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.

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P.I.E’s first birthday


This month the Port Arthur Paranormal Investigation Experience is one year old, and we’re pretty pleased with the first year of its existence.

To mark 12 months of investigating we’re also going to change it up a bit by moving our CCTV system from the Commandant’s House to the Separate Prison, along with the ELF Trifield Meter.  We’ve not had great results with the CCTV in the Comms so far, and the most we’ve managed to pick up is a whole heap of dust floating down the hallway, and a mouse investigating Nanny’s rocking chair.

We spent this morning figuring out power sources for the cameras in the Separate Prison which is never an easy task in a 19th century prison building with minimal electricity.  I did manage to get stuck in a locked stall in the chapel trying to access a power point, and rather than helping to rescue me, Caitlin and Peter (the I.T. Guy) decided it would be much more productive to take photos of me trying to save myself.  Helpful souls that they are.

Today and tomorrow we’re introducing the rest of our Paranormal Team to Data Analysis, and attempting to get through as much data as we can.  Having had a look at the EMF data for the last 12 months in the Commandant’s House we’ve seen a real trend with the boosted levels of EMF.

This is a normal reading in a normal house with normal wiring (you would normally expect to find a reading of 0.5-2.0)

EMF normal

This is the kind of reading we’ve been getting in the Commandant’s House:

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The elevated levels are when the house is empty, the low levels are when our Investigation teams are inside.  We’ve had consistent readings like this since February last year, and are working on theories to explain it.  So far we’re leaning towards the alarm system, or high levels of water in the walls, but it will be interesting to see the kind of results we get when we move the whole system to the Prison this month.

If you’d like to be part of the February Investigation and help us celebrate a year of the Port Arthur Paranormal Investigation Experience, head over to our bookings page to reserve a space now, tickets are selling fast!

For regular updates on P.I.E. why not subscribe to our blog (look over on the left!) and you’ll get an email whenever we post about our latest exploits!

Till next time, the PIE team 🙂

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.

Award winning PIE!


Exciting news…Port Arthur’s Paranormal Investigation Experience (PIE) was announced as the recipient of the Best New Tourism Development at the Tasmanian Tourism Awards in Hobart last Friday night.  We’re pleased as punch and highly excited that the hard work of our team has paid off.  Congratulations to everyone involved and a big thank you to each and every visitor who has come along and joined in with the experience, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Next stop, Australian Tourism Awards!

This month we are also playing host to Tim Robey, a UK journalist for the Daily Telegraph, who will be coming along in a couple of weeks to see what we’re all about whilst writing a travel feature about Tasmania.  We’re hoping the anomalous events will kick up a notch during his visit to give him something to report back on…  

In other news, the next P.I.E. is on November 24th and we have just 6 spots left, so get in quick to book your place on the tour.