You have certainly read the book of Stephen King’s “Shining” or perhaps you have seen Stanley Kubrick’s film of the same name featuring the Stanley Hotel in which paranormal phenomena and strong oppression may have been felt by the hotel’s various guests as well as by the employees? However, it is not the only hotel reporting strange demonstrations, indeed the Russell Hotel in Sydney, Australia also seems to be witnessing paranormal phenomena.


hotel russell

Credit: David Wall Photo / Getty Images

We find the first references to the Russell Hotel as early as July 1790. It was originally a hospital for patients with bubonic plague, a disease that would spread through the individual’s body after he had been bitten by a flea bite from an infected rodent. 26 later, in 1816, the building closed following the construction of a new hospital in the same year to meet better patient needs. The building was then used as accommodation for Mariners.

Samuel Terry, the builder, took the opportunity to build several houses and shops around the old hospital between 1820 and 1835. In fact, Sydney City Council bought the old hospice into a house and store and undertook renovations. 2 floors as well as 7 bedrooms and a back kitchen were therefore built from 1853. The building was recognized as a public trading house. It was named “Patent Slip Inn” and the first official owner was known as Robert Whitemore.

Then in 1858, a new owner named Jack Gallagher took over the store and remained there until 1870. It was not until 1887 that the building was converted into a hotel after being demolished by Thomas Brennan, so that he could build a new hotel according to his wishes. The new building was mainly composed of bricks, stone walls, it also has a slate roof and 3 floors and 12 bedrooms have also been built. The building was named “Port Jackson Hotel” and all the work will have cost 450 pounds (the equivalent of about 510 euros).

In 1900, Russell, owner of the Tooth & Co license, bought the hotel, gave it a new name (the current name) and began expansion work over a 10-year period (1910-1920). During the renovation, the hotel lost some of its charm and was converted into a cottage.

Finally, in 1981, renovation work was once again undertaken to make the hotel as charming as possible and restore it to its original appearance, making it a criterion of choice for travellers.

So far, nothing unusual to report. However, strange rumours are circulating around hotels.

By researching the past of the area where the Russell Hotel called The Rocks is currently located (one of the favourite historic areas for tourists and residents), we learn that the hotel had served as a refuge for visiting sailors at a time when outbreaks of bubonic plague and smallpox were wreaking havoc in the city.

And it turns out that some of the Russell’s employees and several clients mentioned the presence of a male entity in room 8 and that it would wear an old Marin uniform. It would therefore not be surprising, and it is highly probable in view of what has been described above, that one of its sailors may have died in this famous room during his sleep after being affected by bubonic plague, smallpox or another incurable and fatal disease.

However, we cannot certify it 100%, because very often the bodies of people affected by these epidemics were burned after their death, in order to avoid any risk of contamination. It may also be that this ghostly apparition is not a sailor but something else or a simple legend of the hotel intended to attract enthusiasts of the strange.

However, the people who slept in this room had the unpleasant feeling that someone was watching them while they were sleeping while they were alone in the room. In addition, other paranormal phenomena could be observed in room 8 when it was unoccupied, such as unexplained footsteps and the squeaking of the bedroom floor during the night.


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John Sinclair

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