The haunting of Fisher’s Ghost, a farmer in Australia, is one of the countries most famous ghost stories. It is based on the true events and a murder that happened in Campbelltown in the 1800s. And allegedly, the ghost came back from the afterlife to try to help people catch his killer.
The legend of the farmer Frederick Fisher is one of the most popular ghost stories in Australia and comes from Campbelltown in New South Wales. Today it has grown into a suburb of Sydney, but back in the 1800s the place was mainly for farmers of cattle and sheep. Even to this day the town is most known for the famous ghost story of Fisher’s ghost and Fisher’s Ghost Creek runs through Campbelltown’s parks.
Read Also: Check out all our ghost stories from Australia.
Since the 1950s, there have even been a festival named after Fisher’s Ghost that are hosted every year in his honor to show good spirit and community. The Fisher’s Ghost festival includes a parade through Queen Street, Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Fun Run, Street Fair, Carnival, Craft Exhibition, music, competitions, fireworks and the Miss Princess Quest. All in the honor of the towns greatest murder mystery were one local murdered his neighbour.
But what really happened that day Fisher’s ghost returned from the dead to try to reveal what really happened to him the day he had disappeared?
The Disappearance of Frederick Fisher
From his staring, or wild rolling, eye.
Now, stout was the heart of Falconis, and bold ;
Nor weak superstition dwelt there ;
And hideous that object must be to behold,
That could daunt his fierce spirit, his blood curdle cold,
Or stamp on his cheek palid fear.
And, hideous, in sooth, was the object that scared
And turned him from homeward that night;
In shuddering amazement his hearers all stared,
Whilst, with half-lessened terror, Falconis declared
He had met with a murder’d man’s Sprite.
– The Sprite of the Creek
On a calm night on June 17th in 1826, the local farmer Frederick Fisher left his house in Campbelltown and never returned. No one knew were he had gone as he was just going out on a few errands that day. Without a trace he was vanished and no one managed to find out why and how he had disappeared.
Fisher was originally from London and was sentenced to go to Australia after forging bank notes in England. His thieving days was not over for him, even after he was sentenced to 14 years in Australia, and he ended up in prison again. It was not long since he had gotten out of prison again before he disappeared. His friend and neighbour George Worrall kept saying that Fisher had just returned to his native country.
Fisher’s Suspicious Friend and Neighbour
Four months went by and with no news about Fisher and what might have happened to him other than what Worrall claimed. Before going to prison, Fisher had given Worrall power of attorney over his farm and belongings until he got out again. Worrall said that Fisher had given him his property to keep forever and said that Fisher intended to stay in England and never return to Australia.
Worrall himself had also been sent to Australia on a prison sentence because of theft. And like Fisher, it seemed like his criminal days was not over. The police arrested Worrall that September because they suspected he had something to do with his disappearance after he had started to sell Fisher’s belongings. Worrall claimed his innocent and said it was 4 other people that had something to do with it who were also arrested.
The Encounter with Fisher’s Ghost
Then, one day a local man bursted into the Campbelltown hotel called Patricks Inn. The man was pale and shook to his bone. He couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed as it was simply out of this world and would change everything.
The local man was named John Farley and he told everyone in the hotel with a shaking voice, that he had just met Frederick Fisher, the one that had been missing without a trace for many months. The problem was that, he was not alive. Not anymore. It was Fisher’s ghost and was back to get his death known to everyone.
According to John Farley’s testimony, Fisher’s ghost had sat on a fence along the way were the local man had walked past on his way home. Fisher’s ghost had pointed on a paddock beyond the creek as if trying to show Farley something. Then Fisher’s ghost had vanished right before the eyes in front of the shaken man.
Fisher’s Ghost and How he Helped Catching his Murderer
First, the tale Farley told to everyone in Patricks Inn was disregarded as just a fanciful tale, but soon, rumours about the sudden disappearance of the farmer and the mystical appearance of Fisher’s ghost got people even more suspicious.
The man who had seen Fisher’s ghost was a wealthy and respected man in the local community. So the police decided they would investigate his claims after enough rumours and retellings had occurred and stirred up enough fuss. They went to the place the guy pointed out, but the officer found nothing by himself. They then got an Aboriginal tracker living in Liverpool, Australia to help them who managed to locate something when they tested the water in the area.
‘White fellow’s fat here!’, the tracker told the officers and to their big surprise, they found the body of Fisher, stashed away, out of sight, buried by the side of the creek. He had never left Australia, and had certainly never left his farm to his good friend and neighbor either.
The Murderer of Fisher was Caught
George Worrall, Fishers neighbour and his close friend was already under suspicion before the body was found as he had started selling Fishers property and told everyone Fisher had gone to England. They thought that Worrall had killed him when Fisher tried to get his farm back after getting out of prison. Worrall admitted to burying him there when the body was found and was hanged in early 1827. He never admitted to actually murdering him.
Fisher could finally rest in peace as he was finally buried in the cemetery at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in the town by his brother Henry.
So what was the deal with the ghost that suddenly appeared in the murder mystery? There are several theories as to why Farley talked about a ghost and knew were Fisher was buried. One is that he may have known something about where Fisher’s body was buried. Could he have been in on the murder? The details are hazy at this point and this has never been confirmed one way or the other. In fact, the whole story about Farley could be just a story made up after the murder.
Today the official police and court records don’t mention the ghost story at all and some think that the ghost part of this story first came about in the 1832 from James Riley named ‘The Sprite of the Creek’.
Fisher’s Ghost still Haunting Campbelltown
Another theory is of course that Farley did in fact walk past the creek and saw Fisher’s ghost sitting there as he pointed out exactly where he was buried and it helped to solve his murder.
Who can know for sure today exactly what happened? At least Fisher’s ghost found peace in the end after being found and buried properly, not in a shallow grave by the creek. Or did he really find peace? Some reports says Fisher’s ghost still haunts the hotel, to this day. Some even claim that the ghost never really left, and he is still haunting the town.
It is also said that Fisher’s ghost haunts Campbelltown Town Hall, which is built on land where Fred Fisher and George Worrall’s land crossed.
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