Saturday 28 June 2014


Picture a photograph of a man with two faces — one grimacing in pain, one open-mouthed in ecstasy. They float in a field of darkness, lit red, connected only by a pale-pink thread of motion-blur. Is this an image of a man jerking his neck wildly, taken with a long exposure? Or is it the image of a physical medium, a person sensitive the invisible world of spirits, channeling an intelligence from beyond the grave?

The answer is yes — to both interpretations. And the photographer behind the enigma is an attractive, auburn haired New Yorker named Shannon Taggart. She’s worked for glossy publications like Time, Discover and Newsweek — but for the last ten years, her passion has been photographing American and European Spiritualists, the strange remnants of the 19th century religious movement which brought the world dim-lit seance rooms, ghostly rappings and — most relevant to the present project — spirit photography.

Taggart’s particular approach to spirit photography uses what are usually deemed photographic “accidents” to produce striking, supernatural images. Taggart is not a “believer,” in the traditional sense, nor does she seem to debunk her subject. Rather, she presents a world where belief and unbelief are radically mediated by technology — and raises the possibility that in the age of omnipresent electronic image what is “true” may be a much harder debate than the skeptics suppose.

One of her recent subjects is an ectoplasmic medium named Gordon Garforth.

Physical medium Gordon Garforth in trance.
Garforth is a spiritualist. His religion, a product of the American nineteenth-century, holds that death is not the end of consciousness. For him, there is an eternal world of “spirit,” and certain gifted individuals, mediums, are capable of conveying messages and energy from the other side. For some can even manifest various physical substances and effects, broadly identified as “ectoplasm.” When he enters a trance, Garforth told Taggart, “You’ll see masks spilled over my face. You’ll see my hands change.” It was just how the spirits worked for him.

Taggart was skeptical. “I’m thinking, ‘Okay. Well that could mean many things,” she said. “I didn’t go into his séance expecting anything. I got to sit in the front row, about six feet away from him.”

She kept a camera on her lap.

“He was seated in front of a low red light,” she said. The room was dark, otherwise. After twenty minutes, the medium’s wife announced that spirits were going to begin working with his hands. Taggart remembered the next moment very clearly: “He just brought out his hand. What I saw, with my eyes, was this regular hand just very gently and instantly — skip gigantic.”

“I screamed out loud,” she continued. “Which is very impolite in a séance situation.”

Taggart’s photographs have appeared in outlets such as Readers Digest, Discover Magazine and the New York Times. She’s captured dance auditions and artists’ portraits. Her approach is often unusual, and frequently relies on long exposure times, producing hallucinatory doublings, strange auras and smears of motion as her subjects move. When she photographed Garforth, the long exposure was mostly done to compensate for a lack of light. The resulting images are jittery and blurred — Garforth moved around. They also show the medium holding up a single, grotesquely inflated hand.

Physical medium Gordon Garforth with enlarged hand.
“I had that experience of seeing that hand get large,” she explained. “I don’t know how it happened. Whether it’s a hand actually getting large in front of my face and I was creating a photograph that documented it, or whether it’s that I was tricked somehow or I had a hypnotic experience and then my camera, through its dysfunction, mimicked that experience... I mean, all of those are interesting perspectives. I love that they’re all there.” She’s been catching similarly ambiguous situations for over a decade.

Taggart grew up in Buffalo, New York. From an early age she was attracted to the nearby town of Lily Dale — a spiritualist community which has, since 1879, played host to many of the movement’s most prominent thinkers and mediums. “I was raised Catholic,” she continued. “A lot of Catholics actually go to Lily Dale for readings, because Catholic belief doesn’t dismiss what is happening in spiritualism, necessarily.”

Taggart’s cousin once attended a “message service” in Lily Dale, a public assembly where mediums provide scattered communications to a curious crowd. “You don’t know even which medium is going to be there that day,” Taggart said. “Whoever it is stands in front and they pick people out with their finger. Then they give a short message from someone who’s died.” Taggart’s cousin was picked out. The medium told her a secret, something nobody outside the family could have possibly known. At this point in the story she wrinkled her nose. “I don’t know if I want to put all the details about this in the article – if you don’t mind,” she said. “You could say it’s a secret.”

“Of course,” I agreed.

Driven by this strange incident, Taggart had a formal meeting with Lily Dale’s Board of Directors in 2001, asking to make the town the subject of a long photographic project. “I don’t know why, but they just welcomed me with open arms,” she said. Her work in Lily Dale is still ongoing, and many of her images of the place are available on her website From there she branched out into similar projects covering Vodou rituals in Brooklyn and working with mediums like Garforth. She’s even taken a paranormal investigation course at Arthur Findlay College in England, “the world’s foremost college for the advancement of spiritualism and psychic services” — at least according to its website. Still, Taggart doesn’t consider herself a “believer” — or an “unbeliever,” for that matter. When it comes to spirits and blurry photographs, the discourse often revolved around proof. Both spiritualists and skeptics want for documentary photographers.

Physical medium Gordon Garforth attempts to enlarge his hand.
Taggart, however, refuses such classification. “Purely as an artist, going through all the development courses with the spiritualists opened me up immensely,” she said. “I could not wrap my brain around how you could be a sane person and talk to dead people.” At the same time, however, she didn’t enter this new world with an intent to debunk. “I didn’t not believe,” she said. Whether her images are of ghosts or frauds or camera errors doesn’t matter much to Taggart — what counts isn’t the exterior world they capture, but the interior world they provoke.

“When I first got interested in photography, it was through the work of Diane Arbus,” Taggart said, referencing the famous photographer of twins, giants and dwarfs. “The first time I saw a Diane Arbus image, I was 16 years old and seeing her work, I was like, ‘Oh, I get – you can put your thoughts into a picture.’ I felt like I was seeing into her mind in some way, through her images.”

Physical medium Kai Muegge with ectoplasm.
It’s this occult perspective she tries to capture in her images of spirit visitation. “It’s impossible to photograph this stuff conventionally because the interior element is so huge,” she said. “It’s unphotographable.” Nonetheless, lengthening exposures and allowing other products of “accident and error,” into the work allowed Taggart to photograph it. “I’m not really looking for proof,” she said. “I’m looking to go deep into the experience.” Think of Garforth and the big hand — whatever explanation you prefer, Taggart’s images capture her experience precisely. I found them deeply unnerving.

This artistic approach makes Taggart an enigma to skeptics and spiritualists alike. According to her, trusting photography to either prove or disprove the existence of spirits — or anything else, for that matter —is wrongheaded. “Photography is much too complicated of a medium,” she said. “It’s a trickster medium. It can be two things at once. That’s what I love about it.” For her, deliberate distortions “give your mind, or the photographic mechanism, something to play with.” They invite interpretation.

At the beginning of her work in Lily Dale, Taggart photographed a woman named Dorothy. “A lovely lady, working in the museum,” she recalled. “She was so helpful to me and showed me all around the museum. She was the first person who told me about spirit photography,” the tradition of spirit photographs dating to the earliest days of the medium. “So,” Taggart continued. “I took some pictures of her. One inside the museum and one when she was outside.”

Dorothy with Bob's orb, Lily Dale Museum.
“There was a huge purple orb right on her right shoulder, in both pictures,” she said. “Just for kicks I brought the picture back to Dorothy. She held it in her hand and said, ‘Oh, that’s Bob.’”

“Bob?” I asked.

“Bob was her deceased husband,” Taggart explained. “A week later, I was walking around the town and she drove by me and I heard her telling people, ‘that’s the girl who photographed Bob in the museum.’” Taggart smiled. “I love seeing that as the point where my camera started showing me things – handing me a language to refer to the immaterial.” For Taggart, the images were flawed and forgettable. For Dorothy, however, they had become thick with meaning. A purple splotch had soaked up all her memory and faith and knowledge of the world to come. Who am I, Taggart thought, to get in the way of that?

Shortly afterward, she recalled photographing another medium who, like Garforth, operates under a dim red light, necessitating a long exposure. In the séance, “everyone was saying, ‘Oh, I see a woman who looks just like you right next to you, I think it’s your grandmother.’ And then other people were saying, ‘She looks like you, but it’s not you,’” and so on. Taggart didn’t see anything.

Woman channeling her grandmother.
Later, developing images from the session, a perfect duplicate of the medium’s face appeared, connected by a thin, night-highway line of red to the original. Taggart recalls her excitement at the find. “Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that coincidental?” she asked. It was a distortion produced by motion and the long exposure, sure — but it was something else, too. Since then, Shannon has maintained her photographs’ two faces in parallel. Artistically speaking, it’s paid dividends. Some of her most arresting images will see print this month in the first Morbid Anatomy Anthology . Her lectures on the topic are in high demand.

“It must be hard to find other interesting subjects,” I observed. “After all that. What could be as ambiguous as life, death and haunting?”

Taggart thought for a moment. “Well,” she said, “I’ve been working on a book about Michael Jackson.”


Friday 27 June 2014


Terrified staff have called in a medium over fears their shop is haunted by a gran who hates skimpy outfits.

Seven workers at fashion store New Look heard mystery bangs, footsteps and whisperings.

Spiritual medium Linda Helliker poured cleansing salt on the floor and tried to communicate with a prudish widow named Gladys.

The strange happenings began when staff in Sidmouth, Devon, entered an unused storeroom.

They discovered it used to be Gladys’ bedroom when the building was a hotel three decades ago.

Shop manager Lisa Jordan said: ““That room is normally out of bounds but we had to unlock it because a health and safety visitor came to check it out.

“Ever since then we’ve heard banging noises even though nobody is up there.

“When we’ve been in the stockroom we’ve heard footsteps coming down the stairs. We’ve even heard a strange swooshing that almost sounded like a disapproving sigh.

“One girl heard a whispering in her ear and she got so scared she ran into a table. Another of my girls felt someone breathing on their neck.

“It’s really weird and quite frightening.”

Medium Linda, whose son Deej works at the store, said she felt the “energy of an elderly lady”, adding: “I think she disapproved of too many bare bellies on display.”

Manager Lisa added: “Before she left, the medium asked us to put some flowers in the room as a nice gesture.

“When we checked on them later the flowers were on the floor and the cup we put them in was smashed.

“Thankfully it’s been fairly quite since then so hopefully she’s made her peace with us.

“Apparently Gladys had a Yorkshire terrier - so if he we see clothes hopping around the store by themselves it’s just the dog wanting to play with us.”

Source: DailyMirror

Wednesday 25 June 2014


THE ghost of Chopper Read is haunting Pentridge Prison.

At least, there’s an apparition that looks just like him hanging around his old cell.

In the depths of the uninhabited prison, a large figure has been watching groups of late night visitors who saunder the dark corridors of D-Division.

It watches silently, sometimes arms crossed leaning against a wall, sometimes smoking a cigarette.

But it always disappears into cell 16.

One night, just a few weeks ago, a spinechilling roar echoed down the bluestone walls.

“GET OUT!” it bellowed, forcing the tour group to count its numbers, thinking one of its own was doing a prank.

“GET THE F--- OUT!” the booming voice repeated from the caged off end of the prison, right outside cell 16.

The Lantern Ghost Tours group were hurried outside and the managers called police.

Mark `Chopper` Read
Officers checked every cell — particularly number 16, the old home of former underworld identity Chopper Read.

But nobody was there.

No living body at least.

“It was one of the scariest moments of my life.” tour guide Jeremy Kewley said.

Just nine months ago, colourful former criminal and author Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read died of liver cancer.

His manager of six years, Andrew Parisi, said freaking people out from beyond the grave would be right up Chopper’s alley.

“I don’t know what happens when you die,” Mr Parisi said.

“(But) he did have a wicked sense of humour.

“If that sort of thing was to happen, it would totally be his thing to have a field day.”

Mr Parisi recalled walking Chopper through Pentridge for media interviews after the prison closed in 1997.

As they walked down the corridors, the former crim spoke of feeling homesick for the place he called home for 17 years.

“To him, it was almost like returning to school,” Mr Parisi said.

Chopper spent just a few months living in D-Division’s cell 16.

The cell was at the furthest end, and purposely the furthest away from his enemy, a career criminal.

Cell 16 was, and still is, in a cluster of cells caged in by steel bars, either to protect those inside from out, or those outside from in.

The story goes that Chopper was allowed outside his cell to walk about the cage.

He would lean against the wall, smoke cigarettes and watch whoever roamed the prison corridors.

And he always disappeared back into cell 16.

Source: HeraldSunAustralia

Tuesday 24 June 2014


Adelaide Arcade - Australia`s oldest and most haunted shopping arcade
IT’S the oldest shopping arcade in Australia with a deadly past and at least one resident ghost.

Caretaker Francis Cluney was investigating a flickering light when he fell into an electrical generator and died in the most gruesome way.

The father-of-five’s mangled body was found a short time later and many of the arcade’s businesses are convinced he still walks among them and watches over them.
According to centre management marketing consultant Sharon Leaney, “friendly Francis” is most active when works are taking place.

And some say he’s not alone.

An original photograph from new in 1885
Despite his gory death way back in 1887, Ms Leaney said many traders still report feeling his presence and had come to accept him like part of the furniture.
She said traders and shoppers at the iconic arcade, built in 1885, didn’t seem to be put off by the ghostly presence.

“We’re quite sure it’s him,” she told of the reported sightings and encounters.
“He seems friendly and no one seems spooked by him — we think he’s just keeping an eye on things.”

Ms Leaney said traders had reported encounters from things being moved to feeling cold and hearing footsteps when no other people were around.

On one occasion an electrical contractor went into the ceiling while doing some work and heard footsteps behind him before it went cold.

According to her, he refused to do the work telling management they didn’t have enough money to make him do the job.

And it seems Francis isn’t the only spirit to walk the shopping arcade, which was the country’s first retail centre to have electric lighting, according to the Adelaide Arcade museum.

In 1904 a man called Thomas Houghton shot his wife dead in what used to be the laneway next to the arcade.

She ran into the arcade to get help before taking her last breath.
Ms Leaney said some traders had even reported hearing a child’s voice and laugh, who some claim is the ghost of a girl who was suffocated by her mother.

Francis Cluney’s story and that of the other ghosts were captured by Fox TV show, Haunting Australia , which went inside Manhattan Dry Cleaners, close to the spot where it is believed Mr Cluney died.

Manhattan Dry Cleaner business owner Bronwyn Berry admitted she was a sceptic but even she believed there was something following the show’s filming.
Mrs Berry told her daughter and brother-in-law both reported encounters with Francis.

She said when psychics were brought in following filming, problems began occurring with one of their machines.
Her brother-in-law ended up apologising to the ghost for bringing strangers into the shop and everything went back to normal after that.

“My daughter was in the shop one morning before the arcade opened and heard the EFTPOS machine beeping,” Mrs Berry said.
“She said ‘Francis if this is you beep again’ and the machine began beating furiously fast.”
Mrs Berry said whether it was all coincidence or not, they had been in the arcade for 40 years and weren’t thinking about moving elsewhere because of an apparent ghost.

Arcade’s resident psychic Joan Lesley told The Advertiser in 2004 that Francis wasn’t the only ghost to walk the mall’s floors, with his friend Ken also believed to haunt the arcade.
“There’s a woman here but she won’t tell me her name — she smothered her child with a pillow and is too ashamed to identify herself,” she said.
“They have a real attachment to the building and are really quite harmless.”

Source: NewsComAu 

Wednesday 18 June 2014


Here is a suitably aged showreel for new viewers to my Youtube channel.
Some location views of shoots, and some words from myself at the end.
Hope you enjoy.
Music: `Pathos` (c) Chris Halton 2014


A photograph of a ghost-like figure appearing at the window of an Alcatraz prison block has baffled the couple who took it.

The spooky picture was taken by Sheila Sillery-Walsh at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, off the coast of San Francisco, California.

The former prison site, long considered to be one of the most haunted places in the US, was once home to hundreds of notorious murderers, bank robbers, and gangsters such as Al Capone.

In the spooky image, the shadowy girl can be seen staring directly through the window at the camera from inside the inmates' visitation waiting room.
Teaching assistant Sheila Sillery-Walsh from Birmingham took the photo on her iPhone 5c when she visited the former prison in April while on holiday in San Francisco with her partner, Paul Rice.

The 48-year-old said: 'Alcatraz Penitentiary is a must-see for any tourist. However as soon as we entered the prison, everything felt very eerie. I didn't feel comfortable there.
'Whilst doing an audio-tour of the place, I casually stopped to take a snap of the empty visitation block window on my iPhone.

'When I glanced at the photo on my mobile, I saw this dark female figure in the picture. I looked at the window again and there was no-one in the room.
'I knew straight away that the woman in the photo was a ghost and showed the snap to Paul.
'From that point onwards, I wasn't interested in the Alcatraz tour anymore. I just kept looking at the picture over and over again!'

Mr Rice has never believed in ghosts but admits that the strange snapshot has shaken his confidence.
The 50-year-old explained: 'When I first saw the photo, I tried to rationalize the female figure away by saying it was just Sheila's reflection.

'But with closer inspection, it's obvious that this is not the case at all. The woman's hair and clothing is from a different era - it looks like she's from the 1930s or 40s.

'I have no logical explanation for the girl in the picture - I'm baffled by her! It's funny because she's staring right at the camera, with a knowing look.

'I was really skeptical about ghosts before but I'm a bit more of a believer now. I do think that the woman in the photo is a ghost.'

The couple have tried to find out the identity of the ghostly woman in the photo by contacting staff at the Alcatraz site, but none of the old-timers could recognize the woman in the picture.
'I am so curious to know who she could be though - perhaps she was a female visitor of a prisoner who kept returning back. I would love to know why she's shown herself in my photo.
'Weirdly when we were near that cell, a woman came on the audio tour who used to visit a prisoner. It makes you wonder.'

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a maximum high-security federal prison, which operated from 1934 to 1963.

Although officials for Alcatraz publicly dismiss reports of ghosts at the site, several former guards and park rangers have revealed their paranormal experiences at the prison.

Sources: DailyMail and KRON4

Saturday 14 June 2014


Stories of haunted places and ghosts have always attracted attention, arousing the curious nature of humans. Supernatural phenomena, such as spirits that cry out or scream, or moving objects and shadows have been reported around the world, even in Athens, Greece. Below is a look at some houses in Athens that are rumoured to be haunted

The Tower of Dreams

The Tower of Dreams, one of the supposedly haunted houses in Athens, has been abandoned for many years. The only visitor is the spirit of its owner, an ambitious and greedy man who died alone. It is said that he is heard shouting that he is the only owner of the house.

The house of the three disinherited sisters

Three unmarried sisters were living in this house that after their sudden death it is said to be haunted. Their spirits wander about in the house and are said to look out the window and frighten neighbors.

The Villa Kazouli

Dating back to the 2nd World War, the Villa Kazouli was used by Germans who tortured Greek soldiers to death. Twelve bodies were found buried in the garden. It is supposed that the spirits of those who died there are now screaming out for help.

At Harocopou

Another well-known haunted house located at Harocopou Street was once a crime scene. Dimitris Anagnostopoulos was murdered and cut up by his wife and mother-in-law. They kept the body in the house for two days and then threw it in a river.

The spirit of the emancipated artist

After the death of her beloved one, it is said that the unbelievably grief-stricken artist tried to commit suicide but failed. She was devoted only to her paintings until she died. Rumors say that her spirit is still grieving for her lost love.

The ghost in Thiseio

A hard-working beautiful woman was living in a house in Thiseio with her mother. She was saving money for her wedding, but her mother stole not only her daughter’s savings but also her future husband. Without money, abandoned and betrayed, she killed herself.

Although these spooky supernatural stories could thrill the imagination, neighbors support that the only spirits living in the abandoned houses are homeless people who seek a place to stay.

Source: GreekReporter


Marquette Harbor Lighthouse
Ghost stories…we tell them around campfires to awe and entertain. But for those who’ve experienced the truly eerie, they cease to be tales and become haunting reality. The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is home to its own restless spirit, a young girl who’s been seen staring out the tower window.

“Once we began doing tours up there, strange things began happening, at least the reports from some of our folks giving the tours, to include the imagery, for example, of a young girl looking out the window; another image seen of a young girl on the catwalk,” maritime historian Fred Stonehouse said. “These were seen by different tour folks, under different conditions. Whether they’re seeing something real or something of their imagination, of course, we have no way of knowing.”

From around the turn of the last century
“It’s a little girl; her name is Jessie,” Marquette Maritime Museum assistant director Taylor Adams said. “She’s got red hair and green eyes and she’s barefoot. She wears a little Sunday-best dress, looks about from the 1910s or so.”

The little girl’s presence is made all the more eerie by the fact that there is no recorded death of a girl at the lighthouse.

“We did find out that the daughter of one of the lightkeepers was badly injured falling from the rocks, and if there’s an explanation, that might be it,” Stonehouse said. “The young girl was injured just after the turn of the century, but again, whether that’s something that connects the dots or not we simply have no way of knowing. It does add to the lore and the mystery of the Marquette Harbor Light; it does add, I think, a little different twist to the maritime history of the Great Lakes.”

Ghosts don’t always make themselves known to all who come into their domain, and Jessie is no different.

“She’s really attracted to female figures, like motherly figures, and also children; she loves children,” Adams said. “Lots of times you’ll hear her skipping around the lighthouse, and you’ll hear giggles and nobody’s there. She’s a really nice spirit; she’s not threatening at all and she’s kind of nice to have up there.”

We often wonder if supernatural sights and sounds are true ghostly manifestations or just mirages born of our nerves and expectations. Either way, ghost stories offer an insightful and entertaining look at our history and lore.

Source: ABC10

Tuesday 10 June 2014


Tonight at 10pm (UK) time (5pm EST) is the first part of my documentary visit to St Briavels Castle, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Haunted Earth were kindly invited in March 2014 to join a weekend ticketed investigation hosted by (FPI) Forest Paranormal Investigations. Present were a number of guests, who had travelled there from across the UK.

The first part video concentrates on the history of the castle as well as the spectral tales provided by Ross Andrews, a local historian and author of books relating to the paranormal history of Gloucestershire.
In the video I share my own haunting experiences from the night before, plus Ross`s own personal haunting tales.

The castle has recorded a huge raft of activity over the years, and these events are well documented, and with Ross escorting us around the building, he relates in each part that recorded history.
In Part 2 (which is anticipated for release in two weeks time) , we focus on the night activity with our friends from FPI, and some rather special activity.

This was from a number of perspectives, a very interesting weekend with lots of activity, and of course the participation of both Adam Heath from FPI and myself in the now apparently controversial Zenner card test with spirit using a ghost box and EMF meter to register responses.
Here below is a link shared recently, but (to reiterate) is seen only by one cam. The full event will show responses on the EMF plus other views not previously shared.

Wednesday 4 June 2014


A HAUNTING image of a Victorian child killer who still torments one of Australia’s most notorious jails has emerged more than a century after he swung from a noose.

Ernest Austin

Ernest Austin, also known as Ernest Johnson, was the last of 42 inmates hanged at Queensland’s notorious Boggo Road Gaol.

He was hanged for the brutal murder of 11-year-old Ivy Alexandra Mitchell.

A contemporary view of Boggo Road Gaol at the time of Austin`s arrest.
But it’s Austin’s harrowing supernatural presence — not his horrific crime — that has cemented his name into prison folklore.

It is said that after the burly 23-year-old dropped through the gallows trapdoors in September 1913, fellow inmates of A Wing, the site of Austin’s execution, were tormented by paranormal experiences.

Austin’s ghost would materialise through the concrete walls, pass through the jail’s dilapidated corridors and throttle prisoners in their cells at the Dutton Park penitentiary, just 4km south of Brisbane’s CBD.

Now pictures of the killer held for decades in the archives of Victoria’s Public Record Office can be seen for the first time.

They show Austin as a young prisoner held in Melbourne Gaol for the brutal attempted rape of a 12-year-old girl.

But it was after his execution that Austin’s haunting legacy grew, as veteran prisoners and guards warned new inmates of the murderer’s stalking apparition, and his mission to harvest souls for the devil.

They said Austin’s ghost struck a pact with Satan to meet a quota of souls to avoid his own fiery doom in hell.

And if anyone deserved to go to hell, Austin certainly did.

The story behind the rise of his evil spectre begins in a different time. The night of June 8, 1913, to be exact — when little Ivy Alexandra Mitchell, 11, went missing.

Ivy Alexandra Mitchell
Ivy’s body was found in dense scrub at the local state school, several kilometres from the family farm in Samford, a rural community northwest of Brisbane.

When dusk broke and Ivy hadn’t returned from a day spent with friends, her worried father and brother grabbed a lantern and began searching the nearby school.

A pair of large hobnailed boot prints alongside smaller barefoot prints were found leading into bushland.

At a certain point the little tracks stopped, but the boots plodded on into the bush.

As they followed the tracks through the heavy shrub, the Mitchells faced a grim revelation.

Farmer Mitchell found his girl lying a pool of blood, with her throat “fearfully cut” and with “unmistakable signs that the child had been foully murdered”.

Ernest Austin, the Mitchells’ farmhand, was the prime suspect and was taken to the scene the next day by local authorities.

The crime scene of Ivy`s murder - marked by a cross.
An investigation revealed Austin’s boots matched the markings near the crime scene.

When the white sheet covering Ivy was peeled back, Austin glanced at the battered body and said, “I don’t know her.”

Austin’s unflinching reaction to the gruesome site struck a suspicious chord with police.

The fact that before this heinous crime, Austin had served time in Melbourne Gaol and Pentridge for attempted rape did nothing to reduce their instinct that they had their man.

It transpired Austin had a long history of run-ins with the police, and even as a child was sentenced to the care of the Victorian Neglected Children’s Department.

Four years earlier, the most serious of his brushes with the law came in September 1909, when he attacked a 12-year-old girl in an attempt to rape her.

According to Innocence Lost — the Last Man Hanged in Queensland, his poor victim Louisa Adelaide Champion was lured into a wash house where the axe-wielding fiend gagged her, grabbed her by the throat and threatened to kill her.

Her screams brought help, which scared him off, but there were witnesses and it didn’t take long for police to track Austin down.

He was sentenced to four years inside the old Melbourne Gaol.

And while the warning signs were there, Austin’s tendencies didn’t change when he left Victoria and headed to New South Wales and then Queensland.

It was in Queensland that he found work as a farmhand near the site of his awful deed.

It would become clear, after a colourful bouquet was found near the girl’s corpse, that the labourer had lured Ivy into the sparse fields.

Austin, while toiling the family’s fields, was regularly seen picking flowers with Ivy.

At the time, the Brisbane Courier described the act as “one of the most horrible and abhorrent in the annuals of Australian crime”, and noted his “callous indifference’’ and “silly grin” in court.

After the jury’s six-hour deliberation, Chief Justice Sir Pope Cooper ordered Austin “to be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may the Lord have mercy on your soul”.

The Courier’s reports of his hanging on September 22, 1913, noted he “went to his doom quietly and firmly and with a resignation which indicated complete spiritual submission and comfort’’.

“I say straight out that I highly deserve this the punishment,’’ he said, as he waited for his fate.

And then he apologised to his Ivy’s father and his own mother before crying out: “God Save the King’’.

He told Boggo Road’s chief warder to wire his mother that he “died happy and without fear’’

But other long-serving crooks begged to differ with the account, instead recalling a crazed morphine-induced Austin laughing madly until the executioner pulled the lever and ended his torment.
Austin - Shortly before his execution.

Later, fellow convicts would describe the evil laughter echoing off the prison walls in the early mornings.

Other outlaw raconteurs gave eerie descriptions of a roaring spiritual shriek that had emerged from the shadows of the gallows as Austin was hanged.

The awful scream of despair was described in a popular 1950s Brisbane newspaper, The Truth, which wrote of “a spinechilling ethereal acknowledgment that Austin’s little girl victim was being avenged and justice was being one”.

Prison guards said it was the sounds of the rejoicing victims or a high-pitched eruption by hanged criminals welcoming Austin to the next passage.

Whatever the theory, the ghost of Boggo Road’s 42nd executed jailbird looks set to survive — at least in the imagination.

After 119 years, Boggo Road is now closed as a jail, but tourists still spook themselves by stepping into the cramped cells or spotting a silhouette of a man on the upper floors and beneath the stairs at E Wing.

In the Courier Mail in 1979, jail employee Bob Smith played down the legend as a fearmongering myth for new convicts.

“Every couple of years some old wag tells a young prisoner that if he looks at the wall in A Wing, where the gallows used to be, he’ll see the famous jail ghost on a dark blustery night,” Smith said.

“Of course he’ll see the wavering reflection from one of the prison lights blowing in the breeze.

“We mightn’t have the most modern prison in Australia — yet — but we don’t scrimp in electricity.”

But historian Jack Sim, publisher of Innocence Lost — the Last Man Hanged in Queensland, professes to be among the witnesses, and is adamant the ghost is no myth.
His obsession with Boggo Rd’s dreadful past has seen him chronicle Austin’s criminal life from his humble Warrnambool beginnings, his awful crimes and his ghostly revival as publisher of Innocence Lost: The Last Man Hanged at Boggo Road, published late last year.

“I’ve always felt that this is one of Australia’s great prison stories,” Mr Sim said.

“And of the 42 people executed at Boggo Rd, Austin was one of the worst.”

Innocence Lost: The Last Man Hanged at Boggo Road by Jacqueline Craigie ($25.00).


Tuesday 3 June 2014


Here is a `taster` clip from two sessions recorded at St Briavels Castle, Gloucestershire in March 2014 during a ticketed weekend event hosted by Forest Paranormal Investigations.
There were a number of other cameras shooting during the series of tests, which additionally will reveal (on camera) the lights flashing on EMF meters - used to confirm each answer picked up on a `Ghost Box`.
This is incredibly amazing and proves the sceptical notion of `ghosts` to be generally old hat, as clearly this is a sentient intelligence capable of determining card patterns - and despite being placed face down at random.
I was, and am still simply amazed that we were allowed to capture these events on camcorder, and despite many tests, the results were always 100% correct each time.
Plus, a guided tour around the castle covering it`s ghostly history.
The entire video will be available very soon!
Please Share .....


A ghost with apparent taste - didn`t like the wall pictures ..

A SHIVER ran down the spine of a Stafford man whenever he thought about a room in his house at North Walls. . . and he had good reason.

Former Staffordshire Regiment man Donald Proudlock wasn't the sort to run away from things that go bump in the night, but this single room in his terraced home was different.

The 29-year-old had moved into the house only three days earlier when a ghost appeared, the figure of a man with a hood over its head is how Donald explained to a Newsletter reporter in November 1981.

He had been sleeping in the room and the apparition appeared around 1 o'clock. “I thought I must be dreaming," Donald said, adding: “I rubbed my eyes and it was still there. It was sitting in the chair looking at the floor."

On another occasion, Don saw the ghost's face. It was ugly and contorted and was leaning over him as he tried to sleep. “I closed my eyes hoping it would go away but it didn't. I tried to grab it. As I got up, a picture hanging on the wall flew across the room."

When Don switched on the light, the ghost disappeared leaving the picture lying on the floor. He wasn't the only one to experience a ghostly encounter in the bedroom at his home.

One night, a friend was staying with him. “We were sitting in the room and talking. After a while we both went to sleep in our chairs. Suddenly my friend woke up; he was scared stiff but couldn't describe what he'd seen."

Don had noticed that the room was as cold as a freezer yet the electric fire was on and he could see his breath in the night air.

He believed that the person who had lived in the property before him had dabbled in the occult and found a pack of tarot cards and a hangman's noose above the stairs. “One of the tarot cards was nailed to the wall."

Despite his experiences, Don rejected the idea of his home being exorcised, but not everyone was so light-hearted about it, including his dog which would never wander upstairs.

It had only been with Don for a matter of two days before it went missing. “I opened the back door in the morning, it shot out and never came back."

Newsletter reporter Neil Thomas decided to satisfy his own curiosity about this ghostly story and spent the night in the room but nothing happened, no eerie noises or strange apparitions. “Even though the electric fire was turned on in the upstairs room, it was the coldest part of the house," reported Thomas.

But Christ Church vicar at the time, the Rev Richard Sargent understood that hauntings could happen telling the Newsletter: “I can accept the reality of it. It is a very real thing, the manifestation of the spirit."

“If there is a life after death, then it is quite understandable that there should be manifestations. Where there has been a violent death, haunting is most likely," he said.

But the vicar cautioned: “When dealing with a haunting I always look for natural course first. I take a copy of St Mark's Gospel to give people confidence that there is a power stronger than the ghost."

He agreed that dabbling in the occult could have been the cause of the North Walls apparition and underlined the fact that dealings with the supernatural was all part of his ordinary parish work.

Psychic medium Doreen Shadbolt also backed Donald Proudlock's claim about those who had dabbled in the occult. “Dabbling in the occult does not help. If you hold a seance without really knowing what you're doing, spirits will latch onto you."

“I can't say where the ghost has come from but it could be a previous inhabitant. He or she may even have taken his own life."

Mrs Shadbolt of Uttoxeter, said that more people were becoming interested in spiritualism. “People are talking about it more."

But talking didn’t solve Donald Proudlock’s curiosity and no doubt the ghost disappeared when properties in North Walls were demolished several years later.


My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans has run away from a hotel in Chicago after being spooked by ghosts.

The celebrity chef took to his Facebook account to explain “one of the weirdest experiences” of his life and why he left the hotel in the middle of the night without checking out.

“It suddenly felt airily cold and I sensed that something just wasn’t right with the energy, not only in the hallway, but even more so once I was inside my room. I tried to shake it off and tell myself it was all in my head, but the extremely uneasy feelings didn’t go away, if anything it became more intense, so I grabbed my bags and pretty much ran out!” he wrote.

Pete Evans - Frightened
“I bypassed checkout, jumped straight in a cab and got the %$&# outa [sic] there.”
The post has attracted more than 320 comments including some from ex-employees of the hotel claiming the rooms are haunted. Others took it as an opportunity to lampoon the man who made the term “activated almonds” famous in Australia.

“It is the USA, maybe you just inadvertantly [sic] ate some GMO corn, or beef, or soy etc!” fan Bob Black posted.

Evans, who claimed to be “super sceptical about the paranormal” before the incident which occurred over the weekend, doesn’t drink coffee, green tea or alcohol.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that what I felt was real, but each to their own,” he signed off.
The Congress Plaza Hotel was built in the late 1800s and is reportedly haunted by many ghosts including that of Prohibition-era gangsta Al Capone who used the hotel as his headquarters.
The north tower of the hotel is believed to be haunted by the spirit of a little boy who was killed with his brother in the 1930s after his mother threw them off the balcony before jumping herself.

Numerous travel blogs contain stories regarding paranormal activity inside the hotel, especially in the rooms adjacent to Room 447, the one Evans was due to stay in.

“If you ever find yourself staying at the hotel, avoid room 441. Security is called there more than any other room. Objects move, strange sounds are heard and guests have even seen the shadowy outline of a woman,” a post on Chicago Now stated.

However, his room – 447, got a mention on other sites like TripAdvisor for horrors of a different kind. Photos posted by past guests show the room contains a mouldy radiator unit and is frequented by cockroaches.

Source: SydneyMorningHerald

Haunted History of The Congress Plaza Hotel

(From CityPass )

The Congress was originally built over a hundred years ago to accommodate visitors coming for The Chicago World’s Fair. The hotel didn’t actually become The Congress Plaza until 1908. That was about twenty years before one of its most notable (and notorious) residents, gangster Al Capone, was said to have lived here; some reports are that owned the hotel for a while and used it for his headquarters. Truth is, Big Al never actually stayed here, at least not under his name. But residents still see him from time to time, walking these hallowed halls with the rat-ta-tat of his two-tone wingtips.

Other less notorious but just as notable names haunting these halls include the homeless hobo, “Peg Leg Johnny,” who was said to have been murdered in the hotel many years ago. Then there's the workman who supposedly got buried behind the walls when the hotel was being built, but who is now just referred to as the “hand of mystery,” referring to his gloved hand that supposedly sticks out of a wall in the closets behind the balcony in the Gold Room (what is up with all the displaced body parts floating around this hotel?). And speaking of the Gold Room, it's rumored that some of the bridesmaids in wedding parties who gather around the piano for photographs do not actually show up in the pictures.

As for others, legend has it that a lone man roams the eighth floor, where the elevator is said to stop frequently, even though no one has pushed a button. And “voices” are heard in ballrooms even though no one is there. Don't book room number 441 if you plan to stay at the Congress; security is called there than any other room. Guests report seeing the same thing: the shadowy outline of a woman. But the biggest scare is saved for the 12th floor, where there is said to be a room so frightening that the door was fastened shut from the outside.