Busting out the ghost theories

BY SAM MCKNIGHT
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2010
The ghostly apparition in a window
ANDREW WATTERS
HAUNTED? The ghostly apparition in a window of the old St Bathans post office.
A magnified portion of the ghostly image
ANDREW WATTERS
UP CLOSE: A magnified portion of the ghostly image taken in St Bathans.
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An Invercargill man has taken a photograph that could be proof of the afterlife, or it could be a cloud – who knows?

Andrew Watters travelled to St Bathans, near Alexandra, with his partner Kim Ward during the weekend in search of the spirits that reputedly haunt its buildings.

"I'd always been nagging my Kim to go and have a look at the Vulcan Hotel and its supposed ghost, hoping we would find something."

That search turned up short.

"I had a beer at the pub and got goosebumps but I think it was just the excitement."

The pair took plenty of photos and didn't think they had anything until a friend spotted a shape with an uncanny resemblance to a woman in the window at the post office, he said.

"It's freaked me out a bit. The shape is very close to a human figure."

The photograph did not make him any more or less sceptical about the existence of ghosts but it was bizarre, Mr Watters said.

Vulcan Hotel leasee Jude Cavanagh said it was the first she had heard of a ghost sighting at the post office.

"It's a very spirited town, so who knows?"

The post office, which was managed by the Department of Conservation since the 1950s, had been vacant for about a year, at least in the bodily sense, she said.

"It all adds to the legend of the place."

The department's Alexandra community relations programme manager Amanda Ware said she had no knowledge of any phantom presence at the post office.

The building, opened in 1909, was a category two historic place and had been vacant for about a year, she said.

The interior largely remained unchanged from its days as a working port office and the second floor, where the mysterious shape was seen, was the postmaster's living quarters, Ms Ware said.

"Maybe it was him coming back for a visit."

She would tread carefully the next time she stopped by, she said.

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- The Southland Times

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