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Features > A Nightmare In Erinsborough by Billy and Steve

Ramsay Street is probably one of the more dangerous addresses in Australia. Over the years, there have been many weird occurrences, and with Halloween upon us this weekend, we thought it would be the perfect time to look back on some of them. Of course, many of the stranger (and more unlikely) spooky goings on in the street have been down to the over-active imaginations of young children. Infact, as soon as Hannah Martin came to Ramsay Street, she brought with her a stream of mysterious plots. Among them were her fascination with a supposedly haunted house, and the belief that there was a poltergeist at number 26. One of her more memorable exploits came about when she was given a rock from Uluru as a gift. When a neighbour told her that it was extremely unlucky to remove any part of the sacred rock, strange things started to happen to Hannah. As she tried to get rid of the rock, it got passed around the entire street, with each owner finding themselves experiencing bad luck. In the end, the rock had to be returned to its rightful home in order to end the madness.

Ghosts also seem to be a recurring theme for the residents of Ramsay Street. When Helen Daniels moved into a unit to give newlyweds Jim and Beverly some space at home, she found that there were strange noises coming from her chimney. After Mrs Mangel called it upon herself to take Bouncer along and exorcise the demon, it turned out to be nothing more than a cat that had become trapped. Similarly, when Hannah saw strange movements at number 32 in the weeks after the Wilkinson family had vacated it, she began to suspect that it was haunted. However, once again it came to nothing when she found that runaway Patrick Greenwood had been staying there.

However, there have been a couple of neighbours who’ve passed away, but returned to visit their old friends in Ramsay Street. When Julie Martin died, her daughter Hannah began talking to her mother as if she were still there. Cody helped her to deal with the problem as they performed a farewell ceremony for Julie at Lassiter’s Lake. A few years earlier, pregnant Phoebe Bright was stunned when her boyfriend Todd Lander was run down and later died in hospital. Feeling more alone than ever, Phoebe’s hopes were raised when Todd appeared as a vision in her bedroom mirror. He told her not to worry, and that the baby would be born a healthy little girl. Similarly, when Cody Willis was shot and died in 1996, her best friend Sam found it difficult to move on. It wasn’t until Cody came back to visit him and told him that he couldn’t live in the past, that he got over her sudden death. However, it wasn’t just ghosts, bones and lumps of rock that caused problems for the neighbours. Several people also managed to terrorise them over the past twenty years. Here are just a few of them…

Ralph Drew... One of the earliest characters to cause problems in Ramsay Street was Ralph Drew. Under the guise of a vicar named Errol Price, he came to the street to get revenge on Paul Robinson. It seemed that Ralph was an old boyfriend of Paul’s dead wife Terry, and he blamed Paul for Terry’s suicide. Ralph’s plan was to make Paul suffer in the same way he had made Terry suffer. He went to the house and convinced Helen Daniels, Paul’s grandmother, to take him to see Terry’s grave. He then kidnapped her and kept her tied up in an old shed at the churchyard, leaving the Robinson family panic-stricken over her disappearance. Paul soon managed to piece the puzzle together, realising that the real Errol Price was a much older man, then convincing Shane and Charlene to follow him as he left Ramsay Street that day. Luckily, they caught him just in time, as he was about to murder Helen. Ralph was taken away, and Helen was left slightly shaken, but in typical Helen style, she soon pulled herself together and got on with her life.

Jill Weir... When Doug Willis appeared in the Erinsborough News, he found himself making a few fans, but one of them, Jill Weir, was more obsessive than most. Jill saw in Doug, the man of her dreams. Struggling to cope with a failed marriage and a tearaway son, Jill turned to Doug for support and someone to confide in. Some months later, a newspaper article revealed that Jill’s son, Ross, had drowned in an accident. Doug got back in touch and met with Jill regularly, and one night, believing that Pam was cheating on him with Jim Robinson, he caved in and slept with her. This event triggered something in Jill, making her believe that Doug was devoted to her. She decided to move into Number 28 and helped Pam to redecorate the house while Doug was away. Doug was horrified to return and find Jill living in his home. He tried in vain to get rid of her, but she decided that Pam had to know about their love for each other. When Doug continued to reject her, she phoned him and said that she was going to kill herself. Doug and Jim rushed over there, but Doug refused to believe her anymore, and it was left to Jim to help her. This event suddenly caused Jill to change her affections from Doug to Jim. However, she wasn’t seen for many months afterwards, as she recovered in hospital. She was suddenly back in the lives of the Ramsay Street residents when she was involved in a minor car accident with Jim. However, this time she didn’t stick around for long, as it seemed that she had finally changed her ways, attempting to make it up to the Willises and move on with her life.

Michael Martin... After Loretta Martin drank herself to death in 1985 and Julie Robinson swanned in to take her place as head of the Martin household, Michael started to blame Julie for his mother's death. He believed that it was Loretta's discovery of Phil and Julie's affair which led to the tragic accident which left his mother dead. Rather than getting professional help for poor Michael, Phil and Julie decided it was best to send him off to a boarding school where he wouldn't bother them. They later returned to Erinsborough, unaware of what was in store for them. When Michael visited his family in the school holidays, he plotted to kill Julie. He made her overdose on her painkillers and watched gleefully and she passed out in the spa. Julie would have drowned were it not for Michael's sister Debbie coming to her rescue. Though Michael said he was innocent, his plan was uncovered when he was caught on camera spiking Julie's drink. In the following years, Michael redeemed himself and moved away to a farm and only came back when family members died one by one.

Russell Butler...When Phoebe and Stephen Gottlieb decided to take on a new tenant at Number 30, little did they know what dangers were lying deep inside the psychotic mind of Russell Butler. Russell seemed like the perfect tenant; smart, polite, helpful, nice. A little too nice, you could say. He developed a crush on Phoebe, and started screwing around with Stephen to wind him up. He didn't pay the rent, but then bought Hope, Phoebe's baby, a new outfit. He took Hope for walks without Phoebe's permission, sending her round the bend, and pretended to strangers that he was Phoebe's husband. When Stephen and Phoebe cottoned onto this and demanded he leave, he refused and stayed in the house and changed the locks. Doug, being Doug, knew some "people". These people were going to beat up Russell in a vain attempt to show him to not mess with the Gottliebs. By accident they beat up Wayne Duncan. Meanwhile, they discovered that Russell had spent time in a mental hospital, after losing his girlfriend and their baby. It seemed that all of his strange behaviour had been because he viewed Phoebe and Hope as replacements.

Veronica Anderson...When Teresa Bell was forced to move out of Ramsay Street, as her home was sold from under her, she ended up sharing a house with the mild-mannered Veronica “Ronnie” Anderson. Ronnie seemed nice enough, but soon began spending a lot of time with mechanic Drew Kirk. At first, he was flattered by the attention, but made it clear that he had only recently got married to Libby Kennedy, and wasn’t interested. However, with Libby away attending her brother’s wedding in England, she saw the perfect opportunity to change his mind. She managed to invite herself over on several occasions, trying to make out like she was simply looking after him in the absence of his wife. However, her tactics then became more sinister, as she sabotaged her car, so that Drew would have to come and fix it. She then planted some of her belongings around the flat, so that when Libby returned, she would immediately jump to one conclusion. Fortunately, Libby managed to keep her head, as it was discovered that Ronnie was infact Pamela McAdam, a woman who had disappeared following her husband’s death. It was explained that Drew strongly resembled Pamela’s dead husband and her fixation had stemmed from there.

Gus Cleary... An old friend of Max Hoyland, Gus came to Ramsay Street to get revenge on his old mate. The two had worked together on an oil rig and Gus’ incompetence had lead to Max sacking him. Gus’ life had fallen apart at this point, and he’s never forgiven his old friend. When Gus turned up in Ramsay Street, he pretended that he was ready to forgive and forget, but it was clear that he was really plotting to mess up the lives of the entire Hoyland family. His first act of wrongdoing was to make mysterious phone bids during the auction of number 32, meaning that Steph and Max went well above their budget when buying it. He also began a romance with Max’s sister, Izzy, and started to get close to the kids, Boyd and Summer. Gradually, Gus attempted to push Max out of the family, by drugging him and making him an invalid. Each time it looked like Gus was about to be found out, he would manage to lie his way out of the situation. However, Karl Kennedy, who had grown close to Izzy, was the person who didn’t trust Gus, and did a little digging into his past. He found out that Gus had previously spent time in a mental hospital, leaving Max slightly worried. Having noticed that Gus was becoming more and more irrational, Max asked him to leave, but us later broke in and hid in the loft. He continued to try and help the family, cleaning up and doing the washing while they were out. When Gus spotted Izzy with a pregnancy test, he realised that she was pregnant and he was the father. He couldn’t resist talking to her, but when Karl saw them, he called the police, and Gus was taken away. Gus was later moved to a hospital closer to his family in Perth, but as one of the few people to know the truth about Izzy, it seems that he might not be gone for good…