The Haunting of the Fountain Inn Hotel
The Fountain Inn, at Yilki (Encounter Bay area), was built in 1847. One of the first Inn’s in South Australia and it still stands today. Now known as “Yelki By The Sea”, a Bed and Breakfast near Encounter Bay.
One of South Australia’s earliest hauntings (Alongside Graham’s Castle in Prospect and Younghusband Mansion in Adelaide City), The Fountain Inn is thought to be one of South Australia’s earliest built Hotels, being established in around 1847.
The original building was constructed of weather-board and a thatched roof, and was the only pub for miles around in the area, which led to it being very popular, as there really was no other place to drink and socialise with other settlers, sailors and locals.
Whalers in the southern ocean would drink inside its walls, and many wild brawls would occur out of liquor fuelled jealousy and anger. More than one man was dragged from the hotel in the early years, bleeding profusely from wounds sustained in the brawls.
It wasn’t long until other hotels began to spring up in the region. Newer buildings with more room and better facilities. The Fountain Inn Hotel fell to the wayside and became a summer residence let to tenants.
However, no tenants would stay in the house long.
In the dead of the night, when all was quiet, except the sounds of the waves breaking upon the shore, the old Inn would stir and creak, and something unexplained would come to the fore. Inexplicable noises, like human feet dragging heavily across soft sand towards the lonely Inn. Yet, when one would go to investigate, nothing would be there, except the grassy reeds swaying in the wind.
Rumours sprung up in nearby towns, about the weird goings-on in the Inn. It was to become local lore that a whaler, who had been beaten in a fight in the hotel, then dragged down to the beach where he died, was now coming back to the Inn on a nightly basis to seek his revenge.
The haunting rumours spread like wildfire, and soon no-one in the region was brave enough to spend a night in the haunted Inn, except for a young farmer named Mr Smith, who was staying in the Inn with his wife, well aware of the evil reputation of the building.
Mr Smith was called into town one night and did not want to leave his wife home alone, but she insisted she would be fine and for her husband to go.
After her husband left, the young wife retired to her room to sew by the light of her flicker oil lamp. The lamp threw strange shadows upon the walls, and outside the wind moaned. She tried to put the thought of ghosts out of her mind and waited for her husbands return.
At about 2am, the wind had died down, and she listened as the waves broke upon the shore. Suddenly, from outside her window came the sound of a soft dragging rustle, as if a heavy body was being dragged through the sand. It grew louder, closer – soon she could take it no more, and with her lamp, she flung open the outside door and glanced around in the lamp and moonlight only to find the beach deserted.
She could still hear the dragging noises, only a few meters from where she stood, but whatever was making them was not visible to the eye. In a state of panic, she returned to the Inn, double bolted the door, returned to her room, and waited for her husband with the lamp turned fully on.
The next day Mr Smith returned, and he found his wife barricaded in the bedroom. After she told him of her frightening encounter with the spirit, they packed up and sought accommodation elsewhere, but not before telling the local newspapers what had happened!!!
© Allen Tiller 2014
(Note: could the dragging sound be a seal? )