Wednesday, May 25, 2011


* As told by Marie.

We’d been travelling since I retired two years ago, and my husband and I were ready to settle down and find a more permanent home for ourselves.

I’d spotted a bush-block advertised for sale on our lunch stop in a small Victorian town and felt compelled to look into it further.  My husband Peter wasn’t too enthusiastic at first, but once we stood on the land and looked at its beauty and sopped up the tranquillity, we were both hooked.

Within weeks we moved our caravan onto our overgrown 20 acre bush-block and set up camp.  Pete and I set to work choosing a house site and making plans to build our dream home.

As soon as we started building, Peter’s tools began going missing, only to re-appear in a completely different place.  At first he tried to blame me, accusing me of playing tricks on him  -  but I’d been nowhere near the worksite, so his weak accusations fell flat.  Neither of us could explain the missing and reappearing tools.

One night we are woken by a loud crash and went outside to find the ladder lying on its side on the ground.

“That ladder was wedged in tight,” Peter said, looking at me wide-eyed.  “Someone must have given that a good shove.” Peter shook his head in bewilderment.

There were times when the radio would suddenly stop playing, only to turn on again once I resumed working.  It unsettled me a bit but I couldn’t say I was scared  -  just curious more than anything.
As soon as the floorboards were laid we were treated to the sound of heavy footsteps walking up and down them at night.  We installed security lights set to turn on when triggered by movement  -  but the house site remained shrouded in darkness and the footsteps continued night after night.  As the house building progressed, so did the disturbances.

One of our few neighbours was a solitary old man by the name of Jack, who’d lived in the area for over 50 years.  I’d met him once or twice when in town gathering supplies, so I recognized him when he turned up unannounced one afternoon.

“Have you found the grave yet?” Jack asked candidly.  “What grave!?!”   I replied, catching my breath in my throat.

Jack then led Pete and I straight into the bush just off to the right of our half-built home.  Once there we came upon a large circle of stones and a roughly hewn, unreadable headstone, overgrown with weeds and bracken.

“Nobody knows whose grave this is, but its’ been here for many, many years,” Jack explained.  “It probably dates back to the family who originally owned all this land back in the 19th Century.  This area was founded by pioneers back in the day ...” Jack continued.

Peter and I looked at each other, then back at the grave.  “Well,” Pete said, “maybe that’s whose been walking on our floorboards at night and nicking all my tools?”  I could only nod in bemused agreement.
One afternoon a couple of days after Jack’s visit, I found Peter clearing and tidying the gravesite and I could hear him chattering away to himself as I approached from behind.

“Charlie, I’ve called him” Pete said, looking up at me with a smile. “If we have to share our home with a ghost, then best we keep him comfortable I reckon.”

After that Pete’s tools stayed where he left them and the radio stopped playing up.  It was as though Charlie had been trying to attract our attention to alert us to his existence and to the state of his neglected and forgotten gravesite.  It seemed he was now happy and settled.

Our home is finally finished and Charlie lies at peace in the bush behind the house and we haven’t heard a peep from him since.


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