In celebration of Friday the 13th we’ve rounded up the spookiest stories that plague our city, along with all the places you don’t want to visit after dark.
Whepstead Manor, Wellington Point: Brisbane’s most haunted house
The original home was built in the 1890s for the Burnett family of sugar cane farmers. Burnett was a wealthy man but he went broke and lost the house. It became a convalescence home for sick people in 1936 and while it was a hospital it was run by a matron, Dolly. There is said to be a ghost of a Chinese worker who’s thought to have hanged himself in a tree. Burnett’s wife can also be felt in the home – you can smell lavender when she’s about. Guests at weddings during the 1980s when the home was a restaurant reported seeing a ghost who was dressed like a matron.
The ghost of City Hall
Brisbane’s majestic City Hall is also haunted by a restless spirit. From the 1950s onwards council workers have heard strange footsteps in the hall and have reported feeling a sinister energy in a series of small rooms known collectively as Room 302 on the third floor. The rooms were close to the spot where a caretaker is believed to have committed suicide in the 1940s. For a time the area was used as a photographic darkroom, then abandoned when the ghostly activity became too much to bear. In 1982 carpenters were sent in to demolish the interior walls and the area was added to the building’s kindergarten center.
Toowong Cemetery and the legend of ‘spook hill’
According to an old Brisbane legend, the graves of two young sisters killed in a car accident can be found at the top of `spook hill’, a sloping road within the cemetery that is said to have a special power. The legend goes that if you sit in the car and put it into neutral the car will defy gravity and roll forwards up the hill. People who have witnessed this phenomenon believe that the two dead girls are dragging the car up the hill, with the aim to kill everybody inside.
The ghost of Brisbane Arcade
Brisbane Arcade is another venue you might not want to venture into after the sun goes down. The old arcade is one of those elegant Victorian-era shopping complexes with an antiquated lift, flamboyant decoration and iron lace balustrades. There was once a successful millinery shop on the upper level run by a lady who is apparently reluctant to leave, though she has been dead for many years. It is said that her ghost is still sometimes seen, dressed in a Victorian gown, pacing up and down the balcony.
The un-human hands of Goodna Cemetery
Visitors have been known to leave Goodna Cemetery with scratches and bruises all over their bodies. One man reported that he jumped into his car in an attempt to escape the cemetery and although his engine started the car shuddered in place without moving. When the sun rose he was finally able to escape and once away from the cemetery examined the car and found deep scratches down both sides of it. The scratches looked like they had been made by something larger than human fingernails, as if something had been holding the car in place. If you’re brave enough, here’s a trick that Brisbane ghost hunters swear by: cover your car in flour and drive slowly past Goodna Cemetery at midnight. When you get home, examine the flour on your car. It will be covered in hundreds and hundreds of fingerprints.
Still not scared? Turn back now or check out Brisbane ghost hunter Jack Sim’s round up of our city’s most haunted homes.
Do you have a terrifying Brisbane tale to add? Share your stories below.