Mt Cook village residents are stumped but not spooked by recent supernatural experiences in the national park’s oldest mountain hut.
Mountain guides, visitor centre employees, a helicopter pilot and a cafe manager have all reported paranormal experiences in and around the old hut high up on the Hooker Glacier.
The Hooker hut was built nearly 100 years ago, is a three-hour walk from the visitor centre and sits about 1100 metres above Mt Cook village.
Department of Conservation (DOC) mountain guide Jane Morris and visitor centre assistant Monica Yeoman experienced the surreal when they spent the night of their lives in the hut last Friday.
Ms Morris said she understands their account of paranormal activity could be cause for ridicule.
However, she believes there has been a lack of investigation into the countless reports of spooky happenings in the hut.
Both of them explained the spooky happenings in and around the hut and the lack of investigation surrounding events.
The pair left the village after work and arrived at the hut around dusk on March 20. It wasn’t until they had finished dinner and hopped into their sleeping bags that things started to rattle in the night.
“We’d only been in bed for about 15 minutes when I heard footsteps on the deck outside,” Ms Morris said.
“It sounded like someone was unloading a pack.
“The noise was constant until I heard the sound of an ice axe hitting the corrugated iron.
“It certainly wasn’t an animal as the disturbance sounded organised.”
Ms Yeoman had woken by that stage and both went outside to look around only to discover nothing.
After returning to bed, it was only a matter of five minutes before both women heard what they described as the sound of pots clanging.
It was a sleepless night for both of them after that as the relentless sound of clanging and shuffling continued.
“The noises were quite purposeful,” Ms Morris said.
Both of them admitted to being “freaked out” initially but agreed the experience was intriguing once they got use to the noises.
They left the hut the following morning to continue the day hike and returned in the afternoon to retrieve some gear.
Ms Morris said she felt a presence on her return to the hut although it wasn’t menacing.
Both women said they are keen to return to the hut to discount any skepticism.
For more than 50 years, there have been numerous reports of paranormal activities at Hooker hut.
Peter Graham outlined his experience with the ghost of Hooker hut in Mick Bowie’s book The Hermitage Years. Graham was the proprietor of the Glacier Hotel at the Franz Josef Glazier for many years and his infamous tale was often told in the light of an open fire late in the evening.
The original hut was built in 1910 and rebuilt in 1948.
On its original site, it was visible from the Hermitage and was considered quite a landmark.
However, in 1963 it was moved back intact some 40 metres on to new foundations, away from ominous cracks in the crumbling moraine wall and out of sight from the Hermitage.