Ghosts Of The Bay


This canal runs through my local park. It is fenced off on both sides mainly due to people throwing rubbish into it. To date I have counted about 20 shoes floating in the water. Some of them loll about forlornly, others snag on rocks; some could be mistaken for brightly coloured fish.

I have seen old pots in the canal, street signs, shopping trolleys. The local kids often chuck things in there for sport. But it is not often I see a person standing as if waiting to jump in to the water.

The area where I live is on traditional Aboriginal land. Often there is a strange crackling in the air as if spirits lurk. I know a handful of people who have seen ghosts in their houses. The house I lived in seven years ago was haunted. Badly. I should do a post about it, but it might scare you. It scares me just thinking about it, especially as my husband saw the ghost and she looked at him. He was the world’s greatest skeptic until that moment.

Some people are definitely more susceptible to the paranormal than others. The Irish side of my family all had uncanny powers. My Uncle admitted to me a couple of years ago that he drank to drown out the images in his head – premonitions of the future.  There have been stories of ghost sightings and other paranormal experiences for almost a hundred years in my family, but it is something that is rarely talked about.

I see ghosts. I don’t like it. I don’t see them all the time, but when I do it unnerves me. I feel sick and start to shake and I always say in a really gruff voice :’ Get out of here. Go back where you came from.’ My Grandma used to say that all the time to the ghost of Andy O’Halloran who lived in her cow shed. He used to scare the cows so much that sometimes their milk dried up. Cows are very intuitivc creatures. They don’t like anything with negative energy.

I know by now you’re probably thinking that I have lost my marbles; especially with the bit about cows seeing ghosts. All I know is that I see what I see and it has nothing to do with believing or not believing.

I often say :

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Not because I ‘m a pretentious type who likes to quote Shakespeare at any given moment, but because I do believe there are more things in heaven and earth than we can dream of. And that includes ghosts.

To get back to the canal –

Imagine the photo above in the dark. The water is like treacle. Lights sweep the path leading to the road. It is quiet. After midnight. Even the nocturnal fruit bats have settled into the fig trees, snuffling like old men.

Mel and I were walking home from visiting a friend last night. We were crossing the bridge over the canal when we saw a woman standing on the little grassy verge. Her features were hard to catch sight of but she had long dark hair.

Mel initially thought she was going to try and commit suicide by throwing herself into the water. I thought she was drunk or had dropped something in the water. The water is only about a foot deep so it would be possible to retrieve anything that had fallen in.

Mel remained convinced she was trying to harm herself and called out to her. And this is the freaky part. She turned her head towards us then disappeared.

‘Shit,’ I said.

‘Holy shit,’ Mel said.

‘Let’s get out of here,’ I said.

‘I want to know where she went,’ Mel said. It’s the journalist in her – she can’t let things go. She always has to get to the truth of the situation. She ran to the grassy verge. I was like one of those soon-to-be victims in a horror movie who stands there silently opening and closing her mouth. Rooted to the spot.

There was nothing there. The woman was gone.

‘We must have imagined it,’ Mel said.

‘Oh no we didn’t,’ I said. ‘We saw her alright.’

‘How could she just have disappeared like that?’

‘You know how,’ I said with a very dramatic pause.

‘Oh, come on,’ Mel said. ‘You don’t expect me to believe your theory that the park is haunted, do you?’

‘I have seen things,’ I said.

‘Well, I haven’t and I don’t believe in ghosts.’

‘But you saw the woman just then,’ I said. ‘You can’t deny it.’

Thank goodness we spent the rest of the walk home arguing, because it took our minds off the fact that we were both scared. But now Mel is curious. She wants to see if The Woman By The Water (as we have named her) will appear again. She is trying to talk a photographer friend of hers into laying in wait. She wants me to go with them, convinced I am some kind of conduit for ghostly activity. But I don’t want to go. I already know the truth. At night, when the silence settles like a swathe of velvet cloth, the ghosts of the bay come out to play; ancient spirits still tied to their home.

15 thoughts on “Ghosts Of The Bay

  1. Freaky. There is a museum here in town, they say is haunted. The Man, who used to work there, swears up and down, that’s it’s all an old wives’ tale and there is no truth to the fact. Yet, there are two distinct areas of the museum that made me irrationally uncomfortable. The mammal dioramas and the aboriginal artifacts. This even before I knew of the legend.

    I don’t know… I could smell my grandmother in our house after she died, and I think I saw her sitting in her favourite chair. Still given all this, I’m not sure I believe.


  2. Mel needs to be the journalist she is, and do some research on the history of that place. I’ll bet she could find an explanation – maybe even a picture.

    As you know, I’m right there with you on the ghost thing. I don’t generally see forms and features, but I often see balls and flashes of light. Of course, those could also be the result ocular migraines, but I don’t think so. I’m a believer if there ever was one.


  3. My only ‘encounter’ is the woman I thought walked into the road in front of my car one night. I braked hard, and the car behind ran into me.

    The driver rushed up … did you hit her? Is she all right? but there was not a trace to be seen.

    Then, two police officers arrived in a car, and asked what was going on. We told them, and one of them said. ‘This woman … mid-thirties, dark hair, wearing a short red jacket, a black skirt and red shoes?’

    I said yes, how did you know? and the other driver agreed.

    The policeman gave me an odd look, and said ‘Tell your insurance company a dog ran out in front of you!’


  4. I believe in ghosties. Kind of. Time is not linear so the ghosties may be views across wrinkles in the continuum. I’m not scared of them though, mostly they are just lonely or have some unfinished business. There’s lots of reports of people seeing ghosts, almost none of people being hurt by them.


  5. NAT:
    And that’s the odd thing with me too. I’m not sure I believe. I keep trying to rationalise it all away. That is freaky about the museum and your grandmother. I wonder……

    I see the flashes of light too. What has freaked me out lately is that my son has started to see them as well as other images. He also has dreams about what will happen the next day. It is a little unnerving because most of the time he is right. When we lived in our old house he saw the ghost there. Repeatedly. He was just a toddler at the time. He called her ‘The Lady.’ I still get a little chill when I think about it.

    What an incredible story. WOW. If the policeman gave you that odd look she must have appeared to several people. That is amazing. I would love to know more.

    They probably are wrinkles in time. I am really fascinated by the paranormal and whether or not the existence of ghosts can be scientifically proven. You’re right – very few people report being hurt by them. It’s so interesting, isn’t it?


  6. I am TERRIFIED of anything ghostly or haunted, however, I honestly DO want to hear about your Haunted House story!

    As for the canal, that is sad people throw garbage in it! That is so wrong.

    As for the ghost you saw? I would have been FROZEN just like you.


  7. Oh my gosh, I used to do that in high school – have accurate precognitive dreams. One of my mom’s friends told me that when I was a toddler I used to tell my mom I was talking to “grandpa” – her dad, who died when my mom was six. Apparently, I would repeat things he had said that I couln’t possibly have known, and it used to freak her out. I have no recollection of any of that.

    Your son sounds extra sensitive in this arena, though. I’m glad he has you for a mom. I can’t imagine anyone better to talk him through it.

    btw, I took back my old link and name for Your Presence Requested. I wasn’t “feeling” the new blog name.


  8. MELEAH:
    I will tell that story but I’ll have to write it when the sun is shining. LOL. I hate it when people throw rubbish in the canal, it’s just so selfish.

    You definitely have a sixth sense thing going on. I have always felt that about you. Glad the real Epiphany is back. She is awesome!!

    It was a little spooky, I must admit. Things that go bump in the night, eh?


  9. I read your blog and enjoy your writings very much — both your fiction pieces and your daily life. I love the photo of the canal by your house — one can tell Austraila was settled by the English — I have a photo I took of the canal that runs through Milton Keynes where my cousin lives. We were cruising up canal on a Sunday afternoon (she lives on a narrow boat) and I took nearly the exact photo you have — canal with grassy banks and arched stone bridge. There are no fences in my photo and to my knowledge no ghosts along the canal, but being where it is with all the history behind it, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were several. I have never seen a ghost, but the 1928 house I live in in Southern California has “presences” — people walking down the hall sometimes. It’s benign and not scary.


    How nice of you to stop by. I really enjoyed hearing about your house and the canal in Milton Keynes. I have actually cruised up that same canal!

    Sydney was settled by the English. Much of the architecture is very Victorian in style. Many of the street names and town names are taken from British towns. Despite the heat and the native flora and fauna you would sometimes think you were in a part of England.

    I am very interested to hear about your house, particularly about the hall. I have found that most of the houses I lived in that were ‘haunted’ had a lot of activity in the hall. I’ll need to research that to see if it is a common occurrence.

    I really appreciate your comment. Nice to meet you!


  11. I don’t see things as much as sense them. Killer was having some problems with “a something” at her old place. To make a long story short, I told her what it wanted, she did it, and it stopped scaring her and her kids. I will catch glimpses of things, but nothing as dramatic as what you’ve seen.


  12. Selma — My house (actually, not “mine” but the house I rent and live in) is a Craftsman Bungalow built in 1928 in Fullerton, California. (About 6 miles north of Anaheim & Disneyland). I moved in on 1/1/90 with my daughter who was 20 at the time. She was going to school at the local community college four blocks away.

    I have always noticed “activity” in hallways of homes I have lived in — and they have usually been very short hallways — the current one is maybe 10 feet long. I think it’s more than just an old wooden house settling, but have never seen anything or anyone.

    Once, when I was at my High Priestess’s apartment waiting for my initiation ritual — meditating in her bedroom I saw — I’m not sure what — movement and shapes crossing the room out of the corner of my eye, but when I turned my head to actually look in that direction they were gone.

    Hope your weather is cooling off for you now that Autumn is in your land — it is “Spring here, but still in the 40’s and 50’s — it’a been an unusually cold winter for this area. I could use some warmth! But I’m hoping that when it tops 100 this summer I will know enough to not complain!

    Must work now. Ta, MaryEllen


  13. I’m not sure what I’d do if I saw a ghost. I have a sick fascination with death so I might want to try to talk to them. So many people claim not to believe in ghosts but then who would want to hang out in a cemetery at night? I know I wouldn’t.


  14. KAREN:
    Good to hear you could sort out that renegade spirit. It is nice to have a bit of ability in that area. My grandmother was great for that sort of thing. She carried sage with her wherever she went.

    You sound like a really interesting person. Do you have a blog? I would love to read it if you do.

    It is warm here today. 31C. I think we are in for a dry, mild winter. I will continue to pray for rain!

    It is spooky in a cemetery at night. Whether you believe or not. Not for the faint-hearted. I would like to try and communicate with a ghost too, but I usually chicken out!


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