What happened last night?


Last night the December PIE headed out into the dark, and what a night they had for it!  Warm, windy and a generally unpredictable night saw a few bits and pieces turn up for our visitors.

Cait’s group reported fluctuating EMF readings in the Senior Surgeon’s basement in the room opposite where we generally take our ghost tours.  This is unusual because the basement has no wiring, and we very rarely get any kind of reading in the area at all.

Meahd’s group reported hearing footsteps in the Separate Prison which were apparently quite loud.  We’ll be looking into this with our data to see if anything turned up on any of the voice recorders or video cameras, as this is a quite common phenomena reported in the building.

Meahd’s group also had a little shock in the Commandant’s House with the unexpected noise of the alarms going off somewhere within the building.  These alarms monitor movement in our furnished rooms in the house (the Commandant’s Bedroom, Dining Room, Study, Drawing Room and Nanny’s Room), and at the time when they were triggered the entire group were sitting on the stairs in the hallway running an EVP session.  We will again look to our gear to see what was recorded here.  Incidentally, these alarms tend to play havoc with our KII meters in the front area of the house; the security system emits pulses of EMF which can often look like paranormal phenomena, but we’ve managed to match the pulses with the transmitting lights on the alarm panel.  This is also where our base station was continually recording high levels of EMF last year.

The next investigation will head out on January 11th with Andrew and James, and the following investigation will be January 25th with Caitlin and myself.  Tickets are still available for both of these PIE’s, head over to the bookings page to secure your places now.

In the meanwhile, the Paranormal team wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year, we’ll see you all in 2014!

Cheers, Mel and the Port Arthur PIE team

 

 

 

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A summer of spooks


Well the November Investigation headed out into the dark a week or two ago, and whilst we had a lot of fun we didn’t have much in the way of activity at all.  Everyone was a little on the edgy side out there with a relatively small group, but a lot of laughs were had to take the edge off, with a few scaredy-cats jumping a mile every time a wallaby so much as twitched, and a few accidental scares when investigators stumbled upon each other in the dark.
We’re still picking up plenty of EMF action in the Commandant’s House, and have identified that the field around the security system reaches about 3 metres out from the alarm itself, which explains any readings in the front few rooms and even into the back hallway of the building.

As of last month we are changing our method of data sharing with participants.  Rather than burning a disc for you we now have some cute little Port Arthur USB sticks, so keep an eye out for those in the post if you came along for November.

We have a couple of new bits of gear in circulation for this month, with some new voice recorders and some fabulous EMF alarms ready to try out in December.
The December investigation is now fully booked, however we are pleased to offer an extra 3 investigations in 2014 to cater for the busy summer months.
Upcoming investigation dates for 2014 are:

January 11th
January 25th
February 8th
February 22nd
March 15th
March 29th
April 26th
May 31st
June 28th
July 26th
August 30th
September 27th
October 25th
November 29th
December 27th

In other news, this summer we welcome Andrew back to our team after a winter working out on the tracks for the Three Capes walk.  Andrew will be back out as a lead investigator in the coming months, and is very keen to get going again.

In the meantime, we of the Port Arthur Paranormal team wish everyone a very merry Christmas, and a safe and spooky New Year. 🙂

Til next time.

Someone in the Commandant’s House wants to play


The July Investigation has now been and gone, and an interesting investigation it was too.

We welcomed Meahd to her first investigation, and she pulled it off like a pro – from listening to her EVP sessions she sounds like she’s been investigating for years! Well done, Meahd.

We had 12 participants for the investigation who all seemed to have a great time getting into the buildings for some quality paranormal time.

The most bizarre thing to report has to have been the noise from the Commandant’s house.  At the time when the noise was first heard I was out on the Verandah at the front of the house, and everyone else was inside with gear.  Two of our group heard the noise while investigating, and came and got me.  We went back to the room where they’d been (just up on the first landing of the stairs, right across from the study – what is it with me and that area?) and tried to get it to happen again.  We were rewarded with more giggly/gurgly noises.  We’re still working on an explanation, but can happily rule out gurgling water as it wasn’t raining, and that area of the house does not have running water – so no pipes in the walls.  We looked for squeaky doors and floorboards too, but no luck there either.

Listen to the EVP here.

What I find entertaining is that there used to be a time when if something like that happened, I would’ve been the first one out the door!  These days my curiosity is getting the better of fear.  A good thing?  Here’s hoping.

In other news we have another special tour coming up with the crew from SEA FM (100.9FM) in the next few weeks.  They’ll be joining us for a ghost tour and a paranormal investigation in mid August, then broadcasting the Breakfast show from our Visitors Centre the following morning.  Listen out to SEA FM for more details coming soon.

The next public Paranormal Investigation Experience heads out the door at 9 pm on the 31st August. Plenty of space available, so head over to our bookings page to secure your spot.

Want to find a gift to give the person who has everything? Why not treat that someone special to a Paranormal Investigation Experience at Port Arthur.  Get in touch with our reservations staff (reservations@portarthur.org.au or freecall 1800 659 101 from within Australia) to talk about gift certificates – the perfect birthday/mothers day/fathers day/christmas present for any paranormal aficionado.

And finally, don’t forget to follow our blog by email on our home page to keep updated with all the spooky happenings at Port Arthur.

‘Til next time – The P.I.E. Team

For fear of the Separate Prison


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If you were a convict at Port Arthur in the later years of the settlement’s history, chances are the words ‘Separate Prison’ would be very familiar, and enough to put a bit of fear into you.

It was a place of psychological punishment, based on silent solitary confinement, and not a very pleasant place to spend any length of time.  Men were confined to their cells 23 hours a day, let out only for exercise in a separate yard, and church services in the specially designed separate chapel.  This was a brand of punishment most convicts struggled to cope with, and there are even tales of suicide from the building at a time when the religious beliefs of most people prevented anyone from taking their own lives.

This makes it the ideal place to spend a whole lot of time as a Paranormal Investigator.  If the theory stands that paranormal activity is supposed to be more prevalent in a building that has seen suffering and high levels of emotion, then Port Arthur’s Separate Prison should be an absolute hot spot for things that go bump in the night, and so far it has not disappointed us.

The Separate Prison is fast taking over the reputation usually held by the Parsonage – of being the creepiest set of walls we have at Port Arthur.  It’s a place that most visitors and staff feel uncomfortable at the best of times, has a long history of creepy experiences, and in more recent times has produced three EVPs in the space of just over a year.

Oh, I forgot to mention – we picked up another creepy voice in that building.  To hear it, click here.

The EVP was recorded on audio equipment by visitors during their time investigating the Separate Prison.  From listening to the audio, the first thought as far as debunking was to find out whether the female voice was someone investigating alone, or with a partner.  It turns out she did have a male partner at the time of recording.  We suspected that this was perhaps the explanation, but as Meahd pointed out – if it was him being funny there would’ve been laughter, or at least some kind of reaction.  This leads us to believe it’s likely to be a noise that wasn’t audible at the time of recording.

So this makes three creepy voices recorded since April last year.  Fingers crossed we get more in the coming months!

We’re now just a few weeks out from the July Investigation, which will be heading out on Saturday the 27th.  If you’d like to try your hand at paranormal investigating head over to our booking page now to get tickets.

Let’s mess with the Sceptic


A few weeks back we had a private Investigation for some visiting journalists.  It was a great night, sadly no spooks but everyone was edgy enough without anything dramatic happening.  The appearance of a wee ghostie may have tipped everyone over the edge!  It got us thinking about familiarity and the difference it makes to fear levels.  Sometimes it’s hard for those of us who’ve been around Port Arthur a while to remember that when you’re new to the place these ruins and buildings can be very much on the creepy side.  For us it’s the place we spend hours in every week.  It is familiar, and comfortable (some of the time), and it’s only when the anomalous events kick it up a notch that most of us experience fear.  For visitors, this is a very big, unfamiliar and rather terrifying ex-prison full of dark and somber ruins, and potentially spooky things that want to come and say hello (we hope!).

Earlier that same week we spent many hours freezing our behinds off at the photo shoot for our brand new promotional images.  Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for the glossy and glamorous pics of the P.I.E. A big thanks has to go to all of the volunteers who turned up to model for us, both the locals and our team of Volunteer Archaeologists who’ve been working on the Penitentiary project in the last few months.  Thanks for helping, you guys were troopers!

The April Investigation took place on Saturday the 27th, and a highly successful investigation it was too (To quote Caitlin it was “Ridiculously fun”).  About the strangest thing that happened was during the Separate Prison investigation.  Caitlin heard voices outside the prison towards the end of the investigation and thought that Jenni’s group had arrived to switch locations.  So Caitlin packed up her group and moved outside to let Jenni’s group in only to find that they were halfway across the site still, and only just starting to make their way towards the prison. No one was loitering near the prison at all.  Cait claims that the Site is now messing with her for her scepticism, and I really hope that’s the case, it could surely get pretty interesting in the next few months! The same noises were heard later in the night when one of Caitlin’s group decided to forgo the last Investigation and wait in the Lunatic Asylum alone.  She too heard the noises by the Separate Prison, though she was the only person in the area at the time.  I just love the fact that the person hanging out in a 19th Century Lunatic Asylum started hearing things, it’s a bit twisted really.

We also welcomed back the Enright group from Deloraine who have now been on the Investigations with us 3 times.  They had a great night with Jenni, and since finding a passion for the Paranormal have even gone out and bought themselves some gear which they brought along and let us have a look at.  This group can commonly be found checking out cemeteries and haunted hotels around Northern Tas.  Nice work guys!

The May Investigation is on Saturday the 25th, to join us please click here to head over to our bookings site.

If you have any questions you would like to ask any of the Paranormal Team, please leave us a comment below, or send us an email to paranormal@portarthur.org.au. And don’t forget to follow this blog by email to keep up to date with all of the latest anomalous events on site!

Scepticism in the face of something running really fast


We’ve always tried to remain as sceptical as possible on the Paranormal Investigations here at Port Arthur, or at least to approach everything logically and look for possible explanations before jumping to conclusions.  However, even a sceptic can get a bit of a shock when something bizarre happens.

It was the investigation for January 19th, and we had 8 people out there with 2 guides.  After a fairly quiet night without much going on, we had just finished up supper and moved on to the 3rd and final investigation of the evening, in the Commandants House.  For those of you who have never been to the Commandants House, let me explain the layout for you. 

The house has a large verandah, approached by a double-sided staircase from the driveway below.  The verandah stretches across the front three rooms of the house, and is capped by a much larger room on either end.  The front door in the centre leads to an entry hall, with rooms coming off either side, a hallway running across the back to the side rooms, and a short set of steps leading to the corridor that runs up the length of the house and has multiple small landings leading off to even more side rooms.  To put it more simply, this place is a total rabbit warren of rooms and corridors!  It is a house that not many guides enjoy spending time alone in, by night or by day, and my least favourite building at Port Arthur. 

We arrived at the house and my group of 4 split up and started moving through the building, whilst I waited in the entry hall for them, monitoring the CCTV. When 3 of the group had returned to the entry hall, I had heard a noise and turned to look up the back hallway to try to spot our 4th person.  Lo and behold, someone dashed across the first landing of the stairs, from the Study to the interpretation room opposite it.  I figured it was our missing investigator until 2 seconds later when he appeared from a side room in the front of the house.  With such a small group it is easy to keep track of who is where, and the question now is:  If that wasn’t one of us then who was it?

It would have been easy at this point to bolt for the front door in fear, as others in the group had witnessed the same thing and we were all a little concerned.  Instead, we bravely (and as a group) made our way to the room where the figure had gone.  There wasn’t a soul in sight, but as we turned to look across the landing to the study, it was pointed out that the hanging light fixture was now swinging around. 

As we turned to head out, the light in the entryway also started swinging around on its cord!

We stuck around a little longer then decided we had better get moving back to the Asylum to meet up with the other group and finish the night.

It was an event that has me totally stumped.  I am certain we saw a figure walk quickly across the landing, and the lamps were absolutely swinging around.  But I’m still trying to come up with the logic behind it all.  A good start will be to test the lamps on the next investigation, maybe there’s a loose floorboard that bumps a wall somewhere and triggers the swinging? Sounds like a bit of a stretch but i guess we wont know until we try it!

I know the Parsonage is meant to be the historically haunted house, and the one with the big scary reputation, but the Commandant’s House is really starting to give it a run for its money!

In other news, we have 2 whole days set aside in the first week of feb to sit down and catch up on all of the wayward data discs to get the backlog sorted out.  Thanks to everyone for your patience and understanding!

The next investigation will take place on Saturday 23rd February 2013, so head over to our bookings page now to save yourself a space (and possibly get wigged out in the Commandant’s House too!).

After the fires


Hi everyone,

First up – we’re still all OK despite the recent fires affecting our area.  Some members of our Investigation team had some pretty close calls with their homes, but luckily we seem to be fine.  There were many sleepless nights and 10 days without electricity which, being a rural community, meant no running water either!  Whilst others from the team were out defending their homes or looking after their families, Caitlin and I were down on site helping the hundreds of stranded visitors deal with their enforced extended stay at Port Arthur, (I’m sure there would be very few visitors who come to Port Arthur expecting to end up camping out on the floor in the Visitors Centre for days on end) and helping out at the local shop.  During the 10 days we chatted to visitors, cooked fast food at the shop, learnt how to fill gas bottles, pumped petrol, hauled over a tonne of rotting food to the skip, carted supplies and resisted the urge to make the world’s largest mattress fort after the last of the visitors had been evacuated from Port Arthur.  The strangest part about the whole situation was wandering through the site with no one around, it was rather like a ghost town with hundreds of abandoned cars and not a person in sight.  We rather suspected for a while there that the Zombie Apocalypse had happened and no one had told us.

The buildings on site certainly took on a fairly spooky air as they stood there empty for over a week, and when we went in to grab spare torches the Separate Prison particularly was quite expectant and odd feeling.  This is the first time in many, many years that these buildings have been locked up for so many days on end.  It would have been the perfect opportunity to investigate, but given the circumstances I think if we’d sat down to run an EVP session we would’ve fallen asleep.

It’s still rather smoky around the place on and off as the Tas Fire Service are still doing back burns and containment lines, but we’re back open and gearing up for another investigation tonight!  There are still plenty of places available, so if you’re in the area and feel like a late night out, come and join us.  We are also going to run another investigation on Sat 26th January, and after that we’re back to our standard investigation on the last Saturday of every month.

To those who were scheduled to come along in the last few weeks we apologise profusely for not being able to run the investigations, but as you’ve just read things were a little crazy here!  We hope you can reschedule and come back sometime soon.  And for those who haven’t received data discs yet, now that things have settled down a little we’ll be getting back onto it for you.

Fingers crossed for some spooky happenings out there on site tonight, I’ll post an update in a few days to let you all know how it went.

A spooky voice…


It’s now just a few days until our next Paranormal Investigation Experience, so get your bookings in fast to come along and join Cait and Jenni this Saturday night 28th April.

To update, our March Investigation data analysis is almost complete, and whilst we can’t reveal exactly what was picked up, I can say we have a definite EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) from the Separate Prison.  I’ll let you know more in the next update; once the March Participants have received their Investigation Reports (it’s only fair that they get to hear it first!).  But to get an EVP after just a couple of investigations is something exciting and unexpected.  We’re some happy little campers right now!

April 12th saw Cait and I investigating with Sea FM’s Matt and LC, along with the four lucky winners of their Fright Night competition.  It was a fun night of frivolity, and the highlight was definitely locking our brave radio presenters into the punishment cell and their reaction of utter terror once they realised they couldn’t get back out.  It turns out that Matt had been planning on freaking LC out, he just hadn’t expected to be unable to escape once the panic set in.  I can honestly say that everyone else got a bit of a kick out of hearing the squeals of fear through the closed doors.

The challenge had been for Matt and LC to take on the punishment cell with no torches, communication devices or any other light sources, just the Full Spectrum digital camera.  The idea was that the only light they would see was through the flash when a photo was taken.  Needless to say they didn’t handle the challenge with any bravery at all (unless you count bashing on the door and screeching to be let out as brave!) so the challenge remains open to any future participants willing to be locked in under those circumstances.

An unexpected twist came the morning after the investigation, where we awoke to find photos and comments all over the Ghost Tour’s Facebook page regarding the physical attack of one participant during her sleep at the on-site staff hostel.  I have no doubt that to wake up and find yourself scratched up is a little terrifying, though at this stage I cannot say that it was paranormal in nature, as there are still possible logical explanations.

Coming up soon Cait and I will be spending a night locked in the separate prison with a group of sceptics.  We’ll keep you posted on how it all pans out.

And here’s a reminder that when venturing out in the dark, always take a torch. Fairly logical, it would seem. This one I found out the hard way after falling over 3 times in quick succession, though thankfully no injuries this time.

Want to take on the Punishment Cell challenge? Book here: https://mercury.intouch-usa.com/webpoint/wp.dll?Axis/PortArthur:/../Default/Pages/Bookings/AttributeIcon/AttributeIconGoto.ips?ID=0-6:1042321200619465

More updates soon. Mel.

“Is there anybody there?”


Welcome to our Paranormal Investigation Experience Blog.  Here we will post everything funny, scary, exciting and otherwise that happen on our investigations, because, let’s face it, things can get a little unusual in the dark!

First up – if you haven’t already checked out our website, go here :

http://www.portarthur.org.au/index.aspx?id=15480

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?  Why not book yourself in to come along for an evening of investigation whilst you’re browsing that link 🙂

Anyway, after months and months of hard work the Investigations are finally up and running, with the first intrepid group taking on the haunted buildings on February 25th.  The next evening will be March 31st, and is filling up quite quickly.  This next experience will be a little different to the last, with a side trip to Trentham Cottage planned due to special guests on the tour.

Coming up in April we’ll be introducing SEA FM’s breakfast show hosts Matt and LC to the joys of Paranormal Investigation, look out for their Fright Night promotion starting up soon for the chance to come along and see whether or not they can cope with the highs and lows of seeking ghosties.

Our gear is all prepped and ready to go, with the recent addition of a GAMMASCOUT Geiger Counter, and in the near future we should hopefully be sporting Ion Counters and even the infamous Frank’s box (it remains to be seen whether this will be a positive addition or not!).  We’re loving the experience of getting to use our Zoom H4n sound recorders, and so far these handy little devices have already ruled out possible electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) as general stomach rumblings, nervous whispers and the like.

So what did we find on our first Investigation? Well, not very much at all.  There were a few EMF hotspots in odd locations (an electricity-free, underground basement room should perhaps not be generating large fields!) and a small encounter with bats in the Parsonage, but no dramatic encounters with full bodied apparitions so far.