Atherton Tablelands, Qld - The Ghost in Room 17
Room 17 at the Malanda Lodge Motel in Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands has been fully booked for the last 13 years - by a ghost!
And no one knows this better than long-serving housemaid Noeleen Stagg, who has even run into the spectre of the long-dead man in the room once or twice.
Noeleen was first alerted to the ghostly presence when strange things began to happen soon after the Motel opened.
"I would clean the room and lock it, then later come back in and find footprints," Noeleen says.
"The footprints freaked me out. I looked around and wondered who was there - but the gardener wasn’t working and I was the only one there. It made me wonder if ghosts were around!"
She’s also heard weird noises while she’s been working there, despite the fact she knew she was the only one in the room at the time.
"There is a spirit around here alright," she says adamantly.
"Sometimes when its dead quiet you can hear this corroborree sound, like the didjeridu playing. Apparently there used to be a few Aboriginal huts around this area where the Motel is now."
Puzzled by the happenings, Noeleen did some more research on the land where the motel was built...and found it was also once the site of Malanda’s old slaughter yards!
"Just near the room where the pool is, there used to be the slaughter yards. I found out that a man died there in terrible circumstances," Noeleen says.
"He fell into a pool of boiling oil back in the sixties."
The horrific death must have left an indelible mark on the site, which has become well known for the restless ghost over the years.
Noeleen says she hasn’t seen any signs of the spirit of late, but remembers one evening when a couple rented room 17 and reported hearing strange sounds before lightening suddenly struck and felled the gumtree outside their room.
New motel owner Maria McIntosh is intrigued by the mysterious goings on, but also believes the ghost is that of the man who died at the slaugher yards.
"But we just can’t work out why he keeps hanging around this room here," Maria says.