@ w.w.w.c a s t l e o f s p i r i t s . c o m

Undoubtably one of Melbourne's most haunted sites, Old Melbourne Gaol resides it's weary bones in on the corners of LaTrobe & Russell Streets, Melbourne. It's bluestone walls sit back quietly as heavy traffic from the city roads pass by 24/7 not taking much notice of what chilling events took place here, or what now resides in the darkness within.
136 executions by hanging took place in the Gaol including the famous bushranger Ned Kelly, the prison was often overcrowded and an extremely dark and difficult place for any inmate to be.
Built between 1852 - 1854 and modeled on Pentonville Prison, England it was considered to have the latest prison reform theories of the day.
It has been rebuilt quite a number of times, and moved from it's original location in 1839 to a larger premise where it still stands today. The remedies to solve the overcrowding never resolved anything, it still remained an extremely unpleasant place for any prisoner. Placed under review in 1870 it was recommended the gaol should be closed and the prisoners moved elsewhere.

The Gaol was slowly run down between the years of 1880 and 1924 then parts of the Gaol were demolished. It was then used as a Military prison during World War II for a brief time.
The only use for it after that was as a police storage facility for the nearby Victorian Police Force until it was acquired by the National Trust and now is open as a museum to the general public on a daily basis.

Ned Kelly's Death mask watches the prison to this dayThe Gaol's most famous prisoner was Ned Kelly, a notorious Australian Bushranger who was captured at a siege in Glenrowan in the 1880's. Ned Kelly was executed by hanging in November, 1880 while a large crowd gathered outside the Gaol. His headless body was originally buried within the Old Melbourne Gaol grounds in an unmarked grave, but later removed, under much controversy (his coffin was discovered with the Kelly symbol and workers stole his bones) to Pentridge Prison grounds.

It should be noted that, as is commonly thought, Ned Kelly's ghost does not haunt the Gaol.

The gaol has an interesting history of hauntings, many reports come from upstairs in the "Woman's Ward" particularly from cell 16. There are reports of a coldness and shadowy figures, there have been voices heard and one paranormal team who previously visited the Gaol picked up an EVP recording of an Irish Woman's voice saying "Get out". Often visitors find they cannot enter the cell or get such a strong feeling from it they won't go in.

The cell we first found most interesting is the true condemned cell. There is also another condemned cell located at the end of the cell row on level 2, this however is not the true condemned cell. The true condemned cell is directly next to the gallows and in fact the doorway faces out over them. Prisoners were brought here on the day of execution (or the day before) to avoid any messing about before their hanging. The cell reeks of fear and terror, the feelings are so noticeable it would almost be impossible to not feel anything. I first visited this cell in early 2001 and immediately noticed the strange feel to it, upon returning with a sensitive (Ronalee) she immediately felt terror and fear and sadness over everything else. We were later on to explore this cell further by spending some time investigating it in the dark.

THE AGHS - Australian Ghost Hunters Society Investigation of the Old Melbourne Gaol

Our first visit back in 2001 was a brief scout during the daytime. We first noticed a strange "feel" to the entire Gaol, I guess the walls still hold the sadness and terror of those past residents who's lives ended at this cold, dark place.

We originally scouted all 3 floors and found that one cell held a certain feel to it in the upstairs women's ward (it was now noted this was cell 16), and as mentioned we originally felt the Condemned cell's torturous vibe. With some of the unusual shots we took from this visit we resolved that further investigation would certainly be warranted and interesting for the Australian Ghost Hunters Society.

Our first strange photographs in 2001

click either photo for full view (larger files)
Captured by Lisa Gibbs the above photos were shot in November, 2001 (as the date on the camera shows). We felt and noticed nothing unusual at the time. The Gaol had a special exhibition of Kelly memorabilia (the case with guns) displayed at the time.
The camera strap on the camera was black - and this is not a camera strap in the photo with the rifles.


We had found it difficult to gain access to the Gaol over the years but eventually managed to get in overnight with another Paranormal Group, however I would like to say I was extremely disappointed to pay a high price of $125.00 each to go in for the night (I still can't understand what the money was for?).

But many thanks to Old Melbourne Gaol, National Trust and the other Investigators for allowing us to visit the Gaol overnight.


EMF field meter
Kodak Digital camera
Microcasette recorder


Ronalee Kodric - Sensitive - AGHS
Rowena Gilbert - AGHS
Rowena & Ronalee of the AGHS who visited Old Melbourne Gaol
Rowena & Ronalee practice talking to Spirits

It was suggested we would have access to the latest technology of equipment for the night but this never came about for us unfortunately .
It should be noted this was put up as a public event, therefore there was a large amount of tourists in the building overnight (20 in total) which does alter any investigation and make things difficult.
We would love to return with further equipment and be given further opportunity to research the hauntings.

The Gaol was not particularly active this night unfortunately, but that's 1/2 the fun of ghost hunting, you never know what might happen and unfortunately some nights it's dead, while the next night the place could be alive!. However strange things did happen eventually, and we did capture a few odd photographs. In fact most of the cells this night felt more than comfortable and easy to be in, even the most haunted ones, perhaps the spirits chose not to make themselves known due to the large amounts of noisy public being allowed in overnight?.



Upon arrival Ronalee and myself made our way up to the (true) condemned cell next to the gallows, where I once before experienced weird sensations inside.

We noted that everyone else (on the investigation this night) who entered the room, or walked near it, also felt strange sensations from the room.
The effect was immediate and quite strong as soon as the doorway was reached; the feeling started from directly outside the door. These feelings ranged from sadness to absolute terror. An interesting feel was that the room was actualy moving or "vibrating" slightly. There was certainly something about this room as everyone could feel it and not just ourselves. We noted to explore it later and hopefully hold a seance inside?.


Further exploration of the gaol and upper rooms.
Noted cells to explore - Cell 16? upstairs in women's ward and true condemned cell.

We were under the control of another group and unfortunately had little choice of where we could investigate when the lights were out. We asked if we could go to the most known to be active cell and were promptly cent to Cell 16 on the third floor Women's ward with not much prior knowledge of what hauntings had been experienced inside.
We later found out that previous encounters included voices, EMF recordings, strange lights and appearances of shadowy figures. It is said to be a fairly paranormally active room.

Lights out at 1.10am

CELL 16 - Women's ward

Previous encounters in this cell recorded an EVP of a Woman saying "get out", it's believed the suicidal death of a prisoner known as "Lucy" is revisited every year on her suicide anniversary. Another group experienced a cry the day before her anniversary. Does she still haunt this cell?

Myself and Ronalee ran our microcasette recorder, and EMF meter, sat on the floor in darkness, cameras at the ready. Unfortunately the first thing we noticed was the room was not active and had that common "dead" feeling to it. We were disappointed, but as explained before, a common event encountered with ghost hunting.
We had a thought that the Gaol had a few too many people in it, and was also very well lit from the outside city lights, this added to the general lack of spooky feelings.


Rowena witnessed a small flash of bright light across the balcony on the other side, this flash was not reflected and behind wire fencing where upon later inspection there was nothing that lit up or could cause this flash (no cameras or other people etc). There was nobody present in the cells across from us at the time of the flash.


Ronalee witnesses a similar small flash of bright light across the balcony, once again, and we noted it was in a slightly different spot than where Rowena saw it. The feel to the cell did not change at this point and we recorded no changes in atmosphere or EMF readings.

It should be noted the cells across from where we were were in almost complete darkness.

Further Investigation


CONDEMNED CELL (true cell outside gallows)

This cell was where prisoners were held briefly before execution at the gallows.

Myself and Ronalee shut the door to this cell and sat on the floor expecting something to happen.
Cameras, EMF readings, Microcasette recorder running.
The room had an immediate effect on us especially Ronalee, being a sensitive - she could pick up on the horrible feelings from the prisoners who had been held there before execution by hanging.
The cell became unbelievably oppressive. We both exclaimed at the same time about a feeling of a huge weight pushing down from above.


Ronalee develops instant headache from the room, she noted it started the minute she walked in.
Rowena has an intense feeling of dizziness and feels as though she should leave the room, but stays.
Ronalee also has the intense feeling of having to leave the room, but also chooses to stay.
We have both now developed headaches from the weight pushing down from above.

Rowena and Ronalee both feel a pushing in from the sides at the exact same moment as well.


The oppressiveness is incredibly intense. Rowena also cannot breathe, with tightness in chest. Ronalee has intense feelings of nausea washing over her and cannot escape the terrible feelings associated with the room. We choose to stay with the door closed to see what will eventuate. At this point we have nothing appear on photos, no EMF readings.


We both note at this time the feelings have subsided considerably. We did not witness any sightings or have any strange EMF readings or EVP recordings during the entire time of the strange feelings. Nothing showed up on camera. We discussed the possibility of the walls and floor holding the energy of fear/terror and loneliness from the past prisoners held from execution.
An interesting note: the feelings we had subsided rapidly and the lights for the Gaol were turned back on within 1 minute (we had no idea of this being about to happen). Could the room or energy sense that we meant no harm and left us as the lights were coming back on? It was definitely as if it knew we were there somehow?

We concluded that the room was obviously not haunted by spirits of the dead as such i.e one spirit in particular making itself known, it was in fact holding residual energy comprising of terror, horror, sadness and loneliness that in general most people can sense to some degree when inside this terrible room.

We wished to hold a seance in this room, but when discussed there was some disapproval from other inexperienced and extremely close minded members of the public who considered the seance would affect them. This is pure inexperience but we decided to attempt to hold a seance at a later date when we could do it without fuss or bother from members of the general public.

3.50-4.20am CELL 16 2nd Floor

The staircase nearby had reports of ghostly footsteps travelling up and down, we considered taking a chance on this cell to see if we could hear something unusual.

*So far nothing unusual had happened throughout the night among the group of tourists participating in the Investigation. Reports of similar flashes of light were the only thing noteworthy at this time.

We found this cell to be "dead" and no activity whatsoever. We picked up no EVP recordings of EMF readings. There was no change in temperature (in fact there were no temperature drops throughout the entire night that we could feel strangely enough).

Upon returning to the lower floor we were extremely tired as it was approaching 5.00am and the night was practically over for us.

One more session in the dark was called for and Ronalee and myself remained downstairs while the cells were filled with tourists and the lights once again turned out.

I continued to take photos and at this point caught this strange light? on the 2nd floor above me

Click for larger image

At this point suddenly a woman ran down the stairs terror stricken by something scaring her on the 3rd floor, (home of cell 16 on the Woman's ward). I decided that I would explore it myself and went up the stairs in darkness to photograph and take EMF readings of where she claimed she had a bad feeling at the top of the stairs.

Once up there I felt nothing, just a cold breeze from the windows and started snapping shots.

Approximately 10-15 minutes later as I was shooting photos down across the lower 2 floors (still hoping to capture something) a loud groaning noise shocked me into surprise. The noise sounded like either a large couch being dragged across the metal floor (lol, not likely) or one of the extremely heavy cell doors being shut/opened or dragged across the metal floor. The noise reverberated around the entire gaol and soon hysteria reigned with one girl screaming and the rest following suit. I watched in amazement as the tourists all made a run for it back to base (the lower floor), none stopped to investigate or take photos (dissapointing). I continued on the 3rd floor by myself taking photos and EMF readings, and trying to find out what the noise was and where it came from.
At the time when it happened, although it shocked me, I was watching the lower floors from the end staircase, however I must point out how dark it was and difficult to see, but I saw no movement of anything that I could pick (no trickster tourists up to no good). I immediately looked to where I thought the groaning noise was coming from but it was extremely difficult because of the echo. From where I was standing, and witnessed the noise, it did not come from the 3rd floor, it came from the mid-way section of the 2nd floor where 2 of my shots show strange phenomena.

There was much commotion caused by the general hysteria and by this time I was exhausted beyond belief as it was getting on to 5.30am and it was time to go home. I did not have any energy left by this time to investigate further by opening all the doors on the 2nd floor to see what made the noise and if it was one of the cell doors or what it could have been?. The tourists claimed that no-one moved anything or touched any of the doors, but I always doubt non-experienced ghost hunters, you never know if one got bored and decided to create a scene or not.

At this stage, the noise remains a complete mystery, but it was certainly a spooky event. I was taking photos at the time, and as most of you know, I am very anti-orb, but I do remain open minded to things. I took this photo about 10/15 seconds before the sound was heard in what I believe was the same area as where it came from. I caught plenty of standard digital "orb" shots on the night, but none had multiple orbs such as this and it is highly unusual that it was in the same spot where the noise seemed to come from. This is confirmed by Ronalee who you can see directly under the "orbs" in the photo - Its also interesting to note that the other photo (above) with the anomaly is from the same area as well.
The photo was actually (by accident), I leave it for you to decide what is in the photo and if it was connected to the very loud, and strange noise we all witnessed this night.

Click for full photo

*note - brightness has been adjusted on photo

Investigation finished at approx 5.30am and everyone departed the gaol tired and weary.


The Old Melbourne Gaol was not active the night we investigated, however this is typical of any haunted site. You can indeed Investigate 20 nights in a row and come up with nothing. However, we do consider that it is active with residual energy from it's violent past, and may also contain some form of intelligent hauntings (we have yet to gain evidence of this). We feel there is certainly further investigation needed and hope that you would visit the gaol yourself to see if you can experience one of the ghosts.

We would hope to gain further access for more investigations and a different point of view on the hauntings and to hold a seance inside at some time in the near future.

More photos we took while in the gaol

Dan Kelly's Armour with Ned Kelly Death Mask reflection

Hanging figure in Condemned cell (created spooky photo with Ronalee)

Ned Kelly's Death Mask eternally facing the prison where he ended his life in 1880


I have received endless photo submissions and queries about this woman in the photo (left), larger photo kindly submitted by Ralf Van Wolfelaar - click picture for larger image.


YES the Woman's ward is haunted, NO this is not a ghost photo or even a photo of any type of spirit or anomaly, let me confirm that this is in fact a see through perspex figure advertising the woman's ward on the 3rd floor. This figure can be seen easily by visiting the gaol and taking a look for yourself, she sometimes moves around so check all the cells for her!. It even has writing on it which you can see in most photos (let me point out no ghost has writing on it).

Report by Rowena Gilbert
Australian Ghost Hunters Society

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