Thursday, May 28, 2020

HGB Ep. 338 - Old Tailem Town

Moment in Oddity - Solid Gold Buddha Discovered
Suggested by: Jannae McCabe

Buddhism is a religion that has been practiced all over the world for centuries. It is based on the teachings of Buddha who was actually a man born into royalty and wealth. He went off to find the meaning of life and ended up renouncing his former life and becoming a poor monk. To honor Buddha, many statues have been made and placed at various sites. Some are large and others are tiny. One of the largest is a 9 foot tall, 5.5 ton statue known as the Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon. Today, it sits on an altar at the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok, Thailand. Scholars believe it was made in India and features an egg-shaped head that is the style from the 13th and 14th century and has long earlobes representing his royal birth. A flame at the top of its head represents spiritual energy. For many years before arriving at this temple, the statue, which was covered in stucco, sat outside underneath a tin roof. In 1955, it was decided to move the Buddha inside of a new building in Bangkok. Unfortunately, during the process, the Buddha was dropped and that is when an amazing discovery took place. The Buddha was not made from stucco. The stucco had been placed on the exterior probably to hide what the Buddha was actually crafted from and that was 18-karat solid gold. This all happened near the 2,500 year anniversary of Buddha's death and followers believed this was a miracle. Miracle or not, finding solid gold hidden beneath a stucco exterior, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Relief of Mafeking

In the month of May, on the 16th, in 1900, Mafeking was relieved. The Siege of Mafeking started in October of 1899 and lasted for 217 days. Mafeking was a town in South Africa and this battle took place during the Second Boer War. The Second Boer was fought between the British Empire and the independent Boer states of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. They wanted to break free of British influence in South Africa. The real fight was over diamonds and gold found in the Boer states. The son of the British prime minister was in the town during the siege, which made it even more prominent. The British commander was Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, whom everyone referred to as B-P, and he had 2,000 men under him. The Boers had the upper hand and cut off the railways lines into the town. They hoped to starve out the British troops and the 7,500 black Africans in the town. Many of the Africans tried to flee the town, but they were either shot or captured and flogged and sent back. By the beginning of May, word was received that a British flying column would be coming. The Boers made a final push to take the town on May 12th led by Officer Sarel Eloff. He pushed in, but had some of his men retreat whom he shot. He was overtaken and surrendered and remarkably, Colonel B-P invited Eloff to dinner. The British relief arrived on May 16th and the siege was ended. The British had been having a tough time during the Boer War and this lifted the spirits of the British and Colonel B-P was declared a hero.

Old Tailem Town (Suggested by: Jenni Watt)

South Australia is said to be the most haunted state in Australia and within that state is said to be one of the most haunted locations, Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village. This is a unique, man-made village in Tailem Bend that is a compilation of buildings, old cars, antiques and artifacts. There is so much history reflected in these elements, but there is something else as well. Spiritual energy radiates from the buildings and many visitors have stories of unexplained experiences. Add to this that this is a favorite spot for paranormal investigators and it's not hard to believe that there may be hauntings going on here. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Old Tailem Town.

South Australia wasn't colonized until 1836 and when it was founded, it was the first area not settled as a penal colony. This was a free state. We featured Kangaroo Island on a previous episode and this was the first area in South Australia settled by Europeans and it was the Dutch who first mapped the coastal area. But indigineous people had been here for over 20,000 years and the Kaurna people were here when the settlers came. They had called this Tarndanyangga, which means "place of the red kangaroo." Tailem Bend is about an hour east of Adelaide and is thought to have gotten its name from the Ngarrindjeri word "Thealem," which means bend. Donald Gollan was one of the first settlers here and he had name his property "Taleam" probably inspired by the Aboriginal word. The town of Tailem Bend grew once the south line railway was laid through the area in 1886. The town was incorporated in 1887. This became a heavily agricultural area. It would be here that the Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village would be set up.

Old Tailem Town is Australia's largest pioneer village and was founded in 1982. Now you might be wondering how a village could be described as "pioneer" when it was founded fairly recently. That would be because many of the 116 buildings here date back to pioneer times and the town is supposed to reflect life in the mid-1800s through to the mid-1900s. This really does have an old feel with dirt streets and posts for tying off your horse. Similar to Old Town Spring in Texas that we featured in Ep. 254, these buildings were moved to this one location from many different places. A man named Peter Squires wanted to build a ghost town, but he wanted it to be authentic with REAL old buildings. Many of these buildings are over 100 years old, with the oldest dating back to 1895, and they are filled with antiques. Many people claim that they are full of ghosts as well. There are stories of people being touched by things they cannot see and sometimes people do see these things and they appear as shadow figures. As if spirits don't make things creepy enough, these buildings are full of mannequins too. We should also point out since we like to start by researching the actual land, that there were seven deaths on the property before it became the pioneer village.

Wonderview Theater

Wonderview is the name of the old cinema in the town. It's built from yellow clapboard with a corrugated tin roof. And it's important to point out this distinction because the corrugated tin roof is an Australian icon. THIS is the number one indicator that you are looking at an Australia home or building...minus the whole actually being in Australia thing. And well, you know we need to dive down that rabbit hole! The corrugated metal roof was invented by British architect and engineer Henry Palmer. This material was made from hot-dipped galvanized iron that was then cold rolled to make the grooves. This gave the material more strength and obviously helps protect against wet weather as the water rolls off of it. It wouldn't be until the 1880s that Australia would start using it in home construction. Corrugated metal was easy, fast and cheap to fabricate. And resisted corrosion. The tin roof is said to be "the building material that made the bush." And now let's crawl out of the hole and check out this theater. This is a small theater with seating for maybe 50 people, an old film projector and a fairly small screen, about the size of some of your big screen smart televisions.

The Bent Elbow Hotel

The Bent Elbow Hotel not only has a corrugated roof, but the outer walls are also covered in the corrugated tin. This was originally a personal home that was fairly large. The bathroom has old fixtures and bear claw tub. There is a bar set-up inside and several dining areas. Alison has done some mirror scrying in this location and she said one time she was in here investigating with a girl and when she looked in the mirror, she saw a man that she described as having high cheek bones, a mustache and a part down the middle of his hair. She was so scared by seeing this face covering over her own reflection that she ran out of the hotel crying. Three weeks later, another group was investigating the Emporium and they saw a man look in the window that matched the description of this man perfectly. No one had told them of the mirror incident before that. The Emporium is right next door to the hotel. Children have been heard laughing in here, as well as the sound of disembodied footsteps.

The School

The school is fairly small as well with individual desks. Adelaide Haunted Horizons decided to do an experiment in here with a ghost box and it was really cool. Here is the link to the video: Alison and another guide named Ash decided to play teachers. They each help a small cane and they said they were going to ask some mathematical questions of the spirits. If they got the wrong answers, they were going to cane one of the guests on the hand. They asked what 1 + 1 equaled and the spirit box said five, so they gave the guest a little swat on the hand. They asked 2 + 2 and the box said four, then they asked 3 + 3 and it said six. Then they tried 4 + 4. This one took a little bit, but clear as day, the box says eight. Then they switched to the alphabet and asked for the fourth letter of the alphabet and they got the answer "D."

Bells Emporium

This place is creepy as hell, just full of old things and lots of mannequins. As a matter of fact, Alison claimed that she has had mannequins thrown at her when she is in the building. She told Amy's Crypt that it is her least favorite building on the property. She dislikes going inside to investigate. The Emporium is not just one long store brought from another property, it is actually three separate homes that Peter knocked the walls out of and put together, so they now make one long store. Alison believes that the hauntings going on with the Emporium are actually connected to one of the homes and not the property. That energy is negative and seems to have an abusive quality to it with the male spirit haunting the building and not liking women. Amy set up three EMF detectors in here and the middle lit up to red when she asked the spirit to light it up to red. It continued to go off several times, lighting up to red. Later, you could hear footsteps in a further room. You could hear them several times. And then there were many loud bangs and some tapping. Of course, there could have been an animal or something making those noises, but the footsteps were intriguing.

The Church

The Advertiser ran an article featuring an interview with Alison Oborn who is a paranormal researcher and co-founded South Australia's Paranormal Field Investigators team and runs Haunted Horizons Ghost Tours. Once when they were investigating Old Tailem Town she saw shadowy figures inside the church at the pioneer village and she saw a full-bodied apparition while giving a tour. The spirit came in through one of the doors and she watched it walk through the church. Alison says that this building is the most active on the property. On another tour, she had a woman take on the persona of a small child. Alison did some research on the property and found out that a small child, aged five, did drown on the property in 1919. Could this have been the child that this woman seemed to be possessed by? On another occasion, guests saw the figure of a small child in one of the doorways. Alison has taken to calling the child Ian.

This church is the Wolseley Methodist Church that was established in 1900. The inside is not very big and there are two rooms. There is the main sanctuary and then a back storage room. The pews are simple wooden slat pews and there is a small table that serves as an altar and a pulpit with a male mannequin standing in it. One issue that might be contributing to the hauntings here is that there is a cemetery next to the church, but it isn't real. Meaning no bodies are buried here. But the headstones are real and were moved from their former burials.

A local news station went on the tour one evening with a group and captured some interesting things on camera while in the church. Alison told the group that people have seen a male apparition in the church. Either this spirit or someone else messed with a couple people in the group. One was a woman with long blonde hair. She started to get visibly uncomfortable and claimed that she felt something touching her hair. Her boyfriend, who was sitting next to her, put his arm around her shoulders. And then there is a bang and the boyfriend moves his arm quickly as though something hit it or the chair behind them. A little after that, another guy in the group had something grab at his arm and he jumped back and said that he felt something very cold touching his arm forcibly. This guy had been a skeptic, but he said he wasn't skeptical after that.

Amy's Crypt set up some tools in the church during her investigation. One of them is a music box that gets triggered in a similar way as a REM pod and Amy describes it as being a motion sensor. The music box began to play and light up. She asked the spirit to step away from it and about 30 seconds after that it stopped for a moment and their ovelisk said the word "Students." The schoolhouse is right next to the church. Then the music box started up again, but it played in a stuttered kind of way, turning off and on repeatedly. For the music box to stutter in this way, it means that something is stepping in front of it and then back or crossing back and forth repeatedly. We envision a ghost being fascinated by this gadget and playing with it. Maybe a child? The group also had a REM pod that started going off after the music box. The ovelisk also said the word "pray," which seems relevant since this is a church. They placed a flashlight on the altar and it lit up about halfway through their investigation and stayed lit. There were some knocking and tappings too. One thing we definitely noticed was that the spirit or spirits were not what we would call interactive. They never responded to requests.

I watched another video recorded about eight years ago during a ghost tour that Alsion was leading. She was telling the group about a weird ball of light that had appeared and moved about the church. All of a sudden there a tiny light anomaly that appeared to be floating around Alison's head. It wasn't the kind of light that a flashlight would throw. It was misshapen and had a luminescent look to it. It lasted for just maybe 15 seconds. Another video made during a tour has several of the guests saying that they are feeling cold spots and then everyone gasps and jumps and looks to the back of the church indicating to us that they are having a shared, audible experience. It sounded like somebody was coming into the church. And then it happens again a few minutes later and it definitely sounds like somebody opening the door. Then someone felt their hair being touched. During another tour, a man in one of the pews is filmed jumping as though startled and when asked what happens, he claims that something hit his hand so that it bounced off the pew in front of him and when they replayed the tape, you would definitely see his hand that was just dangling, suddenly flinging forward and he seemed legitimately startled.

There are many other buildings here from a Blacksmith Shop to an Auto Repair Shop to a bank to undertaker and other out buildings. Not many of these buildings have haunts connected to them. There are spirits that seems to roam the streets all over like one that people have taken to calling Ted. There are incidents that happen on the streets too like a tour guest who was scratched on the neck leaving behind visible marks.

Deanna Turner-Reid tells of her experience at Old Tailem Town on the Adelaide Haunted Horizon website, "During our visit to Tailem Town on Saturday night (hosted by the fabulous team from Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons) my partner and I split from the main group and went with Anna to start investigating the Church. Not too long after we started my partner Adam had the sensation that his airways were being cut off. He started coughing and his voice went scratchy. The feeling soon subsided and we continued on our investigation. A little time later Anna and I both saw a dark solid figure in the backroom of the church. A little time later I saw at the back of the church a tall dark figure but only the waist up. Definitely a male build and in the same area as a dark figure was seen on Easter weekend. I looked directly at ‘him’ and when i turned my torch on… he was gone. Sometime later when Alison went looking for her car keys, I joined her on a walk around the town to try and find them. We heard footsteps several times, voices, and even a whistle as if calling a dog. I also had the feeling that there was someone walking towards us and as if I had to move out of the way or I’d walk into them. Then sometime later again when we were all in the church. We were talking about the dark figure in the back of the church and whether it was an angry spirit or not when I started getting extremely hot, and started feeling very angry toward…s everyone and a feeling of disdain towards them. When my partner asked me if I heard the noise behind us and everyone was talking about it I had the strong feeling that I wanted to tell them all that they were a ‘bunch of ****ing idiots” which is certainly not in my nature or something that I would normally feel in that sort of situation. It took leaving the church for the feeling to go away."

Many claim that this old man-made pioneer town is the most haunted location in South Australia. Is Old Tailem Town haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Adelaide's Haunted Horizons:

1 comment:

  1. My cousin, Peter runs old Tailem Town (my second cousin to be exact). The property next door used to be owned by my grandparents, David and Lillian Jaensch (peter is the son of David's sister). Before he opened old Tailem town in the early 80s my sister and I used to run around the old buildings at dusk. It was very eerie and fascinating at the same time. I now live in USA but we did go back there in 2007