Skip To Content

    These Traditional Spirit Stories Will Keep You Up At Night

    From the Poinciana Woman to Devil Highway, we have some legends for you.

    Shadow Trackers is a documentary series from NITV that investigates spirit stories and urban legends from Indigenous Australia.

    NITV

    To find out more about the traditional stories, we spoke to one of the show's spirit chasers, actor Hunter Page-Lochard.

    WildBear Entertainment

    "At the end of the day, these stories are real," Hunter told BuzzFeed. "It's a way of life; it's a custom to be told a certain story, to learn knowledge from it and then respect that story. It all comes down to wanting to respect yourself and your elders."

    Here are some of Hunter's thoughts and memorable moments from investigating these stories.

    1. The Bunyip.

    NITV

    Location: Beaudesert, Queensland.

    The Bunyip is similar to a sea creature, and people say it has a lot of hair which is similar to reeds. It travels through intricate tunnels underneath the ground, and while some say it's huge, others describe it as the size of a human. According to stories, the Bunyip has stolen horses and men, and there are even newspaper articles about cattle men describing an animal with the mane of a lion coming out of the water.

    NITV

    When Hunter travelled to Beaudesert to find the Bunyip, he said the presence of the creature felt "animalistic": "The Bunyip can come from anywhere because of the tunnels, and that's what makes it so scary. We were told it can travel, and if it's not here then that's probably because it's somewhere else. We were also told a story about how it can migrate, and that there is more than one of them, there's a family of them."

    2. Devil Highway.

    NITV

    Location: Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.

    The Devil Highway is a short stretch of road that's popular in the daytime, but becomes deserted at night. Apparently only brave thrill-seekers use the track in the dark. Each person experiences a different type of legend when they walk along Devil Highway.

    Local guide Ningali Lawford claims she once had pebbles thrown at her whilst she was walking home, but when she looked around her, there was nothing but bitumen. After pebbles kept being thrown at her, she ran away, and hasn't walked along the stretch of road since.

    NITV

    Hunter explained that when he was at Devil Highway, he could hear wings and feathers: "It was as if a bird was landing on my shoulder and as that happened, I got the biggest slap on my face, as if someone told me to wake up and respect my culture.

    "I later got really aggressive towards the crew and then they smoked me and I wasn't so negative anymore. Apparently the spirit that landed on my shoulder was whispering negative things into my ear and telling me to do things I wouldn't normally do. That was an intense experience."

    NITV

    "The reason I'm not naming the spirit is because it's kind of like our boogeyman. The spirit I'm talking about is technically the most feared in Aboriginal culture, and for him personally to teach me a lesson, well, I'm taking that to the grave."

    3. The Muldjewangk.

    NITV

    Location: Murray Bridge, South Australia.

    According to stories, the Muldjewangk is half-man and half-fish, but was originally an Aboriginal man who stole a lot of fish and over-hunted. Because of his greediness, he was banished to the water. As a result, he grew gills and begun wreaking revenge on the community. The Muldjewangk captures young men and women, and drags them down into his lair, eventually transforming them into versions of himself.

    NITV

    Hunter said he definitely felt a presence while he was investigating the Muldjewangk: "There were a lot of moments we felt like we were being watched by the water, but it wasn't menacing, it felt more protective."

    4. The Poinciana Woman.

    NITV

    Location: East Point Reserve, Northern Territory.

    According to the legend, the malicious spirit of the Poinciana Woman lives at the end of a point in an army base in Darwin, where lots of Poinciana trees are. The story goes that the Poinciana Woman was brutally raped by a group of men and was left to die while she was waiting for her husband or love.

    There are many variations of the story, with some people claiming she was an Asian woman, while others say she was Aboriginal. Some say she was pregnant when she died, or that she was just standing at the cliff waiting for her loved one to come home, but when he didn't return, she jumped.

    NITV

    There have also been stories of couples who have driven down to the point where the Poinciana Woman lives, and the electricity in their car has shut off. The couples then claim to have seen a woman running towards them, chasing the car.

    When Hunter went to East Point Reserve to learn more about the legend of the Poinciana Woman, he felt nothing but sorrow: "She's wandering aimlessly because of that trauma and impact. It felt like there was definitely something else there that was aggressive and animalistic, and had male energy."

    You can watch all of Shadow Trackers here.

    NITV

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form