These are Australia’s creepiest urban legends. Australia is home to some of the weirdest creatures on the planet, so it’s not surprising that its urban legends are equally unsettling. Here we look at ten of the darkest and creepiest stories from down under.
10. Drop Bears
The cute and cuddly koala is one of the most recognizably Australian icons out there. But not many are aware of the koala’s larger and deadlier counterpart: the drop bear (known in the scientific world as Thylarctos Plummetus).
According to Australian folklore, the drop bear is a predatory marsupial with coarse orange fur and powerful forearms that it uses to climb and disembowel prey. These monstrous creatures, which can grow to the size of leopards, use their powerful premolars to tear their prey limb from limb.
Drop bears are something of an inside joke amongst locals. Since Australia has an overwhelming amount of deadly flora and fauna, urban legends like this seem plausible to gullible tourists. But if you look more closely it becomes harder to buy into the creature’s legitimacy – especially when local wildlife websites cite iconic Australian products like Aeroguard and Vegemite as official drop bear repellents.
Personally, I remember hearing about drop bears when I was young. We had a school excursion to a national park where a ranger told us to be careful of the infamous drop bears. He said they can drop out of trees from near perfect camouflage and tear you apart. It was most likely a tactic to keep us from wandering off the path, but still, it was terrifying at the time.
9. Morgue Beneath Crown Casino
Melbourne’s Crown Casino is the largest and most opulent casino in Australia. It’s also home to one of the nation’s darkest urban legends. Every night, hundreds of hopeful punters have their dreams of striking it rich shattered. Depression soon sets, which in turn may lead to suicidal thoughts.
According to the legend, Crown Casino is covering up a huge suicide epidemic. They say the casino has its own secret morgue, way down in the basement, to deal with the constant influx of corpses.
In fact, according to the theory, so many people attempt suicide in the Crown’s bathroom cubicles that they had to engineer rotating walls to allow for fast and efficient corpse disposal. If rumours are to be believed, this cold and nefarious solution is all about maximising profits and avoiding bad PR.
Needless to say, dozens of well-substantiated rumours have sprung up suggesting that the casino is haunted. There’s even a related theory that Melbourne’s iconic river, the Yarra, got its distinctive brown colouring after years of being used as a corpse dumping ground.
8. Jack the Ripper’s Resting Place
As unlikely as it sounds, many believe that the final resting place of the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper was actually in Australia. The theory goes that Jack the Ripper’s secret identity was an Englishman named Frederick Bailey Deeming. Frederick fled Britain in July of 1891 after slaughtering his wife and children and leaving them buried under his floorboards.
Upon his arrival in Australia, Frederick claimed his next victim: a local woman, who he disposed of in Melbourne before disappearing into the Australian wilderness. Frederick was eventually caught and hanged, but the brutality of his crimes led many to believe that he and Jack the Ripper were one and the same.
You see, Frederick’s victims were found in uncannily similar states to those of the Whitechapel murders. The victims all had their throats slashed and their bodies violently mutilated.
The theory gained further traction when the Ripper killings abruptly stopped at the same time that Frederick fled Britain. Did history’s most notorious serial killer live out his final days in Melbourne? We may never know.
7. Bodies in the Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most recognisable structures in the world – but few know about the sinister cloud it has hanging over it.
Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge first began in 1924. It was such a long and dangerous endeavour that sixteen ironworkers lost their lives in the eight years it took to finish the job. These deaths are officially recorded in the history books, but some say that another three workers lost their lives. But these deaths were mysteriously hushed.
The story goes that three unlucky contractors fell into the huge pylons during construction. Retrieving the bodies was deemed too difficult and costly, given they were under enormous pressure to complete the project. Rather than delay production they decided to leave the bodies entombed within the pylons, where they allegedly remain today.
These construction workers were drifters with no permanent roots in the area, which is how their disappearances were able to go unnoticed. If this urban myth is true, Sydney’s bold national icon is actually a giant burial site.
Today, tourists often report strange happenings on or near the iconic bridge. Some say they’ve heard awful screams or unusual knocking sounds, hysterical laughter and even dramatic shifts in temperature. Some motorists even say they’ve seen ghostly apparitions appear in the middle of the road while crossing the bridge. They slam on their breaks only to discover there was nothing there at all.
Could these spirits be linked to the unofficial burial site that is allegedly deep within the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge?
6. Schneider’s Alley
Schneider’s Alley in Adelaide is one of the most popular urban legends in Australia. As the story goes, a man named Dr Schneider became unhinged following the tragic death of his wife and child sometime in the twentieth century.
In a fit of madness, Schneider began taking his patients to a small log cabin in the woods outside his mansion home. There he performed insane surgical experiments on them without anaesthesia. Schneider is believed to have murdered dozens of victims.
Today, people say that Schneider’s disfigured patients can still be seen roaming the area. At night, those nearby say they hear the tortured screams of patients reliving their hideous operations.
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