Three spooky stories to uncover in Hahndorf

Monday, October 21, 2019

In Hahndorf there’s no shortage of spooky stories to get you into the Halloween spirit. Tales of black witches, white witches and everything in between will no doubt give you goose bumps.

Since it was founded in 1838 – by Captain Hahn with masses of Prussian immigrants seeking freedom – there have been numerous recollections of witchcraft, ghosts and creepy happenings in the quaint German town.

Here are three of our favourites.

The Dentist

Many years ago, the now restored Hahndorf Academy was home to council offices, local military headquarters during World War II, a betting shop, and an unusual dentist with some equally peculiar practices.

This dentist operated at the Academy from 1938 to 1959 and was into the habit of disposing of extracted teeth through a hole in the floor.

Carelessly, he left hundreds of rotten teeth under the floorboards to be uncovered.

Can you imagine the spine-tingling panic of those who found them? There was a full investigation!

Book a Hahndorf Walking Tour here with local, Sharon, to hear about strange happenings like this in the village.

The Witches  

Many, many years ago, there were whispers of black and white witches who inhabited the old town.

According to Anni Luur Fox, Chair of the Hahndorf Branch of the National Trust, two witches lived in Hahndorf in the 19th century.

“The black witch, she lived on Victoria Street and the wind never blew over her house. Whenever the locals would see the black witch flying over their own houses, they quickly covered any open sores on their skin in case any of her evil made its way inside,” Luur Fox says.

Over on Main Street lived the white witch. She was a herbalist who was relied upon for her healing powers and to lift spells cast by her rival.   

“Whenever someone’s cow became sick, the owner would take it to the white witch claiming the black witch had done something to it.”

Villagers were incredibly frightened of the two witches, to the point that they would wear their clothes inside out, tie a red ribbon around their necks or plant bay trees outside their house to protect themselves from witchcraft.

Witches in South Australia’s oldest German town sure do sound enthralling, but do you think it’s really true?

Hahndorf Halloween - The Hahndorf Academy
Pictured: The Hahndorf Academy, home of some of Hahndorf's ghosts. 

The Ghosts

Back in 1857, a school was built in the Hahndorf Academy to provide children with a ‘sound and good English and German Education’.

In the many years since the school closed, there have been a number of unnerving ghost encounters by the staff of the Academy.

Apparently, the three ghosts living there included a little boy who used to be a student and would run up and down the corridors crying in fear of his teacher; a teacher who was known as a ferocious woman who placed horror in everyone she met; and another woman in a white dress who would simply stand in the corridor pointing.

Director Rachel McElwee has experienced some of these strange occurrences.

“I was told about these ghosts when I first started. I became really scared of going up the stairs because I used to have to turn lights off at the end of the day when it was dark and I just got these really weird feelings. I was okay in the rest of the building but just going upstairs I used to feel a bit… tense,” she says.

“The next day a volunteer told me this really peculiar story about ghosts. She was working here one day, and her husband and son had come to pick her up. They all walked home together, and when they got home their little boy started screaming.

“They were asking ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said there was a boy was in his bedroom. It was that crying student ghost. The mother couldn’t see him but her husband and son could.

“And the weirdest part of all is that the [ghost] teacher had also followed them. So their little boy was screaming because he could see both the teacher and student ghosts in his room,” Rachel says. “So, the dad went in and told them to ‘piss off’ and they did!”

Ever since, Rachel hasn’t felt the eerie sensation but says other visitors still do, with many passing on their stories.

Visit the Hahndorf Academy, open 10am to 5pm daily, to experience the spookiness for yourself. Click here to visit their website.

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