman dressed in white, accompanied by a sudden drop in temperature and billowing curtains.

Women often report a feeling of unease in the building.


STAFF at Hobart's Penitentiary Chapel historic site have come to refer to their resident spook as Ivy, even though some research suggests her name may, in fact, be Sarah.

She is more frequently smelt than seen, usually manifesting as a subtle waft of lavender perfume drifting through different parts of the building.

The chapel building which remains at the site was once part of the Hobart Penitentiary. Its prison walls were demolished long ago.

The T-shaped chapel was designed so free settlers and convicts could share the same church but sit in different wings. The could all see the same pulpit but not each other.

Two of the three wings were eventually converted into court rooms, where some prisoners were given the death sentence.

But for all the misery associated with the site, Ivy's feminine presence is generally regarded as a benign one.

As well as faint scent of perfume, she has also been known to open and close doors (once doing so while a film crew was shooting inside one of the court rooms). She sometimes gives her presence away with the sound of her long skirts swishing down the hallways.

One room, called "Ivy's Room", now houses several display cases of historic artefacts and a couch referred to as "Ivy's Couch".

A woman resting on this antique couch was once told by an angry female voice to "get out".


THE Drunken Admiral on Hobart's waterfront is better known for its seafood than its resident spooks.

But a mysterious death from the 19th century seems to have left the restaurant with a bad-tempered phantom.

Constructed in 1824, the building is one of the oldest in Tasmania and was variously used as a granary, an army barracks, an annex to the IXL Jam Factory and a warehouse before being converted into a restaurant in 1984.

Legend has it that a Chinese man was found hanged in the courtyard behind the building in the 1880s, but it was never clear whether he was murdered or committed suicide.

In the years since, there have been several sightings of a Chinese man wandering the courtyard and vanishing into a wall.

That wall is the back of today's toilets, which has led to some scary moments for those using the ladies' restroom.

Women using the toilet have occasionally reported the horrifying sensation of someone trying to throttle them while using the toilets.

As recently as 2008, a woman ran from the toilets into the busy restaurant yelling that someone had tried to strangle her.

Source: TheMercury

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