Houses of Mystery: Part 1. They are still haunting and enjoying themselves!

THEATERGOERS: ACTOR WHO WAS LADY LAVENDER FROM THE PLAY THE MERRY WIDOW BUT SOMETHING REALLY AWFUL HAPPENED. Below: UNDERTAKER C.T. FINNEY – WHAT DID HE GET UP TOO. 

Nearly every place in Launceston is haunted, it seems. What is scary, and what many, many people believe is crazy after they found themselves gazing at a black wooden slat on the wall swaying back and forth. But, believe it or not, these people were indoors; and there was no breeze.  Now, that’s SCARY!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Literally, Tasmanian history wreaks of mind-bending horror tales!

When you came to think about it, it’s out of the ordinary. Take, for instance, the Cape Grim massacre in 1828. Four shepherds ambushed and murdered 30 Aboriginal people, hurling their corpses over a 60 metre cliff into the ocean.

Or the positively merry tale of the eight male convicts who escaped from Sarah Island’s prison in 1822. The convicts got lost in the woods – all of them – and turned on each other, with the strongest convicts slaughtering the rest for food.

The locals believe that their island is full of ghosts. Rather than shy away from the past, though, the ghoulish Tasmanians have developed a knack of making money out of it. Across Tasmania, there are many paranormal investigation societies. There are those that investigate whether a home or business is haunted; the competition for clients is fierce.

In Launceston, which is a City of Ghosts, a mainstream tourist attraction is all about ghosts. This event is even listed in the “must dos” page of the official guide.

FEELS THE TREMORS

Rosemary, a brassy woman dressed in white and adorned with hooped earrings, looks down upon us, “Are you believers?” she asks, looking us in the eye. Some people says yes. Other people shrug. “Sitting on the fence, eh?” Rosemary laughs.

As the sun goes down, Rosemary leads us into the basement of the Royal Oak Hotel. For effect, she has lit only a single camping lamp. People’s eyes customise to the darkness. Rosemary warns each person they may feel a creature’s presence: they might manifest by playing with your hair, blasting cold air on your neck or making your hands be suddenly freezing cold.

Rosemary tells the people that a girl on a tour was smashed in the back of the head with an empty wine bottle.
Meanwhile, doors have slammed open and shut. Another ghost-like figure is notorious for pinching people’s bottoms, but only men’s. It’s must have been a male spirit.

The dead can be so scandalous.


INSIDE NEWSPAPER: International Express, UK – See, I told you Gran will look at us!

It might seem a little quackers but when an amateur photographer captured a picture of geese and ducks at a lake, clouds in the background looked like …a goose. Margaret McEwan, of Sandhurst, Berkshire, was snapping birds at a local lake when she noticed the bird shape in the sunset sky. “I live close to the lake and was taking photos when they came over to feed.”


Houses of Mystery: Final! They are still haunting and enjoying themselves!

DARK AND SCARY: OUTSIDE THE PRINCESS THEATRE SOMETHING BIZARRE TOOK PLACE. Below: THE MERRY WIDOW WAS A PLAY FOR LAUGHS BUT THE LEADING ACTRESS SLIPPED AND FELL TO HER DEATH.

More favourites from Launceston’s litany of horror.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Launceston undertaker’s C.T. Finney’s, at a former site, had a prop coffin on display in the embalming room. Back in the 1800s, bodies would be pushed through the window like, say, a delivery of fresh meat. The bodies would be laid out on ice and hessian bags.(Our tour adventurer) Rosemary points out the grilles through which the corpses’ fluids would drain on the mainstreets of Launceston caking the road with blood … God knows, what else!

While we’re imagining the stench of the streets in summer … the coffin lid slams down loudly and everybody who was passing by would hear the screams. And none of tourist was standing anywhere near the coffin.

The groups venture outside.

A TRAGEDY

From there, a place called Peppers was next on the list. Rosemary looks mildly disappointed. Peppers is where I was staying, I told her. Peppers is a newer establishment but not famous for being haunted. Peppers, said Rosemary, is close to a site where parents and children would once gather to watch the weekly public executions … overseen by the local government.

Nearly every place in Launceston is haunted; or where a dead person appeared to the living, it seems.

There is a bizarre and odd turnout at the Princess Theatre that ends up in tragedy. The theatre is haunted by the Lavender Lady, an actress who starred in The Merry Widow. She slipped off the stage into the orchestra pit one evening, fatally breaking her neck.

HIS DAIRIES

Further on, the touring party was outside a grand-looking white building, the former residence of a doctor, who is said to have conducted a number of gruesome “experiments” on the homeless and mentally disabled people.

Rosemary said, “He never got caught – ever. No-one found out what he’d done until he died. Someone read his diaries. His diaries also said he used to put a little instruments up people’s noses and wiggle them around.”

What happens then is too graphic to print. “They died in an awful way”’ Rosemary said.

Afterwards back at my hotel, I stare at the ceiling for a while. It found it hard to sleep when my hands are so cold.

<< Background from this original story from Tasmania – Go behind the scenery.


ACTIVE DETECTIVE: Edward, Prince of Wales, goes to Hawaii in 1920!

IAN LORDING

ALWAYS SMILING: WHEN THE PRINCE RIDES ON HIS SURF BOARD HE INVARIABLY FALLS OFF – SMILING.

LUCKY LAST: PRINCE OF WALES AT THE END OF THE CANOE.

“Keeping things current, this video is to coincide with the royal tour,” says Ian Lording, who’s been foraging through the decaying films of Pathe.

“Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, where the Prince of Wales enjoys the exhilarating sport of surfing in a strange banana shaped canoe. There are six paddling and Edward, the Prince of Wales. He settles in at the end of the canoe.

“He, like all the other men, is dressed in a bathing suit while he laughs at the camera. Following the canoe … are several men on surf boards. A large wave comes up behind the canoe and the surfers, with the canoe, are coming into shore.”

British Pathe cuts “to the Prince lying on his stomach on a surf board as a Hawaii’s man pushes his board along. Various

<< Longboarder Magazine, Australia.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 22 February 19

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