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

The life of PIE :)


We’ve been investigating Port Arthur regularly for 12 months now, so it’s about time we presented a little of our findings!

There have been many anomalous readings on our EMF meters throughout the various buildings we visit during the investigations.  In the Parsonage we’ve discovered that the security system produces incredibly high levels of EMF from the Post Office room, which then has a flow on effect through to surrounding areas of the building.  The levels in this house top out our KII meters, whilst the ELF meter reads levels usually associated with industrial sized EMF pumps.  Interestingly this is a room where sightings are commonly reported, particularly during ghost tours of an evening.

In the Commandants House, again the alarm systems wreak havoc with the EMF levels.  We’ve been setting up the ELF meter here on most investigations, and have a consistently  high reading of levels of EMF in the front section of the house.

The Separate prison has produced the occasional anomalous EMF reading, although we have been unable to locate any source.  The ELF meter will be established in this building for the next year.

The basement (which has no electrical wiring at all) has also surprisingly produced infrequent anomalous readings.

We’ve had a few interesting results from our Full Spectrum Cameras, although most of the these photos have had some kind of logical explanation now associated with them.

The CCTV system is in the process of being transferred to the Separate Prison, where we will have cameras aimed up A and C wings, in the Chapel, and covering the central room. In the Commandant’s House we found that we were capturing plenty of movement in the hallway on these cameras, although this has been attributed to dust particles in the air.

We’ve captured one decent EVP in the Separate Prison, however no one has been able to conclusively say what the words are.  We classify this as a B grade EVP.

There have been many anecdotal experiences on the investigations, from both visitors and guides, however these have not been captured on any of the equipment to date.  Some phenomena has been witnessed by multiple people at a time.

So what have we learned from all this?

We need to keep investigating, and make sure that everyone is carrying a device that can potentially document a personal experience.  We need to keep our slightly sceptical stance and (tempting as it is to jump to spooky conclusions!) rule out any logical explanations for events during the investigations.  We need to test theories, and try to replicate spooky events by any reasonable means.

So our goal for this year?

Keep investigating, keep looking for logic, and most importantly keep having an absolute blast whilst we’re doing it!

In other news our February investigation is headed out tonight.  Good luck to everyone going along!  Don’t forget the March investigation is only a few weeks away, why not come down and help us investigate before the weather turns cold again?

We’d love to hear some feedback on what we’ve found so far, so please feel free to leave us a comment.  And to keep updated, join our other followers by signing up for email notifications (on the home page).  For those of you who’ve been on an investigation with us, if you’ve found any good photos you may have taken on the night, please let us know as we’d love to share them here.

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:

19_01_13

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 🙂

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!).

The importance of being logical


Having spent my fair share of time in dark and creepy places in the last 5 years, and more so than ever since we started the Paranormal Experience, I have first hand experience in how easy it is to jump when things go bump in the night.  Rest assured that most people, regardless of how sceptical they are, will jump a mile if they’re sitting in pitch black dark in a haunted location and something grabs them or crashes around nearby.  It’s very easy to jump to the wrong conclusions!

For example:

On the July Investigation this year, participants from my group may well remember we heard footsteps in the Commandants House the minute i flicked out the lights.  Straight away i can honestly admit that i jumped along with everyone else, in fact i jumped across the hallway to land safely in the middle of my group!  At the time it was adrenaline inducing and scary, but looking back with a logical viewpoint there is no way to rule out the possible logical causes of what went on.  The first thing that springs to mind for me is animal noise.  Wallabies notoriously cause some very convincingly bipedal noises when leaping around, and at the end of the hallway was a door leading out onto a wooden walkway.  I can’t rule out the possibility that a wallaby chose the exact moment that i turned out the lights to take a little walk (or jump) on the board walk right outside the house.  Or a possum on the roof, perhaps.  But it’s not the first thing to cross your mind when it’s dark and you’re investigating the paranormal!  And that’s just what we need to train our brains to do.

It certainly makes for an exciting evening when things are going bang/crash in the dark, but the challenge is to not let yourself leap about and shriek “Ghost!” at the top of your lungs, and instead to go take a closer look with all the right gear.  As such we are trying hard to push the message across to the groups that come out on the Investigation with us: Don’t take anything at face value out here.  This is an investigation, so when anomalous events occur – go investigate!  (And pretty please take a camera/sound recorder/EMF detector with you!)  Because anecdotal evidence is not evidence, it’s a personal account of things that happened with nothing to back up your tale.  It’s a bit like going fishing and coming back with nothing but being able to talk about the one that got away (That fish was THIS BIG!).

In conclusion for today’s rant – come along, have fun, be prepared to get a little creeped out in the dark, but do it all from a sceptical viewpoint!  After all if you’re going to get evidence of the paranormal you want it to be the real thing, not just a cruisy wallaby out for a midnight snack in the Commandant’s garden!

Stories in the dark


Wednesday night we had UK journalist Tim Robey out on site with us for a few hours, though sadly the anomalous events didn’t quite amp up like we’d hoped.  We did, however, spend a good deal of time in the Commandant’s House, and let me tell you that building just doesn’t get any friendlier-feeling in the dark.

With just 4 of us in there the place was quite atmospheric.  Particularly when we took a moment to sit on the stairs and talk about the spooky events we’ve experienced in there.  Story-teller extraordinaire Caitlin never fails to give me the creeps when she talks about events in any of these buildings (i can happily admit that the first time i did her ghost tour many years ago, i was scared to come back to Port Arthur!).  The house itself delivered on some fairly ominous creaking noises, but as is the nature of old buildings, the place tends to creak a lot. We also experimented a bit with the fascinating way the human mind picks patterns out of the darkness.  There’s nothing quite like standing in a dark old house watching what appears to be a dark figure walking down a corridor towards you!  It’s amazing what our eyes do to us in the dark!  If you’re coming on an investigation soon, ask us about this and we’ll demonstrate.

We’re yet to go over the footage of our time in the building on Wednesday night, but based on our personal experiences i think it will be highly unlikely that we recorded much at all.

In other news, today we farewell our Director of Tourism Operations, Danial Rochford, who is leaving Port Arthur to move to a much sunnier locale.  Danial was hugely supportive of the team setting up the Paranormal Investigation Experience at the Site, and heavily involved in the development of what is now proving to be a very popular and successful venture.  Thanks Danial!

As i write this I’m also multi-tasking.  Beside me is the Paranormal laptop which is churning out the last of our data discs to send out to prior groups, so keep an eye on your mail boxes, the discs will be there soon.

To wrap up, tomorrow night is Paranormal Investigation Night for November!  If you’re in the area and feel like joining us, head to our bookings site now to secure the last spaces.

It’s almost that time again…


An update, finally!

It’s now just a few days before our July Investigation, and I can happily say that at last check there were only 2 spots left.  Investigations for the rest of the year are booking out quickly too, so if you’re planning on joining us this year get in quick to make your booking.

We are currently fighting our way through hours and hours of data from our last 3 investigations (that’s a lot of data!) and are slowly getting it into order so that we can send it out to those who participated.  We have come across a great photo in the Separate Prison, and an odd noise in the Commandant’s House, and still have a lot of footage left to examine.  We’ll post the photo here as soon as it’s been sent out to the April group.

If you’re coming along this Saturday night, don’t forget to dress warmly.  We’re into the nasty winter weather now, so don’t be afraid to bring a blanket and a torch, you might need them!  We’ve certainly seen some weird weather events for investigations this year, everything from the 25 degree night of February to the thunderstorms and torrential rain of April.  Who knows what this weekend could bring! We’ve also had some impressive views of the Aurora from the historic site in recent weeks.

We’ve also just taken delivery of some new equipment.  We have a new Air Ion Counter, as well as a Ghost Box or three.  This should all add to the kind of results we can pick up!

And finally, tonight, Cait and I are headed out with a small group private investigation, should be even creepier than normal with so few people.  If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, talk to our reservations team via ph. 1800 659 101 (from within Australia) or +61 (0)3 6251 2310 from overseas.  Or you can send through an email to reservations@portarthur.org.au for more information.

More updates (and photos) to come soon.  Mel.

“Can you see us?”


We are now safely through our second round of investigations, and my how the month has flown by!  The March 31st investigation was fully booked, with 19 participants including 4 guides in training.  Again no personal sightings of spooks, although several groups heard strange footsteps in the Attic in the Commandant’s house.  Unfortunately this is anecdotal, as none of the groups present had taken any sound recording equipment into that section of the house. Other strange noises were present upstairs in the Parsonage, and hopefully when we analyse the sound equipment we will know more about what was going on.

Our new paranormal guides got in and had a go running their very first EVP sessions, and again we’re looking forward to listening to the audio files to see if they were lucky enough to get a response.  We thought there was something exciting on one of our lock-off cameras inside the Commandant’s house, however it unfortunately turned out to be a mouse scampering around under Nanny’s chair. I’m sure she’ll be happy about that, maybe it will spur her on to appear for our next investigation? Here’s hoping!

Coming up after Easter will be our Fright Night Investigation with 100.9 Sea FM’s breakfast show hosts Matt and LC, along with the lucky winners of their competition.  We’ll keep you posted on how the evening goes, and you can always listen into their breakfast show on Friday the 13th April for a run down on the previous night’s events. For details on how to enter the competition to come along for the evening go here: http://www.seafmhobart.com.au/Competition/matt–lcs-fright-night/signup

Our next tour will be on April 28th, starting at 10pm, so head over to our bookings page now to reserve your place.  https://mercury.intouch-usa.com/webpoint/wp.dll?Axis/PortArthur#Paranormal

To find out more about the Paranormal Investigation, head over to YouTube to watch our short video introducing the tour.  Link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTmj8aylBeE

And one final link, to hear paranormal guide Caitlin talking to ABC radio, go here: http://blogs.abc.net.au/tasmania/2012/02/is-it-ok-to-make-money-from-superstition-and-grief-or-is-it-valid-entertainment.html