Posted by on October 31, 2013 in New records

Happy Halloween! We’ve been looking in our own backyard to see what ghost stories we could ‘confirm’ with the records on Ancestry.com.au.

Rumour has it that the ghost of Sarah Simpson haunts the cemetery in Penrith, New South Wales, where her body rests.  Those bold enough to pay her a nocturnal visit are allegedly terrified by her restless spirit.

Controversy surrounds her death. Folklore suggests that she was set upon by ruthless thugs and beaten to death, but the coroner found otherwise.  His verdict on the cause of Sarah’s death in December 1838 was “Visitation of God” (the record from the Coroner’s Inquest is shown below).  This ominous (and somewhat scary) turn of phrase was used by physicians of the day when they were unable to explain the cause behind someone’s passing.

Sarah Simpson 1838

Northwest of Newcastle is the historic coal mine known as the Richmond Main.  In operation from 1913 to 1967, the mine saw its share of tragedy, with many miners meeting their death in the mine’s shaft.  However, what caused George Lewis to plunge to his death in early January of 1914 is unknown.

His body was found at the bottom of the shaft, and the coroner was uncertain if it came to be there intentionally or by accident. He goes so far as to suggest George was temporarily insane. The record below from the Coroner’s Inquest identifies the cause of death as “Effects of injuries received through jumping deliberately down a shaft at Richmond Main Colery whilst temporarily insane.”

George Lewis

Today those that visit the mine tell tales of strange noises coming form the empty shaft and voices crying out as if in pain. Perhaps discarded coal isn’t the only thing lurking at the bottom of Richmond Main…

Picton, southwest of Sydney, is a picturesque town with a long history. There was a time when the train ran through a nearby tunnel – the Redbank Range Railway Tunnel – on its journey to nearby Mittagong. On the lead up to Christmas in 1916, Emily Agnes Bollard decided that she’d pay her brother a visit.  He lived nearby and, rather than taking the longer route over the hill, Emily decided to take a shortcut through the tunnel. Unfortunately for Emily a train also decided to use the tunnel at the same time.

It did not end well for Emily.  The tunnel went out of use some years later and now lies empty… or does it?  Strange lights have been seen in the tunnel and some have said that they felt the push of a disembodied hand…

Got any ghost stories in your family tree? We’d love to hear them. Share them on our Facebook page.