Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Spectral Sapphic Sheila...

I am very happy to say that as of today I officially have my flight booked for December's two-week odyssey in Australia. Those of you who know me will surely remember my unsuccessful past attempts to realize the trip. That's not to say that even this time I haven't hit more than one snag as time passes. But it's happening at long last. As Mikey said in the movie Goonies, "It all starts here."

Originally, my plan was to feature some Aussie ghost stories next month. But why wait? Well, to be honest I stumbled across a wonderfully fitting tale that I couldn't wait to tell. It is the Halloween season, after all. Often the homosexual hauntings I find involve gay men and I do want to better balance the two sexes. So when I stumbled across an interesting story of a ghost hunter and his run-in with an angry female ghost, I couldn't pass it up. After all, it's set in the land which became the penal colony of New South Wales in 1788 (which was Britain's second attempt at creating a place to send its undesirables and criminals... take a wild guess where the first one was).

This story begins in 1992 with paranormal investigator Drew Sinton, proprietor of The Haunted Bookshop, when he received a call from Melbourne asking for assistance with poltergeist activity. The female same-sex couple resided in the suburb of Burwood and had been plagued by falling kitchenware, rattling doors, security alarms malfunctioning, and other unsettling phenomena. According to one of the women, similar occurrences happened at her previous residence which led her to believe it could be the spirit of her uncle following her to her new address. Sinton brought with him psychic medium Kelly Roberts to help find the cause of the supernatural experiences.

Kelly wandered the house picking up objects to sense their energy—a divination technique known as psychometry. After a short time she realized the spirit the women were dealing with was female, not male. As she picked up a small porcelain figurine, she was overcome with a strong sense of resentment. She immediately asked the women who had owned the object, but the couple grew quiet and declined any response. After some time they confessed that it had belonged to the ex of one of the pair, a woman by the name of Beverly. According to Sinton, they told him and Kelly that Beverly "died from a blood clot caused during a jealous rage when she ran into a coffee table and injured her leg."

Upon revealing the identity of the woman who the medium believed was behind the paranormal activity, the atmosphere in the room changed. The temperature quickly dropped nearly 45 degrees. A black shadow appeared, witnessed not only by the four people present but also the owner's cats, and moved from one side of the room to the other before disappearing without a trace. "Many times I have tried to rationally explain what I saw," Sinton recalled in an interview 8 years after the event, "but I have come to the belief that it was definitely a ghost."

Perhaps Beverly never let go of her rage from the day of her death. Or perhaps the new relationship angered the jealous spirit causing her to act out her disapproval. We may never know for sure. Hopefully the couple has found some peace with the former lover. Though it is possible that somewhere in Boroondara there's a lesbian ghost still wandering rooms, seeking some attention from the woman she knew or anyone who will notice her.

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