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

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Flashy lights and bits of gear


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A very common response we seem to be getting from people who join us for P.I.E. nights is a reaction of nerves; not just towards the Historic Site, but also towards the gear we use!

It’s all high tech and fancy and can look pretty intimidating to someone who’s never had the chance to play with it all before, but for the most part it’s all pretty straight forward and certainly nothing to be scared of.

We use so much gear because we want to track as many variables as possible during an investigation.  Because no one can define exactly what paranormal activity is, we need to cover as much ground as we possibly can, including some things that we as human beings can’t detect without gear to show us.

What does some of the equipment look for?

  • Fluctuations in atmospheric conditions such as temperature, humidity and air pressure.
  • Fluctuations in the electro-magnetic field (outside of visible light and audible sound etc.)
  • Anomalous sounds and sights (both those perceived at the time and those missed until evidence review)
  • Fluctuations in positive air ions.

So basically all of the equipment you get to use is not necessarily designed to prove the presence of the paranormal (with the exception of video cameras/sound recorders), so much as it is designed to rule out external influences which might contribute to paranormal experiences.

So what does this all mean for investigating?

If you’re wandering through an old house with an EMF meter and it lights up, chances are you’ve stumbled across a field produced by faulty wiring or a security system.  If it’s in a location where people are prone to experiencing odd sensations, there could be a correlation between the EMF and the effect it has on humans.  It makes you wonder about places like the Parsonage and the Commandant’s House, where we have long documented histories about people experiencing the paranormal, and have since discovered substantial EMF leaks from the respective security systems in the buildings.  Is there a link there?  Or are people truly experiencing ghostly apparitions and the like?

Likewise, a sudden drop in temperature doesn’t mean you just walked through Casper, but might be linked to pockets of air in the building.  Or you might feel a sudden drop in ambient temperature, but a thermometer might show that nothing’s happened.

This is why so much flashy gear!

 

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.

Here comes Halloween


It’s just 11 days until the October Investigation, and two weeks til Halloween!  Whilst here in Australia Halloween isn’t as great a tradition as it is elsewhere in the world, it’s still a brilliant excuse to come along and prove your bravery in the dark.

We’re finally making progress sending out our Paranormal Reports, though if you came along in April we do ask that you please get in touch with us, as we’re struggling with technical difficulties and we do need your contact details again.

Check out our gallery of some of our Paranormal Investigation groups so far this year on our new ‘Group Photos’ page.  The reason some of these groups look so pink? Because we appropriately used full spectrum cameras to take the photos of course!

With many of the reports now posted out to participants, it’s finally time to post up a couple of decent pictures we’ve found:

This first one is taken in the Separate Prison on our May Investigation.  At the time it was pouring with rain, and whilst no one actually saw a wet patch on the stairs at the time, our initial thought when we saw the photo was that it must be leaking water from the roof. Later we figured out that whilst the roof had been leaking, it was not in this spot nor anywhere nearby, so this is not a wet patch at all.  Which then leaves us wondering – if that’s not water, what is it? 

Coincidentally this next photo was also taken in the Separate Prison, though this time it was during the April Investigation.  The image on the left is a normal photo of C wing corridor.  The photo on the right is abnormal, as a shape can clearly be seen blocking the fireplace at the end of the corridor.  When we tried to recreate the image, the only way we could come up with a similar picture was to have someone standing about half way along the corridor, though at the time when the photo was taken there was nobody in C Wing.

This last picture is nothing spooky, it was taken on the September Investigation as the full moon came up over the Convict Church, and we just think it looks amazing!  For those of you who look at this picture and start jumping up and down about the ‘orb’ just above the church wall, I must point out that this particular night it was pouring with rain.  Take from that what you may!

We’re pretty happy to have these photos.  Back before we started investigating we weren’t entirely convinced we were going to get anything at all, so this is definitely progress.  If you’d like to come along and try your hand at capturing something like this on camera, head to our bookings page now, the investigation is filling up quickly with only 6 places left for next Saturday.

To wrap things up, the last post included a photo sent in to us from our July P.I.E. taken in the Commandant’s House.  Since posting that photo we’ve compared it to others and discovered that it’s a common phenomena caused by the light fitting in the hallway.  Sadly not paranormal, but you can imagine we found it spooky at the time!  This is the nature of investigating honestly.

Til next time, Mel.