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Comfort At The Comet Inn

 

It was sometime in late October or early November 2003, my husband and I had been invited by friends to attend their daughter's christening in Oberon, in the central tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. When we set out on our trip, there were reports of black ice along the way on Bells Line of Road up in the Blue Mountains. This was unusual because it was already late Spring (seasons are the other way round in the Southern Hemisphere). Black ice forms when the air gets cold enough on the road surface and it is raining. It is a treacherous clear icy glaze, impossible to see on the black-colored road, much the same effect as a diesel fuel spill. As driving under those conditions was dangerous and we had been traveling all day, we decided to break the journey up by spending the night at the Comet Inn in the village of Hartley Vale, in the Blue Mountains.

It was a pleasant, historic inn established during the time when the shale mines were still open in the 1800s. We had dinner at the pub downstairs, which was a cozy, welcoming place filled with local memorabilia from the early settler days. Despite our best intentions of having an early mark, we wound up staying until early hours of the morning, chatting with the woman who ran the inn/pub and the bartender. It was well after 2am when we finished our drinks, both of us by now feeling in a mellow state.

The room we were given was on the first floor, up the short flight of stairs and around the corner to the left. I can't really describe the room too well, being quite well and truly tuckered-out by this stage. I think it was furnished in the early colonial-style, probably from the 1880s or thereabouts. An old-fashioned lacy wedding gown hung on one wall. The room felt a bit crowded, with heavy, ornate dark wood furniture crammed into a small space. The bed with its mile-high mattress was too tall for my short legs and I could have done with a stepladder getting into bed. A dresser with a tall mirror was positioned really close to the right side of the bed where I slept and I had to squeeze past it to reach the bed. At the same time, I had to be careful not knock off the various porcelain knickknacks displayed on the dresser or the vintage-style (brass, I think) touch-sensor lamp.

My husband, having done all the driving that day, fell asleep in an eye blink. But sleep wasn't on the cards for me. I had come down with a gastro bug the day before we left home and all the rich food at dinner, washed down with alcohol, wasn't agreeing with me. Before long, to my dismay, I had to get up again and make my way to the "necessary" room.

Thick blackout curtains hung at the windows, so once the lights were off, the room was pitch-black. I bumped my knee, then my arm on the corner of the dresser, fumbling around to find the brass lamp, hoping I didn't break anything too valuable or irreplaceable in the process. I remember muttering irritably to myself: 'Where's the stupid light?'

A faint silvery-green glow appeared near at hand and I thought with relief, 'Oh goody, here's the lamp'. So I tapped the lamp once more to brighten the light, proceeded to do what I needed and climbed back into bed.

By now, I was purged of all alcoholic effects. My forehead was clammy and I felt as strung-out as a wet linguini. Feeling miserable, I grumbled to my husband, 'I don't feel so good'. He slept on, totally oblivious. By now, I felt too weary even to raise my hand to push aside the sticky strand of hair lying across my forehead, so I just made a feeble attempt to blow it off.

Then, I thought I felt a breeze pass over my brow, stirring my hair. It was barely a wisp of air. I thought someone whispered to me: 'There, there'. Huh? I blinked, but the room was too dark to even see my hand before me. Shrugging it off as my imagination, but strangely comforted anyway, I was finally able to sleep.

The next thing I knew, my husband was moving around in the room, getting ready for breakfast. Still hazy from lack of sleep and positively seedy, I touched the lamp and it occurred to me how the light was another color, amber-yellow now, instead of pale silver-green. So I played around with the different light settings on the lamp by tapping it several times in a row. Tap, dim light; tap, brighter light; tap, full light; tap, light off.

My husband asked me, 'What are you doing?'

I replied, puzzled, 'The light's the wrong color.'

So I told him about my experience and wondered if it could have been a street light from across the road or a passing car at the time. But my husband reminded me that the window curtains were called "blackout" for good reason. The curtains had been drawn when we went to bed and no light could be seen from the street. He also pointed out that there were no street lights outside the inn or across the road.

We were still discussing the reason for the mysterious light source as we sat at the breakfast table. When our hostess and bartender heard about our story, they exchanged strange looks. So we pressed them for further details and they told us the story about the room.

Apparently the room that we slept in had belonged to a young wife (they told us her name, but I've forgotten it) who lived in the house at the time, probably in the 1800s. Tragically, she died in childhood in that very room while her husband was away from home. The wedding gown hanging up in the room had been hers.

Other guests in the past have experienced various things being moved around in the room or doors/drawers slamming. Once, a well-known Australian celebrity (better not mention his name) spent the night there while he was filming a fishing show in the area. He was woken up when the foot of the bed was shaken violently (guess she really wanted his attention). Although booked in for a few nights, he refused to stay any longer and promptly packed his bags and escaped the next morning.

When I think on that breeze, it seems more and more to me as if a cool hand had gently brushed my damp hair back off my forehead. Was it a product of a fevered imagination? Who knows? But it's nice to think that someone gave me comfort when I was feeling ill.

We never had the occasion to visit that part of the Blue Mountains again. I don't know if the same proprietor runs the Comet Inn. But the place is still there if you are traveling through the area. Have a schooner at the pub. It's worth a visit.

Http://www.cometinn.com/History.html

Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartley_Vale,_New_South_Wales

Http://www.lithgow-nsw.com/HartleyValeHistory.html

Https://infobluemountains.net.au/rail/kerosene.htm

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Jubeele, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
7 days ago (2017-10-17)
Aw, gee Tweed <blush>. Coming from you, wow... Ta muchly!

It's been years since I've been up to the Dandenongs. Is the "Puffin' Billy" train still operating? Blue Mts in NSW are so named from the bluish haze from the gum trees shading the horizon. Beautiful places both - love mountains and trees.

So pleased you enjoyed my accounts. Thanks for your welcome! 😘
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
7 days ago (2017-10-17)
Hi Jubeele, I've really enjoyed reading your narratives. You tell them so well. 😊

I've always been confused by the Blue Mountains in Australia because where I'm from, Melb, there's the Dandenong Ranges or 'the Nong' as it's often called lol, together with the Dandenong mountains, or 'Dandenongs'. Anyway locals often call the Dandenongs the Blue Mountains because of the low clouds producing a blue hue. I didn't find out the Blue Mountains were separate until I was in my 20's!

This Inn sounds awesome, and so trusting. I'd be suspicious of people racking the nicknacks if I ran that joint. I don't like that I'd be wary of folk that way, but I would! Maybe the presence in that room protects it.

The differing light you experienced made me wonder if you'd seen the shade of light from a bygone time. Perhaps the time of the ghost you felt comforted by.

Very interesting and cool experience! Thanks for sharing. I feel like a bit of an idiot for saying this but I feel like welcoming you to the site. Well, a belated welcome at least!
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-10-16)
Hi Aaru, I rather think so too. I was startled at the time, but didn't feel frightened at all.
Aaru275 (3 stories) (49 posts)
+1
1 week ago (2017-10-14)
I think she was a good spirit. She helped you when you needed it.
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-10-11)
Ooo Biblio, she was looking right back at you! I'm so honored you enjoyed my story.

Hmmm, it's weird that I never noticed it before, but now that I'm looking at it again, that particular room looks remarkably familiar... See how close the dresser is to the brass bedstead in images 1 and 2 of that photo gallery? I had bruises in the morning from bumping into them in the dark. My husband thinks the lamp with the brass base (is that Art Deco?) looks very much like the same one too. There's also an old wedding photo on the dresser in images 2 and 4 of the photo gallery, "In the bedrooms" (on the left side of the webpage). Interesting coincidence. Wonder if that was her?
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (743 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-10-11)
Greetings, Jubeele.

I looked at the furniture in the "Accommodations" section of the Comet Inn's website; much of it does appear to be in keeping with the late 1800s, though there are a few pieces that seem to be from the late Art Deco era (1930). It appears to be a charming inn; however, as I was about 2 inches from the screen looking at the porcelain insert in the brass bedstead, I realized that the center decorative pillow was looking back at me. This is a good story, but the pictures gave me a hell of a jolt!
-Biblio.
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-10-10)
This is for anyone on YGS who might be interested:

(First, my most humble apologies to Granny for putting this originally with my comments on your story. I realized my faux pas immediately after I posted it. I'm sooo sorry! 😳)

I live on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, not too far from the North Head Quarantine Station, which is considered one of the most haunted sites in Australia. My husband used to fix their phones years ago, but I've never been there. I'm thinking of organizing a history or ghost tour there in about a year's time. Would any YGS member in Australia (or any other part of the world) be interested in joining us? Safety in numbers and all that.

At this stage, I'm just wondering if anyone would like to join us. I realize it's a while away, but I thought it will give those who may be interested some time for preparation. Bearing in mind I've only ever been on one ghost tour, which was in Port Arthur, Tasmania, this should be interesting. I could be the first chook taking fright at a giant Bogong moth and running out the door! 😆

I've attached a link for those who might wish to know more:
Http://www.qstation.com.au/ghost-tours.html
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-10-09)
Emmeline, so glad you enjoyed my story. Not all ghostly experiences need to be scary ones.

For anyone interested in a true-blue Aussie classic, the whole poem is here:
Http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm
EmmalineTexas (3 stories) (14 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-10-09)
Jubeele - Thanks for such a wonderful story. I think that a lot of times ghosts are better seen in hindsight. You look back and think - wow, did that really happen? I loved the poem and thank you for posting additional links. Fascinating.
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-10-06)
Lilwolf - aargh, my stubby fingers slipped on the "Publish" button instead of "Edit". Meant to add that my husband, being over 6 ft, had no problem with the mattress mountain!

Val - you're right about women and childbirth in those days (and sadly, in other parts of the world today). It was such a tragic loss and she was such a lovely spirit too. This gives me a fresh appreciation of what Grandma achieved: married at 15 and went on to have 8 children, 5 boys, 3 girls!

Thanks so much everyone for reading and all your comments. 😘
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-10-06)
Lilwolf, I never thought to ask that question. Wouldn't it be interesting if there is a direct descendant somewhere or even some distant relation? At the time, I was just so surprised there was a story attached to the room. The thought did occur to me they were just making it all up to scare us city-folks, but I remember the look of shock on their faces. Especially the man - he went pale! I don't think they expected us to experience anything, so it may be that she (it felt like a "she") doesn't appear too often.

My husband didn't see or heard a thing. He said the bed was real comfy. Being 6He didn't have to climb uphill
valkricry (39 stories) (2731 posts) mod
+2
2 weeks ago (2017-10-06)
Just a bit of history, back before the late 1800's, especially in the rural areas, it was not uncommon to marry early, as the odds of you dying young were quite high. Many children did not live to see their first birthday, or adults to see 60.
Despite our romanticizing those bygone times, life was indeed very hard, personal hygiene was not exactly a paradigm of clean, and cities were notoriously ripe for all matter of disease to take up residence, due to lack of sanitary conditions. Even with a doctor in attendance, a difficult childbirth could easily loose mother or child, or both.
Interesting read, Jubeele!
Lilwolf (2 stories) (25 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-10-06)
Jubeele, Sounds to me that she was just trying to comfort You. The room sounds like something that would be found in the mountains. There use to be an Inn that sounded similar to that up here in North Carolina but they closed it because the older woman who ran it died. I would have been like You and afraid to break everything. Any way, cool read I liked it. It's not surprising that the woman died in childbirth considering the time period, still sad none the less. Do you know if at least the baby made it, or did the hostesses say?
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
3 weeks ago (2017-10-06)
Lady-glow, there are child brides and there are brides who grow up into strong women. My father said that Grandma had been the one in charge at home. Even though Grandpa must have been at least 15 years older than her, she had the last say when it came to the family. She was the glue that held the clan together. We really missed her when she was gone.

I've had another look at the inn's website. If you want a better idea of the room that we slept in, have a look at the photos. They may have rearranged some of the furniture, but it is still pretty close to what it was like.
lady-glow (7 stories) (1525 posts)
+1
3 weeks ago (2017-10-04)
Jubeele: you are right, in the 'olden days' people used to get married when still very young but then, they didn't have that many options when it came to choose what to do in life.

I checked the links to the "Comet Inn", lovely place with lots of character and an impressive landscape. I would like to visit some day.

And thanks for reading my stories, I'm glad you like them.
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
+1
3 weeks ago (2017-10-03)
Thanks AugustaM for your comments. The place names do sound fairy tale-ish: Oberon, Blue Mountains, Hartley Vale. The Australian countryside can be rugged but starkly beautiful. There's an intensely spiritual feel about the land, especially when you're out in the bush. There's a famous bush poem by Dorothea MacKellar, called "My Country" that wonderfully describes the landscape:

"I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!"

I do feel fortunate to have this experience. Maybe someday we shall wander back to that part of the Blue Mountains to say "G'day" to that lovely spirit. 😘
AugustaM (2 stories) (383 posts)
+2
3 weeks ago (2017-10-02)
The place names there sound like something out of a fairy tale! Yet another place I would love to visit one day.

That poor young woman - I hope someone was with her when she passed. She seems like a lovely spirit who (quite literally) took a shine to you.

It would be interesting to return and stay in that room again - maybe thank her and see if you can communicate with her.
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
3 weeks ago (2017-10-02)
I like thinking it was the young lady too. Nice to have a non-scary experience though. ❤
Melda (8 stories) (614 posts)
+1
3 weeks ago (2017-10-02)
Jubeele - It was probably the young lady trying to be helpful, producing a light and offering comfort so that you could get your much needed rest. On the other hand, it could have been something/somebody else entirely. Very nice story 😊

Regards, Melda
Jubeele (3 stories) (141 posts)
 
3 weeks ago (2017-10-01)
Oops, I meant "childbirth". Good pickup lady-glow! Thank you for your 'eagle-eyes'. I really need new glasses.

The people at the inn said she had been a young woman. She could have been a child bride by today's standards. Grandma (my father's mother) married Grandpa when she was just 15. In the early 1900s, that was considered the norm.

As for the long shifts...well, that was our fault. We were meant to finish dinner and be off to bed by 9pm or 10pm latest. Instead, we struck up this fascinating conversation with them that we all lost track of time. Then I looked at my watch and realized it was waaay past midnight. I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling seedy the next morning.

I'm so pleased you enjoyed my story. I've really enjoyed reading yours too; your "Gangster and the Voice" is in my favorites list. 😳
lady-glow (7 stories) (1525 posts)
+1
3 weeks ago (2017-10-01)
I got confused about this part of your narrative:

"...the room that we slept in had belonged to a young wife (they told us her name, but I've forgotten it) who lived in the house at the time, probably in the 1800s. Tragically, she died in childhood in that very room while her husband was away from home. The wedding gown hanging up in the room had been hers."

Do you mean she was a child bride or did she die during childbirth? 😕

Also, were the waitress and the bartender the same persons serving you the previous night? If so, they sure work long shifts at that inn!

I enjoyed reading your story, thanks for sharing.

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