New Zealand's history

Paranormal stories from New Zealand’s buildings: part 1

Warning: contains topics that may cause an uneasy feeling. Advised to not read at night or rather with someone when easily feeling unsettled.

New Zealand has many buildings that behold ghost stories, or well, paranormal ones. I’ve always been interested in such stories, including abandoned buildings. Sure, the question will always be the same: are such stories true? Multiple buildings have been visited by paranormal scientists, and they said it was true. In several parts, I’ll be telling all paranormal stories and the history of New Zealand’s buildings! Today: the first part!

  1. Kingseat Hospital
Kingseat Hospital (New Zealand) - Wikipedia
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Over 100 apparitions have been seen at the former psychiatric hospital. Kingseat operated from 1932 to 1999 when it was closed as part of New Zealand’s reform of its mental health system. The sprawling compound at one stage housed over 800 patients, with a maximum-security wing and a morgue onsite. It’s alleged patients were subjected to horrific acts of abuse at Kingseat. Claimed systemic abuse included beatings, sexual assault, and misuse of electric-shock therapy and drugs as punishment. According to several paranormal investigators, there were more nurses who died on the premises than patients, and that staff suicide was a common occurrence there. With over 100 reported ghost sightings at Kingseat, the most prevalent is “The Grey Nurse” who took his own life and now apparently dwells in the old nurses’ quarters. The nursing arena seems to have provided fertile ground for ghost hunting. Hunters have been communing with a ghost named Alexis Jackson, a nurse who continues to “look after patients” at the hospital. In a bathtub, a woman was supposedly being pushed under the water. Her arms and legs were thrashing in the bathtub. A hand and arm pushed her under the water drowning her. Some people have been creeped out by “object manipulation”, and chilly spots. And at the Kingseat villas, there’s been some serious poltergeist activity with reports of shaking cupboard doors, tapping on windows, self-operating toilets and taps, and moving furniture. Voices have been heard, sulfur smelt and shadowy figures seen.

2. The Riccarton Racecourse Hotel

The Riccarton Racecourse Hotel. Photo / Supplied
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The ghost of former licensee Donald Fraser is said to walk the corridors of the hotel looking for his killer. Fraser was killed in the middle of the night in 1933 in his bedroom, where his wife was asleep, by two blasts from a double-barrelled shotgun. His wife claimed not to have shot Fraser in the middle of the night and was acquitted of his murder. The movements and circumstances of everyone in the house at the time, and of guests at a party held in the hotel earlier in the evening, were checked and rechecked but no one was ever found guilty of the murder.

3. Larnach Castle

Dunedin City Tour, Larnach Castle, Cadbury's Chocolate Factory 2022 -  Dunedin en het Otago Peninsula
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At least two ghosts, reputedly that of William Larnach and his vengeful wife Eliza, are believed to haunt Larnach Castle. Larnach shot himself in the head in 1898 after learning of an affair between his young third wife and one of his sons from his first marriage. Both the first and second Mrs. Larnachs, who were half-sisters, died in the castle at age 38. Larnach’s daughter Kate is said to haunt the ballroom, built to celebrate her 21st birthday in 1886. She died just a few years later from typhoid.

4. Waitomo Caves Hotel

Waitomo Caves Hotel, Waitomo - Boek een aanbieding op
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The hotel is reputedly haunted by a Maori man, a Maori princess, a woman in Victorian dress, Mrs. Ruterford (the wife of the first owner whose dress accidentally caught fire) and a young girl. Bathtubs reportedly drip blood, orbs bounce around the driveway and footsteps are heard. Some people have experienced the dining room going cold, laughter, the feeling of ‘something’ walking through them, and even the noise of a maid’s trolley going along the long stretch of the hall in the lower part of the hotel. The Maori princess’ story is a tragic one. She’s said to have fallen in love with a British soldier who was stationed at the fort that used to be here. She snuck out one night, hoping to meet her lover in secret, but was mistaken for a Maori warrior by a sentry guard. The princess was shot and died at the spot. Her spirit has been seen in the entire hotel, but mainly in the Victorian wing where she haunts room 12. There she moves the lights in the en-suite bathroom, and she’s notorious for pulling off bedsheets. She has also been seen in the attic where she moans all night. The young man that stayed in room 14 a long time ago, had a scary encounter with the Maori princess. He told other guests that he felt her pass through him. Shortly after he dropped that message, he went up to his room and took his own life. He still haunts this room and the adjoining corridors. People claim to have seen blood dripping in the bathtub of this room, even though the young man killed himself by hanging. Cat Alley is the name of a cluster of small rooms and corridors for workers and maids to sleep in. Cat Alley connected these rooms to the kitchen and the restaurant. One night in the 1930’s, one of the maid’s snug in her little boy at night. He accidently knocked over a pot with boiling water and got burned so badly that he died of his injuries. The staff has been calling him Daniel. He’s said to be giggling, skipping and children who stay at the hotel often complain about being followed by a strange boy. Like many hotels, there’s no room 13 at the Waitomo Caves Hotel. Number 13 is called 12A, and it’s incredibly haunted. Objects are being moved and footprints are heard AND seen. Someone accidentally spilled talcum powder on the floor and powdered footprints were formed by unseen feet. Room 25 is a room the staff doesn’t like to come. People complain having an uneasy feeling, screams are heard, and objects are moved here as well. This room is haunted by a former staff member. She still gives orders to the staff as if she’s still in charge today.

5. The Vulcan Hotel

New owner of Central Otago hotel not spooked by ghost encounter |
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The hotel is notable as possibly the country’s most famous haunted building. Room 1 of the hotel is reputedly home to the spirit of a young woman, thought by some to be a prostitute known as “the Rose”, who was strangled to death in the hotel in the 1880s. The Rose invited the wrong customer back to her room. Her body was found the next morning on the bed where she made her living. Her killer was never caught. She now haunts the room where she was killed, targeting male guests with her nasty nocturnal visits.

Which story had you heard before? And which one seems the most ‘creepy’ to you?

Love, Skye Lewis/Deem ❤

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