'Bluestone Betty' haunts cemetery

Len Mahon and Elaine Peet stand next to an early church graveyard near Bluestone Corner on Pine Mountain Rd.
Len Mahon and Elaine Peet stand next to an early church graveyard near Bluestone Corner on Pine Mountain Rd. Claudia Baxter

WATCH out Casper, Pine Mountain has its own friendly ghost.

Bluestone Betty has been haunting the overgrown pioneers' cemetery and nearby Bluestone Corner on Pine Mountain Rd for more than a century.

Pine Mountain and Districts Historical Society president Len Mahon and secretary Elaine Peet responded to councillor David Pahlke's call for supernatural tales with a story that has haunted them since childhood.

Mr Mahon and Ms Peet recalled all the spooky details about Bluestone Betty on a journey back into the now defunct Pine Mountain Congregational Cemetery.

Picking his way through lantana and thick scrub, Mr Mahon explained the truth behind the urban myth.

"Betty's real name was Elizabeth Cox and she was buried here in 1883," Mr Mahon said.

"She was 76 when she died, and she was the first person laid to rest in the cemetery."

Ms Peet said Betty began haunting the corner and cemetery soon after her burial.

"We know it was her (Elizabeth Cox) because the sightings started soon after she was buried, and people recognised her," Ms Peet said.

"Over the years, many people reported seeing a woman standing on the corner in a long dress."

Ms Peet remembered the stories resurfacing when she was attending the local primary school.

"In my era, Arthur Hill drove around the corner in a truck and saw her standing on the roadside," Ms Peet said.

"We used to ride our horses past here on the way to school, and they always used to shy away and walk sideways, so we had to go the back way.

"They just wouldn't walk past the corner; there was something about it that made them uneasy."

Mr Mahon's sister Christine Ryan said she and her contemporaries never actually saw the ghost "but always felt her presence".

Ms Peet has been frightened by Bluestone Betty on numerous occasions in her adulthood.

"I used to work as a night duty nurse in Ipswich, and I'd be on my way home when I'd run into mist on Bluestone Corner and get the fright of my life," Ms Peet said.

"I've run my car off the road five times on the corner, because the mist rising in tendrils looks exactly like Betty standing there."

Despite all the shocks it caused, the spirit of the 19th century grandmother was apparently a harmless ghost.

"I like to think of her as a protector of the cemetery, and we always respected her," Ms Peet said.

Historical society research reveals Betty had much to protect.

Records show she was joined in the cemetery by three infant grandchildren - a granddaughter who died in 1884, and grandsons who died in 1887 and 1894 - all aged just one year old.

Cr Pahlke said Betty's story was part of local history.

"I'm fascinated by urban myths and I want to preserve these stories for years to come," he said.

Cr Pahlke invited anyone with interesting Ipswich ghost stories to call his office on 3810 7888.

Topics:  cemetery ghost haunted pine mountain

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