This is the first time I've ever submitted one of my experiences online. I'm not a writer, so please bear with me if there are any grammatical errors or if it seems like I'm rambling (just trying to describe almost everything as it happened leading up to the point of the story etc). Nor am I a confident speaker so I haven't relayed this story to anyone besides my next of kin. I'm putting this story out there in the hopes that someone in my area has had this same experience and can shed some light on the matter as it has plagued my thoughts for over a decade now.
I live in Ipswich, Queensland. A smallish but steadily growing town on the outskirts of Queensland's capital of Brisbane (Australia). Just outside of Ipswich, entering into Brisbane, is the suburb of Wacol. Wacol is home to the notorious Wolston Park Mental Asylum. It has had a few different names before but I now believe it's called The Park Centre for Mental Health or something like that (look it up if you'd like).
Now this incident took place in 2002. I was with 2 of my cousins who are brother and sister and our friends who were 3 other girls from our church. We are all Samoan and come from families who attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) so any talk about the paranormal is laughed off and quickly hushed up in our households. I am no longer a practicing member of the church, but at that time I was 18 and still living at home so I didn't mind going along to church sermons or events with my family every now and then.
That night in 2002 at about 6pm, my cousins came over to my house to pick me up to go to a Mormon church dance for young adults. They held these dances quite regularly. It was a regional thing and young adults from all around the region would attend. Anyway, the dance was in a northern suburb about 45 minutes from Ipswich. After my cousins picked me up we made our way to the homes of our other 3 friends to pick them up too.
We get to the dance, mingle and catch up with our friends from other regions and at about 11:30pm, the 6 of us decide we've had enough and made our way to the car. The car that my cousins picked us up in was an old van that belonged to their parents but one the parents rarely ever used anymore. It was an old Mitsubishi and at the very front where the driver sits, it was a 3 seater, so 2 of the 3 girls sat at the front with my guy cousin who was driving. The second row of seats was occupied by myself and my girl cousin, and the very last row of seats sat our other friend by herself. We left the dance but instead of going straight home we decided to go for a drive into Brisbane central since it was close to the chapel we were just at.
We parked the van and went for a walk around the city. It was a warm Saturday night and walking past some of the nightclubs we would see security guards that we knew standing outside the club doors and we would have a chat with them. None of us wanted to go into the clubs wearing our Sunday best so we decided to just grab some ice cream and head home.
If you live in Ipswich and especially back then... You couldn't go to Brisbane and back without having to go past where you turn off to go into the grounds of the Wolston Park hospital. Well, not if you wanted to go the quick way anyway. Armed with McDonald's chocolate sundaes, we made our way to the car and headed back towards Ipswich.
When we got near Wacol my guy cousin asks "Do you guys want to check out Wolston?" It was almost 2am. The 2 girls in front with him were scared but still said yes. His sister, who was sitting with me, rolled her eyes and dismissed what he was saying and carried on talking to me about her boyfriend. Our friend at the back didn't say anything. I don't really think she cared what we did, and me, well my attitude towards it was just "meh" because I had been to Wolston Park many times before in previous years with friends hoping to see something spooky just like almost every other teen in the area did back then. I never saw a single scary thing, maybe except for the nude runaway mental patient being escorted back into the grounds by security while the patient shouted every curse word under the sun at no one in particular. The security staff would glare at us and tell us to leave or we'd get done for loitering/trespassing and such. Security was pretty tight there. They were either walking or driving around looking for thrill-seeking teens and driving them out of the grounds immediately.
But this particular night, there was no one in sight... No little white security hatchbacks driving around with its high beams on, patrolling the grounds like there usually is. Back in 2002, the grounds were still pretty old, they hadn't added the new buildings and all the new street lights at this stage. It was still very dark, and where the new buildings now stand, there used to be just overgrown bushes and shrubs.
We enter the grounds, it is dark, like pitch black. My cousin killed the lights to show us just how pitch black it was before his sister yelled at him to turn the lights back on and stop acting stupid. We drive further into the grounds, my cousin and I yapping away about some crap while our friend at the back decided to lie down and have a snooze.
Suddenly, my cousin driving yells "S@#T! Did ya's see that?!" and we look over at the trio in the front. The 2 girls are huddling up to each other shaking and just saying "OH MY GOSH! WHO THE HELL WAS THAT?! What's wrong with him?! I want to go home!" I quickly turned my head back to look out the back window of the van and I could just make out, under the moonlight, a person, who seemed to be walking with a limp following us. My cousin driving said they saw someone standing against the bushes on the side of the road just staring at the van go past.
His sister laughs it off and says "Oh, whateverrrr (his name here) You're so full of it!" To which he replied "DO YOU WANT ME TO TURN BACK?!" The 2 girls in front with him are shouting "NO, NO, NO! While his sister and I are at the back shouting "YES, YES, YES!" Because we were so busy chatting away, we didn't see this mysterious, spooky stranger. We thought it was probably just some homeless dude seeking shelter or perhaps another adventurous patient and just wanted to confirm what we thought. But when my cousin turned the van and drove back the direction we came. There was no one in sight. His sister says "See? I knew you guys were full of sh!t" But I tell her that I did see someone out the back window. She looked at me scared but at the same time it was like "oh great, not YOU too".
We keep driving that way to see if we spot him again. After driving a few minutes and not seeing anybody (which I thought was weird because I had seen him myself coming in our direction, we should have seen him as soon as we turned the car around) but nope, no one. We are driving through the darkness, the only light we have are the dim lights on the van. Suddenly, the lights fall upon a lone figure in the dark, his back turned to us... I knew it was him (how the hell did he get HERE so fast?! I thought to myself, and especially with that slight limp?!). He is just walking slowly on the grass on the side of the road and he doesn't even turn around to acknowledge the fact that there's a car behind him. I know I would have looked behind me if it were me at that time of night, in case people jumped out and attacked me so I know whether I need to break into a run or something...
But not him, it's like we weren't even there. From looking at the back of him, I kind of sensed that something was not quite right here. His clothes were tattered, dirty and looked dated, like early 90's style when some guys were trying to dress like Nirvana and various other grunge bands. Something just seemed soooo off about the whole situation, like yeah I get that we can see people anywhere wearing old tatty clothes but something about this just had a weird and scary feeling I can't put into words. I remember that he wore these light coloured jeans and a flannelette shirt (or what remained of those clothes anyway) and carried a corduroy backpack which also looked like it had seen better days a long time ago. He was Caucasian and as we got closer I saw that his matted blonde shoulder length hair was clumpy, stringy, just messy like it hadn't been brushed in a long time... Some of it tied back in a low ponytail, at the front he had more of his ratty looking hair coming down framing the front of his face. He looked like he was in his early to mid 20's.
We pull up beside him, my girl cousin told her brother to slow down/stop beside him (I think she was trying to prove that it was nothing scary). She scooted up to the window beside her and slid it open (you know how old van windows have to be 'slid across to open' instead of being wound down), sticks her head out & asks him "Excuse me, are you alri-" She didn't finish asking her question because by then he had turned around and was fully facing us!
MY GOD, I have never seen a living person look like that. She didn't finish asking her question because she slammed the window shut and just screamed her head off, and so did the 2 girls at the front, just the LOUDEST and most terrified screaming I had ever heard in my life,. I was freaked out too but couldn't scream as my cousin was pushing back away from the window with so much force that she was crushing me against my side of the van. I couldn't even let out a little yelp!
When she moved to hit her brother in the front to make him snap out of what we were witnessing (according to our friends that sat at the front with him, he was just staring at the guy with his mouth open and just frozen while they were yelling at him to get us outta there) I was able to move and turned around to our friend lying in the backseat telling her "Omg get up! You have to see this!" She just lay there crying with her eyes shut tight and telling me over and over "NO! NO! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT SHUT UP! I'M NOT GETTING UP, I'M NOT GETTING UP!" Welp, fair enough.
I remember that even though there was barely any light, his face stood out soooo much! Even though he was Caucasian, I have never in my life seen a person that colour. I have friends who are super pale and even they look like they've spent a few hours in a tanning bed compared to this guy! He was white but, frozen white if that makes sense... But at the same time had a blue-y, purple-ish tinge about him. I think it was his bloodless veins showing through his white skin. So hard to put into words although I see him clearly in my mind. His eyes, the rims of his eyes were red raw but the whites looked glazed over. He might have had light blue eyes because you could sort of make them out underneath the milky film that had now covered his pupils. His eyes were lifeless, for lack of a better term. But that's the word that comes to mind when I think of them.
He had marks on his face. Deep pink scratches that would have been bleeding but had since been washed. You know how in the movies when they pull those steel drawers out at the morgue so a person can have a look at the corpse. VERY much like that, no, EXACTLY like that. My cousin screamed because when he turned to face us, we realised it wasn't a typical living human face we were looking at. He didn't say a word, just opened his mouth and made a groaning sound then he extended a pale white hand towards the car and then we just sped off. So much more to it but the story has gone too long I'm pretty sure no one has read even half of it now (sorry!)
Now that I am older, I feel terrible for the way we reacted and driving off like that, screaming like lunatics, but we were a bunch of kids and we were terrified. Now I wish we had been so much more calm about it, and had tried to communicate with him. And being back in 2002, cell phones with cameras were still rare, most teenagers still didn't even have a cell phone. So we couldn't get a photo.
I tried to search for any info related to this, sadly I found nothing. I tried searching for things like Missing Persons or unsolved murders around the area. But even if I did find his photo, I probably wouldn't even recognise him as he would look nothing the way he did that night. Was he a hitchhiker who met with foul play? Was he trying to take a shortcut through Wolston and came across a deranged patient? And if he was murdered there, is his body still buried there somewhere never to be found? The place has an awful history.
After we left Wolston Park we were still shaken, we went to the petrol station to fill up and it wasn't until we got into the well lit petrol station that our friend at the back finally sat up. I still remember her asking for a Cherry Ripe chocolate bar with a quiet and scared voice. She sure was shaken up for someone who didn't see anything! Hehe
She came over to my house with my girl cousin a couple of months ago and we talked about it briefly. The other 3 that were in the car I hardly see them anymore except on Facebook. But we all agreed that what we witnessed was not of this world. We know we what WE saw! I still remember my guy cousin had to walk each of us girls into our homes as we were too scared to get out of the car by ourselves.
Wolston Asylum has always been rumoured to be haunted. My boyfriend and I drove through Wolston in 2011. That was my first time back there since 2002. It is SO different now, not at all as scary and menacing as it used to look. They've really cleaned it up, new buildings and very well lit too.
I always think about that young man, I always wonder who he is and how he got there. Some parents said that we saw a demon because we were hanging out so late at night instead of being good church kids and going home straight after the dance. I wonder if we saw someone who relives the moment of his death at every anniversary. I wonder if anyone else has seen him. That's why I wanted to share my story, it's been so long and I still think about it all the time.
Sorry I know this story is too long and seems rather jumbled. I hope those of you who had enough patience to read all the way through could make some sense of it.
Have you ever seen a dead man walking, too?