Monte Cristo is well-known for bringing the dead back into the world of the living, but on the weekend, it was the living who played dead.
The spooky homestead came alive on Saturday night for its annual ball, with attendees dressed to the nines in Victorian attire with an extra haunted element.
“Having the haunted theme injected some interest back into it,” organiser Lawrence Legend said.
“Our numbers have waned over the last few years so we wanted to do something different to keep it alive.”
It worked. 120 ladies and gentlemen traveled from as far as Brisbane for the sit down meal and formal dancing.
It was Lawrence and his mother Olive’s 45th successive ball, with proceeds donated to Junee Can Assist. This year raised $1875 for the charity, which the family have supported since original owner Reg Ryan lost his battle with cancer.
“It was just a great experience, there were a lot of new faces and a lot of scary faces,” Mr Legend said.
Monte Cristo’s resident medium Janine Louise brought a group down for a ghost tour on Friday before Saturday’s festivities, including presenters and a crew from channel 9’s Today Show.
The maids were reportedly not very happy to have a good-looking TV presenter demanding the attention of the homestead’s Mr Crawley.
“Her eyes went red and she was having a lot of trouble with her contact lens, so much so she had to take it out,” Ms Louise said.
“She’s never experienced anything like it before.”
There were some restless nights’ sleep as one guest reported feeling as though she was pinned to the bed, and others found themselves suddenly extremely emotional.
“Monte does that,” Ms Louise said.
“Over the years quite a few people I’ve visited with have broken down.”
Ms Louise gave the opening address at the ball and said it was wonderful to see people, young and old get into the spirit of it.
“Not one person didn’t dress up, I was just blown away with the effort people went to on their hair, gowns and makeup.”
Peter Gamble, who traveled 500 kilometres for the night and is a regular attendee, was named Count of the Ball.
Ms Louise has been resident medium since 2013.
“It’s been a consistent joy for me, I’ve fallen in love with the house, Mrs Crawley and the family,” she said.
“It’s really an honor to be involved in getting people down there and keeping the place alive.”
The haunted theme will continue for next year’s ball which has a maximum capacity of 140-150 guests.