Picton Mushroom Tunnel, also known simply as ‘The Tunnel’, is quite the renowned location for paranormal happenings. Located just outside of Picton, NSW, Australia, the tunnel has seen its share of suicide, murder and accidental death.
Many of those who visit there tell of strange lights, cold spots, disembodied voices and dark figures. The most frightening phenomena is said to be the ‘lady in white’, who instills a feeling of terror into those she reveals herself too.
A Tunnel… Just a Tunnel
The town of Picton is located in the Macarthur Region of New South Wales. Although the area was explored in 1798, it was off limits to settlement until 1821. Picton, developed as the Great South Road, was cut through the Razorback Range. It was established as the settlement of ‘Stonequarry,’ but was later renamed ‘Picton’ in 1845. In 1867, the town started to see faster growth, as the Picton-Mittagong railway loop line was built. This line was a feat of engineering and construction, and at the time, it included the deepest hill cutting in Australia. The line also included the 592 foot (180 meter) Redbank Range Railway Tunnel, the first to be used by the New South Wales Railways. In 1919, this section of the line was closed to the railways, as a new line was built to better handle the heavy load of traffic. During World War Two, the RAAF made good use of unused railway tunnels, and the Picton Tunnel was no different. Arms and ammunition were stored throughout its length, and at times, mustard gas tanks were also stored. In 1950, after the RAAF moved out, Redbank Range Railway Tunnel became known as the Picton Mushroom Tunnel, as it was used for the commercial growing of Mushrooms (as many other closed tunnels are used today.) Picton Tunnel has seen its share of death.
…but Add Some Death and Tragedy…
The decapitated and dismembered body of a man was found in the tunnel, on the 24th January 1884. Who he was is unknown, and as far as I can find, he was never identified by anyone, he no doubts lies in a nameless grave somewhere. It is, of course, not known whether the death was suicide, or an accident. Some people used the tunnel as a shortcut when travelling, choosing to go through the hill, rather than over it. December 13th 1916, Emily Agnes Bollard could have been doing just that, when she was struck down by a train in the tunnel. It is said that the 51 year old woman was using the tunnel as a shortcut, on her way to visit a relative. Some say it was an act of suicide. Regardless, when she was hit, it is said her body was carried on the front of the train for quite a distance (Some say into the Picton Station), before the train halted and her remains removed.
20th February 1954, the body of Olaf Perkman, a researcher with the CSIRO, was found in the carriage of a train at Central Railway Station, Sydney. The 2nd March a labourer Ronald Holl, 24, was remanded on charges of murder. Later that month on the 30th, Holl admitted to killing Perkman. Holl stated that Perkman had made immoral suggestions, and advancements on him, and when the train had entered the Picton Tunnel (this was the second, newer tunnel close by) he had shot Perkman in the head with his .22 rifle at near point blank range. He also admitted to rummaging through Perkmans pockets, stealing some money. Holl was subsequently found guilty, and when the judge sentenced him to death, Holl replied saying ‘Thank you’. Legend also tells of a suicide by hanging, of a young woman, and the rape and murder of another. Do any of these deceased people still linger within the Picton Tunnel?
…and Get Some Hauntings
There have been many reports of strange activity in the tunnel. Strange lights appear in the dark, frigid cold spots are felt, and sometimes the sounds of a steam train can be heard. It is also said that the ghost of Emily Bollard still walks the tunnel, sometimes looking age 51, and at others much younger. Black figures have been reported to loiter within its depths, with visitors able to walk up very close before they disappear before their eyes. Probably the most disturbing experiences are those told by people unlucky enough to have met the ‘lady in white’. This spirit will choose one of the member of a group of visitors, tourists or trespassers, and momentarily show herself to just that one person. An extreme terror will be felt by that person, and at times these people have had to be carried screaming from the tunnel. (please note that entering the tunnel without permission is trespassing and can get you a $300 fine)
Ashley Hall is a paranormal investigator based in Adelaide, Australia. He is a sceptic with 15 years experience in the paranormal field and runs the popular Facebook page and website The Paranormal Guide.