Australian Mysteries

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Haunting of Old Melbourne Gaol

Haunting of Old Melbourne Gaol

Haunting of Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, marking the darker side of Melbourne's history.

Established in 1839, this foreboding bluestone building witnessed nearly 90 years of operation as a prison, housing a diverse array of prisoners ranging from men and women to even children. The youngest prisoner on record was just three years old, highlighting the harsh conditions and tragic stories that unfolded within its walls. Although the building hasn't housed a living inmate since the 1920s, sightings of former inmates linger long after their deaths.

Executions and Their Lingering Spirits

Throughout its years of operation, the Old Melbourne Gaol saw 133 executions, with the infamous hangman's noose claiming the lives of many. Notable executions include those of Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s most infamous bushrangers, and Frederick Bailey Deeming, who was suspected by some to be Jack the Ripper. Elizabeth Scott, the first woman executed in Victoria in 1863, is also believed to haunt the gaol, her presence felt through disembodied voices attempting to communicate with visitors.

Exploring the Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol offers various tours that cater to different levels of spookiness, allowing visitors to explore its haunted halls at their own pace. Informative signposts and displays guide visitors through the jail's dark history, while almost nightly ghost tours provide a more immersive experience. During these tours, a guide takes visitors through the jail after hours, offering a chance to connect with the spirits that linger in this historic site.

Step Inside Cell 17: Old Melbourne Gaol's Most Haunted Prison Cell

Among the jail's numerous cells, Cell 17 is notorious for its supernatural occurrences. Located unassumingly on the middle floor, this cell has become the epicentre of spooky stories and unsettling experiences. Visitors and staff alike have reported spine-tingling episodes, from feeling like someone is gripping their throat to experiencing strange sensations such as tugging at their clothes or even the floor rocking beneath them. Some have even claimed to be physically scratched or pushed by an invisible entity.

The Mystery of Cell 17

Despite its haunted reputation, the exact reason why Cell 17 is so unsettling remains a mystery. The cell's unique physical characteristics, such as being flush with a wall and having gunshot-like marks on its internal door, add to its mystique. Unfortunately, many records of the 50,000 inmates who passed through the jail were lost in a mysterious fire, making it difficult to pinpoint specific individuals who might be responsible for the cell's eerie atmosphere.

A Glimpse into the Past

Ghost sightings at the Old Melbourne Gaol are not limited to Cell 17. Visitors have reported seeing shadowy figures lurking within cells and at the entrances, sometimes appearing as dark outlines with rotting skin. These spectral apparitions, combined with the disembodied voices of former inmates, create an atmosphere steeped in the paranormal.

Gender-Specific Experiences

Interestingly, there seems to be a gender divide in the reported experiences within Cell 17. Women often claim that something tries to prevent them from leaving the cell, while men report feeling as though they are being pushed out. These eerie occurrences contribute to the cell's reputation as a centre of malevolent forces.

One of the most chilling accounts comes from a woman who, after a night tour of the jail, decided to explore Cell 17 alone. Despite her initial scepticism, she felt a sudden tug at the back of her neck just as she was about to leave the cell. Her necklace, which had snapped in half, lay on the floor. This experience left her fleeing the cell in terror.

Visiting the Old Melbourne Gaol

The jail can be entered after purchasing a ticket either online or at the gate, allowing visitors to explore at their leisure. For those seeking a deeper connection with the past, the jail also offers watchtower tours led by a guard who locks visitors away in the tower, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the experience.

Whether you are a sceptic or a firm believer in the supernatural, a visit to the Old Melbourne Gaol promises an unforgettable experience. By delving into the history and hauntings of this iconic landmark, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of Melbourne's darker past and perhaps encounter some of its restless spirits.

27 Jun 2024

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