Ghost Hoaxing in the Goldfields

In this our fourth episode, we’re looking into David’s speciality – ghost hoaxing in Australia. Ghost hoaxing or ‘playing the ghost’ was an oddly popular 1800s prank for dressing up as a ghost and terrifying strangers. Ghost hoaxing ranged from fairly harmless pranks to sinister and violent attacks. All inspired by a series of cases in England, the inventive minds of Australian colonists brought strange twists to this bizarre hobby/crime.

Join us as we pull back the superstition and find out what inspired the ghost hoaxers of the Goldfields, and hear first hand accounts from their victims and court trials.




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  1. Absolutely fantastic podcast, riveting and fascinating piece of Ballarat history. Never heard of Ghost Hoaxing in Australia before this, and never knew how much socio-political motivation was behind it; would love to find out more! Thank you for presenting this topic.


    • No worries Ash! We love doing it haha. I was blown away by the sociopolitical undertones too, it made some of the sociopolitical quasi-religious ’60s groups I’ve read about seem part of a more common pattern than I’d realised.


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