Most towns, communities, and families all have a story about a nearby location that has a morbid story behind it. These stories are used for entertainment, to frighten kids, and also to prove your bravery when you are a young adult. Normally these stories have no basis in fact, and usually are urban legends that are common nationwide and modified to fit your locale. It’s your choice on whether the Picton Tunnel is haunted or simply a grand story that has morphed with each retelling.
**Important Note: Access to the Mushroom Tunnel is free and available on weekdays (closed public holidays). The tunnel can only be viewed from the outside to ensure visitors safety. You are not allowed to enter the tunnel without permission, keep in mind if you do, you may be fined for trespassing.**
The Mushroom Tunnel, formally known as the Redbank Range Railway tunnel, is historically significant as the first railway tunnel used by the New South Wales Railways. During WWII the tunnel was used for defense storage until many years later when it was used to commercially grow mushrooms. Hence its name as the Mushroom Tunnel.
To get into why we are here; why is the tunnel considered haunted?
- January 1884 – An unknown man was found decapitated and dismembered in the tunnel. Who he is and how he came to be in the Picton Tunnel are not known.
- The tunnel was used as a shortcut, travelers chose to go through the tunnel instead of over the hill. in December 1916, it is believed that Emily Agnes Bollard was doing that, and she had been struck by a train in the tunnel. Some claim that her body was carried on the front of the train for some distance before her remains were removed.
- February 1954 – Olaf Perkman, was found in the carriage of a train in the station in Sydney. A man named Ronald Holl was arrested for the murder, and eventually confessed that he had shot Olaf in the head when the train was going through the Picton tunnel.
People have reported strange activity, lights appear in the dark, cold spots, and the sounds of a steam train can be heard. The ghost of Emily Bollard still walks the tunnel and other black figures have been reported as loitering in the depths.
The most disturbing experience comes from those who were unlucky enough to have met the “Lady in White”. This spirit will choose one member of a group of visitors, tourists, or trespassers. She momentarily shows herself only to that person. The witnessing person will have extreme terror and at times they have had to be carried screaming, from the tunnel.
Stay Curious my Friends!