Friday, November 16, 2007

Monte Cristo: Something Wicked This Way Comes

We're currently travelling around the countryside like a pair of demented Leyland Bothers, and other than encountering some very dodgy hotel rooms with drip feeders posing as showers, we're having a damn good time. So far, in two days, we've covered just under 1,800 kilometers and have stopped to snap off several happy snaps of ruins, the site of the Cowra breakout and much more. Including Monte Cristo.

Monte Cristo has the dubious reputation of being one of, if not the most haunted house in Australia. Pound for pound it has more reported ghosts than any other place outside of the odd cemetery, but you'd not want to hang with that fact. Their own web-site has the history of the place, so I won't go into extensive detail about what happened when and to who, but it is worth bearing in mind that more than one person have refused to enter the place or have had odd experiences whilst there.

You can count me in the latter list now. I've known about Monte Cristo for years. It's located in the township of Junee, a speck of fly droppings on a map really. Other than Monte Cristo, Junee is known for hosting the location of the largest turntable railway structure in Australia, if not the southern hemisphere. We visited that as well, but decided that an aerial photo was about the only way you'd get the full scope of the building. After that, and a night in Junee, we made our way to Monte Cristo.

The homestead itself is as impressive as any I've seen in ages. What makes it more impressive is the fact that when the current owners took possession the house was virtually in ruins. The restoration that has been undertaken is testament to the love and admiration that the owners have lavished on the property since they've lived there. There are before and after shots on the web-site proper, have a look and you'll see what I mean. The photo here is the front of Monte Cristo. It's a large property, with the min homestead, several barns and stables, servants quarters and a ballroom with a dining room attached. Impressive comes close to what you'll see here.

Once we entered we both felt fine. Downstairs not much happened but upstairs the fun began. There's four rooms that are accessible for the general public, the rear rooms held no fear for me, but the two front rooms, the main bedroom and the drawing room took me by surprise. The bedroom I couldn't enter. Each time I tried I felt myself walking backwards back into the hallway. I wasn't gripped by any force, no-one pushed me back, I just couldn't gt my brain to get my legs walking in the right direction. I felt my stomach tighten, I broke out in sweat and yet I was gripped in chills. I can't rightly say how I looked, but the other half started to ask if I was alright and looked very concerned, so I expect that my face broke out in an unusual look. The best I could do for photos was to stand back and point my camera into the room and hope for the best. The image in the mirror isn't a spook, it's the other half, caught in a happy accident.

This is the drawing room. I had a similar sensation in here to what I had in the bedroom, but not as strong. I could enter this room, but I couldn't walk about it all that much. I had the same feelings, tight stomach, chills and excessive sweat. I might point out at this stage that, although it was a hot day, the inside of the place was quite cool and refreshing. No-one else, including the other half, was sweating, certainly not as much as I was. Faced with this we then went out onto the balcony to get the breeze.

From the balcony we then went around to what is called the box room. This room was also used as a chapel back in the early 1900s, and this room was the worst of them all for me. As I approached I again began to walk backwards. I controlled myself and approached the room and snapped this photo only to find myself being propelled backwards against my will. Again nothing was physically pushing me backwards, but I found myself being almost thrown towards a stairwell. I grabbed the railing and caught myself in time. Falling downstairs doesn't bother me all that much, but at the bottom of the stairs was a frail little old lady who was part of a tour who couldn't climb the stairs and was sitting at the bottom taking a break. Had I fallen down the stairs, all six foot three of me and not the lightest person, well if I hadn't damaged me I'd have wiped her out totally and it all could have ended in tragedy. I felt a cold wind coming out of this room - the windows were shut and the wind, not a breeze, came from the rear of the room. This room has no drafts and no holes in it, yet the wind was fairly powerful. In comparison the other half felt a cool breeze. The atmosphere here was almost overpowering and even viewing the photos makes me feel ill at ease. The owners told me later that they've slept in that room with no problems, beats me how. I know I couldn't do it. Something lives and breathes in that room and it isn't good. As I said, I've always wanted to visit Monte Cristo and even though it wasn't as pleasant as I thought it'd be I'm glad I did it. Now we're thinking of doing an overnight stay, that'll be interesting.

There's more and when I get a bit more time I'll post further photos and observations. As it is we're about to leave the little town of Gunnedah, another speck on the map, and should be somewhere near Byron Bay by the evening, if not on the Gold Coast itself. From there the sky is the limit.


shishyboo said...

magnificent old house
would have been disappointed if you'd felt nothing i there?
are you still off o/s after this?

Danny said...

Oh yeah, I'd have been a bit crushed, yet the house was magnificent and would have made up for it.

No USA trip for me right now as the US state department couldn't get me an entry visa in time. Still, next year - my new mantra...

Shelley said...

My mother and I recently visited the house.. I was at ease all through down stairs, then when I got to the top floor I felt nauseas on the stairs and in the little boy's room. We then continued to the balcony and as plain as day I could hear footsteps on the gravel below but I looked around the whole gravel area and no one was in site yet the footsteps still continued.