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The Pearler’s Ghost
Abraham Davis was a prominent entrepreneur in the Broome pearling industry around the turn of the century. Davis, an eminent man in the Jewish community of Broome, owned a home in Broome. Davis was drowned, along with all other passengers and crew in the wreck of the Koombana, off Port Headland in 1912. His fine house later became the palace of the first Anglican Bishop of the North-West, Bishop Gerard Trower (1860-1928). One night Trower awoke to see a ghostly figure standing in a pool of light. The figure was dressed in the garments of a Rabbi. When the Bishop called to the figure it promptly vanished. The same figure was seen by others on numerous later occasions, usually late in the afternoon or early in the evening.
A link between this particular haunting and another item of pearling folklore has been suggested by the writer Ion Idriess. In his book Forty Fathoms Deep, Idriess puts forward the possibility that Davis was carrying with him the allegedly priceless ‘Roseate Pearl’. As with many other precious stones and minerals, as well as priceless treasures of antiquity, lost gold mines, and so on, it is believed that this pearl has a curse upon it that brings ill-luck to its possessor.
As with many other traditions of the supernatural, the number of ghosts involved at any haunted sight seems to increase over the years, along with the details of the legend. This is very much in accordance with the growth of folk traditions generally, and even a casual reader of ghost tales and hauntings will have noticed the numerous similarities between them. In the case of the Davis house at Broome, there is also a tradition that it is haunted by the ghost of a Portugese sea-Captain. It must be a busy place at night.
Source: Beatty, Bill., A Treasury of Australian Folk Tales and Traditions, Sydney, 1960.