The Spirit of Haunted Places

How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – like rags and shreds of your very life.
– Katherine Mansfield

So often in the Paranormal field there is such a huge emphasis placed on the workings of an investigation. The equipment, the evidence, the method, how haunted a location is or not; it’s not very hard to get caught up in the importance of finding out what others have left behind (or what others have been left behind).

But what about the location itself? If you ask any investigator what their favourite location is they will most likely tell you about a location where they had lots of activity. You know what though? For me it’s not the significance of the activity that we get that, but the experiences that I have there that make such a huge impact on me as a person.

When I first started investigating – in fact my very first investigation – I’ll never forget my reaction to the first spirit voice that I ever heard; it was at a medical facility in Goulburn and one of the investigators I was with had taken out an SB-7 Spirit Box.

For those that don’t know; a Spirit Box is a speaker that is hooked up to a radio receiver. The receiver will scan through channels of your choosing (preferably without a lot of chatter) and play them so fast they sound like quick short bursts of white noise.

On this particular night the reception was wonderfully dreadful; meaning that we had no radio chatter whatsoever. I was recording video on my full spectrum DSLR so I have audio (which I should try and dig it up) of the investigator – Kat from W.S.P.R – saying ‘If there’s anyone here, would you like to come and say hi?’

Then blow me down and toss me sideways, we heard a clear ‘Hello?’ about 15 seconds later.

That was the very first time I’d ever heard an EVP response and I nearly fell over. Seriously, I literally almost fell over. My knees turned to liquid and I sank down a little against the wall, whilst I broke out into immediate cold sweat and my eyes stung with tears of god-knows-what.

How can you explain what goes through your mind the first time you hear communication from the other side? Blank. Nothing but blank. My world did a little shudder and exploded similar to the silent explosion of a star going supernova.

That weekend was rather volatile to my little world as I knew it, but you know the thing that stuck to me the most? The location.

Large brick buildings that reminded me so much of the retirement home that my mother works at. It was almost comfortable (at least when the lights were turned on) and at the same time terrifying. It was a wonderful dichotomy of positive and negative surroundings; from the large windowed room that simply exuded happiness to the tiny labyrinthine building at the back of the property that – to this day – houses the most disturbing thing that I’ve ever crossed paths with in my life.

The scratches on the back of the doors were chilling, and I’ll admit that I did the stereotypical ‘tracing them with my finger’ action, because it was irresistible. Places like this are just as important as the phenomena that we investigate, because they are a veritable Pandora’s Box in building form.

I suppose the whole point to me writing this tonight is that I’ve heard that one of the haunting (and rather haunted) locations that I have been to several times is set to be torn down any day now.

Now it’s not a place that I’ve frequented a lot. Nestled in the mountains west of Sydney it’s been abandoned for quite some time. I think I’ve been there a handful of times, but each time I walk through the weeping gum trees, the overgrown gardens and the beautiful colonial-style administration building, I’m always taken with how the age and decay has made the place even more beautiful than when it was operational.

Yes, there is a beauty in seeing time doing its work on man-made objects; how it exploits the weakest parts of a wall and warps something that was once so structurally sound into a more sinister structural deathtrap.

What perhaps is the most beautiful is seeing how the natural landscape starts to reclaim the location itself. Similar to a body rotting in the ground and turning back into earth, any old building will eventually become part of the landscape again.

As for Paranormal Activity; the place has never failed to deliver – although lately it seems as if whatever is there may be sulking or giving us the silent treatment. We’ve had apparitions, audible voice phenomena, poltergeist activity and EVPs galore.

So that’s my mushy moment. Whilst I really am sad to see this location go, the investigator in me is screaming “OMG INVESTIGATE IT WHEN IT’S DEMOLISHED!” on the inside (We must make the most of the situation that we have, right?). Given the plans that we have been told are in order for the location, it will be interesting to see if there is any effect on the spirits or activity that surround the area.

In the meantime; the next time you go to a location don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the place as it is; a living piece of history. Because sometimes they can be just as touching and mysterious as the spirits that we come across!

It’s all a part of the story 🙂