Haunted Bookshop & Ghost Tour

10 things to do in Melbourne when you're dead

Nine MSN 10 July, 2010
By Andrew McUtchen

Drew Sinton In the movies, when a vampire talks, people listen. So when a real-life vampire, who enjoys drinking blood, talks about his favourite tourism spots in Melbourne, a city which he describes as "a cemetery with streetlights", you write them down.

To celebrate the launch of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third romantic-vampire film in the series, we speak to Drew Sinton, Australia's only "legal vampire" about his dead sexy tips for some just-add-darkness tourism delights in Melbourne.

"Melbourne is Australia's equivalent to Forks, Washington [setting for Stephenie Myers' Twilight novels and spin-off movies]," Sinton says. "Traditionally we've had the highest rainfall, the most cloud cover and we're the gloomiest city. Melbourne is also the goth capital of Australia and everyone knows black is our favourite colour — there's nothing more Melbourne, goth or not, than a black wardrobe. Think about it!"

So pop your goblet of blood (or True Blood if you're mainstreaming) in the microwave, heat it to 37°C and join me in toasting the 10 best things to do in Melbourne, when you're dead!

Meet your ghost, sorry, host!
Most tourist guides are interested in finding the pulse of a city and taking visitors to the heartbeat. Not Drew Sinton. He's more interested in the opposite. He comes well qualified in the art of finding the dead centre of town.

He is not only a former parapsychological investigator (which is mumbo jumbo for "ghostbuster"), he's also the Australian ambassador of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, a member of the Church of Satan and he's written a book: The Anti-Christ Bible. It is not, by the way, a romantic comedy.

Most importantly, though, he is the only Australian citizen who has appeared in the Magistrates Court and sworn under oath that he "is vampire". He believes Melbourne is the perfect place to explore with the launch of a new Twilight Saga movie, Eclipse. We fang him very much for his suggestions.

1. The Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour
Sinton is obviously a pretty big fan of what the Age newspaper called "the best walking tour in Melbourne", because he runs it. But it's actually a great place to start to get an overview of the city's spooky underground.

Times may have changed but Sinton's prices have not, it costs a meagre $20. The tour starts at 8.30pm on Saturdays at The Haunted Bookshop, 15 McKillop Street. Book through The Haunted Bookshop on (03) 9670 2585.

Vampire view: "The tour is now in its 13th year — an ominous number unlucky for some but it's obviously my favourite," Sinton says. "The tour links you with some of Melbourne's most haunted places, such as the Queen Victoria Market site haunted by three bushrangers. A great way to catch up with friends — especially departed ones."

2. Melbourne crime tours
The upside of exploring Melbourne's underbelly is not only a chance to visit the scenes of many of the city's most famous crimes, but also the fact that it includes morning or afternoon tea at Carlton's famous Brunetti's cake shop, a patisserie favoured by underworld identity Mick Gatto.

Melbourne Crime Tours' multi-award winning tour is priced from $55 and takes approximately four hours. Book on their website.

Vampire view: "Isn't celebrity a funny thing?" Sinton says. "I remember a time when criminals didn't publish books or weren't glamorised in top-rating television shows. Instead, they were buried in unconsecrated ground. Nowadays, they're buried in gold-plated caskets."

3. Como Twilight Tour
Twilight Tours of historic Como House are returning in winter 2010 due to a frankly shocking sell-out season in 2009. Running every Thursday through the remainder of July, the two-hour tours were introduced at the National Trust-listed property after a team of mediums from Spookspotters Paranormal Research investigated the house in 2008 and found it had a very high level of paranormal activity, confirming long-held suspicions held by staff, volunteers and visitors.

The lamp-lit tours — which are limited to 12 people at a time — begin with a complimentary glass of wine in the Como's beautiful ballroom where guests are given a background of Como's residents past and present. Book on (03) 9827 2500 or visit the Como House website.

Vampire view: "Mediums and priests talk about moving ghosts towards the light or off to Heaven," Sinton says. "But what if your idea of heaven is the place where you lived? I know if I died in a beautiful mansion like Como, a medium or priest would have one helluva time moving my ghost on."

4. Tim Burton: The Exhibition and Monsters, Ghouls and Melancholy Misfits
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has woken up and smelled the coffin and put on a Tim Burton exhibition (until October 10, 2010) as well as a macabre evening cinema program throughout winter, sure to please the dead, the living and Burton himself, wherever he sits. Tickets are $19 for the exhibition and only $14 for movies (details below) and can be booked at www.acmi.net.au.

5. Saturday, July 10, 2010, 6.30pm: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

6. Sunday, July 11, 5.30pm: Black Sunday

7. Sunday, July 11, 7.30pm: Baron Blood

8. Friday, July 16, 7.00 pm: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror

9. Friday, July 16, 7.30pm, Sunday, July 18, 4.30pm: Dracula
Vampire view: "Most people don't know Tim Burton was influenced by German expressionist film," Sinton says. "In fact, most early horror filmmakers were German. And the most famous of them all, Nosferatu, was made in the 1920s when vampires were creatures of the night — not nightclub."

10. Taste a zombie from 1806
The zombie was created by bartender Donn Beach for a customer about to fly to San Francisco, who drank three and later complained the beverage had rendered him "a complete zombie". The drink, which is quite simply "all the rums", was then officially launched at the New York World's Fair in 1939. This "take everything from that shelf and mix it up" school of bartending is on show at one of Melbourne's premiere cocktail bars 1806, found at 169 Exhibition Street and open from 7 pm every night.

Vampire view: "Years ago I looked at opening a nightclub where patrons could drink blood from a stripper intravenously," Sinton says. "That was until the licensing people stepped in. At least 1806's cocktails are legal and taste much better than copper — which blood tastes like."

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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