Could this video be proof of Childers hotel hauntings?
Article originally published June 2, 2017
PARANORMAL researchers from Brisbane have captured footage and photos of what they believe could be proof of ghostly activity in Childers' Grand Hotel.
A team of eight from Haunted Australia, led by investigator Kade Jones, recently visited the iconic pub and set up about 25 cameras as well as other devices.
Long said to be haunted, numerous people have claimed to have seen or felt strange activity at the 117-year-old Churchill St hotel.
Guests have reportedly seen apparitions of a man wearing black, felt phantom arms being draped across their shoulders and heard heavy footsteps.
Last year, another paranormal research team - DUST - spent time at the hotel and founder Rick Burden said he felt the energy of a man roaming around the pub, as well as a female spirit.
Dogs are said to have attacked invisible things at the hotel, with some guests reportedly leaving because of some rather uncomfortable stays.
Even the pub's owners Dennis and Pam Corliss have their tales to tell about a man's voice being heard in room 12, and say phantom footsteps and shadows have been part of their life since taking on the hotel 20 years ago.
It was this fascinating history that inspired Mr Jones and his team to set up in the pub and see what evidence could be found.
"We certainly experienced things that were unusual to say the least," Mr Jones said.
"I got a feeling within an hour of being there, it was a bit creepy to be honest."
Some of those unusual things caught the team off-guard.
Deciding against investigating on their first night due to the noise of some heavy rain, Mr Jones and his crew were relaxing when the paranormal came to them.
"We heard a girl sobbing, about two to three times we heard it," he said.
"Not long after that, we heard a piano playing.
"The weird thing is it sounded like it was two notes, that was it."
Mr Jones said the team noticed on that night the batteries in their gear were draining more quickly than usual and from around 11.40pm something changed.
"I just piped up and said 'the place feels different', it felt stuffy, it felt like you were being caught in something," he said.
Mr Jones said the piano they'd heard sounded like it was coming from one of two rooms and when his team inquired they found out there was a piano in the pub - inside a locked room.
The piano is believed to be broken and only a few notes can be played.
"It was very interesting, where we heard the girl's cries from, the next night we got approval to go up into the ceiling," Mr Jones said.
"When we had a quick look you could see there was something in the photos."
A name was also written on a roof beam - A Macklin.
"Who that is I've got no idea," Mr Jones said.
"It had been written a long time ago and there's something written beneath it as well but I couldn't make it out."
Mr Jones said there were two kinds of spirit energy.
In the realm of ghost investigation, residual energy is the energy left behind by people or events that had taken place in the area, whereas residential related to entities living in a building or area.
"It's certainly active, it's an intelligent one," he said.
"There's certainly something there that wants to play with you.
"We had the feeling that it's something that's actually in there, it's not residual.
Mr Jones, who says he likes to remain objective during his investigations, said the second night turned up more fascinating insights.
"We caught some orb activity the second night, I witnessed it myself" he said.
The team caught several orbs on camera, including one large one that he said came out of nowhere.
Mr Jones said while sometimes orbs could be the work of dust, it wasn't the case that flecks of dust could just sit without moving.
The team's cameras, Mr Jones says, work on infra-red so they don't illuminate ordinary objects like dust particles.
In one photo, Mr Jones said everything came out normally except he had been completely blurred in the image.
"You look at me and I'm a complete and utter blur," he said.
Another spooky incident happened on the stairs, a place where others have often recounted feeling a presence.
"I saw the team members behaving in a bit of a funny manner," Mr Jones said.
"I said to them 'what's up' and they said something either hit the stairs or walked down the stairs.
"It sounded like someone had walked down four stairs, then someone threw something at the stairs."
Some of the team's photos, taken with LED lights on cameras, turned out black and pink.
After about 300 investigations, Mr Jones, who works alongside his partner Lara, said it was amazing what you could come across on paranormal investigations.
"We're very fortunate to learn the history and see the places we do," he said.
Death at a hotel
Findings from a 1931 Coroner's report help to shed some light on what happened before Victor Thomas Hunt Graham fell to his death from the Grand Hotel in Childers.
During the inquest, several witnesses spoke about the night in question.
Mr Graham had set upon Childers to gain employment with CSR as the sugar harvest got under way.
But the married 34-year-old father of one from Brisbane would not leave town alive.
Legend has it that Mr Graham was threatened for "snitching" on forbidden gambling operations.
According to the Townsville Daily Bulletin, Police Constable Charles Francis said on October 17, 1931, he received a report that a man had fallen from the balcony of the Grand Hotel.
The officer ruled out any suspicious circumstances and believed Mr Graham had died accidentally and there was no evidence of violence being inflicted.
John Kennedy, a labourer from Childers, said he saw Mr Graham in Quirk's Billiard Saloon when the police made a raid earlier that night.
Mr Graham was alleged to have said "I have got a revolver, I can protect myself and I will use it too".
The constable did not hit Mr Graham or interfere with him in any way, according to the report.
A Childers labourer, Charles Howle, said after the raid Mr Graham was pointed out to him as a police informant.
Thirty-three arrests were made at the raid.
Witnesses had allegedly gone over to Mr Graham, calling him a "pimp" and a "liar", to which he replied "I am not".
It's believed he then headed to the Grand Hotel where he met his fate.
Witnesses recalled Mr Graham talking in a loud voice about the raid in the Grand Hotel's bar before being seen talking to a friend.
After that, Rose Haley, a cook at the hotel, said she witnessed Mr Graham on the balcony.
"He appeared excited and was mumbling to himself," she told the inquiry.
When asked what was wrong he said to her "They reckon I got their money".
At the time of the incident, the manager of the Childers branch of the Commercial Bank, Claude Macrossan, had witnessed a struggle from Macrossan St as he played a round of tennis.
The inquest heard that Mr Macrossan saw a man climb outside the hotel's front balcony and fall backwards.
Mr Graham was unconscious after the fall and died shortly after being taken to Childers Hospital in a serious condition.
Some theories suggest Mr Graham tried to get away by climbing down a landing on the outside of the building before he fell.
The most haunted city?
Mr Jones said after visiting so many places across the country, he was now ready to challenge the widely held belief that Toowoomba was the most haunted place in Australia.
That title, he believes, may belong to Childers' nearby neighbour Maryborough.
Mr Jones said the Maryborough's pioneer graves were just one example of a very haunted part of an entire town saturated with ghostly activity.
During the early days of Maryborough's settlement before there was an official cemetery, many people were buried either on their own land or in the bush.
The McAdam and Furber family pioneer graves are the only surviving headstones of what was Maryborough's first cemetery which saw the burials of some 270 pioneers.
"I've made the decision that it's scarier than Toowoomba by far," Mr Jones said, adding that Maryborough was often referred to in ghost investigation circles as "scaryborough".
Mr Jones said Haunted Australia was planning an investigation in the heritage city in September.