If you go to any old pub or hotel that has a rich history, chances are there’s been some kind of paranormal experiences there.
And that’s no different at the Gungellan Hotel in Freeling.
Helen Hatch, Publican has had a range of paranormal experiences over the past seven years in her role, but admits they’ve mostly been happy or positive.
She recalls seeing different things move, meal order forms being thrown at her head, lights flickering on and off, the radio changing channel, doors locking, regular movement in the kitchen, and her name being called out.
Other common occurrences include poker machines going off with no one in the room, beer cans rolling out to fridge to her feet and the toilets flushing by themselves.
This said, Helen often has a friendly chat at night with the presences when she’s doing the paperwork.
“A lot of people have told me it feels weird in the toilets. But I always put it down to it being cold out there until three men reported that the toilets were flushing themselves in the same week,” said Helen.
“Only once in the hotel I have been really frightened and had to go out the back. It was really eerie. I had a sickly feeling and could see the lights flick on and off. I think I was interfering with their space.
“But no matter where you go, there’s old buildings and stories… some people just don’t talk about it.”
Paranormal investigator, Alison Oborn of Adelaide Haunted Horizons recently visited the Gungellan Hotel to check it out.
Her team are visiting some of the state’s most historic and haunted buildings to share some of their paranormal experiences via a livestream, with more Barossa locations still to come.
She hopes to gain more exposure for some of the smaller tourism businesses that have been struggling after lockdown and having no interstate tourists.
“So we approached the Gungellan because we’d heard rumours about the place being haunted… and they just let us straight in,” said Alison, who lives in nearby One Tree
“Everyone knew the hotel from McLeod’s Daughters. I thought there’s a lot of people like me that may not have watched the show, so this might be a unique way to get people to come and have a sticky-beak at a haunted pub.”
Alison explained that her team went into the hotel expecting nothing, because that’s the reality of the paranormal, but what they got was much more special.
She could only describe it as one of the most uplifting investigations she’s done, with it feeling much more ‘personal’ to the pub.
“It was mostly all previous customers that were here who have sadly passed away,” said Alison.
“There was nothing nasty, it was all good stuff. And Helen was a natural, just chatting to the people that were here and updating them. I think that’s why we got such a good reaction, we were spoilt.”
The poker machines going off unattended, specifically one used by a former customer, was a real highlight of the investigation.
When Alison arrived at the Gungellan last week to meet with The Leader, the machine mysteriously started up again.
“We think it recognised me, because I was the one talking to it and giving it a voice. It was the same machine that the gentleman was known to play. They have had the whole machine re-gutted since I’ve been so if there was a mechanical glitch it would have been fixed,” said Alison.