“Pioneers in the field…. Leading the way with Paranormal Research in New Zealand” – Connor Biddle, Paranormal Encounters.
“I have much respect for the level of study Mark and his team have put into the paranormal phenomenon through the years. His work is interesting and very well researched.” – Murray Bott, U.F.O Researcher & NZ’s MUFON representative.
Paranormal New Zealand is the home of Haunted Auckland, a Paranormal Investigation and Research group.
Whether you’ve been following us since 2010, or just recently discovering us; WELCOME and thanks for joining in the fun, learning and adventures.
We are a dedicated group of paranormal enthusiasts, all having one thing in common – a passion and drive to find out as much as humanly possible about the mysterious and unknown field that is the Paranormal, as well as documenting New Zealand’s historical buildings and landmarks in their current state.
Paranormal (păr′ə-nôr′məl) adjective.
Paranormal events are purported phenomena described in popular culture, folk, and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described as beyond normal experience or scientific explanation. The term “paranormal” has existed in the English language since at least 1920. The word consists of two parts: “para” and “normal”. The definition implies that the scientific explanation of the world around us is “normal” and anything that is above, beyond, or contrary to that is “para”.
We’re always learning new things, so hope to pass that knowledge on to you all so that you might learn as we do, in this crazy but fascinating world of the paranormal.
Firstly a few things you should know about Haunted Auckland. We’re a small Auckland based team of friendly, well seasoned and enthusiastic researchers with differing levels of experience, knowledge, skills and expertise. Our investigators are intelligent, honest, compassionate and possess critically thinking (yet wide open) minds. We’re also very good listeners.
What we aren’t: We aren’t Ghost Busters, Ghost Hunters, Exorcists, Mediums, Clairvoyants or Psychics and we don’t do clearings, blessings or the ridding homes of alleged demons. We don’t do prayers, rituals, or bring in any religious elements to our work. We aren’t mental health experts or sleep disorder professionals.
We aren’t “Believers”. We also aren’t blinkered, close-minded and staunch sceptics.
While we are sceptical and doubtful of certain cases and ideas, we have seen and experienced enough in our time to realise that dedication to the research is definitely a worthwhile cause. Instead of blindly believing (or disbelieving), or just accepting what we are told is true and real, we prefer to seek out the answers ourselves through first-hand, “boots on the ground” investigation. Experimentation, observation and documentation. We don’t have all the answers and we don’t consider ourselves experts. We don’t make claims we can’t back up with evidence or reliable data.
We don’t charge anything for what we do. The opportunity to investigate a location and hopefully further our research is its own great reward.
What we are, is “real world” researchers. Learning by doing. Walking the talk. Substance over fluff.
We follow the Scientific Method as closely as we are able to; though it’s not always easy to create a fully controlled environment and the fact that true paranormal activity is sporadic and very rare means we don’t always have a lot to go on. Still, we do our best with what we have to work with at the time and go wherever it takes us.
We go to where the stories are coming from in order to see for ourselves. We talk to the people involved to get their sides to the occurrences.
Our conclusions are never really final and we find multiple return visits yield the best results; so have built up trusting relationships with quite a few locations within the historical communities in this country. Our clean and respected reputation within historical circles is something the team prides itself on, as it has grown over the last decade and is based on well over 200 investigation sessions within that time.
Exploration – Observation – Experimentation – Documentation … Ultimately leading to Interaction, Understanding and Conclusion.
Please check out our website and don’t hesitate to make contact if you have any queries or would like to know more about what we do. We’re always happy to talk about spooks!
Through the years the team have investigated:
- Auckland Civic Theatre
- North Head
- The Auckland Town Hall
- St James theatre
- Victoria Theatre
- The Howick Historical Village
- The Smith & Caugheys building
- Kinder House
- Lopdell House
- The Pumphouse Theatre
- The Bluestone Room
- Fort Takapuna
- Massey Homestead
- The Hard To Find Bookshop
- Hollywood Cinema
- Avondale Town Hall
- Alberton House
- Bell House
- Carrington (Unitec)
- The Queens Ferry Tavern
- Regent Theatre
- Ewelme Cottage in Parnell
- Laishly House and Blockhouse in Onehunga
- Puhoi Centennial Hall
- Kingseat Hospital
- Puhinui Homestead
- AUSA Building
- Helensville Museum
- Waiuku Museum
- Lake House Art Centre
- Molloy’s Antique Centre
- Whatipu Caves
- Capitol Theatre
- Gibbons Homestead
- Inverlochy House
- Waipukurau Hospital
- Tavistock Hotel
- The Masonic Hotel Napier
- Napier Prison
- Mokena Hotel
- Palace Hotel
- Grand Tavern – Te Aroha
- The Waitomo Caves Hotel
Central North Island
- Chateau Tongariro Hotel
- Vulcan Hotel (St Bathans)
- Larnach Castle
… as well as many private home visits around Auckland and surrounding towns and extensive investigation internationally.
Some of the services and experience we have on offer:
Research and Investigation of buildings, historical locations and businesses
Photo & video analysis
General paranormal consultation
Conferences / Public speaking
Educational talks & fundraising for historical locations
- 30 East Drive – Pontefract13/09/2017Haunted Locations / Hauntings / United Kingdom In September 2017, I was privileged to gain a few hours access to investigate the notoriously haunted Number 30 East Drive in Pontefract, which has stood empty since the Pritchard family fled after they were subjected to years of torment by the so-called ‘Black Monk of Pontefract’. The poltergeist activity here is considered to be extremely malevolent. A priest was summoned to perform an exorcism — but a candlestick appeared to float in front of him and unseen forces shoved him down the stairs. One of the ghosts is said to be the 16th Century Black Monk of Pontefract, who was hanged at the gallows that stood on the land now occupied by East Drive. He raped and strangled several young girls. Green foam appearing from taps and toilet even after the water was turned off, the tea dispenser being activated resulting in all the dried tea cascading onto the work surface, lights being turned off and on, plants leaping out of their pots and landing on the stairs, cupboards shaking violently, photographs being slashed and an endless list of levitating and thrown objects including a solid oak sideboard. The activity reached a new climactic height with 13 year old daughter Diane’s long hair suddenly standing on its end, followed by her being dragged kicking and screaming up the stairs, an event that left her seriously traumatised and with clearly visible finger marks on her throat. Art director, Bil Bungay, who bought the house four years ago, says mediums have told him an airing cupboard in the corner of the room is a portal for spirits to enter and leave. Bil’s 2012 Horror film in 2012, When The Lights Go Out, was based on the story of the Pritchards. “There is something very evil in there,” he said. “One night I heard a kerfuffle at 4am. When I went into her room, her bed had been broken apart. There was no one in the house apart from me.”... Read more...
- Tongariro Shipwreck – Hobsonville28/07/2018Abandoned Buildings / Locations of InterestHidden away deep in mangroves in a small bay in Hobsonville, is the rusted and forgotten body of a ship. It is all that remains of the 115 ft paddle steamer Tongariro, that worked Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour from 1878 to 1905. She was originally used for trading with Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula. Later she worked the Kaipara, as a passenger ferry for the Devonport Steam Ferry Company, as well as charter fishing trips. Not much remains today except a few pieces of rusted steel, slowly corroding away in the elements. ... Read more...
- The Mason Road Tree25/06/2013Urban LegendsThis urban legend has been circling for a few years now, but isn’t widely known. The location is Mason Road, in a small subdivision off Oteha Valley Rd. It’s in a newly developed section of Albany on Auckland’s north shore and the rumours are kept at a low whisper for fears the land might devalue if word got around. However, those that have lived there a while know of it, though its thought of as being just an urban myth. A non event to some. I spoke to one old man, Des, who was mowing his front lawn when I pulled up to take photos of the area. He told me he had lived there for about 15 years or so, back when it was mainly paddocks and farm land. He had heard something of the story, but didn’t know if it was true or not. Yes there has been a couple of car accidents up that road in the past. He attributed it to “young Petrol-Heads” heading out that way to drink due to the area being quite low lit and isolated and misjudging the corner at speed. There is also the North Shore branch of the Vintage Car Club headquarters on the land there, so perhaps this was attracting overly enthusiastic car enthusiasts? Masons Rd runs up a small hill near the intersection with Medallion Drive. At the top of this hill stands an old Macrocarpa tree and the remains of an old farm fence. The old tree is allegedly haunted by a couple that died in a car accident on that corner, many years ago when the new developments had just begun. Rumours state that the couple were members of the Vintage Car Club, on that road. Through the years following the accident there have been numerous sightings of the couple standing on the road or walking around the Macrocarpa tree. Residents of the homes beside the land apparently see the couple quite often. One claim is that ‘The ghosts are normally observed walking alongside pedestrians and are not necessarily differentiated from an ordinary member of the public.’ On one occasion, a resident in the apartment complex watched from their window as their daughter walked home with some friends from the bus stop down the road. When she entered the house, the parents came down to meet the visitors but their daughter was alone and claimed she had been since stepping off the bus. On the tree where the alleged accident occurred there are grey paint markings on the tree trunk. Was this a marker to show where the car hit? Notable damage (though now ‘healed’ with a new growth of bark) can also be seen around the base of the trunk indicating that something had indeed happened there many years ago. The ghostly couple are said to be mostly seen in either the early evening or around dawn. A few people have reported seeing them first -hand or have heard from others that have seen them. “I was talking to my auntie just the other day about this! Apparently the accident involved two cars dragging each other off and one losing control and hitting the tree. My auntie told me she had heard people saying they’ve seen people standing by the tree and disappearing. They’re all black and you can’t see any faces. They just stand there and next minute they’re gone.” “That tree has a weird feeling around it that I can’t explain. Like a headache and loud high buzzing in my ears that goes away when I walked away from the tree. I went to take photos one day as I live in the area and hoped I might capture something on camera.” ”My mate said he drove past one night and there was a girl sitting under that tree. It was about midnight and she was all alone with no light. I only saw her because my headlights lit her up as I went by. Strange!” ”I was out there one night with my friend and we saw a person that was all blacked out standing under the tree one night. Couldnt see his clothes or face, just all black. A shadow person?” ... Read more...
- Angry homesick doll yearns for the Highlands22/02/2020Haunted Objects / Paranormal New ZealandI thought I’d share the story of this little girl that sits in my ‘’haunted items’’ room. I was hoping to return her back to her homeland of Scotland during a recent trip over, donating her to another researcher /haunted item collector over there, where she could hopefully be at peace being back in the country she belongs. However, my plans didn’t work out this time. This one came to me about eight years ago via the Son-in-law of a woman that had passed away. The exchange started with a Facebook message, which extended into an intriguing conversation. The following is a condensed and abbreviated summation of the discussion. I have adjusted some of the punctuation, spelling and grammar in parts but kept it as it had been sent to me. ‘’Hello, I am told that you are happy to accept haunted items. I have a doll here that you might be interested in having and she scares the family and bad things are happening around us. My wife’s mum moved over here from Scotland as she was disabled and unable to look after herself properly. She was not a happy woman. Always angry at herself, all those around her and the world in general. Her disability had caused her to be miserable, depressed and overly negative. Nothing was good enough and everything was something to complain about. She hated living here and was very homesick and missed Scotland terribly, to the point of tears and regular emotional outbursts. Her bitterness and obvious frustration affected those around her. There was a lot of negative emotion and arguing in the house while she was here. We had never fought like that, ever. We were a happy and loving family that never argued and lived an easy-going life. We all got along with no hassles. When she moved over, she lived with us in our house. Everything changed after that. My son had to move rooms and relocate down into the basement as she was stuck in a wheelchair, so could only move around in the main bit of the house which has two bedrooms, of which she took one. The doll I’d like to give you belonged to her and sat on her bedside cabinet while she was living with us. When she passed away, we packed up her belongings into storage boxes and pushed them in the cupboard in the bedroom so Jayden could move back into his room again. After only a couple of nights sleeping back in his room, we noticed a change. Jayden became very irritable and argumentative. He became moody and anti-everything. Complaining about everything and everyone. It was certainly out of character and he knew it too. The weird thing is that he was a normal person while at school and it was only when he came home that he changed his emotions. We knew something was seriously wrong when he jumped up in the middle of the night and punched a hole in his bedroom wall. He had had a nightmare that had caused a lot of fear in him. He said he felt terrified as well as frustration and anger that he was unable to run or fight back from his dream ‘’attacker’’. The night terrors and increasingly angry and violent behaviour carried on for a couple more weeks until one weekend Jayden decided he needed space in his wardrobe to put his books and sports gear, so pulled out this ‘’nanas’’ boxes to put them into the garage. On opening the boxes, he found the doll. What happened next, we don’t know, but he said that he felt dizzy and had apparently fainted, banging his head on a bedside chair. He is sure that all his anger and mood change has something to do with the doll and he is aware that he was not being himself. To us it makes some sense and even though I’m very sceptical about these things, I honestly feel the family needs to be rid of this doll. We all agree that he was acting the same as her when she was alive. Is it possible that there is a connection? Let me know if you would like the doll and it’s yours. We will throw it away if you don’t want it. Thanks for your time Name withheld “ I’ve currently got the doll sitting on a shelf next to other dolls I’ve “adopted’’. My plan is to eventually give her a new home back over in Scotland where she belongs. I kind of get the feeling she’d be way happier and more at peace over there. Do any of our readers / followers have a similar doll? She is made of bisque; hand painted, with individual head, body, arms and legs, all separate and connected inside with a string. No markings.... Read more...
- The PumpHouse Theatre18/01/2021Haunted Locations / Historic Buildings / The PumpHouse TheatreThe PumpHouse Theatre is located in the picturesque Killarney Park which sits on the edge of the equally beautiful and intriguing, Lake Pupuke. The PumpHouse operates as a venue for hire for the performing arts. It hosts a wide range of theatre, from plays, musicals, dance, stand-up comedy and many other kinds of events. But those who find themselves in the PumpHouse Theatre alone at night have reported a presence in the building. Is resident spirit of the theatre awaiting their cue to take centre-stage? History of the area Lake Pupuke is a heart-shaped freshwater lake formed around 140,000-150,000 years ago, occupying a volcanic crater between the suburbs of Takapuna and Milford, on Auckland’s North Shore. The heart shape is a result of a formation by the linking of two circular craters. In Maori folklore, a myth surrounding the lake tells of a tupua couple, the children of the fire gods, quarrelling with Mahuika, the fire-goddess about their home on the mainland being destroyed by Matahoe, a god of earthquakes and eruptions, sent by Mahuika. Lake Pupuke resulted from the ensuing destruction, causing Rangitoto Island to rise from the sea. The mists surrounding Rangitoto at certain times are considered the tears of sadness from the tupua couple, grieving for their former home. A lake of mystery The lake itself holds much dark mystery and intrigue. Through the years there have been many unsolved deaths in Lake Pupuke. Experienced, physically fit divers have been pulled up dead from the murky depths. Swimmers, young and old, mysteriously drowning without any obvious or logical cause. Then there are the stories of the Lake Pupuke Monster! Those that have seen it say it is grey (or green), smooth and very large. Whatever it is, it is large enough to capsize kayakers, attack a dog out for a swim and pull birds under. A couple of sightings which made the news, described something that looked like a tractor tyre tube submerged. However, this theory has been scoffed at by those that have laid eyes on the creature. Also put to question, is how a rubber tyre tube could float, at surface level, upright in a vertical position? Would it not float on its side, if it was an inflated tube? Building the PumpHouse In 1894, a pump house was built on the shore of the lake to supply fresh water to the local area. From 1905 the building housed a furnace which energised an enormous pump that shifted water from the lake to the early settlers of Devonport. This was replaced in 1906 by a second pump house. As a result of increasing demand, the water level of the lake fell and the use of the lake as a fresh water supply was discontinued. In 1941 when the Waitakere Ranges became the source of Auckland’s water, the pump house was decommissioned. Thereafter it was neglected and gradually fell into disrepair. The second pump house became a protected Category two building under the New Zealand Historic Places trust in 1983 and is to this day maintained as a theatre with three performance spaces including an outdoor amphitheatre. A spirit in the wings? It seems the theatre has (as most theatres seem to have) its own resident ghostly resident. It is believed by those that work at the theatre that the presence is that of one Cicely Margaret Escott – more commonly and lovingly referred to as “Peg”, whom served on the Mairangi players committee and directed, sang and acted in many plays, until sadly committing suicide at Takapuna Beach. Her body was found in the Waitemata Harbour on 15 August 1977. There have been reports of objects being moved from one spot and turning up in another when no one else is around, shadows seen out of the corner of their eye and a general feeling of never being alone and often feeling watched when alone in the building. Actors have experienced the sensation of being pushed at the top of stairs, shadows have been seen and lights have mysteriously blown. During a production of “A Skull in Connemara”, people reported seeing mysterious movement and shadows in the theatre. The area of the alleged sightings has also had a number of unusual alarm sensor movement detections late at night. Footsteps were also once heard in the ‘Lake View Lounge’, above the main office. Various psychic mediums claimed they had identified a spirit with “a short name like Tim, Jim, Tom” who “lives” on the right-hand side of the stage – dressed in 1900’s clothing – possibly unemployed and looking for work during construction. More recently a much-loved caretaker (and enthusiastic jump-in acting extra at times) for the theatre, passed away. Since his sad departure, there have been a few occurrences within the theatre that no one has any explanation for. A cleaner’s cupboard is sometimes found by staff, with its door open and the cupboard contents pulled out and cleaners items strewn around. The cupboard and its contents were used regularly by the Caretaker, hence he is suspected to be the mischievous culprit. Perhaps he is still residing in and maintaining the theatre in his afterlife? In 2015, security cameras captured two large doors leading out into the courtyard, bursting open in the early hours when the theatre was locked up for the night. The force being so intense it damaged the strong metal lock which needed replacement. I spent some time there, trying to find a rational reason for the doors to move as they did. All the reasonable explanations like draughts, faulty locks etc were ruled out. A draught with that much focussed and direct force could not have been generated in the building due to the room layout of the theatre’s interior. Treading the boards, paranormal style… The Haunted Auckland team have spent quite a few investigative sessions in the theatre trying to make some sense of the alleged activity. The team have had experiences in our time investigating there (seeing moving shadows and hearing footsteps above, with no one present). At this point we have more questions than answers, so the case is ongoing. Haunted Auckland also run fun public Ghost Hunt events from time to time at the Pumphouse Theatre. …and then there’s the reports of UFOs and strange lights seen hovering over the lake. but that’s another whole story right there! Have you had any ghostly experiences at The PumpHouse Theatre? We’d be keen to hear your stories! Leave a comment below if you have a tale to share about this location.... Read more...
- St Stephens Houses, Parnell – Auckland28/04/2017Abandoned Buildings / Haunted Locations / Historic Buildings / Urban LegendsThe St Stephens Houses have sat empty and tightly boarded up for about a decade and have a local reputation of potentially being haunted. There are ‘urban-myth’ type claims of seeing shadows moving around; a person seen standing in a top floor window, the movement of curtains as if someone was looking out, voices and talking heard at night by a person out walking his dog, bangs and sounds of footsteps on wooden floorboards etc. Activity has been mentioned to me a few times over the past decade, which I will admit has been fascinating to hear and definitely intriguing; yet frustrating due the inability to go in to try and experience or document these apparent spooky residents for myself. Access requests have thus far been denied. These photos were taken during various passing visits from 2015 / 2017.... Read more...
- St Stephens House – 9 St Stephens Avenue & 1A Brighton Road, Parnell [To be Demolished]28/04/2019Abandoned Buildings / Haunted Locations / Historic Buildings / Locations of Interest / Urban LegendsOne of the misconceptions in the research that we do, is that we can gain special access to any building we desire. If there are reports of possible paranormal activity, or a house is of historical value, then Haunted Auckland can automatically gain ‘red carpet’ access to investigate and document. This just isn’t the case. In fact, the majority of the allegedly haunted locations we request permission for access, we are rejected. For some, it’s a matter of not wanting to lose business by scaring away customers with stories of ghosts. For others, like churches and places of religion and belief, it is always a forbidden subject (even frowned upon, in some cases). Others are sceptics and “don’t want to entertain that kind of rubbish”. (an actual quote from a location owner I wrote to) For some it’s a simple matter of health and safety. Many buildings are old and weak in structure, so it just isn’t worth risking injury or life by allowing someone into your derelict old building. The two buildings below I have been watching for well over a decade. The St Stephens House at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road, Parnell. In that time both houses have stood empty with every window well boarded up tight and the doors dead-bolted secure. I’ve repeatedly asked for permission to gain access to document the interior and been rejected every time. The two houses are both owned by the Holy Trinity Cathedral Trust Board. The St Stephens House has a local reputation of potentially being haunted. There are ‘urban-myth’ type claims of seeing shadows moving around; a person seen standing in a top floor window, the movement of curtains as if someone was looking out, voices and talking heard at night by a person out walking his dog, bangs and sounds of footsteps on wooden floorboards etc. Activity has been mentioned to me a few times over the past decade, which I will admit has been fascinating to hear and definitely intriguing; yet frustrating due the inability to go in to try and experience or document these apparent spooky residents for myself. The two houses are due to be demolished any day now. Another ‘strike out’ for the progression of paranormal research. Ah well, I tried; and at least I have a few years-worth of exterior photographs I have taken whilst visiting the area. If anyone does happen to have any interior photos of the houses in their current derelict and empty state, I’d love to see them. I also find it somewhat ironic and nonsensical that there are protected trees on the property, that will be looked after, whilst the two (equally as old, maybe even older) houses are being demolished. From an online article; “The Very Reverend Anne Mills, Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Parnell, has informed that Waitematā Local Board that the two wooden houses standing next to the Cathedral at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road will be demolished. Work at the site commences on 23 April 2019. The Cathedral Trust Board and Holy Trinity Cathedral are creating an endowment fund to meet the need for long-term, sustainable funding for maintenance of the Cathedral, surrounding buildings and grounds. The creation of this fund will be funded by the ground lease or outright sale of the land the houses sit on. Dean Mills reports that annual maintenance of the Cathedral, buildings and grounds costs over $300,000 and this will only continue to increase. Major maintenance projects such as the planned re-roofing of Saint Mary’s Church will also need to be covered. The Cathedral and Trust Board worked to have the land on which the houses sit re-zoned as Terraced Housing and Apartment Building (THAB) under the Unitary Plan. Following that re-zoning, they obtained a Code of Compliance Certificate with an option to demolish or relocate the two buildings on the site. The buildings are not listed as heritage buildings and the Trust have assessed them as economically infeasible to refurbish to a commercial standard on-site. Following negotiations with private buyers to sell the two buildings for renovation and relocation, all parties have come to the conclusion that the size and structure of the buildings make relocation too expensive, so the decision has been made to demolish the buildings. The project to prepare the land for sale may include the removal of some vegetation and trees at the site but none of the 17 protected trees in the Cathedral precinct, including the impressive Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) believed to have been planted in 1898 at the street frontage of 9 Saint Stephens Avenue, will be affected and management plans are in place for these protected trees.” Recent photos of 9 Saint Stephens Avenue, Parnell Recent photos of 1A Brighton Road, Parnell For more photos of both buildings taken during 2015 / 2017 see HERE ... Read more...
- Big Feet Musing05/05/2011Cryptozoology / Cryptozoology News / Kiwi Cryptids / Opinions and TheoriesI was sitting here doing some thinking, please note jokes about seeing the smoke rising I get enough of that from my family, and it occurred to me why the many varied types of Sasquatch, Bigfoot or whatever you want to call the big guy may act more communally than we originally thought. I have often heard mentioned that there have been no bodies found, no gunshot victims after shooting lying there wounded and generally the creatures are only seen and very small numbers, sometimes between one and three individuals. As like a lot of communal animals these creatures post guards which remain unseen and quite probably keep an eye on the group. These would generally be larger males forming an outer parameter but remaining within sight as a lot of Baboon groups do, getting an eye over feeding females and in younger members of the group. Should anything go wrong it may be up to them to remove any casualties and dead bodies. Often when people have encountered Bigfoot quite often noticed and photographs afterwards that they seem to be a lot more animals hiding in the general vicinity. The reason we do not find individual bodies is I don’t believe these creatures move about by themselves but are always accompanied by others. Perhaps who knows the creatures that we actually see are a distraction allowing others to get away? After all the philosophy may be it is better to sacrifice one individual then the whole group. Vocalisations, tree knocking and the leaving of markers seem to indicate that these are very social creatures. The strong smell often encountered with these creatures may be a means of notify us of the kind of exactly where they are, as well as un-nerving more threatening creatures encountered. Such a defence would serve no purpose to a predatory animal as the prey would be able to smell them and they would lose the kill.... Read more...
- Rookwood Cemetery & Necropolis, Sydney23/02/2013Cemeteries / InvestigationsHaunted Auckland pops across the Tasman to visit the famous “City of the Dead” in Sydney, Australia. History and Background The largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere, Rookwood Cemetery (also called Rookwood Necropolis) is the final resting place for approximately over one million people. Originally known simply as the Necropolis (meaning “City of the Dead”), local residents lobbied officials to have the name of their village changed from Haslem’s Creek due to its association with the cemetery. In 1879 the villagers got their wish and the area’s name was changed to Rookwood, however before long the Necropolis was also being referred to by that name. The settlement of Rookwood changed its name to Lidcombe (a combination of two mayors names, Lidbury and Larcombe – Larcombe was also a monumental stonemason whose business exists to this day) in 1913. The cemetery retained the name Rookwood. Rookwood is a suburb, a suburb unto itself – the only Sydney suburb without a postcode or voting rights. Close to Lidcombe railway station about 17 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, the cemetery was a major employer at the turn of the century, attracting stone masons from all over Sydney to work on headstones and the many Gothic buildings within the Rookwood grounds. In 1818, Governor Lachlan Macquarie had Sydney’s main burial ground established near the town’s brickworks. By the 1840s, the Devonshire Street Cemetery was close to being full so another larger site was needed. A location near Randwick was chosen but abandoned in 1859 without ever being used due to complaints from local residents and churches. In Australia, as in Europe, there was an increasing trend to move burial sites outside of the cities for practical, hygienic and other more aesthetic purposes. With a railway line having been completed to Parramatta in 1856, it was decided to locate the new cemetery at a point on the line. Several sites were surveyed and found to be inappropriate. However, in 1862 the government purchased 80 hectares of land at Haslem’s Creek from the estate of Edward Cohen. Cohen’s land had previously formed part of a larger parcel known as “Hyde Park” that had been given to the magistrate and parliamentarian Henry Grattan Douglas in 1833 and subsequently leased out. The site was approved due to its relative isolation and proximity to the railway line. The cemetery was then divided into sections for the various denominations according to their numbers in the 1861 census. The Church of England section was 21 hectares, the Catholics were allocated 14 hectares and a non-denominational area of 23 hectares was also established. The Necropolis Act came into force on 1 January 1868 and the cemetery was officially opened. By 1879, more land was needed and the remaining 233 hectares of the former “Hyde Park” were then purchased. By the 1890s the cemetery was home to several buildings including the St Michael the Archangel Chapel and various cottages for section managers and sextons. Like a lot of 19th century Sydney architecture, both were built with the familiar colour of Pyrmont sandstone. However, with the arrival of the motorised hearse the railway came to an end in 1948. Rookwood Necropolis still retains much of its nineteenth century features. It was with the development of a romantic attitude towards death and dying in Victorian Britain that saw the Garden Cemetery make its debut. The main purpose of a garden cemetery was to “be a park-like location set aside as a pleasant resting place for the dead and a comforting site for mourners to visit” (David A Weston, “The Sleeping City”). The cemetery was a major employer at the turn of the century, attracting stone masons from all over Sydney to work on headstones and the many Gothic buildings within the Rookwood grounds. In earlier times death was accompanied by more elaborate rituals than we are accustomed to today. At the end of the 19th Century, coffins were brought to Rookwood by train from the Mortuary Station in the city. The Rookwood Station was dismantled and re-erected as an Anglican church in Canberra. The first registered burial in the Roman Catholic Cemetery was of a 14 month old baby, Catherine McMullen. The burial took place on the 7th January 1867. The Catholic section of Rookwood takes up approximately one-third of the area of the cemetery. One of the graves there once attracted famed magician Harry Houdini. It is the burial-place of one of the notorious Davenport Brothers, who are said to still haunt the cemetery. Ira and William Davenport toured the world giving demonstrations of alleged spirit phenomena. While the pair were securely tied in a special ‘spirit cabinet’ the ‘spirits’ played musical instruments and performed other ‘manifestations’ in darkened theatres. Then on July 1, 1877, while they were on tour in Australia, the long-ailing younger brother William died and was buried at Rookwood. Decades later, in 1910, while Houdini was himself on tour there, paid a visit to the grave, accompanied by two fellow magicians, only to find the grave had been sadly neglected and so put in fresh flowers and had the stone work repaired. The surviving brother, Ira was so moved by Houdini’s act of kindness that he confessed the brothers’ tricks, even teaching Houdini the famous ‘Davenport Rope-Tie’, the secret so well-kept, that not even his sons knew it. The cemetery is now managed by five denominational Trusts, each of which is responsible for the care and maintenance of a number of burial sections catering to various ethnic and cultural groups within the community. The following individual Trusts manage the cemetery on behalf of the NSW State Government: Anglican & General Cemetery Trusts, the Catholic Cemeteries Board, The Independent Cemetery Trust, Jewish Cemetery, Muslim Cemetery Trust, and, importantly, The NSW Cremation Company, which founded and operates The Rookwood Crematorium, the oldest operating crematorium in the country. The NSW Cremation Company is the only private company operating a ‘cemetery’ section within the necropolis grounds, today the company is part of the Invocare company. Rookwood also contains a number of memorial shrines including those dedicated to victims of the Holocaust and to members of the merchant marine killed in wartime. The Sydney War Cemetery is in the eastern section of the necropolis. The Circle of Love is a shrine dedicated to stillborn children or those who died in young infancy. The “Friends of Rookwood Inc” is a voluntary organisation dedicated to preserving the site. As the largest Victorian era cemetery still in operation in the world, Rookwood is of significant national and historical importance. Some older sections of Rookwood are overgrown with plants, some now large trees or groves, as well as an interesting array of remnant indigenous flora. This results in quite an eclectic mix of flora to be found within the necropolis. The Serpentine Canal within the Anglican section was restored in recent years, repairing and replacing ornamentation, landscaping and vegetation over 31 hectares of the cemetery. Notable residents John Gowing, co-founder of Gowings store Kenneth Slessor, poet James Toohey, brewer Jimmy Governor, outlaw Peter Dodds McCormick, songwriter (“Advance Australia Fair”) Louisa Lawson, suffragette Lilian Fowler, Australia’s first female mayor Bea Miles, well-known Sydney eccentric Jack Lang, former Premier of New South Wales Joseph Cahill, former Premier of New South Wales David Jones, founder of David Jones stores John Fairfax, newspaper proprietor Abe Saffron, Sydney businessman and “underworld figure” Jacob Pitman, advocate of shorthand (whose epitaph is written phonetically) Sally Anne Huckstep, Sydney underworld figure Three Victoria Cross recipients: Sergeant John Paton, awarded in Indian Mutiny Captain Richard Been Stannard, Royal Naval Reserve, awarded in Norway campaign, World War II (cremated) Sergeant John Woods Whittle, awarded in World War I. As of 1st January 2013, Rookwood Necropolis contains the graves of a total 680 Commonwealth service personnel that are registered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, over 400 from World War I and over 260 from World War II, besides 3 Dutch war graves. The Commission also record 132 Commonwealth service personnel of World War II were cremated at Rookwood Crematorium. Haunted Auckland visited the Rookwood Cemetery on Feb 23rd 2013. ... Read more...
- Is my House Haunted?06/02/2015Ghost Hunting / Hauntings / Opinions and TheoriesYou hear heavy footsteps in the upstairs hallway when you know no one is up there. Doors slam unaccountably. Household items disappear and reappear without cause. You wake to someone whispering in your ear, yet you sleep alone. The bathroom light switches on and off by itself. There’s the unmistakable scent of a strange perfume in the air. You see unusual moving shapes, mists or shadows.True hauntings are rare occurrences, and it may be difficult to determine whether or not any strange occurrences you are experiencing in your home might be due to a haunting. For one thing, no one really knows what a ‘real’ haunting is – what causes it or why it starts. The first step is to determine, as best you can, whether or not you truely have a legitimate case of a haunting. Not all hauntings are alike, and they may exhibit a variety of phenomena. Some hauntings feature a single phenomenon – such as a particular door slamming shut that occurs repeatedly – while others consist of many different phenomena, ranging from odd noises to full-blown apparitions.Unusual smellsScience has proven that scent’s and the memory are very tightly connected and the perception of scents could be tied to those close to you they may wish to let you know they are present without sending you into a panic with the sight of a full-body apparition, or by looking for the source of an unseen voice. Scents that are not typical to your surroundings could possibly indicate spirit activity. Perfumes, flower scents, earthy scents and cooking smells are some of the scents detected in relation to ghostly activity. Again, there can be other natural explanations for these types of smells including to but not limited to the following: Cleaners and Deodorizers, Candles, Foods, embedded smoke and scent particles in furniture, etc. Any of these smells can be triggered by changing environmental factors. Also these phantom smells can be associated with the Olfactory system of the brain possibly being related to neurological disorders or attributed to a migraine if associated of followed by a headache. The main thing is to stay lucid and rational. Dont fly off into any wild panics over ghosts running loose in your home. Many people jump to an instant ghost answer and spent the rest of their time being miserable, fearful, anxious and too scared to live at peace in their own house. The imagination can be a powerful thing. Dont let it take over. Investigate to see if anything seems out of the ordinary. Look closely and more importantly, use your brain and think it through. Work through the possiblities and take control of your situation and your home. There are many theories of course, which we will try to discuss in this book, but if you think your house may really be haunted, what really can you do about it? These may be indications that your house is haunted. But how do you know if that persistent tapping on your walls is bad plumbing, rats, or an attention seeking ectoplasmic visitor? Perhaps using a scent that you are sure to notice or that can instantly trigger a past event is a softer way for a love ones spirits to communicate without causing alarm or making you question your sanity even more then you already do? Unexplained noises or voices Unexplained noises can be just about anything that an individual hears but can’t be explained away with a logical source for the sound produced. Such sounds can include the sounds of glass breaking, footsteps, floors creaking, doors slamming, and the sound of furniture moving when no one is present to cause such noise. Also, knocks, banging, rapping, scratching, sounds of something being dropped. Sometimes these noises can be subtle and other times they can be quite loud. Scratching noises, like all other reported noises, need to be examined carefully to determine if they can be ruled out and explained by mundane experiences. Sometimes mice and small animals can get into walls and ceilings and produce similar sounds. You might hear music playing from an unknown area or your name being said by someone or something who isn’t there. Whispered voices, groaning, crying, children singing and laughter, have all been heard by many people all around the world going back many years. Sometimes individuals report hearing voices of someone that he or she knows, but the person the voice is associated with isn’t present at the location at the time the voices are heard, or the individual that was heard did not actually speak at the time that the voices were recognized. Often, the voice heard is that of someone deceased. One phenomenon related to this is involves hearing one’s own name called when no one else is present at a location or when no one called out an individual’s name; this is often referred to as the “calling ghost phenomena.” Inadvertently voices or unexplainable sounds can be recorded to audio tape or MP3 recorders. In the Paranormal research field, the capture of sounds or voices on audio recorders is termed EVP. This stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena and is thought to be the byproduct of an a possible communication. When a spirit or entity of some sort is trying to communicate, these disembodied voices will usually not be heard during the recording session but will be audible during playback. Sometimes the sounds and voices could be of a residual nature. Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing You swear you closed them all before leaving for work, so why is one wide open when you return? Doors, cabinets, and drawers with minds of their own are classic hallmarks of a haunting. most often, these phenomena are not seen directly. The experiencer either hears the distinct sounds of the doors opening and closing or the experiencer will return to a room to find a door open or closed when they are certain that it was left in the opposite position. Sometimes furniture, like kitchen chairs, are perceived to have been moved. Very rarely will the experiencer actually witness the phenomenon taking place. Lights and appliances turning off and on The lights go out but the switch hasn’t moved. The TV flicks on and off. Brand-new batteries drain in seconds. When activity begins to increase at a location, in many instances the electrical appliances will either turn on by themselves, off by themselves or both. These events are seldom seen actually occurring, but the lights are switched on or off when the experiencer knows they were not left that way. The theory is that spirits are made up of, and require, energy. Energy could be defined as heat, electricity, light, static, even our own body’s energies. So they draw it from whatever nearby source might be handy. This in turn, might end up being from your home appliances and electrical gadgets. That or you just need to get a reliable electrician in to look at your wiring. Temperature drops and cold spots If the temperature of the air around you suddenly changes, it could be a sign that a spirit is nearby. A cold spot may appear just before during or after other paranormal activity. The theory is that an entity trying to manifest itself or communicate uses energy in the space surrounding it. If the energy drawn is ‘heat’, then it might be possible for a ‘cold spot’ to be left if the heat has been drained from a certain area in the room. It has been documented by investigators worldwide, sudden ambient temperature drops of 20+ degrees during potential paranormal events. These cold spots can be felt and measured and usually are short lived. The cold or hot spots can move from room to room or be very generalized to a specific spot or location. On occasion entire rooms can be much colder than the average house temperature and even colder than the outside air. When experiencing a cold spot, it should be documented by recording the place, time and ambient weather conditions if possible. The colder air doesn’t always mean that you will actually see a spirit manifest but it may be a sign that one is nearby. Possible explanations for cold spots could be drafts or air convection currents and air conditioning units. Items moving around We’ve all been through this frustrating scenario. The moment when you can’t find your house keys even though you think you left them where you normally do. Later you find them in exactly the place you were looking for them earlier as though they’ve been borrowed by someone and put back. You know you definitely looked for them and could not have missed them. Others have called this “the borrowers” phenomenon, and it’s the familiar experience of not being able to find a regularly used item – say, your set of car keys – which you believe you placed in a spot you routinely place them. But they’re gone and you look everywhere for them with no success. Sometime later, the keys return – in the place you originally put them, as if the keys were borrowed by someone for a short time, then returned. Pictures falling off walls, vases and other decorative items being knocked over and thrown. Objects that appear to be securely anchored becoming dislodged moving or falling to the floor. Please keep in mind that from time to time a simple act of placing a glass or object to close to the edge of a table or counter can allow for this type of action to occur. Shelving that may not be level can over time due to vibration from walking cause objects to slowing migrate towards the edge and crash to the floor. Before considering misplaced objects as paranormal please consider factors in the environment first such as pets, children and even other family members that may not remember moving the item. Unexplained shadows Many people claim to have seen shadowy figures when talking about paranormal activity in their home. The sighting of fleeting shapes and shadows, seen out of the corner of your eye, could be a sign of paranormal phenomena. This phenomenon has also been termed ‘Shadow People’. Many times, the shadows have vaguely human forms, while other times they are less distinguishable or smaller. First try to rule out any natural or practical reasons for the shadow or its movement. Headlights of a neighbour’s car shining through windows or curtains, sunlight reflecting off a shiny surface or object, either outside or inside the room. Strange animal behavior Animals have sharper senses than humans, and many researchers think their psychic abilities might be more finely tuned also. Dogs may bark at something unseen, cower without apparent reason or refuse to enter a room they normally do. Cats may seem to be “watching” something cross a room. Sooth the animal and get it to calm down. Take notice of when and where these things happen and see what other signs might be going on. Pay heed to your pets. They’re innocently psychic it seems! As always, look for reasons as to why your pet might be reacting this way. Dont jump to the ‘ghost’ conclusion untill youve given it a little thought first. Feelings of being watched This is not an uncommon feeling and can be attributed to many practical things, but it could have a paranormal source if the feeling consistently occurs in a particular part of the house at a particular time. Many aspects around the home can cause feelings of paranoia, anxiety and being ‘watched’. From your diet, to possible mental illness and sleep disorders, through to the electrical wiring in your home giving off an unsafe EM field. All have been known to attribute to such feelings. Feelings of being touched It could be a sign that spirits are present, or maybe not. An extreme and very rare example would be getting slapped or punched by the invisible someone or something. Again, it is important that you try and rule other things out before coming to the conclusion that it was a spirit who touched you. For example, something might brush up against your arm when you are standing in an empty room. Think; did you brush past a curtain or is a window letting in a slight breeze? A cobweb perhaps? Those are some of the most common experiences of those who think their houses are haunted. Yet even stranger things can happen… Remember, you should always try to find a rational reason for the things that are happening in your home. It is important to try and ‘debunk’ your theories before settling on paranormal phenomenon as the overall answer.... Read more...