Strange encounters during Maryborough ghost tours
WITH haunting tales, ghost stories galore and plenty of spooky tales in her past, Maryborough just might be the best place to be for Halloween.
Carmel Murdoch, the woman behind the Mary Widow and host of Maryborough's ghost tours, has shared many eerie experiences over the years while visiting the cemetery and some of the city's haunted old homes.
Carmel admits she was a sceptic when she first started doing the tour, but now she is a firm believer in ghosts and unseen spirits - and she's got the stories to prove it.
One of the moments that has really stuck with her was a night at the Engineers Arms Hotel.
A man came downstairs during the ghost tour and was having trouble breathing.
Carmel tried to assist him, thinking he was having an asthma attack.
He said that he didn't have asthma - he had walked into a room upstairs and he had gone completely cold.
Then he had felt like someone had him a bear hug.
Carmel immediately went up the stairs and asked those gathered upstairs where the man had been standing.
She went and stood in the spot they indicated.
"I felt nothing," she said.
She walked back three paces and she couldn't move
"It felt like someone was on my chest," she said.
Carmel also has many tales about Mavis Bank, possibly the Fraser Coast's most haunted home.
Located in Maryborough, tales of terrible loss have given the house its unique reputation, with several of its past occupants dying tragically.
One of its occupants drowned in Ululah Lagoon while walking home from a pub and another was shot in the arm, had his arm amputated and then died of shock.
Carmel said a woman one the ghost tour had experience terrible arm pain while inside the house - but once outside the house, she quickly recovered.
Carmel described phones sometimes being unable to take photos while in the house.
One woman took a photo of a tricycle at the house and the outline of a child could be seen in the image.
Even Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell has experienced strange occurrences, Carmel said, particularly at Maryborough City Hall, which she says is definitely haunted.
Walking around the city hall, Carmel said she used to see a picture wobble almost every time she walked by it, as if someone was acknowledging her presence.
More troubling, however, is the ghost on the stairs, believed to be a woman who was the matron at the police barracks.
The woman had a reputation for being a bit of a demon, Carmel said.
A woman mentioned feeling as though someone had run past her one the stairs and Carmel said she often felt there was someone there as well.
She often backs down the stairs instead of walking down the staircase with her back to the entity.
Carmel said the mayor had also felt that presence while walking on the stairs.
Maryborough Cemetery is also a hotspot for paranormal activity.
People have described seeing a woman in white walking past the headstone of Maryborough doctor David O'Connell who died in 1887.
The woman is believed to be his wife Ethel, who became the matron of the Maryborough Hospital after his death.
Ethel adopted a little orphan boy after the death of her husband, but he too was destined to have his life cut short.
She died soon after the boy died of gastric fever.
For years afterwards, staff and patients would say they had seen a woman in white holding the hand of a little boy, popping her head in the check everything was okay - just as Ethel would do when she was alive.
Former Chronicle editor Nancy Bates has also heard her fair share of ghost stories.
It has long been believed that the Maryborough Chronicle office is haunted, with footsteps and other noises heard after hours.
Nancy said she often felt a presence late at night while working alone in the office.
She also shared a story of a Japanese student who was staying at the Custom House Hotel.
One evening, two young girls came into his room and started playing.
When he asked them to leave, they disappeared through the wall.
He refused to stay in the room after that.
A staff member also had a frightening experience at the hotel working late one night.
They had just wiped down the bar when they returned to find child-sized handprints in the area they had just cleaned.