Rocky Horror: Invisible tormentor forces family to flee home

It started simply enough with three knocks at the front door … but no one to be found outside. Next came unexplained tapping in time to family sing-alongs. Then, an invisible force began rattling crockery and windows, thumping on walls, banging on floors and rocking beds. These mysterious incidents would force one Rockhampton family to flee their home of 12 years.

rocky horror 1A letter published in Rockhampton’s Morning Bulletin on 29 July 1952 recounted the mysterious events that had occurred in one local family’s home some 50 years earlier.

The letter writer recounting the events of half a century earlier explained that: “For obvious reasons the location of the property and the family name are not disclosed. There is now only one surviving member of the family, who resides in the south. Reviving a boyhood friendship recently after at least 45 years he and his friend, who had been close neighbours, recounted the mysterious events in the home so vividly fresh in their memories. Such events could never be forgotten.”

“The occurrences, which baffled all efforts to solve, continued nightly, as well as at intervals in a lesser degree during the day, over a prolonged period. To many the record of the events might be regarded as incredible, but the narrator of this story can vouch for their authenticity.”

Tapping in time to family sing-along

The supernatural activity experienced by the Rockhampton family began benignly enough with three knocks at the front door.

When the father of the house went to answer, he found no one there. Probably just the neighbourhood larrikins mucking about, he assumed. He thought nothing more of it, closed the door behind him and returned indoors. The door knocks, however, soon returned. Night after night, week after week. When questioned, the local lads swore they had played no part in the nightly disturbances.

While naturally annoyed, the family did not feel “unduly alarmed” at this point. In fact, to take their minds off the unknown knockings, the family began singing in the evenings.

But, to their astonishment, “the door knockings beat time with the singing. The family chorus each evening, however, soon lost its effect as a palliative,” the letter stated.

Understandably, the regularity of the knockings soon became unbearable for the family. But worse was soon to come with “a series of events that inspired fear”.

“Crockery and windows rattled, there was rubbing on the walls as if a broom was being pushed up and down, underneath the floor of the home was ‘thumped’ and inside walls banged.

“The younger members of the family often scampered from one room to another. To all members of the family the occurrences became rather terrifying, except to the father, who throughout the whole ordeal maintained a spirit of defiance and flung abuse in no uncertain terms.”

Defiant dad’s bed rocked

It seemed the father’s flinging of abuse, however, was in no way appreciated by the invisible supernatural power toying with the Rockhampton family.

rocky horror 2After retiring for the night, the father’s bed would be rocked for about five minutes by an unseen hand that also tugged at the mosquito netting covering the bed.

Unnerved, the 18-stone family patriarch remained in bed and taunted his tormentor by himself pulling on the netting, only to have it tugged harder “as if to give vent to annoyance at the impudence of such an action,” the letter writer speculated.

“There had been scratching under the bed on other occasions as if one were drawing fingers along the wire mattress, but not while father was in it. Rubbing on the walls, however, went on simultaneously with the rocking and tugging. Strangely enough, no other member of the family had been rocked in bed during the disturbances, the experience being apparently reserved for the defiant dad.

“The rappings on the walls were distinctly audible outside the home and frequently some distance from the precincts of the house. It is no exaggeration to say that the hammering could be heard a block or more away.”

On one occasion, the exasperated father shouted: ”Come out into the open and I will face you!” but he was greeted only with heavy bangs on the wall near where he stood.

Three knocks for ‘Yes’ two for ‘No’

Following innumerable attempts to communicate with the troublesome entity intruding into their home life, the family had accepted that three knocks meant “yes” and two knocks meant “no”.

During one attempt at communication, the father asked: 

“Do you want the house?”

The reply came in three knocks, “yes.”

“How much, £300?”

Two knocks, “no.”


Again, two knocks, “no.”



£100 indeed! Such an insult was too much to bear for the proud homeowner. He burst into a torrent of abuse and so the “knocking and brushing” resumed.

No stone left unturned to unravel the uncanny happenings

At their wits’ end, the family’s attempts to find an earthly explanation to their supposedly supernatural ordeal proved in vain.

“A thorough search in every nook and corner threw no light on the cause or causes of the mystery. Police investigated, a squad of workmates visited the house and others equally curious made calls. Ground underneath the home was dug to ascertain whether there was any wiring. All sections above the ceiling were closely examined. In fact, no stone was left unturned to unravel the uncanny happenings, but all proved fruitless.”

Mother ‘a nervous wreck’ family leaves home

“After 12 months the family vacated the home, the mother being almost a nervous wreck, and lived in a rented house about a mile from the scene of the ‘ghostly’ nightmares. Dad, however, could see no reason why they should pay rent when they owned their own home and all decided to return, quite oblivious of the fact that all the events which gave them so much concern had absolutely ceased, although none of them had visited it since departure.”

“For the remaining years they were left undisturbed. In all they had resided there for 26 years.”

Perhaps the intruding entity was just seeking a little time alone in the home before moving on … to wherever.

2 thoughts on “Rocky Horror: Invisible tormentor forces family to flee home

  1. A Mexican Brujo (Sorcerer) once warned a friend of mine that evil spirits not only do things in threes but attempt to trick a person into letting them in. Usually by knocking on a door and a person opening it. If not they will attempt to force their way into a home passed the threshold or mystical force that keeps a home safe from intrusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Andrew,

    It would be interesting to know the history of the block of land on which the house stood. Also the history of the house may shed some light on the matter. I come from NSW so I don’t know the history of Rockhampton. But I just love the response of the father! I have a picture of him in my mind frowning at all the shenanigans! Priceless!


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