Freelance writing. Out of the urban clutter of the East and now situated on the Pittwater.
Published March 20th 2011
If you've ever felt the hair on the back of your neck stand up, felt a breeze or cold spot when there wasnt anything there and thought, "Maybe its a ghost," - it could just be. If you dont believe in ghosts, this might change your mind.
If you are heading down to Sorrento or the Mornington Peninsula for a break, you might want to learn a little about the history of the area in a unique and fun way. Jenny Tomkin of Sorrento Ghost Tours will lead you through the streets and history of Sorrento and its founding father George Coppin.
Sorrento sits on the end of the Mornington Peninsula, 90km south of Melbourne. Sorrento became a playground for day-trippers in the 1870's and was popular with the gentry.
An enigmatic and charismatic character, actor, comedian, parliamentarian, enterpreneur and politician George Coppin began 'a steamer company which landed trippers from Melbourne at Sorrento Pier where they were transported by steam tram to the beach and rotunda where they could enjoy the walkways and lookouts.' George Coppin also built much of the town.
He can be sensed as you walk through the streets of Sorrento and according to Jenny, his ghost resides at the four story limestone building he built in 1875, the Continental Hotel.
He moves around, he'll shut the door if someone is in the pantry and people have been tapped on the shoulder when no one is in the room. He has also turned on the food processor and there is a clock in room 28 that keeps falling down," Jenny says.
Leading, with a EMF metre, Jenny takes you on a 90 minute tour of the town, with stories of life and death, of marriage and children, of ghosts and objects moving.
The EMF metre is said to be triggered by electromagnetic frequencies, which often go off during the tour. There is movement on the stairs of the Sorrento Hotel that sits on the hill, with stories of marriages and fisty cuffs.
The cinema too, which resides in the Atheneum Theatre, was added 90 years ago, is said to be home to a ghost or two. 'An usher once observed an elderly lady dressed in white with stark white eyes sitting at the back during a children's movie. But when the usher spoke to the cashier, no seniors had bought tickets to this movie. When the pair crept back into the cinema the woman was gone,' Jenny explains.
The Sorrento Ghost tours continue through the town of Sorrento, encompassing 12 historic sites with 8 that are said to be home to ghosts or linked to mysteries of the past.
So, if you want to learn about the past, understand the mystique of Sorrento, have a giggle and a maybe a moment of thrilling fear, join Miss Tomkin on a Saturday night to explore, experience and interact with Sorrentos past. You never know, you might meet George Coppin at the door of the Continental or be transported back in time to earlier days.
Sorrento Ghost Tours runs on the first Saturday of each month during 2011. Tours depart at 9pm (depending on the season) from the Sorrento Rotunda and run for 90 minutes. No children under the age of 10, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and tours operate regardless of the weather.
Group booking of 12 or more can be booked according to the date that suits group. Times may also vary over school holidays.
Phone 0409 844 768, e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact via Facebook.
How spooky! I never knew Sorrento was haunted and I'm really not sure whether reading this makes me more or less likely to return and explore. I don't know that I'd want to see an the spirit of an elderly lady with start white eyes, but then again, it would be quite an experience!