Haunting at Port Arthur


The haunting at Port Arthur.

There are many prisons throughout the world that have their own fair share of haunting stories. Alcatraz, one of the biggest prisons in the United States, is famous for the many spirits and ghosts that reside there. But, there may be an even more infamous prison with many more permanent residents. That prison is Port Arthur, which is on Australia’s island of Tasmania.

It was during the years between 1803 and 1854 that more than 70,000 men and women were sent to serve time at the Port Arthur Prison. This prison was thought to hold criminals who had committed only the most serious of crimes. Like Alcatraz, Port Arthur was thought to be particularly effective as a prison because it was extremely remote, which made escape nearly impossible.

Port Arthur has an area that’s called the Parsonage. It was there that Reverend George Eastman resided so that he could still offer services to the inmates and the prison staff. One evening, the reverend died upstairs in his bedroom. After his death, a casket was brought into the home and the reverend was placed in it, with the intention of carrying him out of the house in that manner. However, when it was found that the casket was simply too awkward to get down the stairs of the house, it was decided that the casket could be lowered out of the upstairs bedroom. Unfortunately, the rope used for this was not strong enough to hold onto the casket and the casket opened, sending the reverend’s body into the gutter below. It’s still said that sometimes, walking by the Parsonage, you can still hear moaning and smell rotting flesh. Strange lights have also been seen flickering on and off in the home but, they don’t seem to be traditional electrical lights.

The writer George Gruncell also reported many haunting incidents at the Parsonage. One of those involved another reverend, and his family. Reverend Hayward and his family had been out traveling around Melbourne when the reverend decided to come back earlier than the rest of his family. A doctor who lived close by soon saw lights upstairs and, assuming that the family had returned home, he hurried over to ask them about their trip. When he arrived however, only Reverend Hayward and a servant were there, and they had remained downstairs the entire time. After inspecting all of the upper rooms, they were found to be in complete darkness and looked undisturbed, even though several others had also seen the lights and thought the family had all come home.

But that wasn’t the only haunted experience that Reverend Hayward had at the home. One night, he and his wife were sitting in the Parsonage when they saw lights coming out from the study door. Curious, they peered through the keyhole to see who had turned on the lights. But, all they saw was a huge brilliant light that lit up the entire room and he couldn’t see anything else in the room. They opened the door to see what the source of the light was, but when they opened the door, the room was completely dark.

One evening, the reverend and his wife had Judge Flemming over and regaled him with the story. Judge Flemming didn’t believe the two, but then the bright light started again and once again, they all peered through the keyhole to see the bright light that illuminated the entire room. Being curious once again, they opened the door to find that the room was completely dark.

Early in the 1980s there was a considerable amount of work being done on the Parsonage to restore it and update it. Three men who were working on the restorations stayed at the Parsonage while they finished their work. One of the workers saw a woman dressed in white come into a room while he was staying there. He claims that the temperature dropped suddenly when she entered, and that the curtains started billowing wildly, even though the windows were firmly closed.

Another worker during that same time reported being asleep in his room one evening. He awoke suddenly, feeling as though something was bearing down on his chest and that it was trying to squeeze the air out of his lungs. He couldn’t move because the force was so great and thought he was really in some trouble when suddenly, the thing on his chest suddenly stopped. When he looked around, there was no one or nothing there that could have caused the sensation. All three of the workmen also heard banging in the walls and floors while they were staying there.

It’s no wonder that Port Arthur is so haunted. Although not all of its prisoners died while there, over 1,800 did and were buried on the Isle of the Dead, which is about a kilometer away from the prison itself. It’s believed that there are many ghosts that reside in the cemetery and wreak havoc on the grounds in and around the prison. Visitors also often say that the atmosphere on the island is oppressive and very creepy indeed.

Port Arthur Penitentiary

Haunting at Port Arthur

Haunting at Port Arthur