Halloween has arrived and this week we've investigated some of the region's spookiest stories, legends, tall tales, and of course trick or treating. Why not come along for the ride, don't be frightened... what have you got to lose?
HALLOWEEN was traditionally a time when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts, but over the years it has morphed into a time for telling spooky stories, some tall, some true.
This week Australian Community Media talked to a woman who told us her spooky tale.
Orange resident Jodie Stewart still recalls how she felt after her then six-year-old son told her the story of his "past life" during an innocent family outing to Ophir.
While there they visited an uninhabited recreation reserve located in a gorge.
"It was the first time we had ever taken our son out to Ophir," Mrs Stewart said of the spot located 29 kilometres north-east of Orange.
"The first night there he said to my husband and I: 'Mum and Dad, you know this used to be my home out this way'.
"He told us his name was William back then, and he went on to tell us that he had been married to a woman named Emma, and together they had three children.
The first night there he said to my husband and I: 'Mum and Dad, you know this used to be my home out this way'Jodie Stewart
"He told us that one of the children had passed away because there were no hospitals for babies to be born back then.
"He told us about his horse and cart and how he used to look for gold to make his family rich."
Coincidentally, Ophir reserve is the site of Australia's first significant gold discovery, but Mrs Stewart said her then six-year-old wouldn't have had a clue about that at the time.
"He told us of how he eventually died in a mining accident when rocks fell on him as he was making a new mining tunnel," she said.
"He then told Bobby [Mrs Stewart's partner] and I how he saw us from heaven when we had no children and chose to be our child so that he could come back to life."
According to Mrs Stewart, this wasn't the only time her son has reflected back on his "past life" in Ophir as a man named William.
Years later, Mrs Stewart's son, who is now an adult, resides in the Ophir area, seemingly as though his connection to the area inevitably drew him back.
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But the story doesn't end there, according to Mrs Stewart, she was equipped with a warning of the situation well before her son was even born.
"Before my son was born, when I was pregnant with him, I had my tea leaves read," she said.
"The man said to me; you will meet an old soul during your life who has walked this earth before."
Mrs Stewart's son asked not to be identified due to the controversial nature of the topic.
Central West's haunting legends
Old Dubbo Gaol
IT may be one of the region's most well-known tourist attractions, but for this duo the Old Dubbo Gaol proved to be their most haunted experiences yet.
Anne Rzechowicz and psychic medium Renata Daniels are from Frightfully Good, a paranormal and spiritual investigative duo and their visit to the Old Dubbo Gaol was one to remember.
The tourist attraction in Dubbo is said to be haunted by spirits of its past occupants.
We connected with a spirit named Folk Barnett. I asked him how he died, and he answered a gun.Anne Rzechowicz
The duo have travelled all over Australia conducting ghost hunts and tours at haunted locations, both for beginners and more 'extreme' participants.
The Old Dubbo Gaol was a courthouse lockup in 1847 before being proclaimed an official gaol in 1859. It then closed operations as a penal institution in 1966.
Ms Rzechowicz and Ms Daniels conduct their investigations using "technology, science and logic" and often lead groups on their hunting tours.
"During our visit to the Old Dubbo Gaol, I had been using a spirit box 11. It was scanning through the airwaves at a rapid pace. Spirits manipulate the waves to speak to us," Ms Rzechowicz said.
"Half of the group had headphones on, and the other half were asking questions. So the people with headphones on couldn't hear the questions.
"We were at the end of the beds in the old hospital room, and we connected with a spirit named Folk Barnett. I asked him how he died, and he answered a gun. Then I asked him where he had been shot, he said; in the groin.
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"We looked at his history later, and sure enough, he had died from a gunshot wound to the groin.
"We don't often get intelligent communication from spirits. Usually, they just moved things."
Other technology the duo used also picked up on movements, and Ms Rzechowicz said they almost always pick up on a lot of swearing in jails.
"The old residences of the [Old Dubbo] Gaol are definitely still lingering and intelligently interacting," she said.
Fear fuels spirits. Often they're just trying to send you a message, don't tell them to get out and don't provoke them.Anne Rzechowicz
Ms Rzechowicz said paranormal investigation groups need to be respectful when conducting a hunt.
"Don't assume a spirit is negative. Most of the time it's a family member or an original residence," she said.
"Fear fuels spirits. Often they're just trying to send you a message, don't tell them to get out and don't provoke them.
"If you're in a situation where you're living in a home that encases a spiritual entity that is scaring you, ask it nicely to stop and send you a dream to get their message to you instead."
Frightfully Good stream live on Facebook every Monday at 7.30pm.
THIS grand old house that sits on a hill just outside Bathurst is haunted, well at least that's what the whispers say.
Abercrombie House is a historic mansion built in the 1870s during the colonial, Victorian and federation period.
Former soldier and the lieutenant-governor of NSW, William Stewart, was granted an estate of 3200 acres (1295 hectares) for his retirement in 1826 by Governor (Sir) Ralph Darling.
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Sometime after his death William's eldest son, James, built Abercrombie House on the property.
The land includes an orchard that was initially tended by the Stewart family. James Stewart was so fond of the orchard that he was buried there before his body was moved to the local cemetery.
His memorial is still on the land.
In 1969 the property was purchased by Rex Henry Morgan.
Rex's son Christopher Morgan later moved his family from suburban Sydney to Bathurst in 1968 to live in the mansion.
Chris was six when his parents bought the historic mansion, it has 50 rooms, 30 fireplaces and seven stairwells.
"There was a period when it felt a bit ghostly," Chris said of Abercrombie House.
"We would look down towards the orchard, and there would be a man standing there, then you would go down there, and there was nobody.
"Sometimes you got a feeling in a room that someone was there, and you knew there wasn't."
Paranormal and Cryptid Taskforce (PACT), another paranormal investigative group based in Sydney, have had their sights set on Bathurst's Abercrombie House for a while.
PACT founder Rob Wilson said his team had tried on two occasions to conduct a paranormal investigation at the house, but the Morgans believed the investigation would disturb the spirits.
"We went there two times in one weekend, but it was a no-go, the Morgan family lives in the house, so it's understandable, they don't want the spirits being stirred up," he said.
Newell Highway- The Pilliga Princess
The Pilliga Forest, located near the Newell Highway, has been the source of many haunting legends over the years.
Legends of bunyips, yowies and mysterious lights moving through the trees have documented, but one of the most famous legends is that of the Pilliga Princess, or, the Bag Lady.
The Pilliga Scrub is a massive, dense and forbidding expanse of thick bushland in the top quarter of NSW and it is said to be the haunting lands of the Pilliga Princess.
The Pilliga Princess is said to be the spirit of Clare Wibson, a homeless woman with grey hair who was hit and killed by a truck in 1993.
In the official statement, the driver reported he had been driving through Pilliga at night when his headlights caught sight of the woman on the road ahead.
"She turned towards me, arms outstretched in a hugging-like gesture, and ran towards the truck," he said.
She turned towards me, arms outstretched in a hugging-like gesture, and ran towards the truck.Truck driver
The Twwoz Blogspot reports that Ms Wibson had lived in one of the towns near the forest, but went insane and fled into the woods.
Reports still persist today of drivers who claim to have seen the Pilliga Princess.
One driver reported hitting a trolley, but when his vehicle was checked for damage there was no wreckage found.
In another instance a truck driver called the ABC's Overnights radio program to share an encounter he said he'd had in 1978.
The driver told the program he had pulled over in the middle of the night after having heard loud "banging and crashing", the screeching of which he believed to be metal.
The man said his trucked began swaying from side to side, except there had been no wind that night.
The man cowered in the cabin of the truck until sunrise when the disturbances stopped.
When he finally left the cabin, he found metal of the trailer that had been twisted out of shape, the side shredded beyond repair.
Tips to stay safe while trick or treating
Halloween may be here, but don't be spooked by the bevy of gremlins, ghouls and ghosts hitting the streets.
We've got you covered.
Here's a list of some of the best ways to keep your kids safe and, perhaps just as importantly, not annoy those neighbours who still think Halloween is just some American holiday.
These tips for trick-or-treaters, parents and the community will ensure the spookiest night of the year goes off without being the scariest.
NSW Police Force's tips to help keep kids safe at Halloween:
- Always tell your parents or a responsible adult where you're going and what time you'll be home;
- Remain in familiar well-lit areas in your neighbourhood and don't take any shortcuts;
- Be sure to stick to the footpaths and remember to take extra care when crossing driveways or roads;
- Only cross the road at designated lights and crossings;
- Stay with your friends at all times and carry a mobile phone when 'trick or treating' in case of an emergency;
- If you're riding a bike or using a skateboard, ensure you are wearing a helmet;
- Under no circumstances should you ever get into a vehicle with someone you don't know; and,
- Don't ever enter a stranger's home, even if they invite you inside, say no.
Police officers have encouraged all trick or treaters to call triple-0 immediately In the event of an emergency or life-threatening situation.
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