New Zealand's history

Paranormal stories from New Zealand’s buildings: part 4

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 fourth part!

  1. Former Fortune Theatre
Fortune Theatre closes | Otago Daily Times Online News
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Not long after the Fortune Theatre moved into the old church, tales spread of “sinister voices” being heard offstage and well-secured lights falling from the lighting grid. A phantom audience member has also been reported by theatregoers on numerous occasions. Reports continued to come from a variety of reliable sources until the claimed hauntings of the Fortune Theatre became a part of Dunedin folklore. There’s claimed to be the ghost of a young woman gliding through a wall of the foyer, below a Gothic window. A lighting technician claimed that he was all alone setting up on stage one day when he “glimpsed a person” over his shoulder on the edge of the stage and thought that “they were reading through some lines, as an actor would” but knew no cast members were around at the time. He turned the stage lights on and “suddenly they were gone”. A man who ran the box office claimed to have had two “disconcerting” experiences. The first experience involved a “young boy sitting in the corner”. He initially “thought nothing of it” but the “realisation struck” him that the theatre was closed. He “turned back around, but he’d disappeared.” The second experience involved a girl he claims he noticed when he “looked up to the back corner of the audience seating, near where the soundman usually sits” after he heard “a strange noise in the theatre” on one occasion.

2. Regent Theatre

Dunedin Regent Theatre.jpg
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Electrical appliances and taps have reportedly turned themselves on or off, and two theatre patrons have claimed feeling someone or something kicking the underside of their seats. The theatre was built over the site of buildings destroyed in a major fatal fire. Cold spots have been noticed and recorded. Unseen presences have been felt by sensitive people. Many think that the spirit of Francis Falk still enjoys doing all his duties. The marquee will be turned off by an unseen presence. Footsteps are heard on the upstairs wooden floors when no one living is up in that area. This spirit still likes to supervise in the projection booth and to relive the great memories he had there. Patrons and employees have felt a friendly cold hand on their shoulders. For chuckles, Falk is thought to be the jokester who blows his warm breath on the backs of the living. Employees have felt a touch/flick of their hair that reminds them of Falk, who used to do this when he was alive. The image of Francis Falk was seen in the projectionist booth window by the new projectionist and Theatre manager the day following the memorial service of Falk. A shadowy apparition has been seen in the projection room. A visitor saw a group of apparitions dressed in 1800s costumes practicing on the stage.

3. Chateau Tongariro (Hotel)

haunted women's asylum
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Chateau Tongariro was a women’s asylum in the 1940s, following the temporary closure of the Porirua Lunatic Asylum due to the 1942 Wairarapa earthquake. It has been a site of murder, suicide, and accidents, which makes it one of the eerie places in New Zealand. Curtains moving on their own, fires stuttering in their fireplaces, doors opening and closing, are some incidents common here. It has also happened that “unwelcome” guests find their bags packed and ready to go in the morning. The staff tells stories of a nurse named Charlotte, who was said to have died in one of the rooms. It’s believed that Charlotte continues to make her presence felt in the hotel, particularly in one of the rooms, which was said to be her favourite. Room 305, to be exact. There are also sightings of patients who have hung themselves.

4. Otira Tunnel

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If you find a friendly man helping people in this tunnel, it may not actually be a man. While there’s nothing too spooky about it, the story says that a Scottish man was killed during the construction of the tunnel. He apparently helps people walking with his swag as he himself struggles to find his way home. He walks with his swag along the road beside the tracks. He’s always seen travelling east on the Old Coach Road and is thought to be trying to get to reach Lyttelton so he can catch a ship home. Various people have reportedly spotted the ghost on the road between Arthurs Pass, Bealey, and Cass over the years.

5. Jubilee Pavilion

haunted place
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The pavilion stands are allegedly the preferred haunt of a frequently seen ‘shadow person’. Described as all black (looking like a shadow) and without any visible features. Sitting on the left-hand side seating of the pavilion as though looking out onto the field, watching a sporting event. It has been witnessed by a few people through the years. Always in the same pavilion side, same row, and in the same position. Sitting, looking forward. People working around the stadium, or walking through the park have gone over to see this ‘person’, only to have it disappear before they reach the stands. No one seems to know who this person might be, but it is theorised that it might be the ghost of a lonely homeless man who frequented the stadium for many years to watch the local sporting teams play there. Some say he was a Maori homeless man who was quite known and liked within the community and would attend many sporting events. He was described as having a bushy grey beard, old hat, and overcoat, always smiling and happy, and loved to chat with people. Without an abode, he would sometimes be seen sleeping in the stands at times, in that very spot. He was found dead in the stands many years ago, thought to be the unfortunate victim of a gang-related attack.

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

Love, Skye Lewis/Deem ❤

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