Diary of a Ghost Chaser- Chasing the Ghosts of Bellbird Hotel

So I find myself back at the Bellbird Hotel after 2 years.
Its always exciting to go back to a site where new owners are expressing concerns about ghostly goings on not knowing that previous owners have had the exact same experiences!
Well, exciting for me but maybe not so for them!

The Bellbird Hotel celebrated its 100 year birthday in 2014.

The hotel is in Bellbird just outside of Cessnock in the Hunter Valley, near the vineyards.
Around the beginning of 2013 I took part in a series of stories being run by the Newcastle Morning Herald about ghostly encounters in Newcastle and the Hunter region. After having been interviewed on David and Tanya’s Breakfast radio on 2KO for a piece about my tours at Fort Scratchley, one of my friends, Angela Walton, who works with a team of paranormal investigators at Newcastle Ghost Hunters, of which I am also member, called me to say that she had just heard another person call in to the station who had some ghost stories to share.

It was Peter Wares, the licensee of Bellbird Hotel, Wollombi Road Bellbird.
He had experienced lots of ghostly activity in the four years he had lived and managed the Pub.
I thought that it might be an idea to call him and ask whether he was open to us coming out to check out his stories and gather some evidence. I had been planning to write a series on ghosts and tall tales about Pubs and Hotels in the Newcastle and Hunter area and thought that this would finally be the story that could kick it off.
I sent out an email to Peter and told my friend, Angela, not hold her breath. I had sent out many emails to local hotel owners with no response a few months earlier. No one seemed to want to talk to me about their pubs and the weird things happening inside.
But a response came in just a few days and Peter was very happy to speak to us. We were very excited and quickly arranged a day to drive up before he got to change his mind.

The Hotel sits along the main drag from Cessnock going out to Wollombi and lends itself to imaginings of bullock teams and horses being tethered out the back while the bar was filled with travel weary men standing with a beer in one hand resting from a day in the saddle.
Its a pretty cool place.

We were keen to sit with Peter and his wife Kerri and chat about their experiences.

We were not disappointed. Our first interview was filled with stories that spanned the four years that Peter and Kerrie had taken over the Hotel and lived in the premises attached to the Pub. Not only had they themselves seen and heard things in the pub, the rooms of the Hotel and also in their own rooms but guests had reported stories that could not be explained.

As Peter told us back then in his own words, “when big, burly coal miners come down in the middle of the night with their bags packed telling you that they cannot go back to their rooms “cause there is something in there” and tell you that they are leaving, you kind of feel compelled to believe that they are not bull s****ing you.”

We proceeded to conduct two investigation nights which were pretty active and I put all of the results into a small booklet presenting it to Peter afterwards.

I found out that just a few months later Peter sold the Hotel and when I went to talk with the new owners they were not really keen to continue with any sort of ghost talk or activity in the Hotel.

They sold the Hotel again within about a year and a new owner took over around October of this year.
Just a few days ago Owen, the new owner, called me saying that strange things had been going on since he had taken over and would I be interested to come out and take a look.

Well hell yes I would be!

I arrived today to find the energy of the place very different from the previous visits.
Owen greeted me and immediately we went upstairs and I started recording our interview, just in case I might catch an EVP.

Owen said that Room Number 7 seemed to be the focus of activity with both the cleaner and the security guard only ever reluctantly walking in through the door. If they did enter they would not stay long.

We tried to open the door to Room number 7 becasue of course I wanted a look for myself, and it wouldnt open.

The door would just not open even though Owen tried several keys and also the master key.
We did finally get in but there was nothing exciting in there...to me it seemed like ...just another room.

                                           The Bellbird Hotel just about completed in 1914

Owen took me to his side of the building and told me that he has a cousin staying with him at the moment who came in to him after one night recently telling him that someone or something had tried to pull the doona off him while he was sleeping.

The young fellow thought that the doona had slipped off and tried to pull it back up but felt resistance as if someone was holding it on the other side. I told Owen that Peter the previous owner had a young son who had also stayed in that room until something similar happened to him. He didn't go back in to that room again.

Other strange things like lights flashing as people walked past, lights blowing, strange knocks and noises in the early hours of the morning.

Some of our investigators connected with a soul out the back of the Hotel on one of our all night stays at the Hotel.
While doing some research over the last few days I came across at least three different stories of people being found dead within a few meters of the Hotel or at the very back of the Hotel itself. I wonder now if one of these people I had dug up in my research might have been the ghost our investigators had locked horns with in 2013?

Anyway, I look forward to some more investigations soon...
We will be going back for more adventures in 2016.
I am sure you will be hearing more stories from the Bellbird.
Maybe you might want to come?


  1. Friends and I stayed in room 18, something I cannot explain happened to me in that room in the early hours after midnight.


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