The Fisher's Ghost

The Fisher's Ghost story began on 17 June 1826, with the disappearance of Frederick Fisher. It is a popular Australian story in the early 19th century. Fisher was a paroled convict who had acquired land at Campbelltown and built a shack thereon. Unfortunately, he also caroused there with itinerants and other ticket-of-leave men, including his neighbor and best friend William George Worrell (or Worrall). When Fisher found himself in debt and facing possible arrest, he trustingly signed his property over to Worrell, either to conceal or to protect his assets. When Fisher was released from prison, after a six-month stretch, he returned to his farm only to find that Worrell had been claiming it as his own.

After Fisher disappeared, Worrell resumed possession of the property, telling anyone who inquired that his friend had returned to England in search of his estranged family. The facts that Worrell wore Fisher’s clothes and offered a crudely forged receipt to prove his ownership of one of Fisher’s horses soon raised suspicions. Several local townspeople became suspicious and on September 17, 1826, George Worrall was arrested on suspicion of Fred Fisher's murder and reportedly confessed just before his hanging.

On 23 September, the Colonial Secretary’s Office offered a reward for “the discovery of the body” of Frederick Fisher, or a lesser reward for proof that he had “quitted the Colony”. Subsequently, a local man named James Farley reportedly had an encounter with the ghost of Fisher. Farley was walking near Fisher’s property one night and saw an apparition of the missing man sitting on a fence, glowing eerily and dripping blood from a gashed head. Moaning, the phantasm “pointed a bony finger in the direction of the creek that flowed behind Fisher’s farm”. Thus prompted to search the area, police soon dug up Fisher’s corpse.
The Fisher's Ghost
The story of Fisher’s ghost was actually launched—and it may have originated from an anonymous poem in 1832—the legend has persisted. In the narrative, the phantom behaves as one of those purposeful spirits of yore that sometimes “advised where their bodies might be discovered”.

Since at least the 1950s, lighthearted vigils for the ghost have been held, with crowds typically gathering at midnight on June 17th. The chosen site is the bridge across Fisher’s Ghost Creek because, according to one account, “it was on the rail of the bridge . . . that Fisher’s Ghost was always seen”.

However, when Peter Rodgers and Joe Nickell (the author of "The Mystery Chronicles") made their pilgrimage to the spot, local people told them (and other sources confirmed) that the existing bridge was not in precisely the same place as the original. More significantly, the earliest accounts of the story have the ghost sitting on the rail of a fence. With that simple transformation of a motif (as folklorists term a narrative element)—from fence rail to bridge rail—the site of the purported apparition also became translocated. Nevertheless, “ghost” sightings have been reported there; one of the most noteworthy occurred in 1955.

In order to promote community togetherness and the varied activities of a diverse population and colourful celebration of Campbelltown City´s history and its people, the Campbelltown City Council began celebrating the Festival of Fisher's Ghost in 1956. It is an annual ten-day festival celebrated every November.

Sources:
The Mystery Chronicles: "More Real-Life X-Files" by Joe Nickell;
http://www.campbelltown.nsw.gov.au/TheLegendofFishersGhost;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher%27s_ghost

Pic Source:
The Mystery Chronicles: "More Real-Life X-Files" by Joe Nickell



Written By Tripzibit on Jun 11, 2013 | 16:17

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