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Wakehurst Parkway: ‘Ghost hunters’ explore Sydney highway locals say is haunted by slain hitchhiker

A pair of ghost hunters investigating a ‘paranormal’ Australian highway claim to have encountered the spirit of a slain hitchhiker while wandering the road late at night.

Sydney’s Wakehurst Parkway – a stretch of road winding through bushland in the city’s northern beaches – is known for falling into near total darkness at night and for being the scene of one of Australia’s most gruesome slayings.

At nearby Deep Creek Reserve in 1994, Stephen Dempsey, 34, was shot with a crossbow by murderer Richard Leonard who then stored his body in a freezer.

Legend has it the hitchhiker called ‘Kelly’, a nun dressed all in white, appears on the back seats of the road’s passing drivers in the hope of catching a lift home.

Filmmakers Rickie and Brendan – who are the faces of the documentary EFTW – The Haunted Series – have tried to identify the spirits rumoured to be roaming Sydney’s Wakehurst Parkway

Urban explorers from the YouTube series EFTW – The Haunted Series have filmed their attempts to speak to the unearthly forces they claim roam the parkway.

In one scene, the filmmakers Rickie and Brendan tested whether they could identify the force by using dowsing rods. Ghost hunters claim the rods allow them to communicate to spirits.

‘If we are speaking to multiple spirits can you move the rods to my right hand side. If we are talking to one spirit can you move the rods to my left ,’ Rickie asked as he held the rods in the darkness.

After a few seconds, one of the rods swung to the left to join the other – which the ghost hunters claimed was a sign they were speaking to a ‘single spirit’. 

They then claimed to further narrow down its identity by asking if it was female, and then if it was the rumoured force known as ‘Kelly’. Each time the rods went in the ‘yes’ direction.

Sydney's Wakehurst Parkway plunges into complete darkness at night and is known for its unexplained supernatural occurrences and grisly past

Sydney’s Wakehurst Parkway plunges into complete darkness at night and is known for its unexplained supernatural occurrences and grisly past

The pair were left unconvinced though as to whether the road truly was haunted.

‘I really want to get some solid evidence of whether “yes it’s haunted” or “no it’s not”. ‘You guys might go to the same place and have nothing happen,’ Rickie said.  

The explorers’ experience follows other unnerving goings-on on the highway. 

There have been reports of pedestrian crossing lights flashing at 3am with no one around, windscreen wipers suddenly switching off and car doors locking on their own, The Manly Daily reported.  

CAN DOWSING RODS ACTUALLY DETECT THINGS? 

To its devotees, it is an ancient practice used successfully for centuries to find water.

And while sceptics say there is no scientific proof dowsing works, at least one important group of experts appears to be prepared to give it a try – Britain’s water companies.

They admit they still allow their engineers to use rods to divine for mains pipes.

One company even said that ‘the older tried and tested methods are just as effective’ as modern techniques using drones and satellites.

Engineers dowse for water using L or Y-shaped divining rods as they walk the land.

The rods are held out in front of the dowser and twitch to indicate the presence of underground water. 

Psychic medium Mary Loughland (pictured) has claimed to have encountered 'Kelly' on a number of occasions while passing a church on the road

Psychic medium Mary Loughland (pictured) has claimed to have encountered ‘Kelly’ on a number of occasions while passing a church on the road

A car stops at a gate on a remote stretch of the Wakehurst Parkway on the Northern Beaches in March

A car stops at a gate on a remote stretch of the Wakehurst Parkway on the Northern Beaches in March

Psychic medium Mary Loughland has claimed to have encountered ‘Kelly’ on a number of occasions while passing a church on the road, and said a ‘buzz’ will happen on her radio or her car doors lock.

‘The first time I took the road was about six years ago. It was about 2am, and I had the feeling of someone touching the back of my neck. It felt like a cool hand would on a cold day,’ she told the newspaper.

‘She is like a white, veiled apparition of a girl in the back seat.’

Stephen Dempsey (pictured) was shot at Deep Creek Reserve and dismembered in 1994 by a murderer who then stored his body in a freezer

Richard William Leonard (pictured) shot Stephen Dempsey at Deep Creek Reserve

Stephen Dempsey (left) was shot at Deep Creek Reserve and dismembered in 1994 by Richard William Leonard (right) who then stored his body in a freezer 

Ms Loughland said her daughter has also witnessed two apparitions while driving on Wakehurst Parkway at night, and suspects ‘Kelly’ haunts motorists after suffering a tragic past. 

‘Most hauntings are in places where there has been tragedy. I feel Kelly is either lost or has a message to deliver. She is not an evil presence, but one that’s traumatised. She is saying ‘I need a lift out of here’,’ she said.

Samantha Fisher, 22, told the newspaper her mother suddenly blacked out at the wheel while she was driving her in 1998.

She said her mother claimed to not be tired at the time and was ‘definitely not’ asleep when she blacked out.

Meanwhile filmmaker Bianca Biasi, who is producing a documentary called Haunted Shores, said actors started behaving odd on-set when they visited the spot Stephen Dempsey’s body was dumped by Richard William Leonard.

Filming was said to be so confronting that a number of crew members became physically ill, sensed presences and vowed never to return to the site. 

Also looming over the stretch of road is the murder of eight-year-old Graeme Thorne (pictured) in 1963, whose suitcase and person effects were found across Wakehurst Parkway

Also looming over the stretch of road is the murder of eight-year-old Graeme Thorne (pictured) in 1963, whose suitcase and person effects were found across Wakehurst Parkway

Ex-cab driver Hla Oo also described a chilling paranormal activity encounter he had with a nun who he claims appeared inside his car. 

‘There was a grey silhouette of a thin young woman in the mirror, apparently sitting on the middle of the rear seat and sort of staring straight back at me. 

‘She was in a kind of white gown and head-dress like a Christian nun,’ he wrote online.

‘I couldn’t really see her face clearly, just the shape of her face and her deep green eyes, yes the sad green eyes, but she was definitely real and sitting there and staring back at me at that precise moment.’

He later heard from a passenger a Scottish nun died on the road 40 years ago, Legend has it, she has been haunting drivers there ever since.

Other drivers have spoken online of cars breaking down unexpectedly before feeling a shiver run down their spines. 

Also looming over the stretch of road is the murder of eight-year-old Graeme Thorne in 1963, whose suitcase and personal effects were found across Wakehurst Parkway.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk