Adelaide Arcade ‘haunted’ by caretaker ghost Francis Cluney

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It’s the oldest shopping arcade in Australia with a deadly past and at least one resident ghost.

Caretaker Francis Cluney was investigating a flickering light when he fell into an electrical generator and died in the most gruesome way.

The father-of-five’s mangled body was found a short time later and many of the arcade’s businesses are convinced he still walks among them and watches over them.

According to center management marketing consultant Sharon Leaney, “friendly Francis” is most active when works are taking place.

And some say he’s not alone.

Despite his gory death way back in 1887, Ms Leaney said many traders still report feeling his presence and had come to accept him like part of the furniture.

She said traders and shoppers at the iconic arcade, built in 1885, didn’t seem to be put off by the ghostly presence.

“We’re quite sure it’s him,” she told news.com.au of the reported sightings and encounters.

“He seems friendly and no one seems spooked by him — we think he’s just keeping an eye on things.”

Ms Leaney said traders had reported encounters from things being moved to feeling cold and hearing footsteps when no other people were around.

On one occasion an electrical contractor went into the ceiling while doing some work and heard footsteps behind him before it went cold.

According to her, he refused to do the work telling management they didn’t have enough money to make him do the job.

And it seems Francis isn’t the only spirit to walk the shopping arcade, which was the country’s first retail center to have electric lighting, according to the Adelaide Arcade museum.

In 1904 a man called Thomas Houghton shot his wife dead in what used to be the laneway next to the arcade.

She ran into the arcade to get help before taking her last breath.

Ms Leaney said some traders had even reported hearing a child’s voice and laugh, who some claim is the ghost of a girl who was suffocated by her mother.

Francis Cluney’s story and that of the other ghosts were captured by Fox TV show,Haunting Australia , which went inside Manhattan Dry Cleaners, close to the spot where it is believed Mr Cluney died.

Manhattan Dry Cleaner business owner Bronwyn Berry admitted she was a skeptic but even she believed there was something following the show’s filming.

Mrs Berry told news.com.au her daughter and brother-in-law both reported encounters with Francis.

She said when psychics were brought in following filming, problems began occurring with one of their machines.

Her brother-in-law ended up apologizing to the ghost for bringing strangers into the shop and everything went back to normal after that.

“My daughter was in the shop one morning before the arcade opened and heard the EFTPOS machine beeping,” Mrs Berry said.

“She said ‘Francis if this is you beep again’ and the machine began beating furiously fast.”

Mrs Berry said whether it was all coincidence or not, they had been in the arcade for 40 years and weren’t thinking about moving elsewhere because of an apparent ghost.

Arcade’s resident psychic Joan Lesley told The Advertiser in 2004 that Francis wasn’t the only ghost to walk the mall’s floors, with his friend Ken also believed to haunt the arcade.

“There’s a woman here but she won’t tell me her name — she smothered her child with a pillow and is too ashamed to identify herself,” she said.

“They have a real attachment to the building and are really quite harmless.”

[Debra Killalea, news.com.au]

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