I was asked to participate in the making of a paranormal documentary
being made by two psychics. Armed with both digital and still cameras,
and video cameras equipped with infrared, they are hoping to prove
the existence of ghosts.
first shoot took place on July 22, 2001 at Maitland Gaol, located
northwest of Newcastle, NSW. Designed by Mortimer Lewis, construction
of the prison began in 1844 using locally quarried sandstone. In
January 1849 the gaol was opened and the first forty convicts arrived.
Shipped from Newcastle to Morpeth, they were then forced to walk
6 kilometres in shackles and chains. This group included female
convicts and their small children.
the 154 years the maximum security gaol was in use, it housed murderers,
rapists, serial killers, armed robbers, escape artists and petty
criminals. A total of 16 executions took place there, the last in
1897, and countless murders and suicides have been recorded. The
bodies of those executed were buried beneath the courtyard.
Only 11 prisoners ever managed to escape the walls of Maitland Gaol,
all of which were recaptured.
gaol was home to many infamous inmates, criminals like serial killer
Ivan Milat, convicted drug trafficker George Savvas, armed robber
and escape artist Darcy Dugan, underworld identity Jack Chow Hayes
and career criminal Edward James "Jockey" Smith. The Anita
Cobby, Leigh Lee and Janine Balding murderers, Ebony Simpson's killer
and David Eastman, who was responsible for shooting Assistant Commissioner
Colin Winchester dead outside his ACT home in 1989, have also served
time there. Notorious convicted murderer George Ward, just one of
the many hanged within the gaol, met his fate on October 20, 1848
before a crowd of several hundred people.
January 1998 the gaol was finally closed, deemed unsuitable to house
inmates due to the poor conditions. Security was also a concern,
as it did not meet community expectations. When you see just how
close the gaol is to the civilian housing you'll understand.
Gaol is a maze of buildings, each with it's own brutal history and
stories of resident ghosts. During the filming of this documentary,
several unusual things did happen. I can't say for sure that the
events we witnessed were paranormal. I can only do my best relay
my stories and leave it to you to make up your own mind.
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