Explore The 2nd Most Haunted City In The World
For as long as people have been telling stories, there have been stories of mystery that fuel our imagination. We have a fascination with the unseen – even more so if that unseen gives us chills down the spine. As youngsters, we have an even bigger propensity for telling stories that end in horror or that give us the opportunity to give our friends a good old fright. The ghost stories that remain in our collective minds into and throughout adulthood are usually the ones that are associated with a specific location. Like urban legends, the ghost stories of a place become something that the residents are proud of, as it represents their town or city. They could also become an attraction for ghost hunters and supernatural seekers.
Scotland has the Loch Ness monster. North America has Bigfoot. Brisbane is also cashing in on the inexplicable-as-a-tourist-attraction trend. National Geographic voted Brisbane the Second Most Haunted City in the World. But, even before the river city was given this rather odd award, there were stories aplenty of ghosts and ghouls from times gone by. There is, of course, no sense of time once you’re a ghost. So, many of the ghosts that do pop up in historic buildings or creepy tales seem to be dressed in period outfits of days long … long ago.
The story of the convict ghost
The oldest and most famous ghost story that hails from Brisbane features the infamous Captain Patrick Logan. As Commander of the penal settlement at Moreton Bay, a part of Australia’s history that they might not be so proud of, Logan was both a revolutionary and a tyrant. He was a courageous explorer who mapped out a large part of the great outback, and a shrewd administrator who turned a hopeless outpost into a thriving colony. Despite his strategic mind and his explorer’s spirit, he was also a terrible man with a penchant for violence and no compassion for convicts who were used as slaves.
The memories of his oppressive ruling still lives on in the Australian folk song “Moreton Bay” through horrific lyrics that pain pictures of floggings that leave victims backs painted with crimson gore, and of mangled corpses mouldering beneath the city.
The convicts’ hate for Captain Logan was strong enough to carry over into the netherworld, so the story goes. When returning from an excursion through the area that is now known as Southern Brisbane, Logan noticed a lone convict in the road. Thinking that it was an escapee, he yelled at the man to stop. Instead of running away as Logan was expecting, the convict walked towards him with a sinewy arm outstretched and grabbed Logan’s stirrups. His horse galloped off in fright, but Logan was left even more disturbed; he recognized the ghostly man as a convict who had succumbed to his wounds after a flogging on Logan’s orders. Logan and the terrified horse dashed off, but the ghost of Stimson, the dead convict, held on, floating effortlessly above the ground.
The story of Logan’s ghostly journey doesn’t end there
Perhaps Logan’s encounter was an eerie premonition of his post-mortem fate. Captain Logan was so despised by his fellow countrymen that his unexpected and violent death was met with no sympathy. In fact, people rejoiced his passing, as is evident in the last verse of “Moreton Bay”, which exalts the death of all such monsters.
Logan’s died as he was returning from yet another expedition. He was alone and set up camp as the night fell. Sometime during the night he was ambushed, either by Aborigines or convicts, and beaten to death. The next morning, a party of prisoners working at Moreton Bay saw Captain Logan on the opposite river bank, waving to them. They rowed across the river to pick up their commander, but when they got there he and his horse had disappeared into this air. The spooky thing is that it was in the same spot that Stimson’s ghost finally let go of Logan’s horse during their haunted ride together.
The legend continues to this day, as many residents of Ipswitch claim to have seen Logan’s ghost in the place where he was beaten to death, which is now part of a small reserve close to the Brisbane River. Even after death, it seems that the tyrant lives on, although now he’s scary for a different reason than he was in life.
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Marilu Snyders loves a good ghost story, provided it’s told properly. If you want to tell stories professionally, follow Marilu’s example and take some creative writing courses. Click here for info on QLD TAFE courses, including short stories on creative writing, so that you can keep your readers engaged.