Digging up ghastly past
THE region's grisly and paranormal past is being documented via a new medium and it's causing plenty of intrigue.
Urban legends and tales of close encounters are abundant in Stanthorpe, with hosts of people happy to spin a yarn about the time they saw some shadowy figure in a darkened pub hall.
Those stories are now being compiled for a Facebook page titled Stanthorpe Haunted Houses References.
The creators are keen to keep some anonymity around their identities but operate under the aliases of Gilbert Sloan and Vera Clemons.
"We've had an overwhelming response from the locals,” Vera said.
"We're both intrigued by ghosts, hauntings, paranormal and historic crimes.
"We have heard many tales over the years about various places in Stanthorpe and the Stanthorpe region that are supposedly haunted.
"We've done research into the history of Stanthorpe and discovered a lot of it is quite grim and disturbing. It really isn't the sleepy town that everyone perceives it to be.
"There is some very dark history in the past, including some extremely grisly crimes that have been forgotten.”
The first historic place they delved into was O'Maras Hotel. The pub has long claimed haunted status but Gilbert and Vera were keen to dig a little deeper.
From an elderly lady appearing at the top of stairs to doors and locks with minds of their own.
"Our goal is to gather factual information and combine it with local stories. We want locals to come forward with any information, big or small, on possible hauntings or strange occurrences they have experienced. Even if they're stories from grandparents - we still want to hear about it.”
From starting at O'Maras, the duo has now highlighted a cottage in Petzler Lane, the Top Pub, formerly the Royal Hotel, and a number of sordid murder mysteries.
All the information for their murder stories is sourced from newspaper articles, so they ensure they're "100 per cent true”, which could turn some stomachs, given the content in some of the true crimes back from the grave.
One discusses the crimes of Edgar Elks. A 28-year-old Stanthorpe orchardist who "went berserk” at his Reeves Gully home.
"He perpetrated one of the most ghastly family tragedies in the history of the Darling Downs. While the demons of dementia danced crazily in his brain, he took a pea-rifle and ended three lives,” the excerpt reads. The lives were his own and those of his two young daughters.
Vera said the concept of the page stemmed from personal experiences and those of friends.
"The idea initially came about when we were reminiscing about the house where my colleague used to live back in 2002-2003. It was definitely haunted.
"Many people had spine chilling experiences when staying there by an extremely active and noisy ghost. We then undertook an investigation to find out if anyone else had the same experiences and ultimately find out who was haunting this particular dwelling.
"So henceforth Stanthorpe Haunted Houses References was created.”
The pair say they've been approached about running haunted house tours and said "we may consider tours in the future”.