Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Into The Unknown

Into The Unknown

First published in Heart-Soul & Spirit Magazine, Issue 2 July/August 2014, pgs 37,38

 As a paranormal investigator, it is your job to walk into the realms of the unknown at every investigation, sometimes walking into places where Angels themselves would fear to tread. You never know what is behind that next door, what is lurking in the shadows around every corner, or what may decide to follow you back to the safety of your very own home.
 Some may scoff at such a thought, “why would a spirit wish to follow me home”?
Good or bad, have you not just asked the very spirit to communicate with you?
 Would a spirit not be just as inquisitive about you as you, are it?
 Also, you've entered its territory to communicate, why can the spirit not enter your home to do the very same?

 There is also the negative connotation to such a thing, a negative entity that wishes to cause you distress and harm, and “feed” on that negativity for its owns reasons.
 I can tell you from experience in this field, that this is not a laughing matter. That spirits and other entities can, and will follow you home, at their will, and leave at their pleasure.

   Not too many years ago I had visited a known haunted location in the town of Gawler, South Australia. I finished my investigation, headed home, and went to bed about 3am. Within an hour of falling asleep I was awoken abruptly by the foot of my bed lifting off the ground and slamming into the cement floor hard enough to take a large chip out the concrete. I of course, waking up so abruptly, was in a state of panic not knowing what was happening. I switched on a light and the heavy atmosphere and lingering feeling of danger vanished in an instant.
I eventually laid back down and fell asleep.

 The next night, I was in bed before midnight, and again, within an hour the bed was shaking abruptly. Being a little bit cluey to these type of communications, I had prepared a torch under my pillow. I swung the bright torch light up to see the shadow of a woman disappear in a flash.  No-one else was in the room, No-one else in the house.
Just me.
Left to ponder two nights of goings on.

 After work the next day, and a long time to think upon the nightly goings on, I came to the conclusion that this spirit may want to communicate only, and may not be harmful, despite my feelings on the first night.

 The spirits actions on night three changed that opinion very quickly.

 On the third night of the bed shaking, the slamming of the bed was much more abrupt, the atmosphere was much more sinister, and when something unseen, cold and harsh grabbed at my leg, that was enough for me to decide to try and move this spirit on.

 At the time, I wasn't a religious person, and my objective was to only document spirits. As I am not a psychic, I did not believe I hold the power to move a spirit on to wherever it is spirits move on too.
 Instead, I sought out different techniques to solve my problems, and went as far back as I could researching into medieval practices. It seems in more “superstitious” times that there was a remedy for everything, but particularly for spirits and other entities.

I read about Vampires being distracted with piles of sand or rice.
That the Vampire is compelled to count, and therefore too distracted to feed upon its victim, funnily enough, this was also an attribute to stop ghostly activity.
 I read about doors painted red, mirrors placed on the back of entry doors with the reflective side pointing out (theory being the ghost would see its own reflection and scare itself). Another interesting remedy was a shiny metal bowl with water inside placed in the room within which the spirit resides, the spirit looks into the reflective water, and is trapped within it. The water, in the morning, can be poured over a tree grounding the spirit. There was one other technique, that I thought would be the simplest for me to try, as all it required was a pair of shoes.

 At the end of any bed that is being moved by a spirit, place a pair of shoes at the foot of the bed before going to sleep for the night. Place one shoe pointing toe first to the bed, and the other heel end to the bed, next to each other on the floor.
Apparently, spirits will become so confused by this, that eventually, after a few nights they will leave out of frustration.
I tried this for myself, and it seemed to work for me. Skeptics will say it is the power belief, and perhaps they are right, but whatever the reason, the bed never shook that hard again for the rest of the time I lived in that particular house.

 Now days, I am much more informed and experienced in the way I approach the spirit realm. I show them the utmost respect and courtesy, and expect the same to be shown to me in return. I often say a couple of prayers before and after an investigation, including St Michael's Prayer for protection, and within those prayers I ask for any spirit to un-attach from me and to not follow me home.

 My wife Karen also has a ritual she has developed for our team, that involves cleansing ourselves with holy water, blessed objects and crystals.
 I have heard many people laugh at such notions, and some say they would prefer the “whole” experience and have no protection at all, but as I always say;“It is always better to be safe than to be sorry”, and that stands true when working with any aspect of the paranormal or spiritual realms.

 Be respectful.
 Be prepared.
 Be protected.
 Be safe.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Contagious Behaviour

Contagious Behaviour

When Karen and I led ghost tours through the North Kapunda Hotel, we set up the tour to be an experience for our guests, not just "another tour".
The idea was to slowly build anticipation for the finale of the tour, The Hallway to Hell. We did this by starting slowly with the history of the town, then some ghost stories, a short video from Haunting Australia, then a walk around the town telling ghost stories.

We were priming our audience intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally), getting them hyped for their experience and for the finale. We wanted everyone to have a good time, get value for money, learn some history about Kapunda and hopefully see a ghost, or at least have some kind of “Personal Experience”.

More often than not, people would come away with at least one personal experience, or an experience they personally attributed to the paranormal.

What we noticed during our two years as tour guides was that the smaller the group, the less likely a “paranormal experience” was to happen. The tour didn’t change, we delivered our information with the same passion and high standards we set for ourselves each week, but for some reason the fewer in the tour group, the less “paranormal activity” felt on the tour.

I now believe what we were experiencing was a form of contagious behaviour. Perhaps this explanation via anomalistic psychology accounts for the higher number of anomalies during tours, or public “ghost hunt” events that are actually personal experiences and NOT genuinely “paranormal” in origin?

What is contagious behaviour?

Contagious behaviour is a type of social influence. The most common form is yawning. See someone else yawn, and more often than not, you will do the same, some of you may even be yawning as you read the word 'yawn' or think about someone else yawning!

Other contagious behaviours can include: smiling, laughing, rudeness, happiness, shivering, fear, anxiety and even risk-taking!

Contagious behaviour is seen within the demographics of protests quite often, when one person begins to punch/kick/ or struggle against authority, their behaviour can lead to others doing the same, and before you know it, you have a riot on your hands!

 In a situation like a ghost tour it is a little bit different. As the person leading the tour, you are seen as an authority on the subject, so when, as a paranormal investigator,  you tell your own ghost stories, it adds credibility to the experience. When you speak about others experiences, and paranormal events that have happened on previous tours, you begin to prime the audience for their own paranormal experience.

 In some guests, you're installing fear, or bringing out subconscious fears. That fear is contagious, and the people around that person will begin to react to it, some will challenge the fear, (the fighters), others will embrace it and become fearful as well (the flee-ers) – their natural “fight or flight” instinct is working away deep in their subconscious. The more people you have on the tour (especially if they are known to each other), the more this fearful energy travels through the group – and as they are there to feel/see/hear a ghost, and are not aware of the many natural explanations (xenonormal) for sounds, smells, etc,  more often than not, they will come away with a ghost story or experience…

…This of course lends to the next tour, as they go tell their friends about their ghostly experience, so the friend is pre-primed before they’ve even done the tour!
 It also adds to the mystique of the location, and to the spreading of urban legend…and so, what was once just another pub like any other, becomes a legendary haunted location with portals to the ghost realm!

So, next time you are on a ghost tour, have a look around at the people you are with, and see who is scared the most, then watch to see if those around them begin to get frightened too.

Thanks for reading – want to comment or ask a question, do so in the box below, or visit the Haunts of Adelaide on Facebook and find this post.


Ogunlade, J. O. (1979). Personality characteristics related to susceptibility to behavioral contagion. Social Behavior and Personality: an International Journal, 7(2), 205.
Holt N & Simmonds-Moore C & Luke D & French C, 2012, Anomalistic Psychology (Palgrave Insights in Psychology). Palgrave Macmillan
Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, David Luke, Christopher French. (2012). Anomalistic Psychology (Palgrave Insights in Psychology). Palgrave Macmillan

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Sack Man

In the wee hours of the night, when teenagers sneak out of their homes to party, or do nefarious things, awaits a horrible monster, barely spoken of today, but once in the forefront of young people’s minds in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Described as a large hulking lump of a man, covered in bloodstained flour sack clothing, that hid festering and rotten sores all over his grotesque body. On his head, sometimes another flour sack, other times, a hessian sack, always blood soaked, with roughly cut eye holes for him to see from.

 He walks with a limp, and has breath so rotten it smells as if he has just finished eating the corpses of the dead.
 In his hand, he carries a large blood soaked sack, dripping with body fluids from the eyes he just ripped out of some young kids head. A trophy of another child caught out past it's bedtime, killed and eaten.

 The Sack Man is pure evil and lurked through all the major cities of Australia, hunting down mischievous children out after their curfew.

 Often this story would be told to children during the war period in Australia, and possibly some of our older readers here on The Haunts of Adelaide, may remember it, or a variation of it, from their childhood. It was a “stranger danger” warning of sorts, or a warning to disobedient children who would sneak out at night for adventures.

 The Sack Man, who eventually became a monster that took children day or night, may have been a metaphorical warning for the children of the day, regarding the countless amount of child abductions happening throughout Australia during and after the second World War that were prolific and often high-profile right up too, and through the 1970's.

 The story evolved over time, and no longer was the Sack Man a monstrous night creature, he became a daytime lurker, a man in a suit watching in the park, following you home from school, or befriending you at the playground. A far scarier monster than a flour sack covered grotesque night stalker, an “every man” monster, who could be any man you crossed paths with day or night.

 In Adelaide this monster was realised in the form of the Beaumont children abduction and the abduction from Adelaide oval of Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon.

You can read about other countries versions of the Sack Man here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_Man

Have a version of The Sack Man story told to you by your parents? 
Why not share it with us over on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TheHauntsOfAdelaide/