Walhalla is a small town located in Victoria Australia and is steeped in history. It was once a gold mining town founded in 1863. After the Victorian Gold Rush, the mining town was booming with a population of over 2500 people. Presently the town, I believe, has a population of less than 20 people. It is a great tourist spot to visit with many of the original buildings still present and the underground mine is open for tours. There is also a cricket ground which is situated on top of the valley and takes about 45 minutes to climb a steep hill through bushland to get there. The home team used to get to the ground a day early and camp overnight so they would have an advantage over the opposing team who would most likely be exhausted after climbing the mountain!
Walhalla is also very well known for its old and wonderful cemetery (which I think is the best part!) which is quite unusual. It is built on a steep slope (on the side of a valley) and over 1100 deceased people have been buried there. Many are settlers from the gold mining times. Some of the graves date back to the 1870's. Some people say that the bodies were buried 'standing up' so they didn't slide down to the bottom of the hill and into the town below.
I first visited Walhalla when I was 15 years old with my parents and two of their family friends. Without trying to sound morbid, I have always had a fascination with cemeteries and particularly old ones. And no I don't believe that every cemetery is haunted, I just find the history surrounding them very interesting. I was really excited to go as I was dying to see the cemetery (excuse the pun!).
We arrived in the town and it was during winter time so there weren't many people around. We unpacked our picnic lunch and made our way to the cemetery grounds where there are picnic tables below. I couldn't wait to start exploring so I made my up to the cemetery and started climbing the slope looking around at the old tombstones. I know this sounds really cliché, but the whole time I felt like someone was hot on my heels, right up close to me and peering over my shoulder. When I bent down to read the dates on one of the tombstones, I felt something tugging on the hood of my jacket. I was the only one wandering around at the time as my family and their friends were down below and there were no other tourists about. I started to get really creeped out and felt the urge to get back to the safety of people who were alive and well, so I returned to the picnic tables. My Dad made a joke and asked if a ghost was following me as he said he was watching me and I kept turning around every 15 seconds as if someone was walking behind me.
We ate our lunch and started the hike up to the old Cricket Ground. It is not a hike for the fainthearted and my mum and two family friends sat down on the outskirts of the field for a breather. I walked out on the cricket pitch with my Dad and we were talking about how far up it was and how exhausted you would be before you even started playing a game. We stood still on the cricket pitch just taking in the surroundings and then we heard 'thwack'! And the sound of running feet. It was the sound of a cricket ball hitting a bat and someone chasing a ball. The footsteps faded away and my Dad and I just stood there gaping at each other as there was only two other people on the field (apart from our group) and they were making their way back to the walking track. I asked Dad if he heard it and he just said, "I think we better go." We talked about it later on and we both agreed that it sounded like a game of cricket going on around us. It only lasted very briefly but it was enough for us both to hear it. Mum and the two family friends didn't hear anything but they were sitting quite a distance away from the pitch.
We then went on the tour of the underground mine and for me nothing extraordinary happened but my Dad said he kept feeling like someone was pinching and poking the backs of his legs. He even turned around and told me to cut it out at one stage but I was standing next to him and nobody was behind him. At that stage my Dad had never really had any paranormal experiences before (except he swore he saw a UFO once at a drive-in movie with a heap of other people in the late 1960's). His theory is 'I don't believe it until I see it' so he went home from Walhalla that day scratching his head!
The second time I visited Walhalla was almost 2 years ago. I went with two friends (Lisa and Shane) who are interested in the paranormal who were really keen to visit the cemetery. Mind you they wanted to see it in the day AND the night. The day part I was fine with. The night part I wasn't too keen on! We all took a digital camera each and a torch. I put new batteries in the camera and the torch. The lithium camera batteries do seem to last ok with me but ordinary torch batteries seem to die pretty quickly as a rule and I didn't want to be without a flashlight in the dark looking at a cemetery!
We made our way up in the afternoon and I took some snaps with camera along the way and it had full battery. We arrived and made our way up to the cemetery and Lisa and Shane were awestruck with the old tombstones and the slope the graves were on. I took out my camera, turned it on and 'low battery' flashed across my screen then the battery just died. I was really disappointed and annoyed with myself as I wanted to take some pictures. It was a bit unusual too as I usually still get a bit of time from the camera even if the battery is low and it was fine not long before. Perhaps I had just brought a dodgy battery or could have just been my 'knack' of draining batteries, I'm not sure, but 15 minutes later the battery died in Lisa's camera too and her's was new as well. Shane's camera was fine and remained ok for the rest of the trip. We walked around the cemetery and I honestly felt fine. I was not creeped out at all and I actually felt quite calm and peaceful. It was because I felt so calm that I decided that a night time visit would be fine too but I was soon to regret that decision!
We ate dinner at the local hotel then made our way back to the cemetery in the dark. At this point I was starting to get a bit apprehensive about it all. We got out of the car grabbed our torches and walked the path to the cemetery. My torch beam started off nice and strong but lo and behold it got dimmer and dimmer until it died too. I was feeling quite scared and anxious so it wasn't good timing to be without a torch! I walked between Shane and Lisa whose torches were fine, so at least we had some light. I just want to point out that we had no intention of actually walking around the graves, we just wanted to stand at the bottom of the hill and take some pictures. The slope is far too dangerous to be navigating around at night plus personally I find it a bit disrespectful to stomping on the graves, particularly when you can't see if you are actually walking on top of someone because it's so dark!
We reached the gravesite and I had an awful feeling of being unwelcome straight away. At the bottom of the slope is a white fence that runs across the front of the graveyard. The thing we all commented on straight away was how black the graveyard was. It is hard to explain but it was almost as if there was a veil of the blackest night you can imagine just draped over the graveyard. There was enough light along the white fence line to see the closest graves a few meters back but after that was just total blackness. I know everyone would be thinking, "well it was night time, of course it is going to be black" but it was a different type of atmosphere and hard to explain. I have never experienced this dense blackness before. Even the beam from the torchlights seemed to dissolve into the darkness. We turned around and faced the opposite direction, and even though it was dark you could make out the picnic tables and trees in the distance so there was some visibility even without the torches.
Shane started taking some pictures and I really wanted to go. My flight instinct was kicking in and I wanted out of there. There was foreboding feeling in the air and, as I mentioned, we all felt very unwelcome. I was glued to Lisa as she had the one torch between us and she was feeling quite antsy too. Shane was the bravest even though he admitted something didn't feel right. I turned to my right and was watching Shane take some pictures when I saw it. It was a dark silhouette of a male slowly walking along the fence line. I could see him wearing a broad brimmed hat and could see the motion of his arms swinging by his side. My heart leaped into my throat and I said, "Please tell me I'm not the only one who can see that." Lisa and Shane looked and, after a string of loud expletives, confirmed that they both saw it too. Yes, it was dark but it definitely not a living human being. It was like a shadow but the only definite feature I could make out was the hat. It's height seemed to change from tall to short and back again and it was steadily walking closer towards us. The flight instinct kicked in and we all took off. I know what a brave bunch of ghost hunters, hey? But the unwelcome feeling in the atmosphere was overwhelming. I always tell myself that if I ever see something paranormal I should stay and watch but my flight instinct always gets the better of me which is very annoying. One day I might be brave enough, but it certainly wasn't going to be this night.
I'm sure this ghostly gentleman was telling us we were not welcome and to rack off. Fair enough too I suppose because we were imposing on his territory!
We hurried back to the car and drove off, hearts still beating wildly. We looked at the pictures Shane took and they all came out pretty dark even though the flash was on. There were some spooky pictures of the graves but nothing too exciting came up. We laugh about it all now and what a pathetic bunch of ghost hunters we turned out to be, but at the time we were all seriously scared. I apologise that this was such a long story, but I think Walhalla is a very haunted place to visit (and I would highly recommend it) but I don't think I would be venturing back there at night again!