Last year, I hosted an episode of PEDESTRIAN.TV‘s true crime / mystery podcast All Aussie Mystery Hour about the two separate ghosts that haunt Jenny Dixon Beach on NSW’s Central Coast. I thought that I was done forever talking about ghostly duos, until I heard some tales from Sydney‘s notorious Wakehurst Parkway, a 16km stretch of road in the Northern Beaches that is, by all accounts, spooky as hell.
There’s plenty of creepy stories from motorists who have driven on the road — which connects the suburbs of Seaforth and Narrabeen — including windscreen wipers suddenly failing, doors locking and unlocking by themselves, and car radios either switched off or the volume turned up. There have also been reports of the pedestrian crossing at Oxford Falls flashing with the green man at 3am, despite no one being around to press the button.
But on top of that, there’s apparently two ghosts hanging around the road as well. Great.
Some witnesses report seeing an apparition of a woman in an old-timey uniform, leading to her being known as the nun ghost. A local man named Brad told the Manly Daily:
I have seen the ghost of the nun on the Wakehurst Parkway… It was just after 11pm and I was driving north from work at Manly to home in Frenchs Forest. As I drove over the small rise just before the 80km/h sign, I saw a female on the opposite side of the road. I slowed down and as I got closer I realised it was a ghostly white apparition of a female dressed in an old-style uniform. I sped up and as I looked in the rear view mirror the apparition had vanished.
That’s just one on the nun-related yarns going around. In addition to her, there’s also a ghost named “Kelly” — and I can’t find any explanation of how she got this name so don’t ask me! — who hangs around the Parkway as well. She’s a younger girl who either stands in the middle of the road, or even worse, appears in the back seat of cars.
Take this story from psychic medium Mary Loughland, who also spoke to the Manly Daily about her spooky encounter:
The first time I took the road was about six years ago. It was about 2am, and I had the feeling of someone touching the back of my neck. It felt like a cool hand would on a cold day. She is like a white, veiled apparition of a girl in the back seat. I usually see her when I go past the C3 Church at Oxford Falls. Other times there’ll be a buzz on the radio or the car doors will lock when I go down the road.
It’s no surprise the area is a hotbed of paranormal activity, with several gruesome crimes connected to the area. On July 7 1963 an eight-year-old boy named Graeme Thorne was abducted near his home in Bondi. Graeme’s parents had just won the lottery and they received a ransom demand. On July 8, his school case was found on the side of the Wakehurst Parkway in Seaforth and a few days later his school cap and the contents of the case were found a bit further down the road.
Six weeks after these items were found, Graeme’s body was found wrapped in a rug in a vacant lot in Seaforth. Police later tracked evidence at the scene, connecting it to a Hungarian immigrant named Stephen Bradley who claimed he hadn’t meant to kill Graeme and just wanted to ransom money.
On August 2, 1994, 34-year-old Stephen Dempsey was shot in the heart with a bow and arrow at Deep Creek Reserve which is a parkland on the Wakehurst Parkway. His killer Richard Leonard left Stephen’s body in the creek, but returned later that night and dismembered it, taking it and putting it in a freezer.
In December Leonard and his girlfriend Denise Shipley took the body parts out of their freezer and disposed of them in the suburb of Pittwater. Police eventually linked Richard Leonard to another murder and upon searching his home found the bow and arrow that matched the one used to kill Dempsey.
In March 1995, the naked body of 21-year-old uni student Frances Tizzone was found just metres from the Wakehurst Parkway in the suburb of Frenchs Forest. She’d been strangled, with her ex boyfriend John Cerratore found guilty of her murder — even though he protests his innocence.
There’s also been many fatal crashes along the Wakehurst Parkway, which can be quite hazardous to drive, especially at night, when it’s raining, or a combo of the two.
For more scary real-life tales of Australia’s most haunted road, check out Season 2 Episode 17 of All Aussie Mystery Hour, “Let’s Never Drive Down The Wakehurst Parkway, Australia’s Most Haunted Road”. Find it on iTunes HERE, or on Spotify HERE. Or, you can just listen / download below.Image: iStock / welcomia