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Do You Believe In Ghosts?

I personally have various ghost stories myself, but the question is up to you to answer.

Art by Long Hyunh

There is an age-old question that always comes up in some form of conversation, whether you believe or not: do you believe in ghosts? There is always something that we cannot explain, something that sends a chill down the back of our spine. We sort of get pleasure out of indulging in the spookiness. A gravitating intrigue is felt in this outer-worldly possibility. So if you are interested in this sort of unexplainable part of life, then I recommend you keep on reading, if you’re not… then I still recommend that you keep on reading.

Newtown has always fascinated me. It’s an endless maze of shops that offer a window into every corner of the world. But there’s a side of Newtown, something lurking beneath the twists and turns of King street, first established in the 1830s, that pulls me in.

The first investigation is Carlisle Castle Hotel. This pub is one of Sydney’s oldest establishments which opened in 1876. It is located on the corner of Albemarle and Probert Street. In 2014, Peter Bradbury, the licensee of the Hotel started to notice something quite peculiar, that didn’t pertain to explainable circumstances.

“It’s all very strange. I don’t know how long it’s been coming but it’s become quite a regular in the last few weeks. There’s been a few bottles of wine falling off the shelf.”

With CCTV footage and bartender insights, they noticed that on more than one occasion they saw “a wine glass fell off the rack and turned a beer tap on.”

It seems as though this particular unexplainable “ghast of air” that knocks over bottles of wine, only choosing high-end $27 bottles of red wine. But who is this spirit? Speculations have been spreading that it is “Old Peter”, a former worker at the Pub in the 1990s, or the licensee’s previous manager, Johnny Hoy.

Our second location is Flour Drum Cafe. The most spine-chilling, goose-bump ridden stories lie in the illusion of innocence. Something as innocent as a doll’s house. The Flour Drum Cafe sat quite comfortably in 531 King Street until November of 2015. The owners Johnny Ageletos and his partner Christopher Heaps felt a cool rush of air, and without any sense of hesitation at all, he knew he wasn’t the only presence in the room. Johnny Ageletos said he would bake late at night.

“That’s when I started feeling that there was someone else around. I was constantly feeling like somebody else was wandering around. Glass jars would strangely get broken. Taps would come on. We’d make sure we turned all the lights off and we’d come back and they would all be on.”

There are countless superstitious ways that circulate to keep unwanted spirits away. From mirrors to ward off the evil eye or to trap lost souls, (I hope you’re not thinking “garlic” because this isn’t that kind of story), crucifixes, certain crystals, and holy water. The superstitious list is endless, because the reason for said superstitions has no beginning or end point of logical conclusion. For the new owners of the Flour Drum, they found their item in the form of a doll house.

The two were told by the previous owner, Libby Marriner, that she too felt the presence of a young girl, recalling that “I thought I had seen glimpses of her.” They picked up a doll house on the side of the street, instinctively believing this was the answer to their problems. “As soon as the dolls’ house came in the trouble stopped.”

The pair’s Italian friend, a clairvoyant type, also noticed the spirit: “She did a couple of prayers and what-not and it just made matters worse. The sightings and the feeling that I got escalated.” Ageletos seems to be at peace, or at a stage of blissful ignorance with the entire thing: “I let it go and as far as I am concerned, I’m not a massive believer of ghosts and things, they aren’t being bad and there’s nothing I can do.”

I must apologise, I have led you to believe the spookiness comes to a halt here. But this next part did make my skin crawl. The owners discussed that on separate occasions, two customers came into the shop. Each one was as clueless as the next of the past happenings of the unsuspecting place, and both asked: ‘Who’s the little girl in a petticoat?'”

The shop seems to have as many lives as the one’s passing through it. In June 1942, Flour Drum used to be a fruit shop, owned by Sebastiano D’Andrea. Apparently, Mr.D’Andrea one evening was reading the newspaper at 7:30pm, and someone broke in, and yelled in a croaky, alarming voice that he must open the till. He was shot in the stomach on this demand in front of his two stepdaughters. The youngest of his two stepdaughters being aged 16. Unknown history remains of what happened to this little girl, but perhaps the little girl in the petticoat just wanted to go home.

The convicted felon was a local boy and soon-to-be 16 year old, John Henry Joseph Woods. But the theory is that the guilt weighs on the shoulders of soldier Private Reuben Vale, husband of Rona Estelle Vale, the two of whom lived next door. Mr D’Andrea was having an affair with her, according to his widow Antonina D’Andrea, who reported in The Truth newspaper. When discussing the affair with Antonina, the soldier responded by screaming: “If that is true I will kill him. I will kill everybody.”

I personally have various ghost stories myself, but the question is up to you to answer. Do you believe in ghosts?Do You Believe In Ghosts?

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