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Adelaide Zoo – A Brief History

Adelaide Zoo history

The Adelaide Zoo was officially opened on 23rd May 1883, after much debate and concerns of animals being so near the city.  The first Director was an Irish gentleman called Richard Minchin who had no zoo training, but what he did have was a clever mind and a good eye.   On Richard’s demise in Mount Barker (1893), the victim of a virus caught whilst on a journey to the Far East, his successor was his second son Alfred.  Richard was a very well respected and well-loved man.

Alfred Minchin trained at Melbourne zoo before taking over after his father’s death.  Alfred saw the zoo through some tough times, such as cutbacks, drought and two serious incidents involving keepers, one sadly was the death of Samuel May who was attacked by a polar bear.  Alfred was the Director for 40 years and lived with his family in the Director’s House until he passed away with heart issues in 1934.  Alfred was a well-liked, tall imposing man with a love of lemurs.

Ronald Minchin was the third Director at the zoo and Alfred’s second son.  He was born at the zoo and started working there at the age of 19.  He was a quiet man with a sense of humour and lived in the Director’s house with his wife and child.  Ronald had a love of birds and built more aviaries, concentrated on rare breeds and breeding of his feathered friends.  Unfortunately, he died of cancer in 1940, he was only 36 years old.

Keith Minchin never made it to Director, but was a big part of the zoo, travelling the world collecting animals to send back to SA.  He had a passion for reptiles, especially snakes and set up a snake park in the Botanical Gardens, which later turned into the Koala Farm.  Even catching polio and having to use a wicker wheelchair, didn’t stop Keith from getting around.

Sir Thomas Elder is a big part of the history of the Zoological Gardens.  He a major benefactor and the gentleman that gave the zoo its very first elephant, Miss Siam and also gifted the fantastic Rotunda.

Zoos have certainly changed over the years and Adelaide Zoo is no exception.  The Zoo has gone on to become a leader in education, conservation, breeding and connecting the public to nature.  They remain an independent conservation society and not Government funded. They rely on the sale of tickets to their venues, the purchase of yearly memberships, the sale of zoo experiences such as giraffe feeding and meerkat mingling, as well as donations and bequests. Let’s help the Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park to continue their good work for many years to come!


Adelaide Zoo Ghosts

Adelaide Zoo Ghost Stories

Over the years with there have been countless Keepers and animals passing through the gates of the park, are some of them still there to this day?  With animals, it would be hard to say, but there have certainly been sightings of the human kind.

Adelaide Zoo after Dark - Haunted Horizons GhostsIt was at the tourism awards, that we first spoke with Steve from Adelaide Zoo.  We were sharing a table and it was over a glass of wine that he told us how much of a sceptic he was but, there was this one time.  He continued to tell us about his experience in Minchin House which was built between 1887/88 and used by the Directors as living quarters until 1970.  It is now used for Admin.  He arrived to work early one winters morning and as he entered Minchin House, he heard a bang from upstairs.  Curious as to what it was, Steve hurried upstairs only to find a lady standing at the top on the landing.  He described her as wearing a long white dress, with her hair pulled back.  She quickly vanished.  He pointed to the lady in the photo here and said, although he couldn’t be sure it was her, the dress was very similar but she wasn’t wearing a hat.  Over time she has also been witnessed by other employees of the Adelaide Zoo.

Often on our tours, we have employees from Adelaide Zoo, and they regale us with their own experiences, often coming from the Nocturnal House.  There appears to be a keeper who is still diligent in his work and seen to be still cleaning out the exhibits.  Alison, the owner of Haunted Horizons had her own experience with him while investigating the service tunnel of the Nocturnal House.  Could it be the keeper who met with a tragic accident when hosing the polar bears?  Maybe it is just a keeper who loved his work so much, he has returned?


Adelaide Zoo Paranormal Investigation 

Adelaide Zoo Paranormal Investigation


Minchin House

We were really excited to have the opportunity to investigate the Minchin House, especially after hearing about the paranormal stories we’ve heard from there.

We began by placing our equipment around the hallway, stairs and landing.  Starting with an EVP burst (Electronic Voice Phenomena) we caught a possible ‘yes’ in reply to my question of ‘are there any children in the house?’.

Upstairs in the Boardroom, we had carried out an Estes Experiment (headphones connected to the ghost/spirit box) where we had some interesting responses.  Asking what they wanted to be changed at the zoo, we had the reply ‘Kiwi’.  A few days later we found out that the Head Bird Keeper had been wanting a Kiwi for the zoo.  Coincidence?

On the landing, we carried out a portal session and everyone heard the word ‘respect’ come from the equipment.  After saying that we hope they thought we were being respectful to them, an agreement was heard.

It was a fairly quiet investigation, but it was our first time there and we only stayed in the house for a short time.  No doubt any previous residents still there, would have been a little confused as to what we were doing.  Maybe they have to get used to us and our equipment first.


Nocturnal House

This dark environment was made even creepier due to the fact that we had to keep very quiet indeed as we didn’t want to disturb the animals behind the doors.  Would we come across the keeper that has been seen cleaning out the exhibits?

As we entered, we all heard loud noises coming from one end of the service area!  No-one was there and the animals in the exhibits on the other side of the wall were only small, such hopping mice and bilbies.  Footsteps were heard and a cat ball started to flash for no apparent reason.

During an EVP burst, a question was asked if Samuel, the keeper who lost his life at Adelaide Zoo, was there and, if so, did he want to talk to us?  The cat ball and EDI (Environmental Detection Instrument) began to flash seemingly in response.  During an Estes Experiment with Alison and Dylan using different ghost boxes, they both came out with similar meaning words at the same time!  Alison said “you make it sound scary”, whilst Dylan said, “it was frightening!”  It happened again but with a medical theme this time.  Very interesting to listen to indeed.

Hearing a loud bang, Alison went down the opposite end of the tunnel by herself and, unbeknown to her, we asked if someone could touch her on the head.  Shortly after Alison turned to find a dark shadowy figure standing next to before disappearing, making her jump back, knocking a cat ball flying.

Again, we were only there for a short time, but what a great experience.  So much activity experienced.

Thank you to everyone at the zoo for a great night and also for trusting us with the Adelaide Zoo – After Dark Walking Tours and Paranormal Investigations.

The highlights of the live stream investigation can be found in the video below:


To find out how you can support Adelaide Zoo and the wonderful conservation work they do, visit their website: Zoos S.A.

For more on the tours and investigations visit Adelaide Zoo After Dark Tours


Written By Kag Allwood
Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons
Paranormal Researcher, Tour Guide and Blogger for H.H.
All articles are the personal opinion of the author only and do not always reflect the views of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.

Kag Allwood - Blogger Haunted Horizons

© Kag Allwood – Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons – 2021



Gungellan Hotel – is it Haunted?

Gungellan Hotel – is it Haunted?


Gungellan Hotel, Freeling – Ghosts & Hauntings!
By Alison Oborn




The Gungellan Hotel, as it is now known, was originally the Railway Hotel and is still registered under this name.  It sits in the country town of Freeling, North of Adelaide.  This small town was founded in 1860 as a stopping place for the Gawler-Kapunda railway.  In 1867, The Railway Hotel was the 2nd pub to be built in the town and has been operating ever since.

It was In 2001, that the Railway Hotel became famous when it was chosen to feature in Channel 9’s successful T.V. series, ‘McLeod’s Daughters’. It was when they moved in to film this very popular show that the Railway Hotel changed to the Gungellan Watering Hole, and NOT Drovers Run, which I called it on our live stream investigation.  What can I say… I never watched McLeod’s Daughters, but still haven’t been able to live that down with the fans!


Gungellan Hotel - McLeods Daughters


There have long been reports of ghostly goings-on in the Gungellan Hotel.  The present owner, Helen Hatch, told of her own personal experiences there, including witnessing a shadowy figure by the jukebox and having things thrown or moved.  The two most memorable incidents for her, were when the pokies started up on their own despite not being used and the day a can of beer rolled from the fridge and ended up at her feet.  It was as if whoever it was wanted her to open it for them.  Helen also went on to tell us that it was believed a Stockman has been experienced at the bar, which is believed to be the spirit of a man who was killed by a train at the nearby station.  I have since found the report of a man who couldn’t pull his horse up quick enough and a passing train hit the horse and cart.  The man was taken to the Gungellan Hotel, where he passed away a short time later.  The ‘stockman’ may also relate to another death when a customer died suddenly at the back of the hotel from a massive heart attack back in the 1800s.

We found out later, that the Gungellan Hotel dining area sits in an area that was once used as a doctors surgery.

Interestingly, none of these historical characters, except possibly one came through to confirm they were still there.  Instead, we were taken by surprise by what was to become one of the most uplifting investigations we have ever done.


Gungellan Hotel Bar



We were invited to go and investigate the Gungellan Hotel by one of our Patreon subscribers, and our friend Ash McInnes, who had kindly arranged this with the owner of the Gungellan Hotel. This was to be our very first ‘Haunted Horizons on the Road’.  This is a project designed to showcase other haunted tourism businesses by live streaming paranormal investigations from them, in an attempt to help at a time where tourism is struggling. For this reason, we were extremely excited.

After having our meal there (highly recommended) and doing a quick look around, we settled in for the investigation.  As always we enter these places with no preconceived ideas or knowledge of the location.  We are told a rough history and a few experiences, but we try not to know too much information so it can be verified or not by people with the knowledge.  On this occasion, all we knew was a short history of the pub, the fact that this pub WASN’T called Drovers Run, and that tragically a couple of the Hotel’s regulars had passed away.  However, we were convinced that if we were to get anything, it would be to do with the the ‘Stockman’ seen at the bar… historical links.  It wasn’t far into the investigation before we realised this was not going to be, it was about to travel in a direction and totally out of our control.

Gungellan Hotel Paranormal InvestigationIt started early in the evening as we finished setting up.  Suddenly the familiar music of a pokie machine playing echoed through the hotel.  Rushing over to the small pokie room, consisting of approx 5 machines, we found it still shut off.  As we ran past Helen who was still sitting on the floor, warming herself next to the open fire, she casually called out to us “That’s Macka”. We checked the machines but they were either switched off or had no credits except one.  When we punched the buttons, none of them moved or rang out and we were told the machines hadn’t been played in quite some time… except seemingly by ghostly hands every now and again.  Macka, one of the regulars who passed away, had a favourite machine and this still played when nobody was there.  Was he still doing this to let Helen know he was still around?

an E.V.P. session (voices on recordings you don’t hear at the time until played back) did not reveal too much except for the clear sound of glass chinking, similar to the sound two glasses would make when toasting.  None of us had a drink with us, especially in a glass.

We then brought out the Poltercom which is a just another form of the spirit box but with an intelligently controlled motorised sweep.  We have never had great results from this, so rarely carry it with us.  This night was going to cause us to question these original thoughts.

At first, it appeared that a child was coming through as several times we heard “mummy’ clearly come through the static.  Upon asking the age, it came out with Eight.  We asked Helen if she had any knowledge of a young child dying in the Gungellan Hotel.  She shook her head and said she hadn’t.  After the investigation Ash did some more digging in the history and found that indeed a child had died in the area we were sitting.  An eight-year-old girl had been brought to the doctor and her parents were on their way back from Gawler with medication.  Sadly they did not reach their child in time, and by the time they arrived, she had already tragically passed away.  Is the child still there and looking for her mother?  We were never able to get to the bottom of this one, as communication rapidly changed direction.

The voices coming out of the Poltercom changed, and suddenly a deep man’s voice started to speak.  The name “Ian” came out several times.  It meant nothing to us and we ignored this at first until Helen spoke up and informed us that Ian was Macka’s real name.  It wasn’t long before his nickname ‘Macka’ came out too.  Helen showed us the drawing of Macka on the wall and told us how he had been an extra in McLeod’s Daughters throughout the series, so he was a big part of the Gungellan Hotel.  They even have a section of the wall as a tribute to him.

The second live stream session was for our subscribers and for this we moved to the bar.  For this session, we did an Estes experiment.  The argument against using a spirit/ghost box is that we know the questions being asked so are automatically biased to what we are hearing and expecting.  For this experiment, we put an investigator on headphones to call out what they are hearing without being able to hear those questions.  This takes away any bias to what the caller is hearing.

Gungellan Hotel Ghost Hunting - Estes Experiment

We put Craig on the headphones and started asking questions.  As we did, something was thrown behind the bar.  On checking, Helen found the only thing out of place was a crumpled up menu lying on the floor which had not been there previously.  Interestingly, Craig only called out three words at the time “Ian”, “Ian”, and “rubbish”.  Interesting as he had not been aware of what had been thrown behind him.

The experiment went on to reveal a lot more relevant responses to the questions asked.  The highlights of this investigation can be found on the video linked at the beginning of this blog, so don’t forget to give it a watch.  Remember though, the footage is taken from a live stream investigation, so obviously not broadcast quality but intriguing nonetheless.  From the responses we got, whoever is there is happy to be there.

It is never comfortable when you get a response related to a recent tragedy.  This is always the problem with doing investigations live to the public, as we are all in the moment, with no control over what direction it will take if any.  Once it did go in this unexpected direction, we were obviously concerned that direct family members may have been watching and the last thing we wanted was to cause them any distress.  Family members were watching, they have now contacted us.  They were happy that Macka made contact and we have now handed over the complete audio of that session.  Helen also benefited, as she was afraid of what was there, never understanding the strange events that were happening.  She now is a lot more at peace and chats to them constantly, as if they are still with her.

Maybe, just maybe things go in a certain direction for a reason.  Either way, it seemed to bring comfort to all around and we managed to showcase what has become one of our favourite haunted tourism locations.


Gungellan Hotel Ghosts

A little addition to this story.  The media wanted to do a story with us and the Gungellan Hotel, to cover this new tourism project.  No sooner did I walk in the door, the pokies went off.  Strange as they hadn’t gone off since our investigation and had also been serviced since my last visit.  It was almost as somebody was giving recognition as I walked in.  The photographer also became edgy, as she began to have problems with her equipment and camera.  She confessed that this had never happened before.


If you want to follow our Adventures investigating each year overseas and even like taking part in live paranormal investigations from your own home:

For more videos on these adventures ‘subscribe’ to our YouTube Channel

2 Gray St, Freeling, S.A. 5372

Facebook: The Gungellan Hotel Page

Written By Alison Oborn
Owner Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons
Paranormal Researcher, tour guide, author and radio host
All articles are the personal opinion of the author only and do not always reflect the views of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.

© Alison Oborn – Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons – 2020






An Injustice of the worst kind!

(Please note, I have written this Schneider’s Alley blog slightly different to the others I have done.  I really want the information to stand out and be easy to read.  I don’t think that one story has angered me more than this one has.  Read on and you will understand why).

Since joining Haunted Horizons many moons ago, a number of people have asked me if I have ever investigated Schneider’s Alley in Adelaide.  Some say it is highly active paranormally wise, others say it isn’t.  I have to admit, I had never heard of this place, not being a local.

Firstly, I asked Alison Oborn, the owner of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons, if she had come across Schneider’s Alley.  After all after over 30 years of paranormal research, surely she would know of it.  I wanted to know if there was any truth in the rumours of it’s supposed hauntings, and her reply left me feeling uneasy.  Alison had not only researched the story but had spoken to the devastated family and was personally affected by what she had found and encouraged me to put the truth out there.

So, I decided to do my own research on Schneider’s Alley.  I know a lot of people would rather go and just experience things for themselves, but I wanted to know why that area is supposedly haunted and why and how it got the name Schneider’s Alley.  The main thing I have learnt whilst working alongside Alison and the team, is that not every old or derelict building is haunted, not every noise heard or movement seen is paranormal,  and not every story you hear about ghosts and hauntings is true!  I always say, find out for yourself and don’t just take somebody’s word for it.

My quest was to find out who or what was Schneider and what happened in and around this area for it to be, reputedly, so active that it’s listed as one of the most haunted areas in Adelaide!

Research on the Internet

What I found was eerie, fascinating and if true, would be totally understandable if this area was haunted as reported:

  • Michael Schneider was a doctor who lived in Clifton Manor House in the early 1900s.
  • He lived there with his wife and children.
  • Dr Schneider went mad after his wife and child died.  Not only that but he also possibly murdered them!
  • He operated on patients in a hut in the garden.  He experimented on them too, without anaesthetic and the screams could be heard around the area.
  • Dr Schneider tortured children.
  • He carried out satanic rituals.
  • And the list goes on ….

My first thoughts were, if all of the above is true, then why isn’t there a book written about him or film made?  Surely, if true, he would have to rank as one of the most gruesome and fascinating people in Adelaide!

Clifton Manor

Now for the real research of Schneider’s Alley

I wanted to look for the truth to see if I could validate any of these stories.  It was so hard to find information about Dr Schneider that wasn’t connected with the alleyway and supposed hauntings.  The only way of finding anything concrete was to go deeper than just the Urban Legends online and this is what I found.

Here is the truth:

Schneider’s Alley is actually called Andrew’s Walk.

Michael Schneider was a well-liked and highly respected ophthalmologist (eye doctor) who, in 1937, was given the title of Honorary Ophthalmologist at the Adelaide Hospital.  I Googled what Honorary meant at a hospital and I will quote below what I found.

‘Hospital practice A medical staff status accorded to a practitioner who is retired from active service to the hospital, or who has made noteworthy contributions to the hospital, or who, by reason of outstanding reputation or achievement, is otherwise honoured.

He did live in Clifton Manor, Stoneyfell, Burnside in 1934 with his beloved wife and children.

In the grounds of their beautiful home, they had a safe, enclosed private zoo with kangaroos, koalas, emus, deer, birds etc.   All of these animals were very well looked after and admired by all.

The family opened this garden and zoo to the public whilst raising money for different charities on numerous, numerous occasions.  They also hosted fetes, garden parties, parish balls and Christmas Eve parties.  The Schneider’s were very generous benefactors.

Dr Schneider was passionate about the land and wildlife, being a keen nature lover and botanist.  He joined the SA Forest League in 1937 with the aim of saving natural forests from deterioration and encouraged more growth.

Doctor Schneider passed away in 1970, a few years before his wife!  He did, unfortunately, loose two of his children before his death, but they were adults at the time, not children.

There are no records of murders, unusual deaths or anything else strange or unusual associated with Doctor Michael Schneider, the property or surrounding area.

How this has affected the local area

Things got so bad for the local residents near Andrew’s Walk and Michael Perry Reserve (formally part of the Clifton Manor property) with thrillseekers and people trying to investigate the area, that in 2012 the Council decided to put a restriction on the time it would be open to the general public.  If you are found between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. you could face a $5,000 fine if you don’t have a permit!

This isn’t the only story I have heard like this within the paranormal world.  It is like most urban legends, a story begins and then added to throughout the years, to the point where no-one actually knows the real truth anymore.  Research is essential, the truth is essential and the reputation of the innocent is essential.

Dr Michael Schneider has been falsely accused of horrendous crimes.  He has been found guilty by a kangaroo court of ‘thrillseekers’ and now his memory and family name are tarnished.   The family is devastated. We have all heard of the saying ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’.  But what if that untruth was about your family member!  What if that untruth seriously ruined the reputation of a good and special person that you know!  What if that untruth filtered through the family for generations!  Would you think differently then?




Written By Kag Allwood
Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons
Paranormal Researcher, Tour Guide and Blogger for H.H.
All articles are the personal opinion of the author only and do not always reflect the views of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.

Kag Allwood - Blogger Haunted Horizons

© Kag Allwood – Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons – 2020






Jedburgh Castle Jail – Ghosts & Hauntings!
By Alison Oborn

History of Jedburgh Castle Jail

Jedburgh Castle Jail is a title that is a little misleading as this facility was never a true castle.  So just how did this Georgian prison get the term ‘castle’ in its name?

Jedburgh Castle Jail was built in 1823, purposely resembling a castle to pay tribute to the medieval castle “Iedd-brugh’ that once stood on that same spot.  The 12th Century Scottish castle was originally built by David I as a Royal Castle.  In fact, his grandson and successor, Malcolm IV died there in 1165.  It changed hands numerous times between the Scottish and the English.  When William I was captured by the English, to secure his release the Scots agreed to hand over five of their castles to the English, including Jedburgh.  It was only 15 years later though that Richard the Lionheart returned them for money.  And so it was that Jedburgh Castle ownership went back and forth.

Alexander III, who became King of the Scots in 1249, married at this castle and was said to have been visited by a ghostly apparition who foretold his death.  This apparition was said to have appeared many times, always with similar warnings.  In 1246 it once again came under English rule and stayed that way until 1409 when the Scots finally managed to retake it, and tiring of the English decided to demolish it once and for all so the English couldn’t use it as a fortification against them ever again.

It didn’t work, Castle or not, the English continued to raid and seize Jedburgh.

The site was later used for executions and became the site of Jedburgh’s gallows and the name Gallows Hill still remains.

Finally, in 1823 what little remained of the old castle was removed and the Jedburgh Castle Jail was built in its place.  It was built as a Howard Reform Prison.  In 1773 John Howard had been made High Sherriff of Bedfordshire and took it upon himself to visit prisons.  He was appalled at the conditions and visited more around England. He put proposals forward so these conditions would be improved.  He felt there were prisoners that would benefit from being reformed rather than punished and worked towards this.  After his death in 1790, the Howard Association was formed, a charity group that continued this work.  The Jedburgh Castle Prison was one such reform prison and is the last Howard Reform Prison left in the country.

Jedburgh Castle Jail shut it’s doors in 1886 and is now operates as a museum.

Jedburgh Castle Jail - Ghosts

Ghosts of Jedburgh Castle Jail

There have long been reports of ghostly goings-on in Jedburgh Castle Jail.  Shadowy figures have been witnessed, disembodied voices heard and even poltergeist activity.

When we got there Elliott our guide, who did not believe in ghosts, said he had witnessed too many strange events himself.  He related how on one night he was there, he witnessed a group table tipping.  He also watched as the group tried to keep up with the table as it started to walk by itself down the hallway towards him.  Another incident that he said he would not forget in a hurry, was the night a lady had her hand resting against the door frame.  She screamed as the big heavy cell door suddenly slammed itself shut, crushing her fingers in the process.

Could it be the unhappy spirits of Edwin McArthur or Thomas Wilson who were executed in the 1800s?  Or could it be something darker from prior to Jedburgh Castle Prison being built?  After all, there was bloody history going back centuries.

Paranormal Investigation at Jedburgh


It is always amazing when Kag and I rock up at a venue, it never fails that the host for the night always peers over our shoulders to see where the rest of our team are.  Nope, just us!

It has been a privilege to be in these historical locations, and Jedburgh Castle Jail was no different.  Elliott, our host for the night, guided us around the prison and updated us on the history. All seemed well until we got to the male block with the infamous cell 18.  This block had only recently been opened to paranormal investigations and is not open to the general public.  As I interviewed Elliott, Kag wandered off down the corridor to the staircase at the end but returned quickly without saying a word.  Once I finished with Elliott I too wandered to take photographs and came across the stairwell at the end.  For the first time since arriving at the venue, everything bristled.  Something did not feel right about that stairwell.  Despite the birds singing and it still being daylight, the mood there felt dark and heavy.  I too quickly returned to Kag and Elliott and made mention of it.  Kag then opened up that she had felt the same and was why she had returned so quickly.

Because of the foreboding feel of this cell block we decided this was where we needed to start.  After picking up our gear and parting from Elliott, we returned to set up some equipment.  No sooner had we got to the top of the stairs, we both heard a strong male voice reverberate around the cell block.  We knew Elliott was still back in his office and there was nobody else with us.  Our regret was that we weren’t recording at this point.  We couldn’t distinguish what was said, but with this and that definite ‘something isn’t right here’ feeling, it certainly had us on edge from the start.

A lot of what we had happen, was more of a personal nature and not so much an event caught on camera.  As I was standing at the end of the hallway next to a table, there were 3 clear raps next to me.   My torch at one point felt like something was trying to pull it out of my hand, as well as having pressure on my shoulders as if somebody was trying to get me down to the ground.

Jedburgh Castle Jail - Paranormal EquipmentWe had some equipment trigger, but we weren’t getting too much so we moved to the Bridewell Block which proved a little more curious. At one point, Kag was demanding that they step out of their cell, and at that precise moment, the Rempod (proximity device) triggered as did the EDI both at the same time.  Soon after we also had footsteps at the end of the hallway.

We did do a live stream investigation to our page from Jedburgh Castle Jail, and everybody watching asked that we returned to the male block and in particular cell 18.

So back we went, and we settled ourselves in the dark of cell 18.  As we were questioning to see if we could get any response, we were startled by 3 loud knocks out in the hallway near our door.  Again on edge, we waited to see if it would be followed by any further sound.  Interestingly the building had been silent the whole time.  It is a solid stone building and appeared to give very little movement sound.

We decided to play with the Ghostbox (broken radio) and turned it on.  Three times it appeared to say ‘We’re here’, one time repeating straight after I said it, almost as if mimicking me.   The most interesting response, however, was when I asked why whatever was there broke the fingers of the lady.   I asked if she had been annoying them to which the box replied with an immediate “no” but then it added “she’s a c@#t”… Not something you usually hear from a radio station!   Although I sit on the fence with this device, we can’t deny we have had some curious things come out of it from time to time.

With that our night came to an end.

We would like to thank Jedburgh Castle Jail for allowing us the freedom to explore and especially Elliott, our wonderful host for the night.  Hopefully one day we can return and explore further.


If you want to follow our Adventures investigating each year overseas and even like taking part in live paranormal investigations from your own home:

For more videos on these adventures ‘subscribe’ to our YouTube Channel

Written By Alison Oborn
Owner Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons
Paranormal Researcher, tour guide, author and radio host
All articles are the personal opinion of the author only and do not always reflect the views of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.

© Alison Oborn – Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons – 2020

Jedburgh Castle Jail Website





Margam Castle – Murder & Ghosts!
By Alison Oborn

History of Margam Castle

Margam Castle sits nestled on an 850-acre country estate roughly 2 miles from Port Talbot, South Wales.  It is, in fact, a large Victorian-era country home, built to look like a gothic-style castle.  Built between 1830-1840 Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot commissioned it after having returned from a grand tour of Europe.  He had fallen in love with the gothic architecture over there.  On returning to his home in South Wales he decided he wanted a similar building on his family estate.  There had been a family home prior to this, but Christopher demolished the Tudor building, to make way for his new one.

The Talbot family remained with the house up until 1942 when it was finally sold to Sir David Evans-Bevan.  However Sir Evans-Bevan soon felt that the building was far too large for his needs but could not find anybody at the time who would take it on, so slowly it fell into disrepair before the County Council took it on in 1974. Devastatingly, in 1977 a fire caused extensive damage to the building and everything within.  An ambitious restoration project still goes on today to restore this amazing place.

Although Margam Castle, as it stands was relatively new in history, the land itself had been in use for a lot longer and thought to have been occupied for around 4000 years.  There is evidence that Bronze age people settled in the area with several burial mounds being discovered in the park. Evidence of Roman occupation has also been found there.

The ruins of the 11th Century Margam Abbey remain in the grounds.  The Abbey was destroyed like many others during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537. In fact, the first Mansell mansion was built out of and on the grounds of this abbey.

Margam Abbey - Margam Castle

Murder & Ghosts of Margam Castle

In 1898, what was described as one of the most awful crimes took place on the Margam Castle Estate.  Robert Scott (39), the head gamekeeper, discovered a poacher while doing his rounds.  Scott had sighted the poacher who had made a gap in the wall and was now inside the grounds.  The poacher realising he had been caught ran back towards the gap, at the same time Robert Scott too ran towards it, hoping to cut the Margam Castle Murderpoacher off.  Scott managed to get to the gap first only to see that the poacher had a shotgun, which he did not hesitate to fire at Scott’s face.  The result was horrible with the dislocation of the lower jaw and the shattering of the facial bones.  This did not kill him though, and he managed to struggle for some distance before collapsing.  This is when the poacher caught up to him and leaned across the wall to take another shot, this time hitting Scott in the shoulder.  The poacher then took off and Scott died alone.

Poaching was rife on Margam Estate as there was plenty of game to be found.  Many gamekeepers and assistants had been attacked before, with one even having been beaten and tied up to a tree.  No attack had been as deadly as this one.

Sadly Robert Scott’s wife was left behind with a small child, his widow not even being allowed to view his body due to the horrific damage.

It is said that the angry spirit that haunts Margam Castle is that of an unhappy Robert Scott.  Although it is said that he has been sighted in the grounds of Margam Park, he is also reported on the imposing gothic staircase.  Frequent poltergeist activity, such as stone-throwing is also put down to the angry gamekeeper.

But it is not just the gamekeeper who is thought to be haunting this country house as the sounds of children have been heard running and playing.  This is more mysterious as we can’t find many reports of children dying here.  Could this be less intelligent and just be residual?  Tell that to the real children who wander off and when found, claim that they had been playing with a ‘new friend’.

Margam Castle - Gothic staircase

The Paranormal Investigation

For some reason, from the very beginning, this amazingly beautiful building gave us the creeps.  No more so than the imposing gothic staircase that Margam Castle is famous for.  As we explored the building on our own, we both agreed that the staircase felt the most uncomfortable, giving us both an intense feeling that we were not welcome.  It should be remembered at this stage, that we had gone in blind, knowing very little about the history and the hauntings there.

We finally settled in the nursery upstairs where a large table and chairs allowed us to sit.  As we are not as young as we used to be, this is always welcome!  To get to the nursery, you had to walk through several rooms, a fact that did cross our minds should something happen!

It was as we were setting up, that something brushed across my arm almost as if I had been stroked.  I quickly got Kag to come over with a camera [see accompanying video] and indeed all the hair on the arm had lifted as if there was some source of static.

Finally, with lights off, we settled in the darkness and waited to see if anybody from the other side wanted to interact. It wasn’t long before we were hearing sounds in the room with us.  There was a subtle rustling as if almost akin to the swishing of a long dress.  This sound was circling us in the room and was closely followed also by the sound of somebody breathing heavily.  Strangely, was heard clearly by us, but was not picked up on the video.  The taps on the table next to us and knocks to the side, which were picked up on the video, also put us strangely on edge.  But one sound really made us jump, and that was the sound in the room behind us of a pebble or small rock being thrown.  Something we were later to find out was a regular happening in that area of the building.

We conducted a brief ghost box session and appeared to get a couple of interesting responses, not least a voice (almost electronic) saying ‘Bastard’.  Why interesting?  Because it sounded like Kag’s voice as if she was being mimicked.

We soon moved to the bottom of the staircase, but apart from a couple of loud thuds from upstairs, whatever was in the building seemed less talkative now.  We did get one interesting noise which I am unsure how to describe. If you watch the video, I will let you make up your own mind on what it is as we have no idea!  Even our security man, Dave, who joined us at the end had never heard this before.  We didn’t hear it audibly.

Margam Castle and Park is the most amazing, beautiful place and well worth a visit.  We didn’t get to investigate the Abbey ruins this time around, as the house kept us busy… maybe next time!

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Written By Alison Oborn
Owner Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons
Paranormal Researcher, tour guide, author and radio host
All articles are the personal opinion of the author only and do not always reflect the views of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons.

© Alison Oborn – Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons – 2020

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Friday 13th Superstitions

Friday 13th Superstitions


Friday 13th superstition… do you stay in bed and pull the covers over your head and refuse to face the world?  Have you changed your travel itinerary because your flight coincided with this dreaded date?  Are you convinced that something bad is going to happen to you or your family?  If the answer is yes, then you are one of many that suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia – the fear of Friday 13th!

Many of us believe in some superstitions, such as seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror, never open an umbrella indoors and don’t put new shoes on tables, to name but a few.  Some of us wear special items to bring good fortune.  A sportsman may pull on his lucky jocks for an important game, and what about wearing your lucky socks to an interview!  Have you ever bought a lucky square at a charity event and wanted to pick a certain number, only to find it has already been taken so now you stand no chance in winning?  Let’s take the superstition that one step further, like why are so many people literally housebound by this ‘phobia’ of Friday the 13th and what is the history behind the date?

Spider Phobia


Let’s start by understanding what a ‘phobia’ is.  A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of something, for example, flying or spiders.  Many may believe that facing their phobia can be dangerous or even life-threatening.  Quite often the phobia started with an incident that triggered the irrational thoughts, such as a bad flight or waking up with a spider crawling on you.  Sometimes a person can have a fear or phobia about something they have never experienced, say snakes for example.  This could be due to an ‘inherited’ or ‘learned’ mind-set.  These phobias can often be cured or improved by Behaviour Exposure Therapy, where you are gradually exposed to your phobia until the fear subsides.  Others simply try and avoid their triggers, where-ever possible.

Fiday 13th phobiaIt is said that there are things that happen which are out of our control and that we tend to focus on the negative.  Some of us have a tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and create meaning between unrelated things, known as ‘apophenia’.  We see this a lot in our own field of paranormal research.  Could this be a reason for negativity towards this otherwise innocuous date?

So how does it work with a superstition?  Friday 13th is a day; and we can’t avoid a day, even if we stay in bed!  Looking at why this day has an impact on so many and the history behind it, is one way to understand the problem, the other is to get up and go out and about on Friday 13th and see what happens, using exposure therapy.

Fridays have been renown for being ‘unlucky’.  Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on a Friday; Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and executions in Rome and England were also held on a Friday.

The number 13 is said to be just as ‘unlucky’ and to be avoided at all costs.  Houses and office floors often seem to be absent from the number 13.  In religion, Jesus and his 12 disciples (making 13) sitting down for the ‘Last Supper’ before being betrayed by Judas.  Apollo 13 was launched on April 17th, 1970 (which, coincidentally, also happened to be a Friday!) and suffered an oxygen tank explosion, before returning safely to earth.

Put them together and it’s understandable why so many people have a Friday 13th superstition and avoid the day like the plague!

There are many other examples.

  • During the Middle Ages, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of 60 of the Knights Templer in France Including Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar.  Most were executed after being tortured to confess their wrongdoing!  Sympathisers stated that Friday 13th was an evil day.
  • On Friday 13th September 1940 a German bomb was dropped onto Buckingham Palace whilst the royal family were having tea!
  • A plane crashed in the Andes on Friday 13th October 1972, and 12 people died.  More died later during an avalanche.  The survivors turned to cannibalism to survive!
  • The Costa Concordia partially sank on Friday 13th 2012, killing 30 people.

There are many more stories, but would these tragedies have still happened if it wasn’t Friday 13th?

Thirteen club - superstition

Pushing your luck?

Many have tried to prove that Friday 13th is just an ordinary day and not especially unlucky.  For example, how about The Thirteen Club which was set up in New York in 1881.  This group was started to put an end to superstitions like Friday 13th.  At the first meeting, 13 members walked under a ladder and met in Room 13 to have a meal, surrounded by piles of spilt salt.  Its popularity grew around North America for the next 45 years, before people started to lose interest.  If they were doing everything possible to encourage bad luck, how come none of them seemed to come to harm.

On the other hand, one gentleman in New York decided to stay in bed instead of facing the world on Friday 13th in 1976.  The floor of his apartment collapsed and he fell to his death!  Was he just unlucky?  Could the floor have collapsed anyway, no matter what the day?

Friday 13th superstition and phobias

Consequences and Reality of Friday 13th

With so many religious beliefs, superstitions and stories connected with Friday 13th, it is not surprising that it can have a knock-on effect.  For example, In England, it’s reputed that a property with the number 13 on its door could be valued several thousand pounds less than its neighbouring buildings!

In America, up to 21 million people are affected by this date.  Many refuse to leave the house, or to go to work or travel, resulting in an estimated loss of around US$900 million for businesses.

There is no real evidence that there are more accidents or tragedies on Friday 13th compared to any other day, in fact, a Dutch Insurance company found that there were fewer claims for accidents, fire and theft on Friday 13th, probably due to the fact that fewer people left their house or that people were more careful on this date.

The Stock Market is thought to have a bad time on Friday 13th too, but in reality, Mondays and Fridays are quiet anyway due to Monday and Friday being classed as part of the ‘long weekend’.

American airlines state that there is no significant drop in people booking flights on this day, although other sources say that the prices of flights on that day tend to be cheaper.  Not something I’ve found whilst researching!

Not all nationalities think that Friday 13th is unlucky.  Originally, Italians used to think the Friday 17th was their ‘unlucky’ day.  Supposedly it was to do with the Roman Numerals for the number 13, it was very close to the phrase ‘I have lived’, meaning death and bad luck.

Greece has an ‘unlucky’ day, Tuesday 13th due to the fall of some powerful groups which happened on Tuesdays!

In a number of Asian countries, the number 4 is considered unlucky as it sounds like the word for death when spoken in Mandarin.

Is Friday 13th really unlucky or is it just one of the many superstitions that are passed down through the ages?   Can a so-called ‘unlucky’ day, alongside an ‘unlucky’ number, really make people believe that the day could potentially be so bad, that many refuse to even get of out bed?  We all have our own beliefs, thoughts and opinions on this subject and maybe this will be one of those that not everyone will agree on.

Whether unlucky or not, Friday 13th is a day that has affected so many in the past and probably will do so for a long time to come!


Kag Allwood - Blogger Haunted Horizons

Written By Kag Allwood
Lead Guide for 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.

© Kag Allwood – Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons – 2020

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