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Ghost busters hot on trail of footsteps
and a whistle

Sunday Age 27 May, 2007
By John Elder

Gold vaults PROFESSIONAL ghost hunters have conducted a seance and collected video footage during an overnight search of the Old Treasury building in Spring Street.

The members of Ghost Hunters of Australia have been investigating claims by employees, including a former curator, that the place is haunted.

The claims go back 80 years and are part of Melbourne folklore.

Today they endure as a weird form of office gossip.

After "freaking out" one night - he ran down the stairs and out of the building, the ghost following - former catering official Eric Lely decided to raise the issue at a staff meeting.

At first no one wanted to talk about it. It was like I opened a can of worms because everyone felt the same way,� Mr Lely told The Sunday Age.

A couple of his workmates were "big tall men like rugby players" and they also told of "shooting down" the stairs because they felt someone coming after them.

Others told of the feeling that somebody was looking over their shoulder, somebody flitting past the open doorway.

Cleaners talk about their mops and buckets being moved about.

Strange noises, tappings on shoulders, whistling in the stairwell, heavy footsteps - everything but the rattling of chains and floating white sheets.

The word is, women have a friendlier experience.

Former curator Helen Stuckey, now with ACMI, describes the ghost as "gentle; he was very kind to women and a nice presence to have in the building".

Often alone in the building at night, Ms Stuckey "would have a sense of him passing her door," and the lift would often arrive at her level before she had pressed the button.

The written testimony of Mr Lely and Ms Stuckey will appear in an exhibition, Spooks: Haunted Stories of Melbourne at the City Museum at Old Treasury.

Curator Simon Gregg says the exhibition is "believed to be the first of its kind in the world", featuring documentary evidence that bona fide ghosts prowl the Princess Theatre, Como House, the Old Melbourne Gaol, Werribee Park Mansion, Parliament House, State Library, MCG and the National Gallery of Victoria.

And what did the professional ghost hunters capture on their video cameras?

Mr Gregg, who hasn't had a personal experience of the Old Treasury ghost, as yet, said the "surprising findings" will be revealed at the exhibition, running from July 4 until August 26.


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