Australia’s haunted May Day Asylum

Imagine yourself taking in the rolling hills of Beechworth, Australia. So you’re riding along enjoying the gorgeous view and all the sudden you see this dilapidated old building. Yeah, that’s the old May Day Lunatic Asylum.  Back in the day, it was one of the largest nut houses in Australia. This joint was home to the crazies for 128 years, until it closed its doors in 1995. Now, the only crazies you’ll find there are the ones with no pulses, and the folks like me and you that would go looking for them!

So, May Day was pretty much like any other institution of its kind back in the day. All it took was for Mom and Dad to get fed up with that unruly kid, drive them out to May Day, sign a piece of paper and leave their ass there. It was just that easy. So let’s say, that if a wife wanted to get rid of her old man, all she had to do was grab some other relative, tie his ass up and throw him in the car, or buggy or what ever, and drag him over to the nut house, problem solved!

The first thing that would happen once you were signed in was an intrusive interview by the ward physician, just to see what brand of crazy you were. Well, imagine being dragged in there unwillingly, you’re already pissed off and now you’ve got “Poindexter” sitting across from you psychoanalyzing you. Yep, they’d wind up locking me up in the “bat shit crazy wing” Cause I would be going off!!

But, also put yourself in the shoes of an autistic person, an epileptic or a stroke victim or something like that, imagine the outcome of that interview and where you’d be housed among the lunatics that were there because they really needed to be. Needless to say, once you checked in, it wasn’t likely you’d be leaving without a toe tag, if they did that back in the day. If the crazies didn’t get your ass, the electroshock therapy or other screwed up medical procedures aimed at “fixing your issues” like say, lobotomies, would.

Yeah, those are pretty typical features of an asylum that was in operation back in those days, but here’s something that I’ve never run across before. There was this really cruel feature there that was known as “Ha-Ha walls.” The Ha-Ha wall was like a 10 – 12 ft wall built on the side of a trench. If you were standing a few yards away from it, it looked like you could just step over it and get the Hell out of there.  But, as you got closer, the ground started on a decline.  By the time you got to the wall, you were looking up at the top of it. No one ever escaped there by climbing a wall.

So it’s no wonder, then, that this place is crazy haunted! One of the most frequently seen ghosts there is that of a woman named Matron Sharp. She was a nurse there, one of the few folks that showed compassion to the inmates. She was known to sit with folks and try to comfort them while they were waiting for their electroshock sessions.

She appears in an old fashioned grayish dress, apparently common to the nursing staff at that time. Folks have seen, and photographed her coming down a set of stairs and turning into a nearby room where she immediately disappears. That’s the room where she’d sit with those poor bastards waiting for their next session of “electroshock therapy”

In this same general area, where Matron Sharp is seen, there’ a room called the reaction hall.  That’s where the patients were allowed to play games, act in plays, sing and whatever else it is that crazy folks do to recreate. There are 2 ghosts that are commonly encountered in this room. One is a old man that is always seen staring out of the window. The other is the spirit of a young girl who materializes, and acts like she’s desperate to communicate with you, but before anything can be said, or heard, she disappears.

In the kitchen you may run in to Tommy Kennedy. He was actually a well liked patient there that was given a job working in the kitchen. Folks today will tell you that they’ve had a run in with him after they’ve felt someone, or something, tugging on their clothes or poking them in their ribs.

There’s other patients and doctors that have been seen there as well. Like this one chick that got shoved out of an upper level window because the other inmate wanted her cigarettes. The big problem was that the chick was Jewish. That meant that her body couldn’t be moved until a Rabbi had seen to her. Well, that took a few days, so in the meanwhile, the dead chick is just laying on the ground outside the front of the building. Today, some folks claim that they still see her there, others claim that they’ve seen a reflection in the window from where she fell, but nobody knows if it’s her or the tramp that pushed her.

Then there’s the Grevilla Wing, that was where patients actually had their electroshock therapy. Folks that have walked through that area will tell you that it stays as cold as ice and you can frequently hear the sounds of patients screaming, and see swarms of orbs darting erratically down the corridor.

And according to one spooky legend, even the garden is haunted by loyal gardener.  This dude was named Arthur, who was always wearing a green wool coat, summer, winter, didn’t matter, Arthur had that coat on. When he died, the nurses found out why–Old Arthur had stashed about 4 years of his wages in the lining of that coat. Arthur is seen still today, wandering the overgrown and unkept grounds of the asylum, and he’s still wearing that green coat.

Other visitors have claimed to hear the sounds of children laughing and playing, even though the grounds were deserted. This one chick had brought her 10 year old son along on a ghost tour. The kid started talking to himself a few minutes after the tour started, so his mom asks him why he was talking to himself, because it was annoying as hell. The kid tells her that he’s not talking to himself, he’s talking to a boy that used to live there, and his name was James. When one of the other folks on the tour took a random photo of something else in the room, this chicks son was in the frame, and right there beside him, was a big bright orb, apparently, James.

Now we talked about the Ha Ha walls earlier, and I did say that no one ever escaped by climbing over them right. I didn’t say that no one ever tried. There’s this one grisly tale about a missing patient, this dude had just disappeared, The hospital staff searched every inch of the facility and grounds looking for him, eventually, they just gave up and wrote him off as an escapee, but that’s not what happened.

One day the resident dog, Max, shows up at the guard house at the front gate and he’s macking down on something. So the guard goes over to see what Max has in his mouth. He looks down and sees a human leg. So, the search for the “escaped” inmate kicks back up again, eventually they found him, or what was left of him, decomposing in a tree near the ha ha wall. He’d been up there long enough to where he was so rotten that his leg had fell off of his body.

So, If you find yourself over in that area of Australia, check the joint out, it is open to the public and there are tours, and you don’t even need anyone’s signature to get in these days!

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