dog, then terrified when the man raised an ancient shotgun and pointed the barrels at me.
âThe old manâs mouth was closed and the strange sound seemed to be coming from inside his body. The sound got louder and louder until it was a deafening roar and then I saw one crooked, bony finger begin to close around the trigger. I yelled âDonât shoot!â but it was too late. I saw the gun fire, but heard no explosion and in that instant the figure and the roaring sound vanished â¦ and so did I a split second later. Up until then Iâd never believed in ghosts, but real guns go âbangâ and real people donât vanish into thin air!â
The real-estate agent also recalled the awful stench of rotting potatoes in Travus Klinkwortâs house â¦ and smells of an even worse kind figure in our final story of ruptured relationships from the Barossa Valley.
When a thirty-six-year-old shy spinster met a like-endowed bachelor in a cafÃ© near Nuriootpa, love (or desperation) brought them together. Certain that the brideâs tyrant of a mother, a widow herself, would not approve of the match, they eloped. Eventually the mother came round â or appeared to â and invited the couple to share her house, but it soon became apparent that all she really wanted was an unpaid labourer to tend her garden and a handmaid to wait on her. She also took every opportunity to drive a wedge between husband and wife, telling each the other was âscrewing aroundâ.
The old woman had some other objectionable habits. She weighed 130 kilograms and consumed platefuls of spiced sausages, dill cucumber, pickled onions and sauerkraut at every meal. Dessert comprised dozens of cream cakes that she devoured with glee, cream dripping off her jowls. After these gargantuan feasts she would repair to the stone dunny in the yard, there to sit and fart thunderously for the best part of an hour.
The repugnant parent insisted the daughter sleep with her, so these times were the only opportunity the unhappily married couple had to be alone and to catch up on some of the pleasures they had missed out on in their youth. One night the husband and wife realised that Mother had been an unusually long time in the dunny and that they had not heard the results of her labours for some time. The daughter went down with a torch and found her mother slumped on the wooden seat, her voluminous red bloomers hanging around her bulbous ankles. The old womanâs face was much the same colour as her bloomers and she was quite dead.
Daughter and son-in-law had a terrible time shifting her. Finally they dragged her out of the dunny and rolled her onto a sheet of corrugated iron. This they dragged under a stout tree branch then winched the body into a wheelbarrow with a block and tackle. When the doctor arrived the old woman was lying angelically composed on her bed and the couple were drooping with exhaustion.
During the old womanâs wake the daughter excused herself from the guests and went down to the stone dunny. She was glad of a few minutesâ rest and solitude but soon her relief turned to terror. The carefully bolted door was suddenly flung open then slammed, jamming securely. The daughterâsscreams attracted the guests, who came running to her aid. When they tried the door it swung open effortlessly.
Next time the daughter used the dunny the contents of the pan boiled up and splashed over her shoes, and when her husband was taking a pee the raised wooden seat was slammed down with dire consequences. That was too much for the couple; drastic remedies were required. They decided to demolish the old dunny and build a new one (with one of those newfangled flushing systems) attached to the house.
A team of workmen arrived a few days later to begin work. The husband thought the solid wooden door on the old dunny worth saving, so while the workman started removing the roof he went inside to unscrew it. The