June 19th, 2005 - Do you believe in ghosts?
Many people do, and many people think that there are ghosts in Walhalla. Some, I suspect, must have heard someone say at some stage that Walhalla was a "ghost town", and perhaps not knowing what that term really means, may simply have jumped to the wrong conclusion.
However, for some time now, we've been running guided "Ghost Tours" after dark in Walhalla for interested participants. Tours are conducted every Friday and Saturday night plus midweek by appointment, and they depart punctually from the print shop for a candle-lit walk around some of our spookier precincts, from 7:30 to 9 pm (8:30 to 10 pm during daylight savings). Times can be confirmed when you book your tour at the Corner Store (ph 5165 6250).
A tour will cost you $25, or $20 for children under 16 and concession card holders. Family bookings for two adults and as many as three children under 16 are available for $75 (booking fees are reduced for groups of ten or more participants). All bookings must be confirmed by a deposit of not less than 25% received at the store by 4 pm on the day of the planned tour.
On a ghost tour in mid-2005, Maria Mello's daughter Zenaida -- shown here -- was just about to set out on the tour with a large group when her friend, Angela, decided to take a souvenir picture of her outside the print shop with her digital camera. When she looked at the camera's small screen after the photo was taken, she screamed!
The photo shows Zenaida, complete with her miner's lamp, but it also shows, very clearly on the left of the picture, what has been described as a "cloudy" mass. Even on the small camera screen, others on the tour were able to clearly discern what looked to them like a young lady. All 25 witnesses saw what appeared to them to be a very clear face, with hair, neck and even -- to some -- a hint of some cleavage! (Hmmm -- let me see that photo again ...).
"Who is this woman?" "I don't know, but isn't that Zenaida with her?"
Since this tour, others have also written to us about what they have seen as anomalies in some of their photos ...
"I am still baffled by the image in the photo", says Zenaida's mother, "and I'm sure that anyone that sees the photo will agree."
Well, maybe not everyone -- if you're a cynical old poo-bah like me, you might think it's just the photographer exhaling in front of the camera's flash on a cold mountain night, or maybe condensation on the lens, and the rest of it is largely what you want to see. Every now and again, though, people who have arrived in Walhalla as stone-cold skeptics have left the town some time later in quite an unsettled state.
But you be your own judge -- if you tilt your head a bit to one side, lower your mental guard just a little bit, and really apply your imagination, it's not too hard to see what looks as though it might be a woman leaning her head in from the left of the photo.
Or maybe it's Elvis! Come along on a tour one night soon, and decide for yourself!