26 Oct 2017

A spooky Otago honeymoon

From Nine To Noon, 9:43 am on 26 October 2017

Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman's honeymoon was not exactly normal; in fact it was paranormal.

Their ten-day honeymoon was spent researching the stranger parts of Otago's history which they then turned it into an eerie play.

For Lizzie and David chasing ghosts across the South Island was the stuff fantasy.

The play, The Dunstan Creek Haunting, is set around Dunstan Creek, the site of gold mining in the 1800s, and now known as St Bathans.

“We didn’t know any of the history, we we’re really ignorant but within about the first 24 hours we turned to each other and said ‘this is a show’!” says Lizzie.

As the pair travelled around they encountered more and more tales.

“Bits of stories kept popping into our laps, from talking to locals in pubs and stumbling across old mining camps and the weird stuff that happened to us,” says Lizzie

David says some pretty stoic South Island types had some spooky yarns.

“They’re telling you stories that are really open ended, they’re like ‘I’m not going to commit to anything but there’s something about that room in house’.”

“There was literally a guy who told us he didn’t go into a room in his house because he felt like it belonged to ‘her’,” Lizzie says.

They had their own goose bumpy moments on the journey, David says.

“When we were in St Bathans, we were staying in the old jail and we were trying to sleep and there was just this scratching noise outside, and we said; ‘no worries it’s going to be a tree isn’t it?’ So you go out do the whole circumference of the building and hang on there’s no tree that goes against this at all.”

And then the tapping starts, says Liz.

“We say OK it’s the neighbour and there is a neighbour, but the next day we find out they’re out of town and have been for 3 days. The houses round us were all completely empty.”

So if you like a good ghost yarn, The Dunstan Creek Haunting is on at Auckland's Herald Theatre until 31 October.