History has shown us that ghosts and the supernatural seem to be commonplace and that a large percentage of people in the western world, indeed from all races and religions, not only believe in ghosts but have also experienced something that they believe is of a supernatural origin. Indeed, many people have reported the same supernatural occurrence happening at a specific place over a number of years thus legitimising their experiences, even though they have had no contact with others who may have seen, or heard, or experienced the same thing.
Can all these people be wrong? Are they deluded or deranged? Have they simply misinterpreted what they have experienced? In many cases, yes. And yet, there are still cases that defy explanation.
The Hyatt is a stunning art deco building built between 1922 and 1925 and opened in 1924. By the 1950s it had become the centre of the capital’s social life, and today it remains one of the city’s most prestigious addresses. Like the Kurrajong it is a stunning white building with a red tiled roof and was also patronized by politicians and Prime Ministers alike. Indeed, Prime Minister James Scullin also refused to live in the lodge and resided at the hotel. However, unlike the Kurrajong, the Hyatt is not known for its ghostly prime ministers.
Instead, the Hyatt’s occurrences read like a centuries old English castle. Stories of a young girl in white standing in a corridor staring, taps turning themselves on and off, footsteps in empty hallways, apparitions of 1920s party goers in the ballroom, disembodied voices in the function rooms, and a girl in red that allegedly haunts the old boiler room.
Admittedly, ghosts are a big deal in the world of the historic hotels and so it would seem in the case of the Hyatt. And yet these sightings and occurrences have been reported for years and years.
Ex staff members and guests speak of haunted rooms where strange things happen and many have reported the sighting of the young girl with dark wavy brown hair and a long elegant dress who stands mournfully staring down a corridor before simply vanishing. It is rumored that the spirit is that of a young girl who died in the late 1920s after drowning or being suffocated by her parents. Whatever the case, it forms the basis of what could be considered a classic haunting.
Others speak of taps in bathrooms being turned on by themselves when no-one is in the room. Others report footsteps in their rooms and outside in deserted corridors and a feeling of being watched. In 1997 a staff member once reported a complete apparition after going to investigate the sounds of partying in the hotels deserted ballroom at 2.00am in the morning.
A number of years ago a room called The Oak Room was refurbished to create a functions room. During the refurbishment it has been alleged that painters often complained to management about paint tins being tipped over, lights mysteriously turning themselves on and off, and chandeliers shaking violently. Indeed, one contractor even claimed that he heard a voice telling him to leave the room and not continue with the work. Even today workers at the hotels claim they have heard whispering and sniggering laughter behind their backs if they are setting up the new function room.
Just as interesting is the old boiler room in the hotel. Many years ago a freak accident was said to have occurred and the caretaker’s daughter was scolded to death. These days the old boiler room is now a wine cellar although staff often comment that they have seen in the corner of their eye a young girl in a red dress running past them.
However, is it true or not? People have reported the apparition of the young girl with dark wavy brown hair and a long elegant dress on numerous occasions so there is no need to doubt their word. That it is a ghost or a trick of light or whatever is what we need to consider. What is it that so many people have seen over such a long period of time? And why do these people insist that they have seen the ghost of a little girl?
Lots of things can affect the human mind and trick us into believing that we have seen something that in reality does not exist. Shadows on walls, shards of light, darkened areas in corners of rooms, and even smoke can at times look like the human form. Combine these with a lack of sleep, or alcohol, or any number of things and its not surprising that people will swear blind that they have seen something.
Extract taken from A Case for Ghosts by JG Montgomery (Ginninderra Press 2012). His latest book, WYRD- A Personal Journey Into the Beliefs and Philosophies of the Known and Unknown (CFZ Press Devon England) is now available. A new book Meditations in Orange will be available through Pendragon Publishing later this year.