The Haunted Monte Cristo Homestead
I am not a trained researcher or writer. I research these topics in my spare time so I can share what I am passionate about with others. I like to add my own thoughts throughout each piece and I like to keep things "light and fun", even when discussing dark subjects like true crime. I do not claim any of these writings as "official articles" and instead call them "stories". They should not be used for official purposes. And Yes - sometimes I use Wikipedia as a resource but never by itself.
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The haunted history of this Australian mansion isn’t too different from any other haunted mansion in the world. What sets this particular mansion apart from others is - well to be honest, nothing really. It has an interesting windmill of rumors that surround it. Join me as I share some of those with you today.
Built in 1885 by Christopher and Elizabeth Crawley in Junee, New South Wales, this mansion was a status symbol of the family’s wealth and prosperity. Designed in a double-story late-Victorian style and set atop of a hill overlooking the town below. it really is a breath taking building. I’m a sucker for good architecture.
Christopher Crawley was an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He owned and operated a hotel, he owned the majority of the land that is now Junee, he helped fund the construction of a church as well as funding other civic projects for the growing town. He also owned prestigious race horses that were carefully tended to on his property.
The Crawley’s used their wealth and good-standing to provide their children with the very best of educations. The girls were all classically trained in music and art. One, Lillian, becoming an accomplished pianist and composer. Daughter Angela was a terrific artist and was known for doing beautiful line work on envelopes of letters that she wrote to friends. The boys were also classically trained in music and were very driven. Son, Aubrey, played the violin and became a doctor. Their next some, Alphonse, was a talented pianist and became a record breaking solicitor after successfully practicing for 62 years. So, dumb question, but what IS a solicitor exactly? A salesman?
After a lifetime of success and good-standing within the community, on December 14, 1910, Christopher died of heart failure. Heartbroken by the loss of her husband, Elizabeth became a recluse and was said to have only left the mansion twice over the next 23-years of her life. The second time being when her appendix burst - which resulted in her death on August 12, 1933. During the last years of her life, Elizabeth converted an attic/storage space into a chapel so she could study her bible anytime of the day or night. She so desperately wanted to reconnect with her husband.
The house fell into disrepair after her death and was eventually all but abandoned until Reg and Olive Ryan bought the property in 1968 and started renovations.
As soon as they acquired the property they said the paranormal activity started. When they first approached the house it lit up like Christmas - despite there being no electricity to the home. It sounds like the house was welcoming them, doesn’t it? Like it had been lonely for long it was excited to finally have a family to host again.
Let’s get into some of the rumors that swirl around this opulent homestead.
It is said that a caretaker or maid fell to her death after being either pushed or jumping over the railing of the balcony when it was discovered that she was pregnant. Some reports say that this unborn child belonged to Christopher but others say that this event occurred after his death. So, believe what you will but a pregnant woman died at some point.
A nanny was once carrying a child, presumably one of the Crawley children, when the girl was yanked from her arms and tossed down the stairs. You know that poor nanny was probably beaten severely - in the least.
At one point, the horse stable burned down with a young stable boy sleeping inside. It was said to have been started by the stable master because he was a pyromaniac and/or because he detested the boy and wanted to be rid of him. Kinda harsh but that seems like a standard reaction of the time. Don’t want a child - get rid it anyway possible.
The worst is yet to come.
A unsubstantiated rumor was that a housekeeper chained up her mentally ill son, Harold, in an outhouse for 30-years. He was very dependent on his mother and she kept him hidden away as her dirty little secret - since mental illness was basically the most evil and misunderstood thing of the time. He was discovered sleeping next his mother’s dead body. She had died of natural causes and he had the mind of a small child - he didn’t understand. That makes me want to cry to just think about it…. He was sent to live in a institution where he died soon after arriving.
The final deadly event to occur was the fatal shooting of a grounds keeper in 1961.
All of these stories are the perfect recipe for a good ole haunting!
As I’m sure you can imagine, there are reports of strange lights, orbs, disembodied sounds (like footsteps and the such), a weeping woman has been seen, unexplained animal mutilations have been discovered on the grounds, poltergeist activity, and cold spots. The Ryan’s have collected a substantial amount of photographic evidence, which they showcase on their ghost tours. The creepiest and most heartbreaking thing in my opinion is that the sounds of chains can be heard sometimes - they say it’s Harold looking for his mother.
The Ryan’s son Lawrence and his wife, Sophia, live in the mansion now. Sophia claims that since moving in she has felt like she belongs. She says that she has since “learnt that I was one of the maids here.” How she came about this knowledge, I don’t really know but I would be fascinated to hear the story. I totally believe that if you were strongly connected to a place that you could choose to return in another life - that’s just me though. What do you think?
The Monte Cristo Mansion now operates as a bed and breakfast, they sell antiques, and attract tourist from all over.
That is the story of the Monte Cristo Homestead. A somewhat typical haunted mansion story but the rumors definitely bring an interesting charm to the place.
Would you stay the night at the most haunted mansion in Australia?
Visit my ART SHOP to see what macabre beauties have been inspired by these gruesome stories.
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