Real Life

Meet the real life ghost hunters

Heather's dates with her boyfriend are a little spookier than your average...

By John Parrish

Heather, 45, shares her true life story:

A shiver ran down my spine as I peered at the gravestones in the darkness.
"This is so creepy," I whispered to my new boyfriend, Werner, gripping his arm.
It was definitely the weirdest date I'd ever been on.
I'd met Werner, then 41, at a party a few weeks earlier.
We'd been out a handful of times and the more I saw of him, the more I liked him.
Then, one afternoon, he'd called me.
"I'm going ghost hunting at a cemetery tonight," he said. "Would you like to come with me?"
"Ghost hunting?" I frowned.
It sounded like some kind of game but Werner explained he believed in real life spirits and like to go to haunted places in search of them.
"My mum used to do it," he said. "I've always been fascinated by ghosts."
I was an open-minded person and thought it sounded interesting.
Plus, I could always jump right into Werner's arms if things got too scary!
"Let's do it," I said.
We drove to Kapunda, 80km north of Adelaide, to check out St John’s Cemetery.
"It's the site of an old reformatory for girls," Werner told me. "It's supposed to be one of the most haunted places in South Australia."
We arrived at midnight, known as the Witching Hour, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
I was scared - but I also thought what we were about to do was thrilling.
We'd brought along sensitive film and sound recording equipment so we could try to capture some ghostly goings on.
As we crept between graves, suddenly I spotted a bright, glowing light flickering through the trees."What's that?" I gasped, taking a step back.
"Some people say it’s the ghost of the old groundskeeper on his rounds with his lantern," Werner replied.
We'd gone from hot date to spooky sighting in seconds - I found it fascinating.
This was the only headstone that was out of focus. Could it be paranormal activity?
On our next ghost-hunting expedition, we headed to a cemetery in the Barossa Valley.
As we looked for a spot to set up our equipment, I suddenly felt a cold chill in the air.
"That's a sign spirits are present," Werner said. "Let's set up here."
Werner explained that we needed to talk to the spirits to let them know we were there.
"We're not here to hurt you," he said aloud. "We just want to talk."
Silence.
Feeling brave, I decided to pipe up.
"Would anyone like to communicate?" I asked.
Suddenly, there came a very clear “Yes” from the darkness.
Werner and I looked at each other in astonishment.
I took a deep breath.
"What is your name?" I asked.
"Ben," the spirit replied.
The voice sounded very young to me.
“How old are you?” I asked.
He didn’t answer.
But then he said, "I’m going to buy new shoes for school tomorrow."
It was an incredible moment.
We wanted to talk more, but William clammed up.
I reckoned he was about five years old.
Me and Werner at a cemetery in Clare Valley.
Werner went back a few weeks later.
"He asked where you were and mentioned he was going to get shoes again," Werner said.
"It sounds like he isn't aware that he's dead," I sighed, sadly.
Some spirits don’t and that’s why they linger.
Others have unfinished business or find a portal from their world to ours.
After that, we went ghost hunting every few weeks.
Once, hunting with a group of ghost hunting friends, I walked round the back of a mausoleum to see two middle-aged women standing in the bushes chatting.
I thought they were part of our group and didn’t disturb them.
It was only when I re-joined the group I realised everyone was accounted for.
They must've been ghosts!
After a few ghost hunting expeditions I stopped feeling scared for the most part.
But over the years, there have been some really chilling moments.
On one expedition, we set up our recording equipment in a graveyard but got nothing.
Later, in the car, Werner played the recording back.
As clear as a bell we then heard the word “death” being repeated over and over.
We always bring along our recording equipment just in case.
Ghost hunting has now become a shared passion.
Then, recently, we visited Gladstone Gaol, about two-and-a-half hours north of Adelaide.
I’d wandered alone into what used to be the Aboriginal wing of the prison.
Suddenly, I felt like I had 1000 pairs of eyes on me.
I was completely unnerved and I got out of there as fast as I could.
“The story is that prisoners were beaten to death where you were,” said Werner.
The more we went out searching for spirits the more fascinated I became with it all.
I’m as keen on hunting ghosts as Werner now and it’s a shared passion.
That date in the cemetery was certainly the most memorable I'd ever been on!

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