To the average American who spends too much time on the Internet, Australia is a place that is full of unadulterated terror. Most of the time this has to do with the wildlife there, which seem to always have a venomous or deadly twist to them. I mean, even the male platypus, a creature that looks so adorably bizarre and unassuming, has powerful venom in spurs on its hind limbs!
When The Babadook came out last year, it reminded me that terrifying fauna aren't the only creepy things that fill Australia. On top of all the natural causes for concern, there are also allegedly supernatural forces at work in the land down under that are much harder to catch.
One group of ghost hunters is claiming that they've narrowed down the most haunted place in Australia: a city in Queensland called Toowoomba. Let's take a closer look at the area that's causing so many people to get freaked out.
A community full of ghosts
About an hour and half west of Brisbane lies Toowoomba, a city with an awesome name and a newly creepy reputation. Because many locals have had some sort of paranormal encounter, ghost hunters and researchers are flocking to the area to get the best scoop.
The video above reportedly shows the best look at a ghost. You can see an eerie mist roll in over the sidewalk before seeming to form into a more recognizable shape. The spectral entity slithers in plain view of the camera before dissipating. Could this be one of Toowoomba's many haunts?
When I was in Queensland, it was hard to miss the subtropical climate that could lead to heavy mists, but I've never seen anything like this. The uniqueness of these strange events have led Kylie Samuels and Katie Harvey to become the resident investigators as they've built up Toowoomba Ghost Chasers.
The Strand Theatre
You can't be a haunted city without a few particularly unnerving locales, and for Toowomba, that place is the Strand Theatre adjoined to the Crown Hotel. It's the oldest purpose-built cinema in the whole of Australia, so you know there's some history there. On one rainy autumn night back in 1923, an otherworldly storm interrupted a performance. Suddenly, a lightning bolt struck the ground nearby, causing a mass blackout and a power surge throughout the city. The electricity converged inside of the theatre, manifesting as an intimidating bluish flame that forcefully erupted into the crowd. Though no one was injured, this was only the start of strange occurrences that seemed unexplainable.
As for ghostly tales, at least two men had died in the hotel in the 1920s. One was a well-known resident who had run into the hotel to seek health after rapidly falling ill, but before help could arrive, he had died. Another was staying there when the housemaid had to call his employer when he never got out of bed. That bed was where he died.
Additionally, there is an old legend that was told about a lovely lady who waits:
A change of hands in the 1970's saw a darker side of the building's history come to light. The clients were walking in asking for a box of matches. The staff would hand over the matches and charge [the clients] 20 cents, but they would say 'no, we want the $20 box of matches.' With no idea what the customers were talking about, the new owners went on a quest to find out. They found out the $20 boxes of matches being sold contained no matches, but a key - a key with a number on it. And you went upstairs to the room, there waiting for you was a lovely lady.
The rumor goes that this lady died on the premises and wants to exact her revenge through this little game.
The Lady in the Red Dress
If you're looking for more recent local folklore about the Toowoomba hauntings, look no further than the Lady in the Red Dress. According to paranormal enthusiast Aaron Mulligan, her name in life was Elizabeth Perkins, and she was supposedly killed at a train station with quite a lot of supernatural activity:
A lot of people have been killed at that station - in the 1920s and that sort of time, a lot of people were hit by trains. Elizabeth Perkins is one of them, so we went there are ran through the names of some of the people; when it got to her, the K2 meter lit up and then I asked if it was Elizabeth Perkins. Then there were footsteps and she definitely walked past.
From all of these accounts and the scant photographic evidence, it doesn't seem like any of these spirits are particularly vengeful, which is good news for Toowoomba. Still, if these investigators are to be trusted, then they've got a bigger problem than drop bears.