I’m someone that sits on the fence when it comes to the spirit world, I don’t disbelieve it, but until I see irrefutable proof, there will always be a little part of my brain that will say ‘weeeell, maybe’.
The rest of my brain, however, wholeheartedly believes and the little, disbelieving corner of grey goop lets it because it’s nice to think our departed loved ones are still around and that we can communicate with them.
It was that optimistic part of my brain that jumped at the chance to join a Paranormal Investigation Tour at the very haunted Port Arthur World Heritage site on Tasmania’s south-east coast.
Port Arthur has two distinct histories. An old one and a modern one, both terrible in their own ways. For those that are unaware, in 1996, a psychopath gunned down 35 people and wounded another 23. It was an event that shocked the nation to its core and spurred Australia’s strict gun control laws.
I had no interest in disturbing these souls. I paid my respects at the beautifully sombre memorial while walking around the site during the day but was glad to see the paranormal tour is conducted far away from the massacre area.
The nocturnal residents I wished to meet were from the convict era.
From 1833-1877 Port Arthur was a prison for Tasmania’s convicts who had become secondary offenders during their lengthy Transportation holiday.
While physical punishments were handed out, it was the psychological punishments that made Port Arthur unique. Most notably, those in need of extra punishment were hooded and made to stay silent in light-sealed, tiny cells, sometimes for months at a time. An act administrators thought would give the prisoner time to reflect. Instead, it often had the unintended outcome of inducing mental illness through lack of sight and sound.