Haunted Bookshop & Ghost Tour

Stop off at the old haunts: Bill O'Byrne gets the ghostly lowdown on Melbourne

The Dominion (NZ) Travel Guide feature, 26 February, 2002, pp 9
By Bill O'Byrne with photography by Bill O'Byrne

Drew SintonIt is not the ghosts who concern Drew Sinton on his late-night tours of Melbourne - it is the living.

Mr Sinton, host of Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour, which every Saturday night takes in some of the oldest pubs and byways of Melbourne, points out places where there have been ghostly phenomenon and dastardly deeds reported.

He says the thing he has to watch the most is not upsetting some of the dodgier flesh-and-blood characters who dwell in the alleys and shadows of the city. Then again, he says, who is to say we don't pass ghosts every day without realising?

Even without the ghosts it is a great social history lesson. Visitors will learn about early Melbourne, its colourful people and some of its more gruesome happenings.

We started out in The Haunted Bookshop in McKillop St. It is full of occult books for all tastes and beliefs. And I do mean all.

The tour goes up the narrow, dark Niagara Lane, the oldest part of the city, and up to Mitre Tavern, allegedly home of a spectral woman who has appeared to a number of managers, none of whom stay too long, Mr Sinton says.

Further on, Hotel Francis is said to be a hive of strange goings on, and the manager says she once got pushed around by a less-than-accommodating apparition. It was closed the night we went by, ironically, because of a death in the manager's family.

Our group saw no ghosts, but that is not to say it wasn't without its moments of extreme spookiness. Mr Sinton, dressed in black robe and wide-brimmed black hat, spins his tales well.

By the time we inspected the old Cobb and Co building, home of an axe murder, I fully expected a tap on the shoulder when there was no one behind me.

Apparently the building, now a car park, isn't the place where security guards dwell at night.

Mr Sinton has a font of stories about the city, musings about the nature of ghosts, and a lot of good oneliners. He also walks at a good clip ... make sure you have comfy shoes.

The tour ended about 2.5 hours later at Victoria Markets.

The markets, so alive and bustling on the weekends, are built on the graves of nearly 9000 people who are still there.

No wonder some are said to make an appearance, or blow a ghostly bagpipe, from time to time.

Out of interest I did a bit of checking on a tale Mr Sinton told of a sighting in the old home of 3AW radio station on La Trobe St.

It is said to be home to the ghost of former presenter Jim Archer. David Mann, who still works at 3AW as marketing manager, confirms he saw the ghost and later discovered he was one of many at the station who had.

It appeared to him as a mist in the hallway late one night and, puzzled, he put his hand through it. He didn't feel anything unusual, "though it did feel like it went through something".

He says the experience changed his philosophy about what to believe in.

Mr Sinton uses the tour as an opportunity to take potshots at the sceptics who doubt the existence of ghosts, especially members of Melbourne Sceptics Society.

If you do the tour, hopefully he will mention his interesting challenge to them involving a "contract" and a soul!

Believe or not, you are promised a fascinating night out. Whether you see anything or not, and a number of people say they have, you will be stimulated and well exercised (or should that be exorcised?)

To book for the tour, phone Haunted Bookshop on (0063) 3 9670 2585.

Tours start at 8.30pm Saturday and cost A$20.

Other Haunted Bookshop offerings you might enjoy ...

"Dark and fascinating bookshop"
- Citysearch

"Melbourne's hidden treasure"
- Herald Sun

"A gothic Black Books"
- Chelsea Kwok, Adelaide

Drew Sinton
Witches Bible
Satanic Bible
Gothic Grimoire
Real MIB
Psychic's Handbook
Rider Waite

"When you have bought your fill of paranormal books, tarot cards and occult jewellery, you can come back at 8.30 pm on a Saturday for one of Sinton's very popular ghost walk tours of Melbourne" - Narrelle Harris, author Witch Honour

ENQUIRIES 9670 2585

Haunted Bookshop map


ABN 69 079 705 776


15 McKillop Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000

(03) 9670 2585

Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday
12 noon - 5.30 pm


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