Who is haunting the markets?
Queen Victoria Markets
Today the market is 135 years old, having been officially opened on 20th March 1878, although other markets had been operating on the site prior to this time. It covers an area of some seventeen acres, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. About fifty percent of the market is dedicated to the sale of fresh produce, and the rest of the space holds all manner of stalls and specialty goods. One could quite happily wander the rows of stands, stalls and tables for the best part of a day. The casual, yet bustling atmosphere is easy to take in, as stall holders vie in friendly competition with their neighbours, to get the sale from you.
However, the atmosphere was not always friendly, as at times there was an air of tension and sometimes controversy in the markets past.
'Lauricella was a fruit and vegetable dealer in a prosperous way of business at North Carlton. He was in the Victoria Market at about 4 o'clock in the morning, and accused was seen to fire an automatic pistol at him from behind. Several shots were fired, and two took effect in the head, one proving fatal.'
The man who fired the shots was chased down, captured and subsequently put on trial. The defence stated that the accused 'was a mental degenerate and was not responsible for his actions' that he was 'very dull and stupid' and 'He would not have the same judgment or reflection as an ordinary person' to which the judge, Mr Justice Hood, replied 'that very few criminals had, or there would be no crime committed'.
The jury deliberated for all of ten minutes and returned with a verdict of guilty. The accused was sentenced to death, and on the 18th of September 1916 Antonio Picone felt the extreme penalty of the law when he was hanged in Old Melbourne Gaol.
So far we have Three dead market workers, a disappearance and a few injuries. Not too bad for a market of 130 odd years. What if we could add another nine thousand bodies to that tally?
The Resting Place For More Than 9000 Bodies
In 1878 the market took over part of the land comprising the cemetery, followed by the rest in 1917. It is estimated that over ten thousand bodies had been interred into the ground, but when exhumations were carried out to move the bodies to a new burial site, only 914 were dug up. Only marked graves were exumed, and unfortunately those who had lost their grave marker were left in the ground. The problem is, a majority of the grave markers were made of redwood, and these were taken over the years to be used as fire wood.
Now knowing a little about the history of the markets, it would be safe to assume there is no more suprise that paranormal encounters are taking place. Stall holders, security guards and buyers/visitors have all reported the strange goings on.
These sightings include the sight of three men who look like three bushrangers, who were interred into the ground after being hanged for their crimes. Security have reported seeing them, only to have them vanish on approach...