Melbourne is alive with ghosts, Drew Sinton tells Joanne Trzcinski and Cameron Noakes.
The day is warm and Drew Sinton is chilling.
The "ghost hunter" is standing in the new city store he manages, a dimly-lit den called The Haunted Bookshop, telling bone-tingling tales of the supernatural.
"As you walk down the street, who's to say that every person you encounter is real?" Mr Sinton matter of-factly asks, looking a little other worldly himself with his pale skin and long, bobbed hair.
"You could be walking past spirits and not even know it."
Mr Sinton has been investigating reports of ghosts for years and this has led him to high-rise flats, new houses, theatres, pubs, even plots of land.
Recently Mr Sinton, a one-time journalist and copywriter, gave a talk at a community centre on hauntings when a man confided in him.
The man told him a room in his house was haunted; the dog and cat would not go in it, the children refused to sleep there, objects would move and it was freezing.
The man was determined to get to the bottom of it so he sat down in the room and meditated. He saw an image of an Aboriginal man pinned to the ground by a spear.
The Aborigine told the man he couldn't get up. The man said: "Of course you can move, you're a spirit".
The Aborigine got up and left and the haunting ended.
Mr Sinton says this is a classic example of a ghost which does not realising it's dead.
"It happens a lot. We're in a society where we're not really taught how to die," he says.
Mr Sinton says there are various ways of banishing ghosts. Sometimes it can be as simple as swearing at it or reciting a prayer. Sometimes, though, nothing seems to work. "Mr Sinton says he was once called to investigate the case of a ghost which had followed two women for three years from a house in Darebin to Werribee and then Burwood.
The woman reported seeing the black shadowy shape of a man in a long coat.
Accompanying the ghost were "foul smells, cold spots, pots being pulled from cupboards and a burglar alarm which triggered inexplicably by itself".
A medium working with Mr Sinton said the ghost was not that of a man but a woman called Bev who had died of a blood clot in her heart.
The medium said Bev had followed the two women seeking forgiveness over a personal incident and had become annoyed when the women kept referring to her as a him.
"It seems that once Bev had received the acknowledgment she sought then her ghost was appeased and was gone in an instant," Mr Sinton says.
Not all cases are that easy.
He says a northern suburbs man was attacked by a ghost.
"When I saw the man the next day he showed me deep claw marks running the full length of his body.
Apparently the man had abused the ghost which had made him very angry," he says.
Mr Sinton says the more he studies the supernatural, the more heis mind is open to previously dismissed things.
He remembers the case of "the Crocodile Man"a a figure with the body of a man and the head of a crocodile that was spooking a Bundoora house.
Mr Sinton said the figure's appearances were followed by flickering lights above the heads of family members.
The young son also told Mr Sinton a man in white would take the figure by the hand before they disappeared. A medium tracked down the spirit in the laundry.
The crocodile man moved into the backyard and Mr Sinton urged the boy to yell at it and chase it on his trike.
The spirit disappeared over the fence, never to be seen in the house again.
A buxom ghost has been spotted in the National Trust's in East Melbourne headquarters.
National Trust public relations and events manager Jacki Mitchell said the ghost was first seen a couple of years ago by a visitor in the records room.
The visitor said to a staff member: "I don't mean to alarm you but there's a very large-breasted woman standing behind you".
It appeared again late last year to a Myer worker who was in the boardroom with Ms Mitchell.
Ms Mitchell said one theory was the ghost was once the madam of a brothel possible once housed there.
The trust has an abundance of haunted properties including South Yarra's Como Historic House and Gardens, where 77-year-old Caroline Armytage died in 1909 of a suspected heart attack in her upstairs bedroom.
Security guards have regularly reported seeing in the wee hours of the morning a white ghost walking in front of the house.
"The last sighting was a couple of months ago," Ms Mitchell said.
"We have security guards very nervous to do the graveyard shift."
Meanwhile, at the city's Old Melbourne Gaol, a visitor has taken a photo from the upper levels looking towards the gallows.
When the film was developed, what appeared to be an apparition was revealed in the picture.
The photo is on display in the foyer.
Ms Mitchell said the trust had no idea who the form might be.
Members of the Women's Circus staying in a neighboring building to the Gaol heard moans and coughing late at night.
"They sensed lots and lots and lots of things going on around them," Ms Mitchell said.
The occupants of a Fitzroy terrace believe their rented house is haunted.
Photographer Mat Valdman says he has woken up a few times and felt a presence.
"I had this overwhelming feeling of something being in here. It wasn't friendly," he recalls.
"I said, 'No, this is my room now. I live here.' And it left."
And in Smith Street, Collingwood, the ghost of John Batman has apparently roamed since the 1860s.
The Haunted Bookshop owner Drew Sinton said sightings of Batman's spirit were never far from the house once owned by John Pascoe Fawkner, Batman's rival for the title of Melbourne's founder.