One Guide’s Thoughts on the Subject from the Other Side – By Kag Allwood
“Will I see a Ghost?” is the one question I am frequently asked at the beginning of my tour. Either that or “Can you guarantee me a ghost?” I also have had the occasional review that says they loved the tour and the stories told, but they couldn’t give the full 5 stars as they didn’t see a ghost!
The truthful answer is no, I can’t guarantee anything paranormal-wise. I can’t guarantee that you will see a full-bodied apparition, a shadow figure or even something resembling Casper. I can do many things in life, but producing something on command, something that we really don’t know much about or even how it works is a tall order. Having any available entities perform for my guests night after night would be interesting, but not possible I’m afraid! Although thinking about it, how boring would it be if we knew what was going to happen every night, rather than not knowing what to expect? The motto at Haunted Horizons is and will always be ‘Keep it Real’ and that is what we do. Putting something on for people to believe they have had a paranormal experience is NOT an option!
The lucky ones are those that are ‘gifted’ and claim to occasionally see, feel or hear a ghost. Unfortunately, for those of us that are as psychic as bricks, we have to rely on the generosity of the few to inform us of anything around the tour group. Even then, any gifted person would tell you, there isn’t always someone ‘at home’.
I have often thought how cool would it be to be able to say to my guests at the start of the tour “those who want to be possessed, make sure you visit room 2. Anyone wanting to touch base with a demonic entity, he’s waiting for you upstairs, take care as it’s a bit warm up there and the creeper is lurking around the corridors somewhere!” In normality, the paranormal isn’t like that. In normality, it doesn’t happen all the time. In normality, none of us knows if, or even when, something unusual or possibly paranormal will happen. If it happened all the time it would be called normal and not paranormal.
So why do a few people expect to see a ghost on every tour and ghost hunt we do? Are we possibly conditioned to expect to see an apparition? It is a Ghost Tour after all! Or are there other factors that we have to take into account?
Well, my theory is …. we have numerous horror/ghost films that depict haunted homes and locations. You can guarantee that everyone one of these locations has at least one, if not many, creepy figures, frightening the bejesus out of the owners, making their lives a misery. It’s nearly always the same storyline too. There is one parent and/or possibly a child that is affected, everyone else thinks they are going through a bad time or need to cheer up until the inevitable happens. The whole family starts to be affected, the last one being the sceptic. As soon as the non-believer has their own experience, they all end up leaving the building during the middle of the night, never to return again! Sound familiar?
I know that some of the films claim to be based on real occurrences, but they tend to be VERY loosely based on the actual story. There can be and often is an awful lot of poetic licence involved. The reason for this? No-one wants to watch a film where they just heard footsteps walk down the corridor or saw a figure pass by the bedroom door! It’s so much better to have items, as well as the odd person, thrown across the room or dragged out of bed because they had their foot sticking out the blankets. The stuff of nightmares! Or how about a certain family member being possessed, be on the brink of death and require an exorcism from an elderly priest who has carried out this procedure numerous times before, but finds this one the worst and most powerful entity he’s ever had to deal with!
What about all the ghost hunting programmes we have on TV or even some on YouTube! Does watching these shows make us believe that you will enter a known haunted location and see a ghost every time? If not see a ghost, at least feel one or have one follow you all the way home? Are they really having that much paranormal activity happen in the short time they are there or do they film for a number of hours or even days? Is the footage then clipped and put together to show more activity than there really was? What happens to the footage from the venues where nothing happens? If nothing happened on one of these shows, would you still watch it? I know I wouldn’t. I want noises in the distance, I want EVP’s (and boy, they seem to get a lot of them), I want action!
So why do I think that these are amongst the reasons why some people believe that they could and should see a figure on a Ghost Tour? I have to admit, before coming on my first Haunted Horizons tour several years ago, I did wonder if all that could happen to me! I really can’t remember if I wanted to see a ghost on my first tour, probably not as I was terrified, but I expected to be scared and run screaming from a building. I didn’t, under any circumstances, want to be followed home! So, did any of this happen to me? Nope! Was I disappointed? Honestly, no I wasn’t, I loved every dark, scary, eerie moment. I had been on several tours and ghost hunts before I could say that I had something possibly paranormal happen.
Since this time, I have travelled the world investigating with my boss and best friend Alison. So, have I seen a ghost? Well, yes …. I have. A couple are in the ‘possible/maybe’ category, but three I can say “I’m sure I did”. Two shadowy figures, one at Tailem and the other at Z Ward and a full-bodied apparition at the National Railway Museum.
At Tailem Town Pioneer Village we were having a night where many guests had freaked out in the Emporium. One guest, by the time she got the church, couldn’t go any further. I left her with Michael, one of our guides, to fetch her a glass of water from our base camp. I’d almost reached my destination when there was a figure walking towards me in the dark. “How can you see a dark figure in the dark?” I hear you ask. Well, all I can say is that it was darker than the dark. The height and shape were that of Michael whom I had left just outside the Church with our guest. Thinking that Michael was having fun with me, I called out ‘Ha-ha Michael, very funny” and turned my torch on the figure …. there was nothing there. I may have sworn!
At Z Ward Asylum I was setting up to do a live feed/investigation on our HH Facebook page. Alison was in the Day Room as I walked down the hallway with my arms full of equipment, heading for the Mirror Room to place some equipment in there. After setting up some equipment on the floor, I moved across to Cell 2. As I stood in the doorway, I saw an oval shape on the floor by the column in the corner of the room. My torch was in my pocket and, it was very dark and I didn’t want to fall over anything that was possibly on the floor, so I turned on one of the flashing cat balls to give me some intermittent light. At this point, the shape in the corner stood up! I admit I did swear …. Again!
At the National Railway Museum, as a guest, we were in a small investigation group. The men were in the caboose (no longer accessible) and another lady and I were in the ‘Ladies’ carriage. We re-joined the men and waited for them to come out of the caboose. My hubby and son exited the carriage to the left and I saw another person, which I assumed to be the husband of the other guest, go to the right. She asked where her husband was and I reported to her that he had got off and was walking down the side of the train as I could see his legs. He then came from a completely different direction! The figure that I saw had disappeared. Not only that, the exit to the right was blocked off so no-one could have got off that way! I know what I saw! I may have sworn (again!).
So how come is it that I have seen figures/ghosts? This can be easily explained. I am in our own haunted locations several nights a week for several hours at a time. And, as I have mentioned before, I travel every year with my BFF Alison (and sometimes Craig) to different parts of the world. Alison hires known haunted locations for us to investigate. I am, what you would call, an active investigator. I’m not one that sits in an armchair and talks about it, I’m out there, in the field. Because of this, I have a better chance of seeing a figure than anyone that is on a two-hour tour! I have a better chance than a lot of people, I am very lucky indeed to do what I do. But does this mean I see a lot of figures whilst out and about …. nope, not at all. I have never, as yet, seen a figure whilst abroad! Why? Probably because I was only in the foreign locations for a few hours at a time and not night after night for years like I am in Adelaide.
Is it possible to see a figure on a two-hour tour? Yes, it is, as it has been reported numerous times at all of our venues. It’s a case of being in the right place at the right time. The luck of the draw.
So, come on our tours and investigations and enjoy the locations, learn their history and hear about the paranormal activity experienced. Lower your expectations on seeing/feeling or hearing something and enjoy the night. Once you relax and enjoy yourself, you never know what might happen!
To hear more on this subject, click on the link below and watch GhostCast – our Vodcast on this topic.
Written By Kag Allwood
Lead Guide at Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons
Paranormal Researcher and tour guide All articles are the personal opinion of the author only and do not always reflect the views of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.
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.
Former occupants and hauntings
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.
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
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.
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…)
SA Life covered a story on Adelaide Haunted Horizons ghost tours at Old Tailem Town near Tailem Bend. An enjoyable experience for Alison Oborn and her guests.
It also gives you a great insight into this unique village… after dark! Although, SA Life gave it a light-hearted look as it is a family show, the village has many chilling surprises not talked about here. Don’t forget to book onto one of our tours to discover what really happens at Old Tailem Town at night… if you are brave enough!
This Adelaide Author and award-winning tour operator has not only been researching the paranormal for over 30 years but is also a history & heritage enthusiast. She has been a volunteer guide, Information Officer and the official Paranormal Researcher at the Adelaide Gaol since 2002.
Alison also loves a good mystery and authored her book ‘Ghosts of the Past’ on the 10 years of paranormal research that she and her team, Paranormal Field Investigators conducted at the Adelaide Gaol.
She also runs Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons, which operates Ghost Tours and Dark History Tours in the Adelaide Gaol, at Z Ward, National Railway Museum, Tailem Town, Adelaide Arcade, Moonta and Burra.
Kag Allwood: The paranormal has always been a life-long interest of hers, but not something she ever thought of taking up seriously. She now works for Adelaide Haunted Horizons as part of the Management Team. Kag is also a lead guide, event organiser, as well as researches and writes her own tours.
She is an experienced, active paranormal investigator and has investigated numerous known haunted locations throughout the world.