Haunted Bookshop & Ghost Tour
15 McKILLOP STREET MELBOURNE 3000; ENQUIRIES (03) 9670 2585

Ghost tours in right spirit

Sunday Telegraph 24 July, 2006
By Chris Pritchard

Drew SintonBATS, like unpaid extras in a horror movie, glide on cue above our heads on their way to hang out in giant fig trees.

BATS, like unpaid extras in a horror movie, glide on cue above our heads on their way to hang out in giant fig trees.

Sudden rain increases a ghostly atmosphere as shrouded figures in white plastic ponchos slip through the foggy darkness of Sydney's historic Rocks precinct.

Operators say ghost tours are increasingly popular with visitors to Australia's major cities. But while beyond-the-grave encounters aren't guaranteed, ghost tours are an entertaining way to spend two or three evening hours.

Predictably, Australian tours draw heavily on our convict history, historic pubs and notorious crimes.

The Rocks

AFTER 20 minutes, a 10-year-old boy whispers to his mum: "This isn't scary at all!" Two hours later he whimpers to his dad: "Take me home! I'm frightened!"

The Rocks Ghost Tours offers a choice of two routes. One features Sydney Harbour Bridge ghosts � including the apparition of a construction worker who plunged to his death. Another ghost, with a well-developed sense of mischief, terrified workers in pylon lookouts by switching off lights and trapping them in total darkness.

At appropriate times, blood-curdling sounds are emitted from equipment concealed beneath guides' clothing. Among these: screams of a woman chased by her knife-wielding husband but whose spirit reputedly lingers, and the pop-pop-pop of gunshots in an old pub slaying.

Norfolk Island

"I SO love a good flogging!" an elderly woman confides as convict-era cruelty is recreated on the Pacific Ocean holiday isle. Night tours take in Kingston's eerie cemetery.

Chilling tales tell of ghosts of hapless wretches dumped here and of their sadistic jailers. Visits to imposing old buildings are an excuse for more tales of the supernatural.

St Helena Island

SHORT ferry trips from Manly, on Brisbane's outskirts, terminate at the national park of St Helena Island. Dinner is served on outbound voyages aboard the Cat-O'-Nine-Tails while dessert, coffee and drinks are available on return trips.

Actors and cunning lighting enhance a mood of spooky gloom amid the ruins of a former maximum-security prison and cemetery.

Kapunda, SA

EVENING transfers are organised from Adelaide hotels to Kapunda, 77km away, to tour haunted old buildings and a haunted cemetery.

The ghost of a pregnant schoolgirl is said to sometimes float across the cemetery, and guide Laurie Pearce swears that guests one night heard a steam train race past � even though there's no rail line nearby.

Port Arthur

THIS grim prison, with its colourful convict history, hosts highly popular night-time ghost tours.

Children are accepted if parents judge they aren't prone to nightmares. Unexplained lights and other phenomena have been captured on film, while garrulous guides spin spine-tingling yarns.

Melbourne

FROM Melbourne's Haunted Bookshop, tours led by self-styled ghostbuster Drew Sinton go on creepy walks to venues including the Mitre Tavern, haunted by a white-clad woman, and Queen Victoria Market, site of the Victorian state capital's first cemetery.

Alternatively, Old Melbourne Gaol, where 136 hangings took place (including Ned Kelly's, in 1880), has candle-lit tours in which participants imagine they are joining hangman Michael Gateley as they make the rounds of bleak cells.

Commentaries unveil the life and crimes of infamous villains and describe harsh prison life in the 1800s. Ghost stories abound. After these tours, there's a half-hour for wandering through the jail.

Fremantle, WA

FREMANTLE Prison is a highly appropriate setting for nocturnal ghost tours.

Spokesperson Maia Frewer says "tourists write to me about photos taken of friends at the gallows where the heads have mysteriously gone missing or there are mysterious lights and auras in pictures".

Tours encompass an old cell block, solitary confinement unit, whipping post and gallows � with ghostly tales spicing the experience.

Summing up, Sydney guide Colleen Harrison says: "We don't say you'll see a ghost � most people don't � but they do have fun learning history."


FACT FILE

Ghost tours: Prices are per adult. Various child, family and group rates are available.

NSW: The Rocks Ghost Tours (1300 731 971), $32.

Norfolk Island: Norfolk Touring Company (0011 67 232 2232), $55.

Queensland: AB Sea Cruises (07 3893 1240, www.sthelenaisland.com.au), $79 (inc. dinner).

South Australia: Paranormal Research Investigation Services and Monitoring (08 8234 3334, www.southaustralia.com), $75 (inc. dinner).

Tasmania: Port Arthur Historic Site (1800 659 101), $17.

Victoria: Haunted Bookshop (03 9670 2585, ), $20; Old Melbourne Gaol (Tickets from Ticketek), $25.

Western Australia: Fremantle Prison (08 9336 9200) $19.50.


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
Goetia
Vampires
Satanic Bible
Gothic Grimoire
Haunted
Real MIB
Ancient
Psychic's Handbook
Rider Waite
Angels
Jewellery
Nosferatu
Haunted DVD

"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
VOUCHERS AVAILABLE

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THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP

ABN 69 079 705 776

HOME OF THE
HAUNTED MELBOURNE GHOST TOUR®

15 McKillop Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000

(03) 9670 2585

Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday
12 noon - 5.30 pm

ESTABLISHED
HALLOWEEN 1997

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