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Haunted Leap Castle – Ghost Hunt

Haunted Leap Castle – Ghost Hunt


Leap Castle, said to be one of the longest continually inhabited Castles in Ireland is located in Coolderry, County Offaly. Some report it to have been built around 1250 CE.  Other reports state it possibly was built in the 15th Century by the O’Bannon Clan, the original name being “Léim Uí Bhanáin” or “Leap of the O’Bannons”.  This name came about from the Legend that two O’Bannon brothers leapt from a rocky outcrop where the castle was to be built. The survivor would get to rule the clan and build the castle. Leap Castle may date back further than this, however, as there is evidence to suggest that there was another ancient stone structure prior and that the area has been occupied since the Iron Age or even earlier.  It is also said to have been used by the druids for ceremonial purposes.

The O’Bannons were a wealthy clan and secondary chieftains to the ruling O’Carroll clan who already had a long history of aggression and bloodshed.  In 1513 there was a recorded attempt by the Earl of Kildare to seize the castle. This attempt failed but another attempt three years later was more successful, but partially demolished the castle in the process.  By 1557 the O’Carrolls regained possession of it and ruled Leap Castle using it as their principal stronghold.

By this time there were already problems starting within the clan. When Mulrooney O’Carroll, the clan chieftain passed away, his two sons, Thaddeus and Teige started a bitter battle for power.  This feud culminated in Teige bursting into the room now known as the ‘bloody chapel’ while his brother (a priest) was giving a sermon to members of their family.  He drove his sword through Thaddeus, his brother and family members watched him die as he lay mortally wounded across the alter.  Teige eventually got his comeuppance as he was later killed by his cousin Cahir (Charles) O’Carroll.

The next owners of Leap Castle were the Darby family who came into possession of the castle through marriage.  Jonathan and Mildred Darby were said to be greatly intrigued by the paranormal and Mildred went on to become a writer of Gothic novels which in turn led to the publicity of the castle ghosts.

Sadly and mainly because the Darby family were English,  Leap Castle became a target for the IRA during Irelands fight for independence in 1922.  The Darby family abandoned Leap to the fate of being bombed and looted.  The IRA even took the domesticated peacocks and hung them from hooks along the top of the tower.

Leap Castle fell into complete ruin and remained empty until in the ’70s when an ancestor of the original O’Bannons, Peter Bartlett purchased it.  Although he did manage to get restoration work done, he passed away shortly after and two years after this Sean Ryan, Leap Castles present owner purchased it. He continues the passionate work of restoring this vital part of Ireland’s history.


Haunted Leap Castle - Bloody Chapel

With so much dark history, it is not surprising that ghostly tales were bound to arise.  Many have reported experiencing everything from a child through to the now-famous Elemental.  But why would they be there – why would it be haunted?

The O’Carrolls ruthlessness and murderous ways would probably be a good candidate of course.  The ghost of Thaddeus has been reported to still pace the Bloody Chapel and some of the rooms below.  But Thaddeus wasn’t the only death in the castle.  The McMahon family, for instance, were invited to a celebratory feast after defeating a mutual enemy clan.  For whatever reason, the O’Carrolls decided to poison their guests, during what should have been a victory celebration.  The same fate happened to some of the O’Neil clan.

In the 1920s an oubliette, hidden behind a wall in the Bloody Chapel, was discovered during renovations. It may show that the O’Carrolls had a hand in many more deaths.  Skeletons impaled on spikes were found lying at the base of the Oubliette… enough human remains were brought out to fill three carts.  However, it was also said that a pocket watch from the mid-1800s was also found there, so it may not have just been the O’Carrolls using that Oubliette!

In the era of the Darby’s, Captain Darby had amassed quite a wealth and legend has it that he hid treasures around the property.  Eventually, the ‘Wild Captain’ was arrested for treason and incarcerated in Dublin.  During his imprisonment, he was driven insane and once released, tried to find his treasures only to have forgotten where he buried them.  His ghost is said to be roaming the castle grounds still looking for his lost treasure.

Continuing with the Darbys, when Jonathan and Mildred Darby took over Leap Castle, They were very intrigued with the legends and tales of their home and enjoyed dabbling in the occult.  They would regularly hold seances, and Mildred went on to become a Gothic novelist which, in turn, no doubt, added to the publicity of the ghosts at Leap Castle.

The most famous of the spirits at Leap Castle is, of course, the ‘Elemental’.  Its appearance is said to have a decomposing face and comes with an equally rotting smell.  Nobody is sure where it originated from, but stories were being told from early on.

Could it have been put there by the druids to protect the land?  Maybe the Earl of Kildare, placed it there to help them take the castle from the inside, after all, rumours stated that he was a man of Magick?   Maybe an O’Carroll remained or could Mildred Darby have summoned an elemental during one of her occult rituals?  These are just a few of the theories behind why there could be an elemental residing in the Castle.

More can be read about the Elemental here, including Mildred Darby’s fascinating letters referring to it.


Haunted Leap Castle - Paranormal Investigation

How excited were we as we pulled into the circular driveway of Leap Castle.  We had heard so much about it, seen it featured on many ghost hunting shows, and now Kag and I had it to ourselves for the night.

As usual, we weren’t expecting too much, after all, we know from experience that activity is not a daily occurrence. If it were it would not be termed ‘paranormal’ but ‘normal’.  Just having the opportunity of sitting in there would be reward enough though and anything else would be a bonus!

After being met by the wonderful Sean Ryan and having sat by the fire chatting with him, we finally set off to explore the tower.  This is all that is available for investigating as the rest of the castle remains in ruins. It is heartening to see that Sean is slowly restoring these other sections and the money from investigations is helping to do this.

After the initial exploration, we settled first in the large dining hall.  Things seemed to kick off almost immediately and got us excited for what the rest of the night might bring.

Haunted Leap Castle - Ovilus ElementalFirstly, upon turning on the Ovilus, the first words to come out included ‘Elemental’.  Strange timing and location for this… coincidence? Maybe, but it certainly got our attention.  This unusual timing was accompanied by Rempods and flashing cat balls that were activating while initially setting up.  On watching the video back, there are two points where we seem to have captured a guttural male voice.  One appears to be mimicking our word ‘ball’ on referencing the cat balls triggering.

Kag startled a little at the sound of footsteps running and was shocked that I hadn’t heard them too.  These were fortunately captured on the video which was running at the time.  At the same time, these footsteps were heard the Ovilus spat out two more words ‘horrible’ and ‘reveal’ so now we had three words showing on the screen ‘Elemental, horrible, reveal’.  Would it reveal itself? Was this going to be our lucky night?  Maybe something was just teasing us!

As we settled around the table and started questioning whatever was there it did not seem to want to talk us, as we captured no further EVP and even the Ghost Box remained quiet without anything of interest.  We did, however, have strange bangs from behind us.  One was loud enough to make me jump and become uneasy!  At the same time, some of the equipment triggered again.  However, with nothing willing to talk to us we decided to move up to the one we were most excited about… the Bloody Chapel!

Our excitement was short-lived as this was the quietest of the areas that we investigated.  The equipment once more triggered while setting up, but once we settled, there was no further triggering of any of the equipment.

We decided to go live to our Patreon Subscribers, and I left Kag to do a lone vigil with them while I sat out on the cold twisting stone staircase outside the room.  Kag may have had a couple of responses from the Ghost Box… one stating ‘leave’ another calling her a ‘bitch’ but apart from that nothing else transpired and we both agreed that it felt very peaceful up there.  I have listened back to the video footage on the camera I had on the staircase with me and there does appear to be very faint whispering, including my name being said.  Unfortunately, it isn’t strong enough to include in the accompanying video to this blog.

We finally did our last location, which was a small room below the Bloody Chapel.  Here we decided to do a headphone experiment.  This is where one investigator wears noise-cancelling headphones plugged into a ghost box while another asks questions that the headphone wearer can’t hear.  The idea is to prevent audio pareidolia.

We certainly had a couple of interesting responses from this, but nothing mindblowing.

We could have stayed longer, but unfortunately, I was not feeling the best that night, having picked up a virus along our travels.  Reluctantly we had to leave and get some much-needed sleep.

Despite not capturing proof of an Elemental, some of the responses we got were curious, to say the least, and it certainly felt like something was teasing us just enough to keep us interested but not enough to give us anything definite.

Hopefully one day we will return to Leap Castle and be able to spend more time exploring.  Until then we would like to thank Sean Ryan for his amazing hospitality.

Leap Castle Website

Written by Alison Oborn
Head Researcher and owner of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons

Alison has extensively researched the paranormal for over 30 years both in Australia and overseas.  She runs her research team Paranormal Field Investigators and owns Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.

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Copyright – Adelaide Haunted Horizons 2020

Haunted Adelaide Arcade – Murder, Tragedy & Ghosts!

Haunted Adelaide Arcade – Murder, Tragedy & Ghosts!

Welcome to the Haunted Adelaide Arcade on Rundle Mall

“I am sorry, I don’t believe in such things.  But I can tell you now the Adelaide Arcade is haunted…” ~ Paul, who worked in the Adelaide Arcade at night

At Haunted Horizons we are very lucky to be able to carry out tours at some of the most fascinating and interesting buildings in Adelaide.  But there can’t be a more stunning building than The very haunted Adelaide Arcade.  If the walls of this shopping complex could talk, not only would it be buzzing with all the daily goings-on there, but also tales of murder, accidents and a variety of ghostly activity.


On the 12th of December 1885, Adelaide Arcade was officially opened.  Now you would think that with it being not only the first shopping arcade in Adelaide but the oldest shopping arcade in Australia, that there would be a lot of ‘pomp and circumstance’ involved.  But no, it was a relatively quiet affair, apart from the massive crowds outside wanting to see the event unfold.  There were concerns at the time that some unemployed men would spoil the opening but, apart from a bit of booing at Governor Sir William Robinson who lead the ceremony, it all passed peacefully.  It did, however, have its own piece of music composed for the occasion ‘The Adelaide Arcade Grand Polka,’ which can still be heard being played on the piano accordion in the Arcade’s museum today.

The 1880s was a boom era for South Australia and the Arcade really shows off this moment in time.  This opulent building took 200 men only 5 months to build.  It contains marble from Kapunda, floor tiles from the UK, over 2 million bricks, 50,000 square feet of imported glass and some absolutely beautiful plaster and metalwork (most of which unfortunately goes unnoticed today).   It originally had 3 fountains down the middle of the walkway and even a Turkish bath in the South-Eastern corner.  The cost of the baths was: 1 shilling for a warm bath; and 4 shillings for a Turkish bath and Mondays were ladies only.

Originally the shopping arcade consisted of approximately 50 shops on the ground floor, with accommodation or workspace on the top floor, accessed by a beautiful internal staircase.  In 1968 most of these staircases were removed and a balcony added to the top floor.  Now the Arcade has around 100 shops for Adelaide’s eager shoppers to explore.

Adelaide Arcade shops each had a gaslight outside of their shops, but the building was famous for being one of the first buildings in Adelaide to have electric light which was run by a huge generator.  The lights were the responsibility of a gentleman called Henry Hardcourt.

Haunted Adelaide Arcade - Haunted Horizons

Former occupants and hauntings

Francis Cluney

The haunted Adelaide Arcade has seen more than its fair share of tragedies, starting with a gentleman called Francis Cluney who was the Beadle or caretaker there.   Unfortunately, he lost his life in a horrific accident only two years after the building opened.  He was left in charge of the electric lights whilst the gentleman who should have been in charge, Henry Hardcourt, went off to ‘moonlight’ elsewhere.  The lights began to flicker and Francis went to see what the problem was, shortly after the lights went out.  The reason the lights weren’t working was that Francis’ body was now wedged firmly in the machinery.  It is rumoured by psychics that he was pushed to his death by some ‘larrikins’ who had earlier threatened to put the light out, but there is no supporting evidence.   In fact, evidence from the inquest states the contrary and that he died from a tragic accident after clothing got caught up in the machinery. He died instantly with horrific injuries to his body, all of which were reported in the newspapers at the time.

Francis’ presence has been noted often, especially by new residents, a bit of a ‘welcome to the Arcade’.  He has been known to knock things over in shops, interfere with electrical items and even appear as a full-bodied apparition, wearing the long coat he was renowned for!  Francis may still be diligently carrying out his duties to this day and just letting everyone know that he is still around.

Thomas Horton

Although  Thomas Horton was not a resident at the Arcade, he did contribute to more tragedy there.  Thomas Horton was a bootmaker by trade and also a talented juggler.  He had recently married a young lady called Florence (Florrie), but things were not going well for them.   Thomas was a jealous and violent man and Florence could take no more so eventually left him. Only three months after their wedding, he shot and killed his now estranged wife whilst in Arcade Lane, which ran between Adelaide and Regent Arcades.  She was taken to a nearby shop but had already passed away.  After initially running away and presumed dead, Thomas was caught a few days later up in the Adelaide Hills and taken to the Adelaide Gaol.

At his trial for Florrie’s murder, his mother stated that as a child, Thomas had fallen 13 feet out of a tree, suffering severe head injuries.  She thought this could be the reason why he acted the way he did.  But the most damning thing for Thomas at his trial was a letter written by his deceased wife and stating that if anything should happen to her, it would be by the hand of her husband, Thomas.   It told of her unhappy life with Thomas and about the beatings and accusations.  Thomas was found guilty of Florrie’s murder and sentenced to hang by the neck until dead at the Adelaide Gaol.  His body remains there to this day, a final punishment.

Sydney Kennedy Byron

Another sad tale to be told is about Bridget Kennedy Byron who shared a shop at the Arcade with her husband, Professor Kennedy.  She was a fortune teller and palmist and he was a phrenologist. They had marital issues and he left her for another, taking with him their toddler son Sydney.  Devastated, Bridget hired a private investigator and eventually, her son was returned.  But then tragedy struck which resulted in Sydney sadly losing his life, with Bridget initially being blamed.

Gas could be smelt in the Arcade and it was traced to Bridget’s shop.  Inside they found little Sydney, life extinct, and his mother unconscious.   Bridget was arrested for his murder and taken to the Adelaide Gaol.  At her trial, it was found that there was not enough evidence and it was thrown out of court.  Things didn’t end well for Bridget as she turned to drink and, a few months later, she was found dead in the West Parklands; she’d been poisoned.  Who poisoned her?  We may never know.  Mother and child are buried together at West Terrace Cemetery although their final resting place bares only Sydney’s name.

It has been rumoured that female ghosts or spirits walk the floors of the Arcade which have been picked up on by psychics and mediums, but we haven’t had a verifiable sighting reported to date and in our many official investigations there, have had no response from a female.

There have been reports of tenants hearing children running around the Arcade at strange hours of the day and night, no children can be found!  One is possibly little Sydney, the other is unknown …. as yet!


Happenings on our tours and investigations

Haunted Adelaide Arcade At Haunted Horizons we are very blessed indeed to be given access to parts of the Arcade not open to the general public, it is also these rooms where most of the activity that has been experienced has occurred.

The upstairs storeroom can have guests feeling very uneasy as footsteps can sometimes be heard behind them, along with heavy breathing or sighing (all of which we have managed to catch on video!)  Our Paranormal equipment has lit up when asked, we’ve had relevant answers to our questions come from various devices!

The Tea Room is a very dark and creepy place to be.  Originally called ‘The Tea and Coffee Salon’, the beautiful but eerie staircase is still the focus of the room and the fact that it seemingly leads to no-where adds to the atmosphere.  During tours, we have had reports of guests being touched, a tug on their coat sleeve, and a hand grabbed, as though by a child.  Figures have been seen as darker than the dark.  Our investigations have also experienced equipment going off on cue, the Paranormal Musical Box playing overtime, and we have even captured the voice of a child on our digital recorder and possibly confirming that Bridget Kennedy Byron was innocent!

It’s not just in these areas where activity has been reported!  The upstairs staff toilets have a cubicle that few will enter.  Francis Clooney has been seen in numerous parts of the building, day and night, looking into shop windows and watching shoppers from the balcony above.  Children have been heard running around the haunted Adelaide Arcade in the early hours of the morning!

Our tours at the beautiful Arcade are always accompanied by security guards and they love to share their personal experiences with the tour group.  Hearing first hand from someone who has experienced the activity just adds to the atmosphere of the building.  Tenants, workmen and cleaners tell us their ‘paranormal’ stories and we, in turn, share these stories with our guests.

My aim for this tour is to not only tell the history and hauntings of this building but to encourage guests to visit the Arcade during the day; to sit and have a coffee at one of the cafes and then wander through the shops.   Visit the museum, take in the beautiful surroundings and admire the architecture.  Look around …. you never know who may be looking back at you!

To hear more about the very haunted Adelaide Arcade, why not book one of our fortnightly tours.   We also have 3-hour paranormal investigations at the Arcade.

Written by Kag Allwood
Lead Investigator/Guide at Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons

Kag has extensively researched the Adelaide Arcade for many years and now is the lead guide, conducting
The Ghost & Dark History Tours there.

Kag Allwood - Blogger Haunted Horizons

For more information on our tours at Adelaide Arcade
Dates and bookings – Book now

For more information on the Adelaide Arcade visit their website –



Copyright – Adelaide Haunted Horizons 2019

Z Ward Asylum and its History

Z Ward Asylum and its History

Being asked to service the night tours and investigations at Z Ward asylum by the National Trust, was a huge honour and one that we were excited to undertake.   It also meant that my passion for history and heritage and my desire to help preserve it for future generations, was given an opening where I could help raise funds for this incredible building.

Are there ghosts in Z Ward?  It is a question many have asked and to find out, was an adventure we were very much looking forward to. We also looked forward to taking you, the public, with us on that adventure, and hoped to answer once and for all… is Z Ward Asylum really haunted? (more…)

Ghosts come out for history month in Gawler

Ghosts come out for history month in Gawler

All her life, SA’s foremost paranormal investigator, Alison Oborn, has been seeking out some of the State’s most haunted locations and has turned her sights to Gawler.

Here is the Messenger Newspaper article.

Tues, May 1, 2012

Paranormal investigator, Alison Oborn, has seen her fair share of ghosts over the years.

For the past 22 years, S.A.’s ghost hunter has been seeking out some of the State’s most haunted spots and has turned her sights to Gawler.

“The town has got lots of history and lots of tragic tales, murder mysteries and yes, even the odd ghost story” the One Tree Hill resident said.

Ms Oborn’s fascination with ghosts started at an early age in her home town of Newcastle in the UK.

“My earliest memory of the supernatural came when I was four years old, when I heard the raspy breathing of an old man in my bedroom, yet no one was in the room” she said.  “I was born into a haunted house and since then it has been like a moth to the flame trying to find natural answers to the paranormal”

Ms Oborn will be holding Gawler Dark History Tours on Sundays during History Month, visiting Dead Mans Pass, Pioneer Park and Murray St.

“People walking through the streets are usually unaware just how steeped in history the town of Gawler really is,” Ms Oborn said. “There are many great people who used to live here, some of whom died in some unusual and quirky ways”.

“The tours are about giving people a different perspective on their town and about learning about a side of history that may have been forgotten.”

Ms Oborn said the sightings of ghosts and visiting haunted spaces used to “terrify” her but now she finds it fascinating.

“I still get a real uneasy feeling when I am in a space and I can feel something supernatural going on,” she said.  “I usually get goose-bumps but mostly now I get really excited.”

Ms Oborn is no stranger to the supernatural.  For the past nine years she has been a volunteer tour guide at the Old Adelaide Gaol reputed to be one of the most haunted sites in SA.

She also runs ghost tours at Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village, St Ceceilia Mansion in Peterborough and the town of Burra.

“My tours are a bit of fun and a chance for people interested in history and the paranormal to find out about the history of a town.”

The Gawler tours are now reserved for group bookings Sun – Weds.  For enquiries Contact Us


Adelaide Arcade Ghost – That’s Life Magazine Article

Adelaide Arcade Ghost – That’s Life Magazine Article

Adelaide Arcade Ghost Story by Alison Oborn which was featured in That’s Life Magazine.

“It was about 10 p.m. as we shuffled into the dark storeroom.  My friend Brad and I were filming a video about the Old Adelaide Arcade.

Built in 1885, it was thought to be haunted, so we got to work setting up the camera.

“You’ll never guess what happened,” I told Brad, “I was walking towards the storeroom door when it opened right in front of me!”

He was noticeably spooked, but as I finished my story, the same door suddenly swung open right in front of us.  Going pale, Brad turned and bolted from the room.  I giggled, chasing after him.

Just then, the door suddenly slammed closed behind me.

Even though I’d investigated the paranormal for years, I always looked for rational explanations first.

“It’s probably just a wind tunnel,” I chuckled.

Right next to it was a room that had once served as the living quarters for the caretaker, Francis Cluney.

Back in 1887, father of five Francis was checking a flickering light when he fell into an electricity generator and died.  Since then, many people had claimed to feel his presence in the building.

Even so, I was surprised by what I saw when I played the video we’d recorded back.

Smiling as I saw the footage of Brad sprinting out the open door, I wasn’t prepared for what I heard next.

As the door clicked closed behind us, I could clearly hear footsteps on the four stairs leading from the door inside.  Then there was a heavy sigh.  It was as if a man had descended the steps and groaned into the camera.  I could not believe it!

And my paranormal encounters did not end there.  Leading a tour of the old tearoom in the arcade’s basement, one day, I saw a dark figure passing by the door behind us.

“If there’s anyone here, make your presence known,” I asked.  Seconds later, a girl in the tour group, Tracey, let out a scream.

“Something touched me!” she panicked as the blood drained from her cheeks.

Until that point, she’d been the most sceptical of our group.  Now Tracey claimed to have felt a  hand stroke her face and sweep back her hair.

She was visibly shocked and hyperventilating.

Afterwards, a video would show there was no-one near Tracey.  I can’t say if it was Francis, but to have this possible evidence of the paranormal was a thrill.

This was just one of my Adelaide Arcade Ghost Stories.  For more, book on to one of our Adelaide Arcade Ghost Tours where we take you under the arcade into the dark, haunted tearoom.

Book Now or check dates

Arcade ghosts from Into The Mystic. The Restless Caretaker - Adelaide Haunted Horizons

The Grand Central Hotel

The Grand Central Hotel

The Grand Central Hotel: Its beginnings

THE GRAND CENTRAL HOTELAs people stand in line at Hungry Jacks waiting for their burger or as they lock their cars just having parked in the multi-storey carpark above, they would probably be surprised to learn of what stood there before, as prior to 1976 there stood a magnificent 5 storey building called The Grand Central Hotel… a Hotel that was hailed to have once been one of the best Hotels in the Commonwealth.

However, it should also be remembered that this wasn’t the first Hotel that stood on this busy corner, for there was another Hotel long before the Grand Central.
Its name was the York Hotel and it had been erected on this site within one year of the founding of Adelaide. Over the years following changes were made to it but it quickly established a reputation of being one of the more high-class establishments in Adelaide. It attracted many well to do patrons who not only stayed in the Hotel temporarily, but some actually made this Hotel their home. The hotel prospered until 1909 when the lease ran out and the lease was quickly picked up by William Gibson of drapers Foy and Gibson. With the lease safely in his hands, William Gibson set to work on their new plan… the demolition of the York Hotel to make way for a grander five-storey structure. The height was carefully chosen to correspond with the height of their store on the opposite corner known as Foy and Gibson. The two buildings certainly were similar and complimented each other as they stood adjacent on each corner.

In 1911 The Grand Central Hotel was completed and immediately gained the same high reputation as the York Hotel before it. The Grand Central Hotel boasted many luxuries that the former did not and it certainly continued to appeal to the well to do patrons. It even had a winter garden room where you could relax with a pot of tea while sitting amid exotic ferns and listening to a live string orchestra playing. The dining room was said to be able to fit 600 people which again would indicate the popularity of the Hotel.


Inside the Grand Central Hotel

It even boasted having a couple of famous people stay in its rooms both as The York Hotel and The Grand Central. Names such as Arthur Conan-Doyle who stayed in 1920 when he paid a visit to Adelaide was one well-known identity. Mark Twain and the Prince of Wales were two others. As the York Hotel, it accommodated another famous guest, Dame Nellie Melba, Australia’s first celebrity who became one of the most famous singers of the time. She was also the first Australian singer to achieve International recognition.


These Hotels also saw their fair share of tragedy starting with the York Hotel. At least two men, one only 22 years old decided to kill themselves whilst staying there. One of the saddest was Dr Griffith Jones who had been the medical practitioner in charge of the Magill orphanage. He was found one night in 1884 having asphyxiated himself in bed with the use of chloroform. He had been fearful of being disgraced after Ophthalmia had broken out in the orphanage and it was feared that 4 children would lose their sight. At the inquest, it was stated that no blame had ever been laid on Dr Jones they felt he had done all he could and still had a bright future ahead of him. However, depression can be a terrible thing and it took the life of what was a fine doctor. This tragedy was followed 9 years later by 22-year-old Joseph Durrell who shot himself in the head whilst staying in one of the Hotel’s rooms.

The Grand Central once built was also not immune to tragedy and just 6 years after opening, another guest… a young man of 23 shot himself in the head in his hotel room. Tragedy however, did not just befall the guests it also dogged the staff too with the shooting being preceded by the death of a 24-year-old cook who got his head stuck in the elevator after he had, what no doubt seemed like a bright idea at the time, put his head through an opening in the partition supposedly to watch the lift coming up. Sadly for Otto, the lift was actually descending and he paid the consequence for his mistake. Just five years later a porter hanged himself in the parklands on the eve of his own wedding. In fact, even William Gibson JR, the younger partner of Foy and Gibson died mysteriously and suddenly in 1918. He died in the flat of an actress and when questioned, his wife admitted that Gibson did frequently take opium tablets and this was thought to have been what killed him.


For such a new and well respected Hotel which had attracted such well-known identities of the time, it did not prosper as well as the owners would have liked and a decision was made by the directors of Foy and Gibson to close the hotel down only 13 years after it was built. It was said by Foy and Gibson that they now needed the extra room for the expansion of the business. Although the bar was kept for a short time after and the residents moved out gradually, the Hotel was officially closed in 1924.

The Grand Central Hotel continued to trade under the name of Cox-Foys (mainly known as Foys) until it’s closure and demolition in 1975/76 to make way for a multi-storey carpark. One can’t imagine what was going through the minds of the people who made this decision. Adelaide certainly lost a fabulous part of her history and now gone can never be replaced.

Written by Alison Oborn
Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons

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