Welcome back! This week we’re going even farther away to look at stories from Australia!
The Fisher’s Ghost: The story of Frederick Fisher and his ghost is one of the most famous legends Australia has to offer. Fisher was born in London, but after obtaining forged bank notes, he was sentenced to prison in Australia. After completing his sentence, Fisher stayed in Australia and became quite successful. He befriended a neighbor, George Worrall, and when Fisher was arrested after getting into a violent fight, he left George as his power of attorney while he returned to prison. Soon after Fisher’s second sentence was up, he went missing, and George sold many of Fisher’s personal belongings. A few months later, a farmer named John Farley was walking home when he passed a bridge near Fisher’s paddock. He saw a figure which he identified as Fisher’s ghost. The ghost had blood dripping from a head wound and pointed towards George’s farm. Farley reported the ghost, and soon after that, blood stains, a tooth, and hair were found near the location of the sighting. An officer eventually searched the area where the ghost had pointed at during its encounter with Farley. There, they discovered the body of Fisher. After George’s arrest, he admitted to the crime and was executed for the murder of Fisher.
I really like this story, because it’s rooted in true events. The legend of Fisher’s ghost is more believable than than other stories, such as the ghost of Hanako-san, which seems a bit far-fetched and maybe even comical to some. John Farley was a respected farmer (not the “strange person in town”), which makes the ghost sighting seem much more credible. Another interesting aspect of this story is that if it weren’t for Farley’s alleged encounter with the ghost of Fisher, the authorities may have never discovered the body. Since this story is mostly based on fact and only has a small supernatural aspect, it’s even more creepy because it conveys the idea that a ghost encounter could happen to a perfectly normal person. Today, there is an annual Festival of Fisher’s Ghost in Campbelltown, Australia, where celebrations take place all throughout the day. The festival began when 1,500 people gathered in search of Fisher’s ghost.
Haunted Asylums: Australia has quite a few asylums that are now supposedly haunted by those who were once patients there. Larundel, the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, and Willsmere Mental Asylum are a few examples of mental institutions built in the 1800s and early 1900s that were shut down and are said to be haunted. Paranormal investigators often come to look at the abandoned buildings of Larundel, where there are rumors of loud noises and strange smells. There is another story of a young girl who loved her music box and died in Larundel. It is said that around midnight, visitors sometimes hear music coming from her floor. The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum has its fair share of stories too. There are reports of doors swinging open and closed, and apparitions of patients, including a supposed photograph of a strange woman (who is believed to be a ghost of a patient) standing by one of the windows.
Much like the ideas of haunted castles, I think that abandoned mental asylums are so eerie because of the dark history (and sadness of the patients and their families) that surrounds them. Many of these mental asylums were shut down for overcrowding patients, poorly managing them, and failure to provide adequate conditions. Reflecting back the the tragic events and troubled people that the asylums are linked to makes them the perfect location for ghost rumors to grow from. I’ve included a link to a documentary, which you might enjoy. I’d highly recommend just watching the first 2-3 minutes so you can get a sense of the foreboding atmosphere, and to see an example of paranormal investigators in the asylums. (I’ve only watched the first few minutes so far, so I can’t comment on the rest of the film.)
The Yowie: The Yowie is a Bigfoot-like creature, which is often considered to be the Bigfoot or Loch Ness monster of Australia. It resides in the Blue Mountains region of Australia, walks on two legs, and is covered in fur. The first recorded Yowie sightings were in the mid 1800s. There are believed to be multiple species of Yowie, most of which are slightly shorter than the average human. Much like with Bigfoot or the Yeti, many people have spent their entire lives searching for a Yowie. Over the years, many Yowie sightings have occurred. In fact, in 1977, a senator, along with over twelve other eyewitnesses, claimed to have seen a tall, ape-like Yowie.
It’s interesting that so many countries have a legend of a large ape-like creature wandering the mountains and forests. What’s even more interesting is that most of these Bigfoot-type creatures originated independently in so many different countries. Perhaps one explanation is that large ape-like creatures could be easily confused with something else, such as a bear, or even a person wandering the woods (especially at night time). Another possible explanation for this widespread creature could be the fascination that humans have with finding other intelligent creatures. After all, there is so much speculation of finding an intelligent creature on a different planet or galaxy, so it only makes sense that the search for another intelligent species could occur on Earth.
“Frederick Fisher and the Legend of Fisher’s Ghost.” Frederick Fisher and the Legend of Fisher’s Ghost (n.d.): 1-20. Fishersghost.com/au. Campbelltown City Council. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Nickell, Joe. “In Search of Fisher’s Ghost.” – CSI. N.p., June 2001. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
“Australia’s Most Terrifying and Haunted Places: Victoria.” This Is Horror. N.p., 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
Lewis, Maria. “‘Bigfoot Has Australian Genes!’: The Myth and Mystery behind Australia’s Bush Monster the Yowie.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 13 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Wolchover, By Natalie. “Why Do So Many Cultures Have a Version of Bigfoot?” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 21 June 2012. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
“Australian Entities – Larundel Mental Asylum.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.