A Ghost Of A Fear

The first ghost tour I ever attended was a haunted theatre tour of the Arts Centre Melbourne on Friday the 13th in 2016. My second was only a few weeks ago. The reason they have been so few and far between is that I haven’t been able to find the right ones. I’m not interested in tours of prisons, asylums or visiting the streets and haunts of serial killers. When I think of ghosts one thing immediately comes to mind – Haunted Houses!

I’m not sure what I believe in relation to ghosts but I’m pretty sure I’ve lived in a few haunted houses. One of my childhood homes was a place of terror for me as I was sure the ghosts of the two old women who previously lived there hadn’t quite left the building. They seemed to be having a good time though, as I could hear them laughing most nights.

Another place I lived in was a lovely old home that wasn’t haunted inside. But the moment you went into the backyard you could feel something malevolent. Unfortunately it was such an old home that it didn’t have an indoor toilet. I was living with a group of punks and we were pretty fearless – except when it came to using the toilet in the haunted backyard. I’ll always remember the sound of Doc Martens running down the pathway and the looks of surprised terror on the faces of visitors after using the toilet. It’s no coincidence that we were the fittest punks in our group.

IMG_4553bheritage park, san diego

When I discovered that Lantern Ghost Tours were doing a tour of Altona Homestead, I couldn’t wait to book. I’ve been to the homestead many times during the day. The homestead hosts a monthly Devonshire tea during which you are free to roam the historical home. It’s a beautiful house and I’ve often wondered what it would look like at night. Thanks to the ghost tour, I was about to find out!

The tour started outside the house and was led by a woman in a black cape holding a lantern. We began with a walk to the pier to hear stories of drownings and waterlogged ghosts. We then walked down a few streets with ghostly significance before returning to the house. Our guide opened the door and told us that once we all entered the house she would be locking us in. Awesome! 

After a brief introduction to the history of the homestead and it’s original occupants, we entered a room that I had visited many times before. It has a beautiful bedwarmer on the bed which reminds me of the bedwarmer in Bewitched. After saying hello to the bedwarmer, I turned to see our guide standing in front of a wardrobe. The wardrobe was not originally part of the house but had been brought in from another historic home. It fitted in with the decor and came with an added extra – the ghost of a young boy.

The guide was going to open the wardrobe door and wanted someone to stand in front of it. I had an awful feeling she was going to pick me. Just because I was the only person on the tour who knew about Victorian Death Photography and was dressed in head to toe black, didn’t mean I wanted to stand in front of a wardrobe when the door opened to let out a ghost. But when she pulled out a pair of dowsing rods I couldn’t resit.

IMG_4833a copy 2the haunted wardrobe

As I stood outside the open wardrobe I had a moment of fear. Ghosts are scary, but child ghosts are much scarier. Using my witchcraft training I quickly set protections around myself. I was glad I did as the dowsing rods started moving. I didn’t think I was moving them but was sure there was a rational explanation. Moments after I reached that comforting conclusion, someone on the tour panicked and asked to be let out of the house. The guide left the room to escort her to freedom leaving me with moving dowsing rods, people staring at me and a possible ghost behind me. I was relieved when the guide returned. She explained that the woman had seen something scary in the room and had to leave. Okay – no longer quite so relieved.

The dowsing rods continued turning until they crossed over each other. The guide had a few questions for the ghost and then asked if they would uncross the rods for us. I didn’t know if I was more scared of them uncrossing or not uncrossing. I watched and they slowly began uncrossing. I was told to wipe the rods on my jacket to break the connection which I did very thoroughly. My job done, it was time to continue with the tour, this time as a spectator. 

As we went room by room many tales were told of haunted happenings at the homestead. My favourite was about the dolls. Apparently staff say they keep moving position and moving rooms. One staff member said they once found all the dolls in one room facing the wall. Even the guide thought that could be the work of another staff member with a mischievous sense of humour. But my favourite doll story was about the staff member who came to work and found the dolls scattered about the house. After putting them in the right rooms they heard a knock on the window coming from the courtyard. When they looked out the window there was a doll. That’s the courtyard where we have our Devonshire teas!

IMG_3153banother cup of tea?

The tour ended with a warning from our guide to check our rear view mirrors before we drove off in case something had decided to come home with us. Before getting in the car I dropped my jacket in the back of the car. I didn’t want to bring it into the house that night after wiping dowsing rods on it. I looked at the Moon and asked it to cleanse my jacket overnight. I then hopped into the car and checked all my mirrors.

I’m really excited about our next Devonshire Tea at the homestead. I’m kind of hoping there’ll be a doll sitting at one of the tables.


  1. It sounds like an incredible experience! Very brave of you to take the rods! I have been on numerous ghost hunts, as Chicago is a ‘very haunted’ place. I like the idea of the dolls. Do you suppose the ghosts move the dolls, or do the dolls themselves have kinetic abilities?

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    1. You know I never even thought of the dolls being moved by ghosts. If anything else was moved I’d think it was ghosts but I find dolls so uncanny and magical that I just assumed they were moving themselves. Now I’m wondering if the ghosts played with the dolls and accidentally left one outside. That’s why it couldn’t come back in and had to knock on the window for help!

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      1. I’m a bit scared of dolls. I couldn’t go to sleep if there was one in my room. Antique dolls are beautiful, especially their clothes, but they are not coming home with me!

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      2. I think I would like your doll collection! As I get older I’m starting to warm to dolls, especially vintage ones. Still not sure if I would keep them in my room 🙂

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      3. You’d probably like it! I think having them in the room is just a thing I am used to. Did you know that the famous vampire author Anne Rice had a collection of dolls so large she actually bought a separate house to store them in? Talk about extreme 🙂

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      4. I knew Anne Rice collected dolls but I didn’t know she had that many. Now that’s what I call a doll house! Can you imagine the types of dolls she has? I bet her collection is exquisite.

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      5. Yes, she has exquisite taste so I’m sure the dolls are really something! However, she sold the house (and her other New Orleans properties, which I thought was a shame.) I think she sold some of the dolls too, but her collection was over 800!

        By the way, I hear she is currently working on a TV production of her Vampire Chronicles. Can’t wait till it comes out!

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      6. I was just reading that she auctioned off her dolls! She has gone through so many personal and spiritual changes. Maybe that was her way to break free of New Orleans. She’s a fascinating person. Interview With The Vampire will always be one of my favourite books. It was life changing for me. Can’t wait for the TV series!

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      7. She owned this really amazing house in New Orleans — it was actually the house of The Witching Hour — she lived in the house and wrote that book centered around the house! I have seen it many times while visiting NOLA. I have met people that knew her also, everyone says she is a really sweet person.

        I never could imagine why she wanted to leave New Orleans because she was such a fixture there. But who knows why people do thing… She did go through many spiritual changes. I love Interview, can see how it would be life changing — but The Witching Hour is actually my all time favorite book!! 🙂

        She had a Facebook group where she invited fans to give suggestions for the TV Series. Of course, there were literally millions of suggestions! Her son is also one of the producers. I’m sure the show will be excellent!

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      8. I remember many long nights spent reading The Witching Hour. I was entranced by Lasher 🙂 I’ve never been to New Orleans but I think it would be a hard place to leave – especially if you own mansions and have a very big Doll House!

        I can’t wait to see who they cast in the TV series!

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      9. It is a very long book! But I do love all her books. Lasher was certainly intriguing and scary!

        You would LOVE New Orleans! (Except for the extremely hot weather.) It is chock full of vamps and ghosts. The one and only time I saw a real ghost was in New Orleans! I once got a Tarot reading there from this guy who looked and dressed so much like Louis the Vampire (young Brad Pitt) I nearly swooned! I still puzzle at how Anne Rice could leave — but at the time, you might remember, she had actually renounced writing of all supernaturals, declared herself a “Christian” and rejoined the Catholic Church. Since then she has reversed that decision.

        The last I read, I believe the series will come out some time in 2020. I know there are many new young unknowns who she has been looking at for the roles, which I think is great.

        I am obviously going to have to write a blog on Anne Rice one of these days!

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      10. I think I could brave the heat to visit such a fantastic place as New Orleans! It is on my list. I’m not at all surprised you saw a ghost there! I’m swooning from your description of the tarot reader. Brad Pitt was spectacular as Louis.

        It is baffling that Anne Rice left New Orleans. I do remember her going back to the Catholic Church and her reasons for leaving again are interesting. She is very political and pro human rights so she certainly had difficulty with the strict Catholic doctrine. I didn’t read any of her books during that time. Might be time to read some of her books again.

        Please do a blog on her!

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      11. The Brad Pitt guy had me tongue tied lol!! He even had the pirate shirt and those weird green blue eyes! 🙂 You would love NOLA. The heat could not be any worse than what you are probably used to in Australian summers!

        The thing about the Catholic Church is that they do not budge on their doctrine. I did not think Anne would last long going back once she realized this.

        During her religious period, I continued to read her books! I actually loved them — she was telling the story of Jesus in his own words, it was fascinating to me! (There is a lot of symbolic blood drinking in the Catholic Church, you know, and folk have speculated about Jesus being a vampire… Not Church officials, but folk. Like me 🙂 ) Now, however, she has done new supernatural tales, Werewolves and revisiting Lestat! Great books.

        Yes, I will do a blog, maybe for her birthday which is near Halloween, woo hoo! 🙂

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      12. Lol! I’ve survived many Aussie heatwaves so I’m sure I can handle New Orleans!

        I’d like to read Rice’s werewolf novels. I am interested in her Jesus ones, but they are not top of my list 🙂 Christian communion is interesting as you are supposed to be eating flesh and drinking blood – zombies and vampires! Paul and I laughingly call Lazarus Patient Zero – the first zombie. He then infected Jesus which led to George Romero and the rest is history! I love the idea of Jesus as a vampire. Drinking blood has always been linked to eternal life – at least that’s what vampires keep telling me!

        A pre-Halloween Anne Rice blog by you would be awesome 🙂

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      13. Lazarus Patient Zero! I love that! It is all so interesting. One of the biggest reasons Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church was actually because of the so-called “cannibalism”.

        I’d say now that you have seen Salem, NOLA is due. I also forgot to tell you, they do get colder winters there — not cold enough for snow, but colder 🙂

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      14. In my early youth I was a Pentecostal Christian. It was always made clear that when we had communion it was symbolic and not the real body and blood of Christ – unlike the heathen Catholics! The few times I’ve been to a Catholic Church I always listen out for the bell that rings to say the wafer and wine have transformed into the body and blood of Christ. I usually go and get some – just for fun 🙂

        Winter in New Orleans sounds real good!

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      15. I was raised Catholic, baptized and confirmed. Ironically, a lot of Catholic rituals now fit in with my Pagan faith, so I have sort of combined the two 🙂 But yes, Catholics are the most Heathen of all Christians, hehe.

        Hot, hot NOLA in summer is my favorite! But I have many friends who prefer her in fall or winter, that will be you too 🙂

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      16. I was born and baptised into the Eastern Orthodox religion which is similar to Catholicism. Awesome churches, lots of idols to worship, Mary is revered and the smell of incense permeates everything. Like you I found my Paganism easily slotted into my Orthodox beginnings and I have just recently started resonating with some old Slavic Gods. I hated being Pentecostal – so bland and stripped of all magic and ritual. And so many rules. When I was told I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything but Christian music and that I had to burn my posters and records I left. I didn’t care if I was Damned as long as I could listen to the Damned!

        I think New Orleans voodoo is mixed with Catholicism. Another reason to visit 🙂

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      17. Yes, the Eastern Orthodox Church is similar to Catholic. When I was in Alaska I saw many of those churches — just beautiful. (Russian Orthodox is a big religion there.)

        At least in Catholicism we get to have female deities. I always resonated, and still do, with Mary Magdalene, one of my go to goddesses 🙂 (Even though Pope Gregory officially declared her a whore, BOO! and kept her from Sainthood until the 1950’s!)

        I cannot imagine you not listening to the Damned! How dare they try to stifle your music! And what a stupid request, telling you to burn things. That is creepy. There is good and bad in every Doctrine, though, and we really have to find our own path.

        New Orleans is a super interesting place because of all the mixtures of religion, Voodoo is very prominent. I met a few priestesses when I was there. They do mix it with Catholicism and other beliefs. They say Marie Laveau was a devout Catholic! I’m sure she bent a few rules, haha 🙂

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      18. I saw the Alaskan Russian Churches in a Stephen Fry documentary and I really want to go see them. They looked spectacular.

        I’m not surprised you have an affinity with Mary Magdalene. She was/is a powerful figure and deserves a lot more respect than she gets. I used to tease my Pentecostal mum and say the only thing I like about Christianity are the Two Marys 🙂

        You’re right about finding your own path. There are good and bad teachings and good and bad followers in all religions.

        I had to laugh at the Marie Laveau comment about bending rules. Some of the scariest witches I met were old women in the Orthodox religion. They would curse you while sitting in church praying. They bent the rules and they were terrifying. I wanted to grow up to be just like them!

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      19. Ha! That is so funny about the Orthodox witches! I bet they definitely know how to manipulate energy and work magick. I read that medieval witches used to take the Eucharist and use it for spell casting and other workings. I am sure Marie Laveau was a force to be reckoned with!

        I think the two Marys are very cool, love them both 🙂

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  2. Love the photos especially the dress one looks quite magical. I also lived in many haunted homes as a child unfortunately for me most of the haunting wasn’t from ghosts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The dress is stunning. Everyone was commenting on it on the tour.
      Homes haunted by ghosts are easy to leave behind but haunted childhoods tend to follow us.


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