Want a little taste of Halloween all year round? Want to visit some notoriously haunted “attractions”?
Well, scroll on to read about some of the places we've visited
... IF YOU DARE! ;)
Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, Beechworth, Victoria
Photos and report by Andrea Beattie
“Quite a few people had encounters they couldn’t explain including hair pulling and scratching ... ”
Dark history awaits
While this gorgeous building looks like it just stepped out of a 19th Century romance novel, it has a much darker history. Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, also known as Beechworth Hospital for the Insane and Mayday Hills Mental Hospital, is a decommissioned hospital which closed in 1995 after 128 years. At its peak of operation, Mayday Hills consisted of 67 buildings and was home to more than 1200 patients and 500 staff, so it’s little wonder some of those troubled souls still call the asylum home. The Hallozween Paranormal team visited the asylum in June, 2020, and did a 90-minute night ghost tour with the fabulous Carina, before jumping into the spirit world with a fabulous three-hour paranormal investigation hosted by Josh. During the investigation our small group visited about eight locations, including some you don’t visit on the historical or ghost tour, and we were given plenty of time to explore independently at each spot. Each group is given a Ghost Meter, but you’re welcome to bring your own equipment, and the guides also have plenty of other paranormal gadgets for the group to use such as voice recorders, spirit box, ovilus and laser grid. We were lucky enough to be one of the first groups to explore and investigate a newly opened part of the men’s infirmary section within the Grevillea complex, which was very active and quite a few people had encounters they couldn’t explain including hair pulling and scratching. We also photographed a dark shadow over the bath in Grevillea when no one else was in the room, and when we tried to recreate the shadow, we couldn’t. Josh was excellent at giving you a rundown of the history of each area, but was careful not to pre-empt any experiences or encounters. We definitely recommend rugging up if you’re going in winter, and make sure you watch Aussie horror film Scare Campaign, which was filmed at the asylum, before visiting. This is a location we could visit again and again and again and be spooked every time!
You can book a tour of Mayday Hills by going to the Asylum Ghost Tours website, here.
We photographed a dark shadow behind the bath in the Grevillea complex. No one else was in the room at the time, and when we tried to recreate the shadow, we couldn’t. Could be nothing, but we couldn't debunk it that night.
Black Rock House, Victoria
"It is one of the most consistently active locations that I have visited ..."
Photos and report by Sarah Chumacero
Sarah is a
Melbourne-based paranormal investigator and the creator and blogger for Living Life In Full Spectrum, a paranormal blog aimed at paranormal enthusiasts and
investigators. She has just published her first book, Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know Volume 1: What the eyes see and the ears hear the mind believes. It is available on Amazon Paperback and Kindle.
A mysterious history
Black Rock House was built in 1856 for Victoria’s first Auditor General Mr Charles Hotson Ebden. With inspiration from Black Rock Castle in Cork Ireland, it was to be his family’s seaside holiday home and used to entertain Melbourne’s elite.
Governor La Trobe would spend a lot of time here for the famous hunting breakfasts. Eventually Mr Ebden went back overseas and while the property remained in the family for many years, it was eventually sold and used as a boarding house until it became completely derelict. In 1972, the Bayside Council purchased the property and worked with the Friends of Black Rock House to restore it to its former glory. Mystery has always surrounded Black Rock House. From its large sandstone Castle Wall with battlements and Castle Gates to the rumoured underground tunnels, there is so much that is unknown about the house. In the 1920s, a local newspaper ran a story addressing the myths surrounding the unknown house. Two girls came by the property and asked the caretaker if the could visit the ‘haunted cellar’ where the ghost of a young woman dressed in white was said to reside. The story was that her husband kept her locked down up there as she was an invalid. The caretaker scoffed that no such thing happened and sent them on their way. In more recent years, passers by have claimed to see a figure jumping from the top of the building (where the old tower used to be) and men fighting in the front yard, thought to be a nod to a famous bare knuckle fist fight that took place on the property.
I have been investigating Black Rock House for almost five years. It is one of the most consistently active locations that I have visited. Some of the more interesting experiences have been in the ‘Death Room’ where the door unlatched and opened when we asked someone to come forward and speak to us. There was no one out in the hallway and it is something that to this day we have not been able to recreate. In the children’s nursery there is a small rack of children’s clothing which once lunged forward and fell on the ground again with no one touching it. Then there is Mr Ebden’s chair, the only piece of original furniture that belongs to the house. Many that sit in the chair feel like they are being touched with several people reporting they felt like they were being choked. Many people have spotted Mr Ebden himself roaming the halls. Most recently a lady who was attending her very first investigation saw a face appear in the mirror of the death room. Her description matched that of Mr Ebden and when I showed her his photo she could not believe it. This was the face she saw. While many rooms have varying levels of activity, it is the hallway that seems to be the most active. Investigating is often like a game of cat and mouse where you are continuously drawn out of rooms into the hallway with a lot of REM Pod activity, temperature drops and potentially EVPS all caught in the hallway.
Encounters with Annie
Psychics tell us that there are 13 resident spirits at Black Rock House, however there is quite possibly more. The large mirror in the dining room was said to once be used in a séance many years ago, and a portal for spirits was opened and supposedly never closed. Guests' most favourite spirit is that of Annie, who resides in the living quarters. She was said to be a maid at Black Rock House and was very agitated and angry for a long period of time as she didn’t understand why people were coming in her room and not saying hello. It seems she hadn’t realised she had passed away. We have asked her several times if she needs help or wants to move on and she is happy where she is, it is after all, her home. She is treated with affection and respect by all guests and staff who now greet her every time they enter the room. The volunteers often ask her if it is OK to move furniture around.
She interacts quite consistently with many guests and seems to take a bit of a liking to the men. If she doesn’t like you however she will also make it known.
Some people are unable to enter Annie’s room, myself included. People often feel sick, anxious and get headaches which is an indication she does not want you there. During a walkthrough one day I had a group with me and I was trying to explain her story. I started becoming very confused, dizzy, light headed and I almost didn’t know where I was. I had to leave the room. I immediately went to my brother Glenn and told him that she was upset and someone needed to talk to her. As he entered the room, all of the equipment went crazy. It seemed she didn’t like being disturbed on that particular day. On our most recent tour, my brother was setting up the equipment in the kitchen. When he turned around he saw her face standing in the doorway. He asked ‘Is that you Annie?’ His equipment all lit up. He was shaken for the rest of the night. Earlier this year a relative of a person who lived at Black Rock House came forward to tell us that her Great Grandmother lived at Black Rock House. Her name was Annie and she was a maid. Is it our Annie?
Black Rock House is open to visitors for daytime tours on the first Sunday of every month.
See the Friends of Black Rock House website for more information.
To book a paranormal tour, see the Black Rock House Paranormal Tour Facebook page.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia, USA
Photos and report by Andrea Beattie
"It has a dark history with some horrifying stories..."
Dark souls galore
This incredibly beautiful asylum was a Kirkbride psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 until 1994. This 160 year old asylum holds fascinating stories of Civil War raids, a gold robbery, the "curative" effects of architecture, and the efforts of determined individuals to help better the lives of the mentally ill. It has a dark history with some horrifying stories, as well as some decent myths and folklore. Some of the building has been refurbished to its original glory, while other parts remain in disrepair. Ghosts tours regularly operate here, and take visitors into its eerie depths, along vacant corridors and crumbling wards. They also host paranormal tours, and regularly make contact with resident spirits. You can also do an overnight ghost hunt here. You can visit their website here.
West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville, USA
Photos and report by Andrea Beattie
"The ominous gothic structure, built in 1876, stopped being an active prison in 1995..."
Get "locked up" at the 'Pen'
Now this place is FREAKY. Not only is it home to Old Sparky, an electric chair that was in use from 1951 until 1959 and claimed nine souls, but it also has a fantastic museum with loads of photos and artifacts including all manner of shivs and a letter written by Charles Manson to the warden there, requesting a transfer to the prison from California. The ominous gothic structure, built in 1876, stopped being an active prison in 1995 and has since been a tourist attraction since. You get to explore all the cells which are still covered in inmates’ graffiti, and you even get “locked up” to be able to really experience what life would have been like in the tiny rooms. They offer daily tours, as well as ghosts hunts and overnight investigations. You can visit their website here.
Wabasha Street Caves, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Photos and report by Andrea Beattie
"There have been numerous sightings of ghostly figures and orbs in the darkness here... "
The Lost Souls Tour is a winner
These amazing sandstone caves are located along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, and cover 12,000 square feet. They’ve been home to mobsters hiding out, underground speakeasy events and other spooky business. There have been numerous sightings of ghostly figures and orbs in the darkness here, so be prepared for anything.
The Lost Souls Tour is the winner; the hosts dress up (which can be a bit cheesy) for the one-hour walking tour and keep in mind that it can get cool in the caves. You can visit their website here.
Queen Mary, Long Beach, California, USA
Photos and report by Andrea Beattie
"There’s plenty of stories of supernatural sightings to keep you on your toes ..."
Haunted old dame of the seas
Now this grand old dame really is worth a visit. Dubbed as one of America’s most haunted locations, the RMS Queen Mary is a massive 314 metres in length and there’s plenty of stories of supernatural sightings to keep you on your toes as you explore. Make sure you do a night paranormal investigation, which visits all the spirit hot-spots (one of the staterooms is haunted by the spirit of a person supposedly murdered there, and then there’s the notoriously haunted room B-340) as well as some considerable time in the engine and boiler rooms, also some of the most active spots. The tour leader and head paranormal investigator brings a variety of equipment too, so you can get the most of the experience. We visited around Halloween so the Dark Harbour event was being held right in front of the liner, but it didn’t detract from the experience at all. You can visit their website here.
Sydney's Quarantine Station, Manly, NSW
Photos and report by Owen
A dark history
In December of 2015, my partner, mum, sister and I went on a weekend trip to away to one of, if not THE most haunted locations in Australia -- Sydney’s Quarantine Station (Q station) located on the North Heads of Sydney Harbour in Manly.
Parts of the former Quarantine Station have been converted into accommodation and the site is also popular for weddings, private functions, weekend getaways and of course, ghost tours.
The Quarantine Station was established in August 1832 to regulate the risk of diseases such as Bubonic Plague, Smallpox, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Typhoid
and Spanish Flu coming into the colony of NSW either through the immigration of convicts, European settlers, and merchant shipping and was in operation up until 1984.
During its operation, more than 26,000 passengers passed through the Q Station staying onsite for up to 40 days. For many though, this location is where they lived out their final days in pain and suffering.
That being said, it’s no big surprise that with such a dark history many souls still seem to roam the grounds and buildings of Sydney’s Q Station, which is what we were hoping to hear, see or even capture on camera during our guided ghost tour of the site.
We joined a group of approximately 15 people on the jetty at sunset on the Q Station’s private beach. What started out as a beautiful summer evening was about to get very, very creepy. There was definitely no easing us into this tour. We went straight in the deep end, visiting one of the sites most haunted locations, the shower block.
The shower block
This block was one of the first buildings those arriving by ship would have visited too. Passengers were stripped of their clothing (which was then decontaminated in a separate building) and given a chemical shower. This was to treat lice, germs and any other skin infections and the treatment would cause their skin to peel for days after.
The shower block is extremely eerie and does not emit a pleasant feeling within the walls.
During our visit, two people at a time were allowed to walk down the centre of the shower block. When it was our turn, we approached the end of the corridor and chose to turn left. On our return to the building’s entry, the temperature dropped dramatically! The air was ice cold and my hands and face were absolutely freezing. It felt like someone was right behind us and I wanted to run, but being in absolute darkness it wouldn’t have been safe to do so.
My sister didn’t even make it to the rear of the building as she could feel something pulling on the back of her T-shirt. Many others who chose the same route as us had similar experiences.
Visitors on other tours and even staff have had encounters of a different nature. Some have heard the voice of a Scottish lady whispering in their ears as they walked through the doors of the shower block. Others have seen a tall man in a hat, a matron-like female with blood stains on her dress. While others have witnessed a creature crawling along the floors and over the shower partitions.
The nurses quarters and hospital/infirmary are other buildings where many staff and visitors have heard disembodied voices and children. One particular building we visited where I experienced some seriously bad vibes, was the undertaker’s house, right at the very back of the property. Walking to this building was scary enough … and then you walk through thick spider webs. Not pleasant. I highly recommend walking behind others on this tour, especially when walking through scrub.
The undertaker's house
Now the undertaker does not like people in his house, and to be honest I didn’t like being in his house either. It was scary as hell!! We were allowed to walk freely around the house and take photos. Some members in our tour group asked for signs of a presence or noises to be made. One rule however was, ‘do not close the bedroom door’ when you go into the undertaker’s bedroom!’. I wasn’t one to take chances so I followed the rules, and I’m glad I did.
As soon as I walked in the room not only did the temperature drop like it did in the shower block, but I felt strong pressure around my chest. It was extremely hard to breathe and I could only stay in the room for a matter of seconds. It was not pleasant at all.
After leaving the house, we were then told why we weren’t allowed to close the door in the bedroom of the house. Previous visitors have experienced the door slamming and have had trouble opening it once it closed.
A spooky visitor
After the tour, we retired to our hotel rooms, and thankfully didn’t experience anything spooky during the night. After checking out the following morning, we made our way back to the jetty to wait for the ferry. We still had some time up our sleeves so while we waited, my mum walked back to the shower block to read the information board.
While she was reading the board, she took a few snaps and I saw a lady come out of the shower block and walk over to mum. They had a brief chat before the lady walked back into the building.
En-route back to Circular Quay, I asked my mum what she talked about with the lady at the shower block. Surprised, mum asked “what lady?”. I explained to her that I saw a lady in black walk over to her while we were waiting for her at the jetty. Mum swore no one was talking to her. Later we looked back at the photos she took of the information board and in one, you could see not only my mum’s silhouette, but also that of another person. Spoooooooky!
After our stay at Sydney’s Q Station, I’d highly recommend checking this place out. If you’re scared easily -- like my sister -- I’d say visit at your own risk. I’ve recommended this tour to friends of mine who were visiting Sydney and they said they’d never go back. EVER!!!!