Monday, March 17, 2008

Grisly history


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in the comments this great little booklet called The Darker Side of Newtown & Surrounds: A Self Guided Tour for the Misguided, but it really deserves its own entry.

It's published by the National Trust and you should buy it from them right now or grab it from the counter of Better Read Than Dead. You may very well discover that you're living in a house where the body of a child half eaten by "dogs or cats" was found. I would want to know that.

The first three entries are titled as follows: "Train Wreck at Newtown Station", "Woman Gives Birth on Train, then Abandons Baby", and "Decapitation by Tram". Impressively, the woman who gave birth on the train got on at Strathfield, had the baby at Croydon, then got off at Newtown. Efficient.

The curios of history described go from the macabre to the outright grisly and in that comically ominous Tim Burton or Edward Gorey kind of way (see entries like "Death by Skipping Rope" and "Bridegrooms of Death"). I think the tram decapitation is one of the best: "While crossing King Street she lost her presence of mind and hesitated, the driver of the tram could not stop in time until it had knocked the girl down, and the wheels had passed over her neck, completely severing the head from the trunk. Death was instantaneous". Presence of mind. Don't lose it.

10 comments:

Michael Wong Thye Seng said...

Brilliant! How much does it cost?

Karen said...

decapitated by a tram?! Have you read The Master and Margarita?

Nosey in Newtown said...

Mike: $6.95 from the shop or $5 plus p&p from the website.

Karen: No, I haven't... Does decapitation by a tram play an important part in the story? If so, I shall.

fabulous heretic said...

This is a must have!

Joal said...

thanks for drawing my attention to that!

just bought a copy - will let ya know what i think ;-)

casso said...

Will have to go and snap up a copy, it sounds fascinating! I wonder if there's a big rush at BRTD after this entry. ;o)

k-k-karen said...

They're also sold at the St Stephen's Church, plus a bunch of other books about local history. Saw it when I went on the cemetery tour.

Dale Slamma said...

This is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Someone told me that the builders working on the demolition of the old Camperdown Children's Hospital had to down tools for awhile because they could hear ghostly children crying. Has anyone else heard the same story? I am trying to find out more about it.

Anonymous said...

I grabbed a copy of this book after seeing it mentioned on here - and wouldn't you know it! My boyfriend lives in a house that is where that paddock where the mutilated remains of the baby was found. Pretty freaky - especially seeing as everyone who has ever lived in the house has reported odd feelings and happeings over the years. Yeesh.