Home' The Wellingtonian : July 21st 2011 Contents 4 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JULY 21, 2011
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The ghosts of
Laura Walters continues
her series about
Spooky cells: Bernie Hannah at the former Mount Cook police barracks.
Photo: LAURA WALTERS
Rumours about the souls of executed
prisoners lingering in the Mount Cook
police barracks may be just that,
Many people believe hardened
criminals were detained and even
executed in these barracks.
However, the dark side of prison life
took place up the hill at the prison,
where Massey University is now.
The barracks were built in 1894 on
the corner of Buckle St and Tasman
St, where they still stand.
Building owner Milvia Hannah said
she believed people linked the
executions and hauntings with the
barracks because the prison was
demolished long ago.
Mrs Hannah and her husband
Bernie have owned the building for 11
Even though Mrs Hannah is certain
there aren't any ghouls roaming the
old building, her husband isn't so sure.
They originally used the building for
their kitchen design business, but it is
now leased as office space. One com-
pany that had an office in the barracks
was Hell Pizza.
It was in this office that Mr Hannah
had a strange experience.
Late one night he was carrying out
maintenance on the building when he
went into the Hell Pizza office and felt
The place felt like a freezer. I got a
strange sensation,'' Mr Hannah said.
The hairs on the back of my neck
Despite Mr Hannah's chilling
experience, his wife was adamant the
converted building is ghost-free.
I was in there very late some
nights,'' she said. I never felt
spooked or threatened.''
Unlike other haunted buildings,
the barracks does not have a history
of strange occurrences or sightings.
But after seeing the old cells in the
courtyard behind the building it is
easy to understand how people could
let their imaginations run away on
The cells -- which were refashioned
and added to early last century --
were set into a concrete background
with only a peep-hole for food and
communication with the outside
The cells held prisoners until the
judge -- who sat in an office at the
front of the barracks -- passed judg-
ment on those arrested.
From there prisoners were trans-
ferred to the prison on the hill, or
released on bail.
The idea of being held in the cold
cells overnight was spooky, but it
sounds as though this was about as
spooky as it got at the barracks.
Psychic medium Sue Nicholson,
from TV2's Sensing Murder, said
people made up ghost tales some-
times. It starts as a tale and carries
on for generations.''
She said she didn't sense any pres-
ence at the police barracks but that
were haunted buildings around Wel-
New Zealand was a newer
country'' and didn't have as many
ghosts as a country like England, she
But there were still instances in the
city of confused and possessive ghosts
who believed they were still alive.
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