Tales of J Ward
One location which I have been to several times and know back to front is J Ward prison for the criminally insane. J ward was built in 1859 and opened in 1861 as a Goldfields prison were three men were hung and buried in the courtyard. In 1886 it was acquired by the lunacy department as a section of Aradale Lunatic Asylum remained as J Ward. It would serve as a prison to the criminally insane housing the most mentally disturbed and dangerous men in Victoria right up until 1991 when it was closed.
The Governor’s bathroom
Let’s get to the good stuff! This is the Govenor’s bathroom. It is rumoured that 6 people were murdered in the bathtub (I believe this is a replica and not the original bathtub) by one of the governors back when it was a prison. In 1881, the 4th Govoner to run the gaol died of a heart attack on the steps leading down to the bathroom. It is believed his body was taken into the kitchen where they attempted to revive him however he passed away. It looks pretty creepy doesn’t it? The dark stains on the wall are not decay (well maybe a little it is old), but more smoke damage from when this was used as a smoking room for bacon. I have heard tales of people sensing demonic presences, being attacked and having some very uneasy feelings in here. For me, I can’t validate any of that. I have done solo investigations in the bathtub and investigated this room on several occasions using some pretty nasty provocation which I do if I am dealing with an ‘evil’ entity and I am not getting anything and want something to happen ….. but I didn’t get anything. This is not to say there is nothing going on down here, just not for me!
Next to the bathroom is the just as spooky looking underground kitchen. I personally do not like the feel of the kitchen.
I have been touched and for some reason it is one of the only places in J Ward I won’t go into alone. Maybe it is because it gets pitch black in there which doesn’t normally bother me but there is something about this room I don’t like. We have caught the sound of keys rattling on static recorders we have left going when no one was inside the building as well as dragging sounds. At our last investigation, we were standing outside getting ready to start our night when we heard noises coming from inside the kitchen when no one was inside. I ran down the outside stairs to the entrance of the kitchen. At this point I saw a bright white ball of light fly across the window. It was the first time I had ever seen a ball of light with my own eyes (that wasn't an 'orb' on a video camera).
For myself personally, one of the most active places has been the shower block. We have caught probably the most EVP responses and spirit box responses in this area. It is also very hit and miss. Sometimes the energy inside is very heavy and not nice and other times it is completely light and I could lie on the floor and have a snooze. The best experience I have probably had in the shower block was when other investigators where in there trying to communicate and my name came over the spirit box. They asked if they wanted me to go into the shower block and received a reply of yes. They asked again and yes they wanted me to goto the shower block. To be honest with you I was a little hesitant because I didn’t know why they wanted me to go in there and why out of the 4 of us there were they calling for me specifically. I’m a female and they want me to come into a shower block at a mens criminally insane prison where all sorts of things would have gone on. Once I got the courage to go in there alone (I had people waiting just outside the door listening in) not much happened. A few responses and a name on the spirit box which I didn’t hear at the time. I am still kicking myself to this day because I think I took too long to go in there. It probably took a good 20 minutes or so for me to build the courage to do it when I should have just gone straight in there where they radio’ed into me on the walkies. Lesson learnt!
The main building consists of a museum, dining room, west wing and the main cell block. I have heard that the west wing is the most active place in there. I personally haven’t really experienced much but a lot of other people have and it has happened on nights when I have been in the building (just not with them in the west wing). Im not going to go into it because it their story and experiences not mine.
Main cell block
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence (Sorry I think I have been watching too much Ghost Adventures I am starting to sound like Zak) that I been a part of was an experiment we did in the cell of Mr Bill Wallace. He was one of the longest serving prisoners at J Ward. On his 100th birthday, the staff at J Ward gifted him with a chess board as he liked to play chess. From my research I had noted that he thought of himself as a gentleman and wore a suit and wished to be addressed as Mr Wallace and treated with respect. To be honest normally in a prison I can be a bit nasty and I do tend to provoke but in this case I kept it respectful knowing how Mr Wallace wanted to be treated in the hope that we would get some kind of response. We had a custom made chess board built with a vibration sensor inbuilt and tried to communicate. We got what we felt were intelligent responses from Mr Wallace. As I was recounting his story, the board would flash when I would ask if the information was correct. We then spent the next 2 hours trying to debunk what had happened and we were unable to recreate it. This is a moment that I will always remember as I felt at that time I had a connection with Mr Wallace.
If you want to learn more about Mr Wallace, read my article: The story of Mr Bill Wallace: J Ward's oldest inmate
These are just some of the few experiences I have had at J Ward, I could write a novel if I listed every single one but these are probably the most notable. It really is an interesting location and I can’t wait to get back there in a couple of months time.
All photos were taken by myself during day visits (before I started my course but hey lightroom works a charm).
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