Chelsea Flooring and the McKenzie Cottage Ghost

The real ghost stories are the ones you never hear about. They’re not for public consumption. They’re not ‘tantalizing’, just horrifying.

A real ghost cannot be marketed like a Ghost Tour.

 I have a friend in Perth who works for Chelsea Flooring. In one of his quiet moments he began mumbling about Old Cotter’s Lane on the outskirts of Perth. His tale was a disjointed, rambling, often terrifying rant; but I managed to piece this together.

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Old Cotter’s Lane is no longer on the Perth city maps. Whether by design or accident it has been forgotten by the West Australian public. But some time ago the City Council engaged Chelsea Flooring to replace the timber floorboards of a heritage listed cottage.

McKenzie’s Cottage, as the workmen called it, was (is?) a dilapidated convict-built shed. It had seen too many summers, it’s wood warped and twisted from the rains and heat. Far from being a heritage listed beauty it was a haven for venomous brown snakes and funnel web spiders. It stank. All the walls and floors were covered with some noxious brown slime that refused to be scrubbed away. It squatted beneath a cluster of Ironbark trees and was shielded by dense, prickly scrub.

But it was Heritage Listed. And that meant the Council had an obligation to its maintenance. And that was why Chelsea Flooring was here.

The client (a Council rep’) was a thin, sweaty man; some historian or other. He didn’t give his name. and he told us not to speak ours – at least not while we were in the bounds of McKenzie’s Cottage. He demanded we use the wood he designated – even for small fix-up jobs, even for areas no one was ever going to see it. He even provided us with nails to hammer into the floor. And he absolutely demanded everyone clean up at the end of everyday and be gone by sundown.

Everyone was happy enough to be gone before sunset, but the whole idea of cleaning up each day was too much. On any building site there’s no point to tidying everyday. There will only be more mess tomorrow. It is much better to leave it all for one big clean up when the job is done.

 But the client would have none of it. Initially we all thought he was a bit crazy. Well anyone would wouldn’t they? But that all changed when one of the subcontractors used his own nails on another part of the building. We returned the next day to find some poor animal hammered to the wall with those very nails.

Everyday after that the shadows in the cottage seemed to be reaching out to us, like the claws. Several workmen disappeared after the first week. One who stayed nearly got strangled when he slipped off the front stairs and got caught around the throat by some vines. And my friend … Well my friend still works for Chelsea Flooring; but he swears he will never, ever return to Mckenzie’s Cottage.

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