By Lauren Ferrone
Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
If you dare, save the jack-o-lantern pumpkins for a roast dinner and venture out on Halloween to brave a spooky experience or two at these historic South Australian places.
1. Get admitted to hospital
While hospital is the last place most of us want to be, a visit to Glenside’s old Z Ward is purely voluntary. That said, a tour of this building is definitely for the brave-hearted with a fascination for the paranormal.
Opened in 1885, Z Ward was once home to South Australia’s violent and criminally insane patients. Since closing in 1973, it’s gained a reputation for ghosts and other strange goings-on.
Today, daring guests can tour the spooky building and be locked inside the cells for a taste of what self-isolation felt like for the ward’s former patients.
All up, expect to do a few double-takes as you wander the hallways of Z Ward and wonder: did I really see that shadowy figure or was it just my imagination?
2. Sit down for a meal in Millicent with rowdy patrons
Dubbed one of South Australia’s most haunted pubs, the Grand Hotel in Millicent on the Limestone Coast has a few unusual patrons who frequent the popular watering hole.
There have been reported sightings of shadowy figures, such as the mysterious man known to stand by the creaky staircase. You might also hear loud thuds and footsteps coming from the hotel’s boarded-up bedrooms.
Then there’s the abandoned baby crib in one of the bedrooms and the small handprints smeared across one of the walls. Spooked yet? Don’t worry – there’s good pub grub, so don’t leave without sitting down for a meal. That’s if you can stomach it after reading this.
3. Go on a road trip to a ghost town
You’ve probably heard that Kapunda – the town on the Light River – is one of the most haunted in Australia. However, there’s another tiny ghost town in South Australia worth visiting.
Far, far away in the state’s outback – about 55km south of Marree where the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdsville Track start – you’ll find Farina.
Now nothing more than a fascinating collection of ruins, the town of Farina once had a church, brewery, police station, hospital and cemetery. Today, the desert sun has deteriorated what’s left.
Perhaps the creepiest story to come from this abandoned outback town is that of French lady Miriam Bebe who’s buried in the graveyard.
Despite the cemetery’s decaying gravestones, Miriam’s memorial stone apparently remains in pristine condition. Mysteriously, little is known about who has maintained the grave since her death in 1939.
4. Experience some freaky fashion
Long before Martin Haese donned the regal robes, this former Lord Mayor of Adelaide was employed at clothing retailer Youthworks in the CBD.
It was at the former store that he experienced a freaky fashion moment that has landed this Rundle Mall building, now home to women’s fashion store Dotti, with a reputation for being haunted.
One night in 1998, Mr. Haese was unpacking boxes in the basement and reportedly heard someone with heels walking across the concrete floor upstairs.
Up for a shopping spree with a difference? Next time you stop for a shop at Dotti, listen out for the clanking of heels and see if you can feel any chills run down your spine.
5. Hit the town with invisible friends
Ghosts seem to follow the former Lord Mayor wherever he goes. Next? Adelaide Town Hall.
An unexplained prison cell hidden within the building has fuelled speculation the place is haunted. There are reportedly doors that rattle and the mysterious smell of smoke randomly wafts throughout the building on occasion.
Opened in June 1866, Adelaide Town Hall has been an iconic city venue for concerts, public gatherings and meetings ever since. It even hosted British pop group The Beatles on the balcony above a crowd of thousands in 1964.
If you’re visiting anytime soon, listen out for spooky sounds or other strange sightings.