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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Do Ghosts Roam NSW's Haunted Parliament House?

Anyone who claims there is no spirit left in the New South Wales Parliament should try spending a night there alone.

There is the ghostly man who walks through the floor, a silent horse drawn carriage out the front and, down the road, a phantom baby cries at night.

Once a hospital complete with a morgue, NSW Parliament House is giving up its ghostly secrets for a new history project. Most staff have a tale of a shadowy figure in the corridor, lights flickering or a strange tap on the shoulder out of thin air. And down the road at Government House the stories are even more terrifying.

The most common include a baby that cries in the night from under the building, shadowy soldiers out the front on misty mornings and an old woman in a rocking chair in one room. The old morgue under the theatrette at Parliament, which is preserved but bricked up, is considered by some to be the source of the ghosts. Education staff will compile the tales in a new bulletin named The Ghosts And Ghost Stories of Parliament House.

One parliamentary staffer said: "A guy was here late one night and there was a hand on his shoulder, he turned around and there was no one there. "The ghost stories are worse at Government House, the most common one is that a baby cries and no one can find the baby."

Another said: "You hear about people in old fashioned garb mysteriously appearing, walking down stairs or even walking through the floor." Parliament education officer Daniela Giorgi wrote in the latest Legislative Assembly newsletter that the bulletin would "explore the strange phenomena that have been reported throughout Parliament for many years".

"The building has housed the legislature for over 150 years but disembodied spirits nursing unrequited civil passion are not the only ghosts that wander these corridors of power," Ms Giorgi said.

"Once the building housed the Rum Hospital and morgue." Long-serving MP Chris Hartcher said ghosts included a man who died in his office. Mr Hartcher and fellow MP Paul Gibson said they had never seen a ghost.