Real Life

Real life: I'm part of a ghost hunting girl gang

I wouldn't give up until someone else believed me.

By As told to Take 5

Hailey Lilley, 32, from Brisbane, QLD, shares her spooky real life story:

I lay awake watching large looming shadows criss-cross my bedroom walls.
"Hailey," the male voice whispered, growing stronger and stronger.
But no-one was there.
I was 11 years old and terrified, but when I rushed out to the living room, my parents didn't believe me.
"It's just in your head," Dad said dismissively.
But the voices and shadows continued. I was certain they were ghosts.
Sometimes, my books or toys would suddenly fall off the shelves.
Years later my best friend was over and saw it all happening, too.
That's when I realised I wasn't imagining it and instead of being scared, I decided to learn to embrace my gift as a psychic.
Most people would be scared to see the things I did, but I found it fascinating.
I wanted to communicate with these spirits and learn about their past lives.
Haunted Down Under, front left; Briar, Nadine, Steph, Caitlin and me.
As word of my talent spread, I was approached by Caitlin, a young woman around my age, who ran the ghost-hunting group, Haunted Down Under.
"We're looking for a psychic to come along on our expeditions," she explained.
Haunted Down Under was an all-female group that set out to capture paranormal activity all over the country.
Theirs was a high-tech operation and they streamed their adventures live through social media so people could follow their spooky discoveries from the comfort of their own home.
"Count me in," I said, smiling.
My first trip was to Victoria Park, just outside of Brisbane, where there'd been frequent sightings of a young female ghost roaming the grounds.
Caitlin and the others had their tech equipment, but I was there to use my sixth sense to detect a presence.
As soon as we walked through the carpark, I felt someone lingering close by.
"Why are you here?" I asked the darkness.
Almost right away, a young woman's voice replied: "Oh, you came back."
The hairs stood up on the back of my neck hearing the voice coming from the air near me.
It was clear that she'd been waiting for us.
We continued along the track, desperate to catch a glimpse of her.
Suddenly, a terrified face flashed in front of me.
It was a young woman no older than a teenager and she was wearing a white dress.
In a split second, her appearance changed completely and she was now decades older.
"You came back," she repeated, before disappearing completely.
I described what I'd seen to the other members.
One of them, Briar, looked at me in awe.
"That's exactly what I saw," she said.
We film all our expeditions.
My courage meant I'd earned my stripes and a place in Haunted Down Under, so I went along with them again to Ghost Hole, an abandoned gold mine in Mt Coot-tha, Qld.
The place had a reputation for being foreboding and home to many spirits, so naturally we wanted to test these claims for ourselves.
As we trudged through the bush, I heard a woman's voice cut through the bracken.
"I'm watching you," she warned.
A figure with fuzzy long hair in an old-fashioned dress danced before me.
I could see tears rolling down her face.
"What's wrong?" I asked her, but she was gone before I'd even finished speaking.
Her sobbing put the girls and me on edge. Had something terrible happened to her?
There was no doubt this mine was full of spirits. And they weren't the friendly sort.
As we walked along, I noticed another shape stretching towards me through the dark and transforming into the outline of a man.
An intense heat spread throughout my body.
"He's watching us, too," I whispered.
I realised it was his stare that was burning into me.
Caitlin took one look at the figure, screamed and bolted.
The rest of us quickly followed.
Back at the car, my heart pounded as the images of our encounter raced through my mind.
"That man's a sexual predator," I told the group. "He was trying to show us that he's the one who's in control."
I knew instinctively that whatever he'd done in the past, he'd gotten away with it and was continuing to terrorise women even in the next life.
In the Ghost Hole we recorded a chilling message.
I thought back to the woman's words: I'm watching you. Perhaps she hadn't been threatening us at all, but was actually watching out for us to make sure we were safe.
We all agreed it was the most frightening thing we'd ever witnessed.
After watching the footage, loads of viewers commented that they felt the same.
Not that we've let the eerie encounter stop us from doing more ghost hunting.
In fact, we're now so well-known that we've received offers to stay at Beechworth Gaol, Vic, where Ned Kelly was kept before his execution, along with other haunted locations.
It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but connecting with the afterlife is our passion and we'll all continue doing it for as long as we can.

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