Spirituality

The haunting stories of Aussie ghosts who’ve committed crimes

These evil spirits didn’t let being dead stop their reign of terror.

By Candice Habershon
ghost stories

Trust us when we say that you wouldn't want to cross one of these unsettled spirits.

From a love-struck young woman who lures men to their deaths, to unexplained growls, these stories are sure to make your hairs stand on end.

Haunted house

An imposing red-brick mansion in Junee, NSW, is considered the most haunted house in Australia – and it’s not difficult to understand why. The Monte Cristo homestead, built in 1885, first started to show signs of paranormal activity in 1963.

Reg and Olive Ryan had just bought the house when they returned home one foggy night and saw a strange, bright light pouring out of every window. They assumed they’d left the lights on, but when they got to the front door the light had gone.

And so began a host of strange happenings over the years, which included phantom footsteps and haunting noises. Once, Olive even found mutilated cats in her kitchen.

The house was built by pioneer Christopher William Crawley, and during his time living there with his family, a young child was reportedly dropped from the stairs. Other suspected murders included, a maid falling from a balcony and a stablehand burning to death after having his mattress set on fire when he called in sick for work.

Another dark story involves Harold Steel, the son of a maid who fell pregnant to the owner Christopher Crawley. He developed a mental illness after a carriage accident in Junee and as a result of his uncontrollable, aggressive behaviour, he was chained to the back of the cottage for more than 30 years.

His hair grew wild and he used to howl at night. Locals believed there was a monster chained to the house and kids dared each other to find him. To this day, people still hear those sounds at night. The Ryans believe the paranormal activity started when a caretaker died in 1961.

Devil’s pool

An idyllic, beautiful spot south of Cairns in Far North Queensland has become known as the rather sinister-sounding Devil’s Pool.

Since 1959, the waterhole, officially called Babinda Boulders, has taken the lives of around 17 people. Of the 17 deaths, all but one have been young men.
According to Aboriginal folklore, two young, forbidden lovers hid from their families but were found at Babinda Boulders. They were separated and in despair, the girl, Oolana, threw herself into the water and drowned.

Since then, searching for her lost love, she lures young men to their deaths in the icy waters of Devil’s Pool. In one instance, a young couple stood on a rock platform admiring the view when, without warning, the waters suddenly rose, sweeping them into the water. The woman survived, but her partner didn’t.

In another case in 1979, Peter McGann, 24, jumped between rocks and fell 12m to his death. Other victims include, a tourist from Adelaide in 2004 and a businessman from Sydney in 2006. Aboriginals believe it is a sacred site and if you disrespect it, the site will disrespect you.

As if to illustrate this, one story tells of a young man who kicked a plaque erected at the pool commemorating those who have lost their lives there. As he kicked it, he slipped into the pool and drowned.

For more, head to your local newsagent or supermarket to pick up your copy of Spirit & Destiny Australia, on sale now for just $6.99.

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