Verdict out on post office ghost

19:44, Feb 05 2010
NOT ALONE: Vulcan Hotel lessee Jude Kavanagh said doors in the pub mysteriously locked and when in the hotel by herself she does not feel alone.
NOT ALONE: Vulcan Hotel lessee Jude Kavanagh said doors in the pub mysteriously locked and when in the hotel by herself she does not feel alone.

An Invercargill man who took a photo of a possible ghost at St Bathans said his camera mysteriously shut down when he started taking pictures.

The photo Andrew Watters took while he visited St Bathans was published in the Times yesterday showing an image in the top right window of the old post office.

Yesterday, Mr Watters said his camera had mysteriously shut down when he started taking photos. He was not computer savvy enough for any digital image manipulation and if it was a cloud it was a weird one, he said.

St Bathans residents and holidaymakers greeted Mr Watters' photograph with open minds and a degree of scepticism in the small town yesterday. Resident Keith Hinds, whose wife Sharon ran the post office and gift shop until her death in 2008, was sceptical.

During 13 years of working in the building neither he nor his late wife had seen or heard anything untoward, he said.

"Definitely not – nothing strange has ever happened. I'm sorry to say there's no ghost at the post office."

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He said Mr Watters' photo was a great picture but it looked like a reflection of a cloud.

The second floor of the Department of Conservation-run building – built in 1909 and a category two historic place – was once the postmaster's living quarters.

Dunedin-based artist Helen Brook, enjoying a quiet break in St Bathans, said she had encountered ghosts when she lived in Scotland.

"I saw some kind of ethereal shadow on the stairs of an old building," she said.

At the reputedly haunted Vulcan Hotel – run by Jude Kavanagh and husband Mike for almost a decade – Mrs Kavanagh said guests in Room No 1 had told her they felt a presence tickle their toes, or pull at jewellery.

The bank box was missing for days once before it turned up in its original spot.

St Bathans attracted its fair share of psychics, mystics and ghost hunters, she said.

Guests who stayed in the nearby Constable Cottage – built in 1883 – had reported hearing footsteps on the veranda and the clacking of typewriters, she said.

A psychic and a fossil hunter told her three ghosts lived in the hotel – a woman called Rosie McDonald, a little girl and a cane-twirling man in top hat and tails.

And now, perhaps, the postmaster is back in town?

The Southland Times