Ghosts in Sydney

Ghost walk
February 15

We did the Harbor Bridge climb in morning. We had an excellent Japanese dinner, which was just as wonderful as the Indian diner from the night before. The diversity of the population is certainly reflected in the wonderful selection of food here. (Not unlike Sacramento)

Tonight we do a ghost walk in The Rocks. I have to admit that I used to really enjoy these walks at night, hearing a usually talented storyteller give us a history lesson after dark. Lots of times they have greatly enhanced our understanding of what life was like for the people of the area, what the mores were, the economics, the power struggles and politics. One of the best was in Edinburgh. The high school history teacher who was a part time ghost tour guide many, many years ago made me fall in love with Edinburgh. He told funny stories, he told stories of murders and he told stories of war and plagues, all as we walked through this ancient city. Old Edinburgh is such a bewitching city, but at night with a great storyteller, I become a time traveler.

Since that first trip to Edinburgh in the 1980s, we’ve gone on ghost walks in many cities: London, New Orleans, Savannah, Wilmington SC, Victoria BC, Portland, Ore, Key West FL, Sacramento, maybe more. Admittedly, I am an older traveler now, a sensitive, softhearted grandma. I don’t find them to be as much fun as they used to be. They tell of real people’s lives. Lives that end tragically or brutally and many of these people lived very hard lives, filled with heartbreak, up to their departure. To tread on scenes of their torment feels so ghoulish. I can only bless them and feel profound thankfulness for the life I have been given.

Our Sydney guide is very talented, dressed in black with cape and top hat, he really has a dramatic flair and uses the power of suggestion to make you feel the cold air where the murder took place or see the face of one soul, long gone, in a window. We hear stories of people publicly hung for stealing flour, children accidentally buried alive when they were unconscious from the plague, death by self inflected penis removal, murders by spouses, young mothers who die in childbirth. The lives of people in early Sydney, especially for the profoundly poor, were so full of pain that I don’t know how they could go on to draw their next breath.

One story is not quite as ghoulish, I think. A man who had been a known child molester returned to Sydney after being away from some time. Many of the local children who had been his victims had grown to late teens and early twenties. The child molester, unwisely, visited The Australian, a well known pub. A well known and popular citizen, who was also at the pub saw this accused child molester, and shot him in front of at least 50 people. The murderer was jailed and held for months. The case against him was dropped, not one person would appear as a witness against him. Sounds like the law was not respected, but justice served?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *