Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: The Ghost Larrikins

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: The Ghost Larrikins


Before the Magistrates Court in Strathalbyn, 1887, an alleged ghost was put on trial for haunting an alleyway in the town.
 The ghostly offender, who was brought to court after being captured by Corporal Cate, faced Magistrates E. Castle and W Colman, on the charge of Disturbing the Peace.
The previous Wednesday night, a ghost was heard at midnight, wailing down the side alley of several houses. The nearby residents, woken by the strange sound, and a little fearful (these were superstitious times after all!) crept outside for a look.

 One of the residents, Mr Joseph Wesley, armed himself with a dog chain, and made his way outside, then into the laneway. He saw a strange figure, draped in white that suddenly hid in the bushes. Wesley, decided to investigate further, and found the ghost, a young man wearing a puggaree (a thin muslin scarf tied round a sun helmet so as to hang down over the wearer's neck and shield it from the sun.)

The police were called, and after a little investigation, it was revealed that the ghost was none other than local, Ralph Wilson, a young man described as “half-crazy” in court proceedings, and therefore unable to plead for himself.

 Wilson gave up two other young men, who had talked him into playing the ghost. Daniel Bray and J Stephens were both charged with aiding and abetting,

The three young men were very lucky to have received an excellent defense attorney in Mr E. J. tucker, who presented to the court a technicality, which allowed all three young men to walk free from court, but not without a warning from Judge Coleman, who warned them not to be seen in his court again!

...and so, another alleged ghost in Strathalbyn was unmasked!

Researched and written by Allen Tiller.
© 2018 Allen Tiller

1877 'General News.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 24 May, p. 2. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96886495

1877 'MAGISTRATES' COURT, STRATHALBYN.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 31 May, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96886595

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: Glowing Ghosts

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: Glowing Ghosts

In the winter of 1874 and 1875, ghost hunting fever overtook the residents of Strathalbyn, a small hamlet (at the time) 57 km’s southeast of Adelaide, not far from Lake Alexandria.

It all began when Mr W. T. Tregilgas, a local decided to take a short cut through the local cemetery on his early morning walk. Mr Tregilgas witnessed the outline of a woman on the top of an old tombstone. He claimed where the image appeared was dry to the touch, but where it did not appear was wet with early morning dew.

 This sighting led to a national story about the case, and an influx of tourists trying to see the ghost for themselves.

It also led to numerous sightings in the town for many years afterwards.

In the same cemetery, at the same tombstone, a ghostly white figure, luminescent in the fading moon glow was seen laying on its side in the cemetery. The ghost was sighted by a small group of townsfolk, all of whom were far too frightened to enter the cemetery and investigate. The following day, members of the group told all and sundry about their ghostly encounter, while most just scoffed at the suggestion, others became curious.

 The following night a group went to the cemetery, but the spectre did not appear. They kept their nightly vigil, always arriving just before midnight. Only a few nights later, the ghost had reappeared on the same tombstone, again, relaxing, laying on its side, glowing in the pale moonlight.

Non-believers became instant believers, but again, no-one was brave enough to venture into the cemetery and investigate the ghost. If they had, they would’ve discovered a well-known local joker, who had been investing heavily at Francis Millers local chemist shop in phosphorous and its anhydrous solvents!

For more information about this beautiful part of South Australia:

Researched and written by Allen Tiller.
© 2018 Allen Tiller
1912 'JOTTINGS.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 7 November, p. 3. , viewed 29 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96975184

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: Ghost in the Cemetery

A Haunting in Strathalbyn: Ghost in the Cemetery

A Statement from Mr W.T. Tregilgas about the sighting of a spirit in the stone slab of a grave in a Strathalbyn cemetery was first published in 1871, in the Southern Argus (newspaper) as “The Ghost Story; Or What Gave Rise to It”.
 The alleged haunting caused a stir in the town, and became a national sensation as it was picked up and republished across Australia. This led to hundreds of people descending on the town trying to witness the ghost for themselves, and created a local urban legend that is still talked about even today!

The statement is as follows:

"Whilst taking a walk very early one morning, through some motive which I cannot account for, I was induced to walk through the burying ground, and coming to a grave surrounded by a wall, and covered with a slab of slate, I noticed on the slate something strange.
It was scarcely light enough to see distinctly at first, but after waiting for some few minutes I could see it plainly, and it appeared to be a side view of a female.
I could distinctly trace the head and body and the skirts, apparently full size. Not being satisfied with the sight I rubbed my hand on the form, and found that a portion of the slate was perfectly dry, whilst the parts outside the form were very wet with the dew which had fallen, and still not being satisfied I walked away, and came back in about fifteen or twenty minutes after, and still the form was there; so, I determined upon visiting it again next morning, which I did, and continued doing so for a week or more.
During this time only saw the form once after the first morning; but not being a believer in supernatural appearances I tried to define the cause, but failed. In the course of conversation, I told Mr. Morton what I had seen, and he visited the place, and saw the form, although not so plain as it was when I saw it.
 The form was to be seen, and it has been seen since by others. Now, I believe there is some natural cause which produces this strange appearance, and perhaps some person upon reading this will be able to satisfy the minds of those who have seen it, for although many things have been advanced by people as to the probable cause, but none seem satisfactory to my mind, and those who have been eye-witnesses of the sight."
These are the facts of the case, and they differ widely from the report circulated.
By inserting the above explanation, you will greatly oblige me as well as others.

I am, sir, & c-,



July 3rd, 1871.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller.

© 2018 Allen Tiller


1871 'THE GHOST STORY; OR WHAT GAVE RISE TO IT.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 14 July, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96872595

1871 'ANOTHER GHOST STORY.', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 24 July, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60874405

1871 'TRUE GHOST STORIES.', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 28 July, p. 4. , viewed 30 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8872154