Busting ghosts

Editor’s note: Just in time for the spooky season, we are pleased to share this post reporting on some alarming, apparently paranormal activity. The reader is advised that the editors cannot confirm the veracity of this report, and although an apparently perfectly rational cause may have been found, one can’t ever be too cautious in these matters.

This image was taken by Byron Bay-based astrophotographer Dylan O'Donnell in October during a photo shoot at the New Norcia station, some 120 km north of Perth, Western Australia.

This image was taken by Byron Bay-based astrophotographer Dylan O’Donnell in October during a photo shoot at the New Norcia station, some 120 km north of Perth, Western Australia.

According to some, the ghost of Ted Leighton is said to be most often active in winter, causing trouble if ever any part of Western Australia’s famous Cuballing Hotel and Tavern, built in 1912, were to be changed or modified. Evidently, he likes his home just the way it was a hundred years ago.

Ted was the yardman at the Cuballing hotel before he died (history – or at least Google – has not recorded a specific date of death). Since the, strange occurrences like gas bottles being turned on, kegs rolling around, doors slamming and the ice machine being turned off have been attributed to Ted’s ghost. He seems not to like change of any sort…

Note that Cuballing is situated about 260 km south of ESA’s deep space ground station at New Norcia, the monastery town, a trivial distance for paranormal shenanigans. The station has recently been updated with an array of solar power panels, which now provide a significant portion of the station’s electrical power

One recent morning, upon arrival for another day of tracking missions across the solar system, the New Norcia station maintenance team discovered that a portion of the perimeter fence was broken, as though some large, heavy mass had charged right through.

Solar panel construction Credit: ESA/D. O'Donnell

Solar panel construction – showing unmistakable evidence of tampering? Credit: ESA/D. O’Donnell

Inside the fence, a portion of the station’s gentle rolling property had recently been allocated for the solar panel construction.

This morning, there were unidentifiable foot prints – Or were they cloven hoof prints? – on the ground around the broken fence and over by the first row of panels, and some of the panel support arms were broken and bore marks as though someone – or something – had tried to chew through them. Tufts of unidentifiable hair were stuck to some of the undamaged support arms.

Apparently, whoever it was didn’t like the rows of neat, high-tech panels disturbing ‘their’ landscape.

Could it have anything to do with our long-departed friend, Ted? The ghost who doesn’t like to be disturbed? Ted was far away but everyone knows how much he dislikes change. First the broken fence, then the chewed-up panel supports… what could be next?! The station itself might be under threat…

The team scrupulously examined all evidence.

One of them, Old Digger Jack, a local who had served in the army signal corps years ago, recalled the history of the hillsides.

ABC audio report: Paranormal investigator claims to have recorded the voice of a ghost who haunts the Cuballing Tavern Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corp.

ABC audio report: Paranormal investigator claims to have recorded the voice of a ghost who haunts the Cuballing Tavern Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Prior to ESA’s station being built in the early 2000s, the area had been unused, and Digger Jack remembered acres of emerald grass with gentle breezes in summer, while the cold winter days brought bright austral sunlight to a peaceful, bucolic scene.

Suddenly it appeared.

None of the station team could recall later how it arrived, not when they first noticed it approaching across the grassy hill.

It moved slowly but steadily, making little sound despite its clumsy size. It had a large, hairy head and was making a beeline for the break in the station fence, drawing ever nearer.

In an instant, the team realised precisely what they were facing.

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It was Lucy the cow, grazing her way up the hill, heading to the break in the fence that allowed access to the scrumptious springtime grass growing around and between the rows of solar panels! 😉 Happy Halloween!

 
P*ssed again!

This story has been written thanks to the contribution of Daniel Scuka and Giulia Federico.

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