Ghostly resident 'John' calls Casino Local Court home
A GHOSTLY presence at Casino Local Court dubbed 'John' has been responsible for strange happenings for years according to the acting registrar.
Mike Cleaver said in his 10 years working at the historic Walker St building, things go missing or are moved from time-to-time, but the 'funny things' had escalated since renovations began.
He said the presence in the court house is believed to be male.
"We assumed it was one of the two gentlemen that passed away many years ago; we call him John," he said.
"One was a registrar that was apparently found dead, on the job, many many years ago.
"The other was a Magistrate, who rode his horse from Lismore to here and collapsed on his horse and was found dead several days later.
From lights flickering or turning on, to doors locking by themselves, to workers tools going missing, 'John's' paranormal interactions have 'freaked out' some people, Mr Cleaver said.
"One day we heard strange noises and then registrar Wendy Durheim became locked in the front office, which you can't do, you can't lock yourself in," he said.
"She rang me and I went and got her out and I said that can't happen; the lock doesn't work that way.
"Then I found myself locked in there so we had to get me out."
'John' enjoys scaring people using the court's lights.
"When we turn the lights off of a night to go home, we come back and check them and they're all on again," Mr Cleaver said.
"Sometimes, one-by-one they come back on as we turn them off and we tell him to stop it.
Mr Cleaver said several staff checked after the lights came back on and the switches had definitely moved from off to on.
"The builders the other morning came here at four-o'clock in the morning to pour their concrete so they didn't annoy anybody," he said.
"Every time they touched the lights went off, and when they walked away the lights had come back on.
"So they panicked and went down to the hamburger shop until the sun came up."
Unexplained incidents continue to occur.
"No one had been in the roof for 70 years and a young fella put his tool bag near the man-hole and came back and it was gone, it had been put over the other side of the roof," Mr Cleaver.
"Sometimes you'd swear blind someone was walking behind you because you hear foot steps
"Then you turn around and there's nobody there.
"He doesn't do anything vindictive, nothing nasty, just things get moved around and lights go on and off.
"It's his way of letting you know, that's all.
One of the most bizarre occurrences happens most afternoons, Mr Cleaver said.
"A bright light shines on one part of the court room where people in custody are led past the magistrate," he said.
"When you go into the court there isn't a speck of light.
"But when you look on the screen in the registry it is definitely visible."
Casino Courthouse was designed by NSW colonial architect James Barnet and opened in 1882.