Overland Corner Hotel - Flinders Ranges

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Overland Corner Hotel - Flinders Ranges

Post by Zic on Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:13 am

The photograph that hangs in the front bar of the hotel. Many believe that the image of the ghost is in the left side, just next to the first man.

The folks at the almost one hundred and fifty year old Overland Corner Hotel certainly do.

One night Publican Heather Wynand, who lives in the hotel, lay awake and heard the sound of music. With the bar closed and the doors locked, Ms Wynand thought someone must have left the jukebox on in the bar. As she contemplated getting up in the freezing cold she decided to lie in bed just a bit longer.

However, slowly she realised it wasn't the jukebox she could hear, but the sound of old time fiddle music that woke her. Then she recognised the sounds of men and revelry that grew louder as if to surround her.

This is just one of the many ghostly experiences Ms Wynand and her partner, Andrew Mader have had at the hotel which was built in 1859 for the drovers, cattlemen and steamboat captains who stopped there.

One night when Ms Wynand had a bad case of the flu, Mr Mader decided to sleep in one of the two bedrooms, which had been previously used as a makeshift morgue. In times past the bedrooms housed the bodies and the doors were regularly taken off and made into coffins. A sound sleeper, he woke to the feeling of his brass bed being vigorously shaken but not finding anyone else in the room who could be shaking it. Mr Mader believes it was the work of a ghost.

Hotel gardener, Bill Medley, believes he has seen the ghost. One night after the hotel had closed and the lights were turned off he saw the figure of a bearded man in a white nightshirt leave one of the bedrooms and move into the courtyard. "I'm not seeing things," he said, "it's real, I swear it" Mr Medley said.

Ms Wynand says she believes that ghosts defiantly inhabit the hotel and that they have a sense of humour and sometimes spontaneously put songs on the jukebox to communicate with them. "One time one of our regular customers was sitting in the bar talking about a band called Nazareth and out of the quiet a song of theirs started playing on the jukebox. We didn't even know one of their songs was on the jukebox, she says.

She also believes that the ghosts have definite opinions on how the hotel should look and will let them know their opinions on any renovations discussed. "We were planning to extend the kitchen and were discussing how we'd knock down a wall where a chimney now stands and all of a sudden a huge gust of wind started to blow an enormous amount of charcoal dust into the bar. We said to them "sorry we only thinking about it and the wind stopped."

Ms Wynand says that sometimes the ghosts are playful and move things around so that things aren't where she left them. "I could be doing my bookwork at a table, get up to do something and then go back and find that my paperwork has been moved. It will turn up later in a place I know I didn't leave it."

Former publican, Jim Kane believes he experienced some "ghostly" help when one night he was woken by the sensation of his arm being pulled and had a strong sense that he was being led somewhere. He walked into the bar to find someone had emptied an ashtray into a bin where it had ignited some papers. He had just enough time to open the door and throw the bin out onto the lawn before it burst into flames. Mr Kane believes that the "ghost" helped him save the hotel from burning down.

There are those who consider that they have seen the ghosts in photographs taken at the hotel. Local historian, Rosemary Gower recounts the story of how Mr Kane and his wife Chris had their photos taken in the hotel and that when the photos were processed they showed the figure of a man in a long beard in the background. "He looked very much "at home" she says.

Ms Gower believes you can see the ghost in a photo of the original publicans, that hangs in the front bar. In the forefront of the photo are the four Brand brothers who built the hotel and she claims that if you look just to the left of the photo you will be able to make out the face of a man who many locals believe is a photo of the ghost.

"One time I brought a group of people to the hotel to see the photograph and one person said that they didn't believe there was a ghost in it" Ms Gower said. "Just then the photo crashed to the floor in front of us. The string holding it up didn't break and the nail wasn't loose. It was strange, as if the ghost wanted us to know he was there."

Ms Wynand says she is used to living her lives with ghosts and that now when she wakes up in the middle of the night to the sounds of merry making she rolls over and goes back to sleep. "I think they are still having a good time and are just letting me know they are happy with the way the pub is being run" she said.

Taken from ABC Riveraland SA http://www.abc.net.au/riverland/stories/s1026397.htm

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