Thursday, March 21, 2013

Australia: Haunted Monte Cristo

This homestead is considered the most haunted area in Australia. Several ghosts are seen and heard on this property. These ghosts are still very active today. The apparition of the former mistress of the house is seen on a regular basis. In its’ history the Monte Cristo experienced its fair share of tragedy—some state this is the reason it is haunted.

Christopher William Crawley acquired this homestead in Junee, New South Wales in 1876. It included two parcels with a total of 520 acres. For the first two years he farmed the land—he struggled to make a living for his family. But some insider information changed his fortune. Hearing a line of the “Great Southern Railroad” was going to be routed through the area, he built a railroad hotel in 1878 across from where the railroad station was to be placed.

The railroad brought customers and a thriving agricultural trade, which insured the town’s prosperity. The Crawley’s quickly became its leading citizens. Crawley set forth to build a house in 1884 fitting his families new standing in the community—he called it Monte Cristo, meaning Mount of Christ. This structure built of sandstone bricks fired on site is a good example of the late Victorian style. The homestead now included this new house, stables, a separate kitchen, a ballroom, and servant quarters.

Elizabeth & Christopher Crawley
The Crawley’s home became the center for local social events. Crawley and his wife had seven children all of which were sent away to receive good educations. Mr. Crawley was admired in the community for his generous good works. He continued to farm and was not above getting his hands dirty. His wife Elizabeth, on the other hand was known later for her mistreatment and abuse of their servants. After her husband died of heart failure in 1910, Mrs. Crawley had a small second floor room converted into a chapel. She became a recluse, rarely leaving the property over the next 23 years. She died in 1933.

While the Crawley’s lived at Monte Cristo several disturbing things happened. A maid that held their baby daughter fell down the stairs, this infant dropped from her arms and was killed. The housekeeper’s son who was mentally disabled was chained to a wall of the caretakers cottage for 40 years. A young maid fell from the second floor balcony and was killed. Yet another woman died in childbirth on the second floor. And a young stable boy who bedded down with the horses and carriages was burned to death when his boss thinking he was feigning illness had his straw mattress set on fire. Unfortunately, he was too ill to get up. A more recent tragedy on the property occurred in 1961. The caretaker was shot and killed by a local youth.

After the widow Crawley’s death the homestead remained in the hands of the family until 1948 when all the home’s furnishings were auctioned off. The house now abandoned, was repeatedly vandalized for the next ten years. After this, a family by the name of Ryan bought the property. They spent several years lovingly restoring the homestead. They run it today as a museum, they provide tours of the home and property for thousands of tourists each year.

Shortly, after acquiring the homestead the Ryan’s noticed odd occurrences that could not be explained. All their encounters are listed on the Monte Cristo web site so I will mention just a few here. One night shortly after they had purchased the property they drove up to the home and stopped at the gate. They were shocked to see every light in the home blazing. Within moments all these lights went out. What is unusual about this is the electricity had not been turned on yet.

Another time, as Mrs. Ryan sat on the front porch sewing she heard footsteps pacing above her on the balcony. These footsteps were steady. What is unusual about this is the fact that at this point there were several missing floorboards along this second floor veranda that they had not replaced yet. One of their nephews while staying at the house with his girlfriend encountered an apparition. Late one night, outside a restroom, they spotted a young woman dressed all in white. She stopped and stated twice, “Don’t worry, it will be all right.” This ghost then just vanished as they watched her. Yet another family member found several cats, dead and mutilated in the home’s breakfast room.

The Ryan family, are not the only witnesses to the homestead’s unusual activity. The ghost of Mrs. Crawley has been spotted on the property for years. She is seen most often in the small room she converted into a chapel. She is described as a dark figure, dressed in black carrying a silver cross. Many other witnesses over the years state that they have sensed a dark presence that literally prevented them from walking up the home’s staircase. Young children who visit the home become very agitated in this area. Other witnesses state they have heard footsteps walking on wooden floors. This is unusual because the home's original wooden floors are gone or covered. Another female ghost is seen walking in the courtyard—no one knows for sure who she is.

Shadows and figures have been seen. Items, such as furniture have been moved and noises have been heard. Several witnesses have taken photographs that show figures reflected in the home's mirrors.

One team who investigated the homestead took the following video of a cord moving several times without cause.

I include this second video because it is fun and it shows various parts of the grounds and home. The items that are presented as paranormal are questionable—but this is just my opinion. I love the end gag. 

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