A haunting visit

Last weekend I visited New Norcia. It’s a weird place – its own little kindgom located northeast of Perth, unanswerable to any shire or council – rather it is owned and governed by the benevolent monks of the New Norcia brotherhood.

It’s stuck in the middle of nowhere, a collection of somewhat awe-inspiring buildings that seem to have grown up out of the gravel, red dirt and coffee rock. The trees are sparse and the only green is the occasional surprising patch of carefully watered lawn.The buildings are all orange and white, so in a strange way they match the environment’s colour scheme, but the architecture is an unexpected mixture of 1930s art deco, Edwardian, gothic, and old Spanish.

hotel

New Norcia Hotel

monastary

New Norcia Monastery

st ilde

St Ildephonsus, the old Boys’ School

I was there for a murder mystery night which, I’ve got to say, was incredibly good fun. We were dressed in 1920s costumes and practically had the hotel to ourselves, so you can imagine how the characters emerged and the champagne flowed! We had heard that the New Norcia hotel was very haunted, so expectations were high for some ghostly action.

Once the murder mystery was close to being solved, my partner and I decided to explore the hotel and do a little ghost hunting. We found a creepy chair, which I had to pose in, ‘looking spooky.’

The Creepy Chair

The Creepy Chair

The chair without a sitter (or maybe not)

The chair without a sitter (or maybe not)

We agreed that the staircase and balustraded area were deeply spooky. However, not a ghost to be seen.

Top of the stairs

Top of the stairs

The view down the grand staircase

The view down the grand staircase

We wandered and poked into every corner we could, but alas no ghosts. This was quite disappointing for us both, so we posed in the bathroom together, imagining how we would look if we HAD found a ghost.

The Haunted Toilet

The Haunted Toilet

We did manage to find one spirit. A fine vodka which left me feeling rather un-fine the next morning.

Is New norcia hotel haunted?

Who knows? We found no evidence and had no sightings, although the blurry waiter in one photo got us all excited for a short time. I was very suspicious of some windows high above us as we sat on the balcony, to which I couldn’t find any access whatsoever. There’s obviously either an attic or roofspace or another storey to that place – but it’s one to which there is unfortunately no public access.

There were, however, one or two odd things that happened. Firstly, when I arrived in my room I was unpacking and suddenly, right next to the bed, got a whiff of that distinct and nasty odour that is an unmistakable sign something has died and is returning to the dust whence it came. The smell was strong and specifically located around my bedside table. ‘Great,’ I remember thinking to myself. ‘I get to sleep in the stinky room where some possum or mouse has carked it.’ However, I did not once smell the smell again, even when I was sleeping with my nose right next to the bedside table.

The other thing that happened (not in my presence) was that the lights, an overhead light and bedside lamp, both went out in a room where two of my friends were working on part of the game. When they called to one of their husbands, he was able to switch the overhead light back on at the wall without any problem. Who had switched it off? Then my friend had to actually crawl under the bed to switch the power supply on at the wall to make the bedside lamp come back on. Two switches flicked off simultaneously while no one else was in the room and the two girls were huddled together over a pile of papers? Very odd.

Mmm, such good writing fodder!

I leave you with a picture of the mysterious, inaccessible windows, and the spooky ghost whom we later identified as the cheeky young waiter.

garcon

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