The Haunted Houses I Grew Up In

Lord Lucan

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I live in an area called the Southern Highland, an area approximately halfway between the cities of Sydney and Canberra.

It's a picturesque, beautiful part of the world, visited by many to enjoy the seasonality, the green, rolling hills and the uniquely English looking landscapes (remember, we are in Australia here).
It's also an area where traditionally, the wealthy of Sydney have had their second or summer homes.

As we are considered a tourist area, we have a locally produced glossy magazine released 6 times a year called 'Highlife', which features the best of Highlands living, real estate, accommodation, wedding venues, cafes, restaurants, shops attractions etc.

All of which leads me to the following...

This months cover of 'Highlife' magazine features the 'Gate House' of a property at Sutton Forest called 'Rotherwood'.

'Rotherwood' was my family home when I was a teenager, my mother and stepfather purchasing it in 1979. There have been numerous owners since they sold it around 20 years later, hence why I'm posting this story now with the relevant information and photos.

The property of 'Rotherwood' has 3 houses on it. The main house (where I lived with my parents), the stable house (where my grandfather - mum's dad lived) and the gate house, where my sister & husband lived with their 3 children.

Rotherwood - the main house.
rotherwood1.jpg

This property was built by a fellow named Christopher Bennett whose father started the first Sydney newspaper. This was the summer residence for his wife and himself. After his death, the house was sold to the Dangar Family of which Dangar Island in Sysdney's Hawkesbury is named.

Numerous ghosts have been sighted in this house, although I only ever saw one personally.
I've related this in another thread: https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/anyone-seen-a-ghost.621/post-1853171
My mother once saw a full bodied apparition dressed in nightclothes walk from one bedroom, halfway up a hallway and into another bedroom as she stood stood in stunned silence.
Various guests throughout the years reported ghostly lights dancing about in their bedrooms and in hallways.
The main house never seemed ominous or sinister and these occurrences were rare, but enough of them occurred, reported by enough people to suggest that ghostly activity did happen there.

Now, onto the Gate House, where my sister lived for a couple of years. Here is the cover of the latest edition of 'Highlife' magazine, showing it:
rotherwoodgatehouse.jpg

Before my sister moved in, another family rented it from us and the husband worked as a handyman on the property. They had two boys of school age. I caught the school bus with them each morning and the older one would tell me of how frightened his mother was each night when the footsteps began.
As you can see from the image, it's a two story building and upstairs there are two rooms, one a sizable bedroom and the windowed room facing the front, a much smaller one. There are two small landings on the staircase.

When my sister moved in after returning from living in New Zealand, she also reported footsteps in the stairs each night. At first, thinking it was her children, she would go to check, only to find them sound asleep. This would happen most nights.

The house, whilst attractive on the outside, is very dark on the inside and I always felt it had a sinister air about it. There was always an uneasy feeling too that someone was watching you constantly.

Forward to 1984. My best mate and I were seeing 2 girls from Sydney who would come to stay at 'Rotherwood' with us every second or third weekend. Generally we stayed in the main house as it had 16 bedrooms, however, this weekend, my parents had guests, my sister no longer lived in the gate house, so we stayed there. They also brought 2 of their girlfriends along. As they lived by the beach in Sydney, they enjoyed, horse riding, open fires, country air etc and that's how we usually filled our days. At nights we drank, talked, listened to music and laughed a lot.

This particular weekend, there were 6 of us in the gate house and I also invited another mate of mine who lived just down the road to join us.
After some time and a few drinks, the conversation got around to ghosts & hauntings, so I mentioned what had happened in the very house we were in. Someone suggested we have a seance or make a Ouija board, so that's exactly what we did.

Writing letters and numbers and pieces of paper we got a wine glass and started asking questions. Almost immediately, we started getting answers with the glass moving briskly under our fingers. After a while and fuelled by alcohol the initial frivolity took on a more serious tone. My best mate seemed to fall into a semi trance like state and he started answering the questions directly. This freaked the girls out and so the seance/Ouija board session was brought to an end. Grant, my friend, took some time to come around, but he did, claiming to not know what had just happened.

So the evening continued, more music, lots of talking, smoking & drinking until in the wee hours of the morning we all went to bed.
As our girlfriends had brought extra friends, it was decided all the girls would sleep in the upstairs rooms, John, my invited friend, drove home, so Grant and I went to bed in a Queen sized bed in the downstairs bedroom.

We didn't fall asleep straight away and were talking about the evening, when we started to hear footsteps coming down the stairs. Thinking it was a couple of the girls coming down to try to scare us, we readied ourselves. However, we weren't ready for what happened next.

The bedroom had louvred, shutter doors which suddenly both crashed open. We were each in sleeping bags with a couple of blankets on top of us which were then wrenched from the end of the bed as if someone was standing there and pulled them off in one swift movement. They hit the wall and fell to the floor. We both sprang out of bed and pulled the light cord, only to find no one there. Freaked out immensely, we got up, explored the lower floor, finding no one and calmed ourselves down with a couple of cigarettes.

The next morning at breakfast, the girls started ribbing Grant and myself, saying how shitty our attempt at scaring them through the night had been. We asked them what they meant and they said we had been shining a torch up the stairwell flicking it on and off (which we hadn't).

Some years later, in 1993 I had cause to stay in the house again for a week. Nothing happened at the time, although I still consider that the house has an evil presence. It partly burnt down in the early 2000's and has since been restored.

There was never any paranormal activity that I'm aware of reported from the stable house or stable complex, though as an interesting aside, 2 time Melbourne Cup winner (Australia's biggest horse race), Peter Pan was born there.

'Rotherwood' is still a private home, though is now also an award winning cool climate vineyard.
 

OrsonSwells

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I live in an area called the Southern Highland, an area approximately halfway between the cities of Sydney and Canberra.

It's a picturesque, beautiful part of the world, visited by many to enjoy the seasonality, the green, rolling hills and the uniquely English looking landscapes (remember, we are in Australia here).
It's also an area where traditionally, the wealthy of Sydney have had their second or summer homes.

As we are considered a tourist area, we have a locally produced glossy magazine released 6 times a year called 'Highlife', which features the best of Highlands living, real estate, accommodation, wedding venues, cafes, restaurants, shops attractions etc.

All of which leads me to the following...

This months cover of 'Highlife' magazine features the 'Gate House' of a property at Sutton Forest called 'Rotherwood'.

'Rotherwood' was my family home when I was a teenager, my mother and stepfather purchasing it in 1979. There have been numerous owners since they sold it around 20 years later, hence why I'm posting this story now with the relevant information and photos.

The property of 'Rotherwood' has 3 houses on it. The main house (where I lived with my parents), the stable house (where my grandfather - mum's dad lived) and the gate house, where my sister & husband lived with their 3 children.

Rotherwood - the main house.
View attachment 28349
This property was built by a fellow named Christopher Bennett whose father started the first Sydney newspaper. This was the summer residence for his wife and himself. After his death, the house was sold to the Dangar Family of which Dangar Island in Sysdney's Hawkesbury is named.

Numerous ghosts have been sighted in this house, although I only ever saw one personally.
I've related this in another thread: https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/anyone-seen-a-ghost.621/post-1853171
My mother once saw a full bodied apparition dressed in nightclothes walk from one bedroom, halfway up a hallway and into another bedroom as she stood stood in stunned silence.
Various guests throughout the years reported ghostly lights dancing about in their bedrooms and in hallways.
The main house never seemed ominous or sinister and these occurrences were rare, but enough of them occurred, reported by enough people to suggest that ghostly activity did happen there.

Now, onto the Gate House, where my sister lived for a couple of years. Here is the cover of the latest edition of 'Highlife' magazine, showing it:
View attachment 28351
Before my sister moved in, another family rented it from us and the husband worked as a handyman on the property. They had two boys of school age. I caught the school bus with them each morning and the older one would tell me of how frightened his mother was each night when the footsteps began.
As you can see from the image, it's a two story building and upstairs there are two rooms, one a sizable bedroom and the windowed room facing the front, a much smaller one. There are two small landings on the staircase.

When my sister moved in after returning from living in New Zealand, she also reported footsteps in the stairs each night. At first, thinking it was her children, she would go to check, only to find them sound asleep. This would happen most nights.

The house, whilst attractive on the outside, is very dark on the inside and I always felt it had a sinister air about it. There was always an uneasy feeling too that someone was watching you constantly.

Forward to 1984. My best mate and I were seeing 2 girls from Sydney who would come to stay at 'Rotherwood' with us every second or third weekend. Generally we stayed in the main house as it had 16 bedrooms, however, this weekend, my parents had guests, my sister no longer lived in the gate house, so we stayed there. They also brought 2 of their girlfriends along. As they lived by the beach in Sydney, they enjoyed, horse riding, open fires, country air etc and that's how we usually filled our days. At nights we drank, talked, listened to music and laughed a lot.

This particular weekend, there were 6 of us in the gate house and I also invited another mate of mine who lived just down the road to join us.
After some time and a few drinks, the conversation got around to ghosts & hauntings, so I mentioned what had happened in the very house we were in. Someone suggested we have a seance or make a Ouija board, so that's exactly what we did.

Writing letters and numbers and pieces of paper we got a wine glass and started asking questions. Almost immediately, we started getting answers with the glass moving briskly under our fingers. After a while and fuelled by alcohol the initial frivolity took on a more serious tone. My best mate seemed to fall into a semi trance like state and he started answering the questions directly. This freaked the girls out and so the seance/Ouija board session was brought to an end. Grant, my friend, took some time to come around, but he did, claiming to not know what had just happened.

So the evening continued, more music, lots of talking, smoking & drinking until in the wee hours of the morning we all went to bed.
As our girlfriends had brought extra friends, it was decided all the girls would sleep in the upstairs rooms, John, my invited friend, drove home, so Grant and I went to bed in a Queen sized bed in the downstairs bedroom.

We didn't fall asleep straight away and were talking about the evening, when we started to hear footsteps coming down the stairs. Thinking it was a couple of the girls coming down to try to scare us, we readied ourselves. However, we weren't ready for what happened next.

The bedroom had louvred, shutter doors which suddenly both crashed open. We were each in sleeping bags with a couple of blankets on top of us which were then wrenched from the end of the bed as if someone was standing there and pulled them off in one swift movement. They hit the wall and fell to the floor. We both sprang out of bed and pulled the light cord, only to find no one there. Freaked out immensely, we got up, explored the lower floor, finding no one and calmed ourselves down with a couple of cigarettes.

The next morning at breakfast, the girls started ribbing Grant and myself, saying how shitty our attempt at scaring them through the night had been. We asked them what they meant and they said we had been shining a torch up the stairwell flicking it on and off (which we hadn't).

Some years later, in 1993 I had cause to stay in the house again for a week. Nothing happened at the time, although I still consider that the house has an evil presence. It partly burnt down in the early 2000's and has since been restored.

There was never any paranormal activity that I'm aware of reported from the stable house or stable complex, though as an interesting aside, 2 time Melbourne Cup winner (Australia's biggest horse race), Peter Pan was born there.

'Rotherwood' is still a private home, though is now also an award winning cool climate vineyard.
Great stories - though a little different to my own family home!
 

Spookdaddy

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...The next morning at breakfast, the girls started ribbing Grant and myself, saying how shitty our attempt at scaring them through the night had been. We asked them what they meant and they said we had been shining a torch up the stairwell flicking it on and off (which we hadn't)...
Maybe three years ago I was staying in a flat rented by my employers. Nice enough place - old building, but modern decor and facilities, and no sinister atmosphere or anything like that.

One night I was woken by a sound - although I had no awareness of what that sound was - and saw something on the wall opposite my bed, similar in effect to what you might see if someone was criss crossing it rapidly with narrow beamed torchlight. I felt awake at the time, if very tired - but have always put it down to some kind of semi-wakefulness related phenomenon.

I was reminded of that by your story.

Great post, Lord Lucan.
 

IbisNibs

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Thanks, Lord Lucan, for a fascinating account!
It sounds like you've never found any information about the origins of the sinister atmosphere or the weird occurrences. Obviously, if you ever hear a hint of a rumor of what could be at the root of them, you must let us know!

I have to add, too, that the episode of young people, alcohol and the ouija board made me smile. The older I get, the fonder I am of the foolhardiness of youth--as long as no one is hurt, of course!
 

Who me

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Wow lord Lucan brilliant but terrifying account.Beautiful house and grounds as I’m a needy pensioner (grovels) pathetically you couldn’t lend me a few quid could you I’ll see you get it back directly :lolling:
 

Jacket_Potato

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I live in an area called the Southern Highland, an area approximately halfway between the cities of Sydney and Canberra.

It's a picturesque, beautiful part of the world, visited by many to enjoy the seasonality, the green, rolling hills and the uniquely English looking landscapes (remember, we are in Australia here).
It's also an area where traditionally, the wealthy of Sydney have had their second or summer homes.

As we are considered a tourist area, we have a locally produced glossy magazine released 6 times a year called 'Highlife', which features the best of Highlands living, real estate, accommodation, wedding venues, cafes, restaurants, shops attractions etc.

All of which leads me to the following...

This months cover of 'Highlife' magazine features the 'Gate House' of a property at Sutton Forest called 'Rotherwood'.

'Rotherwood' was my family home when I was a teenager, my mother and stepfather purchasing it in 1979. There have been numerous owners since they sold it around 20 years later, hence why I'm posting this story now with the relevant information and photos.

The property of 'Rotherwood' has 3 houses on it. The main house (where I lived with my parents), the stable house (where my grandfather - mum's dad lived) and the gate house, where my sister & husband lived with their 3 children.

Rotherwood - the main house.
View attachment 28349
This property was built by a fellow named Christopher Bennett whose father started the first Sydney newspaper. This was the summer residence for his wife and himself. After his death, the house was sold to the Dangar Family of which Dangar Island in Sysdney's Hawkesbury is named.

Numerous ghosts have been sighted in this house, although I only ever saw one personally.
I've related this in another thread: https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/anyone-seen-a-ghost.621/post-1853171
My mother once saw a full bodied apparition dressed in nightclothes walk from one bedroom, halfway up a hallway and into another bedroom as she stood stood in stunned silence.
Various guests throughout the years reported ghostly lights dancing about in their bedrooms and in hallways.
The main house never seemed ominous or sinister and these occurrences were rare, but enough of them occurred, reported by enough people to suggest that ghostly activity did happen there.

Now, onto the Gate House, where my sister lived for a couple of years. Here is the cover of the latest edition of 'Highlife' magazine, showing it:
View attachment 28351
Before my sister moved in, another family rented it from us and the husband worked as a handyman on the property. They had two boys of school age. I caught the school bus with them each morning and the older one would tell me of how frightened his mother was each night when the footsteps began.
As you can see from the image, it's a two story building and upstairs there are two rooms, one a sizable bedroom and the windowed room facing the front, a much smaller one. There are two small landings on the staircase.

When my sister moved in after returning from living in New Zealand, she also reported footsteps in the stairs each night. At first, thinking it was her children, she would go to check, only to find them sound asleep. This would happen most nights.

The house, whilst attractive on the outside, is very dark on the inside and I always felt it had a sinister air about it. There was always an uneasy feeling too that someone was watching you constantly.

Forward to 1984. My best mate and I were seeing 2 girls from Sydney who would come to stay at 'Rotherwood' with us every second or third weekend. Generally we stayed in the main house as it had 16 bedrooms, however, this weekend, my parents had guests, my sister no longer lived in the gate house, so we stayed there. They also brought 2 of their girlfriends along. As they lived by the beach in Sydney, they enjoyed, horse riding, open fires, country air etc and that's how we usually filled our days. At nights we drank, talked, listened to music and laughed a lot.

This particular weekend, there were 6 of us in the gate house and I also invited another mate of mine who lived just down the road to join us.
After some time and a few drinks, the conversation got around to ghosts & hauntings, so I mentioned what had happened in the very house we were in. Someone suggested we have a seance or make a Ouija board, so that's exactly what we did.

Writing letters and numbers and pieces of paper we got a wine glass and started asking questions. Almost immediately, we started getting answers with the glass moving briskly under our fingers. After a while and fuelled by alcohol the initial frivolity took on a more serious tone. My best mate seemed to fall into a semi trance like state and he started answering the questions directly. This freaked the girls out and so the seance/Ouija board session was brought to an end. Grant, my friend, took some time to come around, but he did, claiming to not know what had just happened.

So the evening continued, more music, lots of talking, smoking & drinking until in the wee hours of the morning we all went to bed.
As our girlfriends had brought extra friends, it was decided all the girls would sleep in the upstairs rooms, John, my invited friend, drove home, so Grant and I went to bed in a Queen sized bed in the downstairs bedroom.

We didn't fall asleep straight away and were talking about the evening, when we started to hear footsteps coming down the stairs. Thinking it was a couple of the girls coming down to try to scare us, we readied ourselves. However, we weren't ready for what happened next.

The bedroom had louvred, shutter doors which suddenly both crashed open. We were each in sleeping bags with a couple of blankets on top of us which were then wrenched from the end of the bed as if someone was standing there and pulled them off in one swift movement. They hit the wall and fell to the floor. We both sprang out of bed and pulled the light cord, only to find no one there. Freaked out immensely, we got up, explored the lower floor, finding no one and calmed ourselves down with a couple of cigarettes.

The next morning at breakfast, the girls started ribbing Grant and myself, saying how shitty our attempt at scaring them through the night had been. We asked them what they meant and they said we had been shining a torch up the stairwell flicking it on and off (which we hadn't).

Some years later, in 1993 I had cause to stay in the house again for a week. Nothing happened at the time, although I still consider that the house has an evil presence. It partly burnt down in the early 2000's and has since been restored.

There was never any paranormal activity that I'm aware of reported from the stable house or stable complex, though as an interesting aside, 2 time Melbourne Cup winner (Australia's biggest horse race), Peter Pan was born there.

'Rotherwood' is still a private home, though is now also an award winning cool climate vineyard.
Absolutely fascinating! Did the girls believe you weren't trying to scare them? Did you tell them what happened to you? Don't know how you managed to stay there again a few years later!
 

Lord Lucan

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Absolutely fascinating! Did the girls believe you weren't trying to scare them? Did you tell them what happened to you? Don't know how you managed to stay there again a few years later!
Yes, we did tell them that the flickering lights weren't us, but they were having none of it. I felt it was easier for them the believe it was us rather than something other wordly.

We did tell them of what happened to us and they quickly denied any shenanigans, not that they needed to. They did seem a little perturbed that morning and as it was our last morning there that weekend, we dropped the topic and enjoyed the rest of our day doing fun stuff.

I stayed there out of necessity some year later, when I needed to move out of my home for a week while some work was being done. It was just 5 minutes down the road from where I was living, empty at the time (though fully furnished) and my folk offered it to me. It was a matter of convenience more than anything. Nothing happened while I was there, although I never felt comfortable in that house. It was always cold and dark and had a sinister, unsettling feel about it. It's outside appearance is quite deceptive. Although today, it must be much lighter inside as the part which burnt down (the old laundry and part of the kitchen) has been rebuilt with a glass ceiling allowing far more natural light in than ever before, which may help.
 

Jacket_Potato

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Yes, we did tell them that the flickering lights weren't us, but they were having none of it. I felt it was easier for them the believe it was us rather than something other wordly.

We did tell them of what happened to us and they quickly denied any shenanigans, not that they needed to. They did seem a little perturbed that morning and as it was our last morning there that weekend, we dropped the topic and enjoyed the rest of our day doing fun stuff.

I stayed there out of necessity some year later, when I needed to move out of my home for a week while some work was being done. It was just 5 minutes down the road from where I was living, empty at the time (though fully furnished) and my folk offered it to me. It was a matter of convenience more than anything. Nothing happened while I was there, although I never felt comfortable in that house. It was always cold and dark and had a sinister, unsettling feel about it. It's outside appearance is quite deceptive. Although today, it must be much lighter inside as the part which burnt down (the old laundry and part of the kitchen) has been rebuilt with a glass ceiling allowing far more natural light in than ever before, which may help.
If i was one of the girls, to be fair i'd rather believe that it was lads messing around (and it is generally a much more likely explanation, although not in your case) sounds like a very unnerving place, a gripping account there
 
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