Is Picton really Australia's Most Haunted Town?

Mural in Picton notice the Ghost in the tunnel under the train.

Picton is a small historic town in the Wollondilly Shire 80km South-West of Sydney, Australia. 

Picton has the reputation of one of the Most Haunted Towns in Australia.

History

The area was first explored by Europeans in 1798 although legal settlement didn't occur until 1821. Governor Macquarie authorized the building of the new Great South Road between Sydney and the Southern Highlands in 1819 which opened up the Picton area to new settlers. 

Further development occurred in 1863 when the railway arrived. The town was originally called “Stonequarry” up until 1841, the town was renamed “Picton” in 1845. Picton became an important stopping point along the Great South Road which eventually became the Hume Highway. The town was bypassed in 1980.

The Picton Tunnel

Stories of Paranormal activity abound in the township of Picton but the old Picton tunnel originally known as the Redbank Range Railway tunnel built in 1867 seems to be the focus of activity.

This tunnel was apparently used to store mustard gas spray tanks and ammunition during World War II. It was also used as a mushroom farm and is still known today as the Mushroom tunnel by locals.

Stories of suicide are linked with the tunnel and the tragic railway accident of the woman named Emily Bollard appears to be the basis of the haunted reputation of the tunnel.

Apparently when the tunnel was still in use by the railway Emily had been walking through the tunnel and was killed by the oncoming locomotive. It is unclear whether she deliberately committed suicide or if her death was just an unfortunate accident. The apparition of Emily has been seen in the depths of the tunnel. 

Picton Post Dec 13 1916

It is said Emily’s ghost is more likely to appear to someone if they are Psychic or Clairvoyant. When seen she appears as a white flowing figure of a woman which has no face. From time to time black shadows or figures (shadow people?) have been seen on the walls throughout the tunnel.

Some witnesses have reported white lights hovering above people’s heads and figures appearing out of the darkness. Ghostly children have been witnessed and electrical disturbances have occurred to devices. Sudden drops of temperature have also been felt.

Other places in Picton rumored to be haunted are:

Razorback Inn: The Inn is the subject of many spooky stories and the home of a very noisy ghost.

Imperial Hotel: Staff have reported the feeling of someone following them through several parts of the building. At times the jukebox would begin to play even though it was not connected to power.

Wendover House: Built in 1880 by John Wright McQuiggin. A former resident claims to have been visited several times by the ghost of McQuiggan who he recognized from an old photograph.

Maternity hospital: The sound of crying babies and the ghost of an unpleasant matron have been seen and residents others claim to have been woken up in the middle of the night by invisible hands wrapped around their throats.

Wollondilly Shire Hall: The hall is reported to be haunted by three ghosts, a bearded man wearing a hat and suit, a small mischievous boy and a little girl, who is most often heard rather than seen.

Stonequarry Viaduct: Over the years many people drowned in the creek. Ghostly sounds of people swimming and splashing in the water have been heard by locals. 

Emmett Cottages: The ghost of a woman is often seen in the window of the building and shop owners often find their displays have been moved overnight.

 

Photograph of supposed Ghostly children in Picton Cemetery

Photograph of Ghostly Children in Picton Cemetery

In January 2010 a family visiting St Mark's Cemetery in Picton snapped a photo apparently showing the ghosts of two children who died almost 60 years apart. The photo appeared in major newspapers across the country. 

The children were believed to be:

Blanche Moon who was crushed to death in 1886 when a pile of sleepers that she and a number of children were playing on slipped and David Shaw who was the son of a minister who died in 1946 from polio.

The family claim that there was no children in the cemetery at the time the photo was taken and that the figures of the two boys were only noticed when the pictures were downloaded to their computer. 

The photo gained considerable criticism within the Australian paranormal community with most claiming the photo was obviously photoshopped and that the children shown in the picture appeared to be wearing modern clothing.


End to Picton Ghost Tours

In January 2011 the ever popular Picton Ghost Tours were forced to close down, according to the Daily Telegraph:

“The business was forced to shut its doors after residents complained the tours attracted hooligans who trespassed, threw eggs at houses, screamed late at night and did burnouts in their cars.”

“Operator John Vincent, husband of the late historian and tour founder Liz Vincent, yesterday said he was shattered to be forced to close after a decade of hard work.”

John Vincent had carried on the tours in honor of his late wife who created the Picton Ghost Tours ten years previous. But complaints to the local council by minority groups that the tours were attracting a bad element led to the tours demise. Other residents claim the legitimate tours kept away the hooligans and thrill seekers.


Is Picton Australia's most haunted town? You decide!

 

Sources:

Wikipedia

Paranormal Australia

Daily Telegraph