For years visitors have felt a strange presence at Clarendon House – flickering lights, mysterious voices and drops in temperature. Reporter MICHELLE WISBEY and photographer PHILLIP BIGGS put their nerves to the test and join the newly established Clarendon Ghost Tour.
WALKING through the halls of Clarendon, there is no doubt that more than one presence lingers in the historic house.
Over the years, shining white orbs, flickering lights and disembodied voices have made themselves known to believers and sceptics alike as they’ve wandered through the haunted house.
With an electromagnetic field detector in one hand and a lantern in the other, guests enter through the grand front doors of the property.
As the sun sets over the grounds, tour guide Katt Robinson rounds up the guests and gets the eerie journey under way.
First comes the history of the 175-year-old property, the story of the home’s first owners James Cox and his second wife, Eliza.
Mr Cox came from an established agricultural family in New South Wales, having originated in England.
He went on to have 19 children, his first wife Mary died giving birth to the eighth child, he then married Eliza within the year.
After a quick history lesson, the tour begins at the front of the house and winds its way through the dining room, where a silver food cover has been known to lift up and slam back down on the table.
Watched by the all-seeing eyes of various Cox family portraits, the tour eventually guides you to the third storey of the house, and the property’s 10 bedrooms.
It is in many of these rooms that there has been evidence of a ghostly presence.
Sitting majestically in the hallway is an 18th century grandfather clock, once photographed with orbs rapidly moving across its front.
Three misty figures have been seen peering through the door of one of the main bedrooms, lights in James and Eliza’s bedroom are constantly flicking on and off and dolls have mysteriously switched places in the children’s bedrooms.
‘‘We have had mediums through and have been told that Eliza is very much still here and it is believed that James is still here as well,’’ Ms Robinson said.
Perhaps one of the most frightening and recurring tales of the tour happens on this floor – but you will have to head along for yourself to uncover this mystery.
Returning downstairs, you enter the basement, the kitchen and what is believed to be the old storage area.
It is here that Ms Robinson swears she once felt something brush against her shoulder, only to turn around and find an empty room.
Walking across the loose, paved sandstone floors, you go out into the night, surrounded by the home’s servants quarters and the washroom.
The sound of children’s laughter is often heard in these grounds.
Walking out of the back gate, and past a particularly active spot for drops in temperature, you will start on your eerily quiet lap of the main grounds and a few more spooky stops.
Even though she has taken the tour several times and spent countless hours at Clarendon, Ms Robinson said she never likes being in the house alone.
‘‘If I’m here by myself closing up in the evenings, I definitely feel like I’m being shoved out the door, like I’m being told it’s time to go,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s like James and Eliza are telling me to leave because the night-time is their time.’’
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Clarendon Ghost Tour.
WHERE: Clarendon House, Nile.
WHEN: Every Thursday, 8pm until 9.30pm.
COST: Adults $25, concessions $20, children $15.