Some people love learning about the supernatural. They actively seek for the unknown to find the answers to life's long-held mysteries. I like reading supernatural stories about vampires and fairies but there is one thing that gives me the creepy-crawlies and that is ghosts.
Blame it on too many ghost stories or scary movies, but I was a bit reluctant to join in a ghost tour organised by my company at The Rocks. Even worse, my fear was exacerbated by the fact that it was an auspicious day – Halloween. Some things outweigh my fear of ghosts though, and that was my ego and reputation and the fact that a whole group of us was scheduled to go for a corporate team building tour. Or maybe it was the promise of beer and nibbles afterwards.
The tours run for 2 hours and takes place on foot. Lucky for us, it was a clear day but the tour runs in all weather and ponchos are provided if wet. I arrived at the departure point which was at Cadmans Cottage at the corner of George and Argyle Street and I was greeted by a lot of scary faces and people in costumes. Apparently, I was to join in. I decided to dress up as Harry Potter and draped a cloak over my shoulders with a pointy wizard hat.
The tour explores the history of the Rocks and I found it interesting listening to all the stories and legends of the old convict settlement. The tour guide leads us on a maze through the cobblestone paths, stopping at haunted spots. What was amazing about it was that I have been to these murder spots countless time during the day and certain times at night by myself without a second thought, not knowing the background stories.
The fact that these spots are public tourist areas detracted a bit from the spookiness of the tour since ignorant tourists were milling about, curious as to what this group of people dressed up in funny costumes were up to. In fact, some of the more hilarious moments from the tour were from our group creeping up and scaring innocent passer-bys.
Many of the sites visited have had reports of ghost sightings and phenomena. I personally did not see anything although some photos taken by members of the group had weird spots which the tour guide pronounced as ghostly activity. I however, did feel a chill in certain places. That may be due to the ghostly stories which were being told by the tour guide or due to my heightened awareness. Who knows. There was also a lot of walking involved which provided good exercise for someone who has been sitting at the desk for most of the day.
The tour is the brainchild of Brian and Colleen Harrison. In 1994, they decided to share the gruesome stories they have heard passed down through generations with the general public. Their family used to run boarding houses at the Rocks.
The tours run every evening of the week and costs $42 for adults and $33 for teenagers. Halloween tours cost $58 for adults or $43 for teens. The tours are mainly marketed to people over 18 and after a few dirty jokes from the tour guide, I realized why. However, between Sunday and Thursday evenings 13-17 year olds may attend with a paying adult or organize teen tours modified to their needs. The tours depart at 6.45pm during winter and 7.45 pm in summer. You can book for the tour by visiting their website here.