Haunted Bookshop & Ghost Tour

Interview with Drew Sinton

Pagan Times Summer 2002, Issue 42, pp 24-25
By Caroline Tully

Drew SintonDrew Sinton is the proprietor of Melbourne's legendary 'Haunted Bookshop' and he also leads the famous 'Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour' which highlights the city's spookiest spots.

With a Spiritualist background and many years spent as an investigator into hauntings, Drew is generally at home dealing with supernatural phenomena. While perusing his website I found something which intrigued me enough to chase him up for an interview, (pause for eerie theremin music, wooo-eee-ooo...) Drew is also a member of Anton La Vey's Church of Satan.

#1. You are considered an expert on ghosts and you run ghost tours in Melbourne every Saturday night. How long have you been interested in ghosts and why?

Some people would argue that, just as there are no experts on the occult, there are no experts on ghosts. The maxim, "the more you learn the less you realise you know," could apply here. But I would have to say that I have been interested in ghosts for as long as I can remember. There was no dramatic conversion experience to speak of. And I cannot pretend to have descended from a long line of mediums. I certainly don't like to go on about possessing any special gifts or anything like that. Like all aspects of the occult, including witchcraft and magic(k), my interest in ghosts and the supernatural has always been with me, ever since childhood ...

#2. What is the scariest thing you've come across during those tours, (either of a supernatural or a mortal nature - such as harassment from psychos)?

Obviously, some of the people who come on my tours can be pretty scary. For example, this year I started with a group consisting of one half sceptic society members and the other half charismatic church group members. Both had their own agendas, of course. One half stood with arms crossed while the others were in prayer position. When dealing with such groups, I generally remain neutral, preferring to present straight down the middle. And, if asked about what I believe, I like to slither out of a potential fight by saying, "Anything you want me to ... so long as it suits me ..."Aha!, I say, you can nail a scientist, but you can never nail a philosopher!...

#3. You have also worked as an investigator in hauntings. Are you particularly fearless or is there nothing to fear?

I have absolutely no fears when dealing with the dead. But it is the living I always have to watch out for, as anyone who delves into the occult will tell you. I have never had a ghost pull a hypodermic needle on me, for example. But a member of the living certainly has - although he was a drug addict, which I suppose makes him a half ghost. But I am also mindful of pranksters when getting involved in hauntings. And of being set up. After all, I have been described as "the opposition" by the Australian Sceptics Society. I am in their firing line, so I am always wary. Paranoia is a vampire's greatest defence, so I have been told. And what's good enough for a vampire, is good enough for me...

#4. As if that isn't enough, you also do seances. Is this for people seeking contact with relatives or just ghosts in general?

My critics will tell you that I conduct seances solely to put me in contact with other people's money. (If perception is reality, and that is their perception, then who am I to shatter their reality?) However, most people who ask me to conduct seances for them generally want me to help them contact their guides. Often, people simply want to find out their life's purpose or establish who it is they have been meeting in their dreams. Others want to communicate with whoever it is they believe is haunting or cohabiting with them in their house. Ironically, very few people, I find, want to communicate with relatives. Often I meet people who do not know anyone who has died. So if a distant relative does come through, often, frustratingly, it can mean nothing to the sitter...

#5. You are the Australian Ambassador of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula and you've even visited legendary Transylvania itself. Should people wear fang-repelling, iron collars when visiting your shop?

Always. Especially if they are up to mischief. And I meet plenty of those. I used to get prank callers ringing my ghostbusting line. Kids especially. They'd say, "Help, there's a 50 foot marshmallow man coming up the driveway!" I'd tell them that they had better phone Darrell Lea. Kids don't bother me so much any more since I cancelled my ghostbusting line and introduced my new shop policy. That is, "little children should be sacrificed and not heard." But yes, wearing an iron collar sometimes is a good idea. Especially if you're up to mischief...

#6. You own and maintain The Australian Church Offenders Register website (www.antichrist.com.au). How did that come about and what is it for?

When I first set up shop all these Christians used to come into the shop and accuse me of duping or corrupting society. My shop used to get vandalised, I had a window smashed, there were several nasty fights, police were called in. In the end, I got fed up and decided to set up my website to actually name some of these people in an effort to expose them and their religion for what they were: the true enemy of progress and morality in society. I felt that, after pushing people around for 2000 years, it was about time somebody pushed back. And I had the resources and reasons to do it...

#7. You are the author of The Antichrist's Bible: The Gospels According to Arnoume - 222 dark truths, contradictions and pagan connections behind the gospels. Is this part of your master plan to undermine Christianity?

Ah, a magician never reveals his or her secrets! ... However, I can say that, while the website attempts to prove Christianity is the enemy of morality, the book endeavours to prove the so-called Holy Bible, far from being the "Rock" on which the Christian religion is based, is, in actuality, held together by sticky tape and glue. There, I've had my little fist-shake at the world. But seriously, being in the book trade, I found most books which presented the case against Christianity were very expensive. So I decided to write a book everyone - even good little Catholic school students on limited budgets - could afford. Hence, The Antichrist's Bible was born. Or unleashed...

#8. As a Grotto Master in the Church of Satan, how do you understand the concept of "The Devil"?

The party line is that the Devil or Satan is the spirit of revolution, revolt and progress. Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. That's what I tell most people, anyway. Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da - now, go away! But I'm a firm believer in the greatest geniuses (or genii) being the people with the fewest fixed ideas. So I am aware that there are as many interpretations of the Devil as there are interpretations of the Witches' God or Goddess. Or Jesus the Vampire. After all, some Satanists I meet say the Devil is little more than a symbol or metaphor, while others believe in an actual anthropomorphic being. As for me, well, again, I'll believe in any interpretation you want me to believe... so long as it suits me ... ya-da, ya-da, ya-da - now, next question!...

#9. Given the prominence of a deity with horns, a female altar (which LaVey said himself represents the feminine Earth), both priestesses and priests, witches, ceremonies and magick... is Satanism really that different to, or incompatible with Wicca and Witchcraft?

It depends on whether you have been reading too many Dennis Wheatley or Montague Summers books or not. I grew up in the seventies when Satanism and Witchcraft were very much intertwined. The days of Alex Sanders, Aleister Crowley, Tubular Bells - and Hammer Horror films starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. And that was Witchcraft's allure for me. The dark side. But I know Witchcraft today has changed to the point where it is perfectly respectable and fashionable. Where nearly everyone you meet is a "White Witch". Nevertheless, call me old fashioned, but it was the Devil who first attracted me to witchcraft, the occult, the supernatural and ghosts... And it is the Devil to whom I now pay my dues... Well, that's how the contract reads, anyway...

Thanks very much Drew. Now, back to me - Caroline. After visiting The Haunted Bookshop I though it was a cut above the average 'occult shop' and well worth a visit. Spooky but not garish, the sombre walls harbour numerous Ouija boards, devilish statuary and assorted spooky knick-knacks decorate every available surface, bats hang from the ceiling, Pazuzu the cat patrols the floor, and a real coffin masquerading as a table sits unobtrusively in the center of the space. (It must be Samhain every day of the year here!). Numerous wooden bookshelves groan under the weight of just the kind of tomes occult-nicks like to slather over: lots of wicca and witchcraft, ceremonial magick, tarot, angels, vampires, satanism, even UFOlogy, and surprisingly, a hefty collection of 1970's occult classics such as the 'Man, Myth & Magic' collectibles and 'Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology' sort of publications. Refreshingly, Drew is one of the diminishing number of people who are aware of the aesthetics of such books. Thanks be to Satan!

The Haunted Bookshop is located in Melbourne at 15 McKillop Street, City. Phone (03) 9670 2585. Drew's Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour operate on Saturday nights beginning at 8:30pm and costs $20 (conc $18) per person.

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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