Iconic Imperial Hotel is up for sale, lock, stock and ghost

Rod Prentice at the Imperial Hotel, Murwillumbah.
Rod Prentice at the Imperial Hotel, Murwillumbah. John Gass

THE iconic Imperial Hotel in Murwillumbah is for sale and features a ghostly inclusion at no extra cost.

Co-owner Tony Foran has decided to sell the pink pub in the heart of the Tweed town and local rumour dictates that potential purchasers may get more than they bargained for.

Head upstairs from the establishment's popular restaurant and you will come across a series of art-deco rooms, barely changed since they were built in the 30s or 40s.

On the south-west side of the building nestled between rooms four and five, lies a long, cold hallway leading to Room 23, where a ghost purportedly resides.

Bartender and long-time Murwillumbah resident Rod Prentice has been working at the Imperial for three years and believes the spirit of the old lady Mrs Lee, who died in Room 23 in the late 70s or early 80s, still lingers in the hotel.

"I've had people who've stayed up there tell me they've seen things. Said they've seen ghostly white figures in the hallway leading to the room," he said.

"This is where she's been seen. Between room 4 and 5. It was pitch black and she was standing there, like she'd been startled."

"When I first came here I heard the story, everyone's heard the story."

"There's something about this place. Things go missing. When something moves around you know somebody has been there."

Mr Prentice said he believed the story, but thought Mrs Lee probably meant no harm, even if she did like to put the scare into visitors and staff.

"I think Mrs Lee comes down to the bar to get her sherry," he laughed.

"I believe it. There has to be more to everything (life) than what we know, what we see and hear."

When Daily News photogrpaher John Gass and I visited the notorious room, we felt slightly uneasy and I was sure the temperature dropped noticeably.

The room is deathly quiet due to the thick old wooden windows that block out the noise of the passing traffic along Murwillumbah's main street.

John's photography equipment stopped working for some time and while it was probably just a coincidence, it was creepy nonetheless.

A grinning Mr Prentice said that Mrs Lee was 'done with pictures for the day.' I couldn't help but feel his words were closer to the truth than he realised.

Mr Foran said he was selling the pub 'get out of the game and retire' and said that while he hadn't seen the ghost himself, he had heard an array of interesting tales.

"We've had it a couple of years and I've heard of the stories, it's an interesting old building. A lot of people that stay ask about the ghost," he said.

Murwillumbah locals sipping schooners in the bar had all heard the story and one man had his own remarkable idea.

"She's described as a white foggy figure coming down the hall. Maybe she put her wedding dress back on," he said.

The Paranormal Project is a group of south-east Queenslanders who investigate the unexplained and co-founder Daniel Hohn was intrigued by the story.

He thought the ghost sightings warranted further investigation and was hoping to talk to Mr Foran about Murwillumbah's own haunted hotel.

Topics:  editors picks ghost imperial hotel murwillumbah

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