Really? Someone does that by choice?
Walks around a haunted 1800s lunatic asylum on their own, with very little in the way of lighting and a heap of ghost-hunting equipment?
Seems I do that.
It all started about six weeks ago.
“Go and do a live-feed on the Asylum Ghost Tours – Beechworth Facebook page,” someone said.
“It’ll be great advertising,” they said. “And fun!”
Easy for them to say.
I own a large portion of a 150-year-old asylum. That should be crazy enough, but suddenly I’m the one walking into the most haunted sections of the asylum by myself, with a smartphone for light so I don’t trip and kill myself.
Plus, if anyone has done a live-feed on Facebook before, they know the screen is facing ME, not outward, so A) the light is in my eyes and I can’t see a damn thing, and B) THE LIGHT IS IN MY EYES AND I CAN’T SEE A DAMN THING!
There could be anything out there. I know the buildings well enough to no walk through walls or into stairwells or anything physically dangerous, but damn, walking around with nothing but blackness in an abandoned lunatic asylum is damn well scary!
First night I did this was in the old catering centre. It’s not that old, even though it’s called that. It was built in the late 70s to replace the staff catering areas that were being used until then, which were spread out over a few different areas. This building was designed to integrate all the staff catering into one area.
It was erected over what used to be a courtyard for the male patients, and directly over what appears in photos to be an old gazebo for shelter and shading the patients. God only knows what happened in the old days in that area, but the catering centre is one of the freakiest places in the whole damn asylum, and that includes the 150-year-old cell area still left in the women’s ward.
It’s a maze of rooms, meat lockers and kitchens, full of sinks, cooking vats, and coolers. Doors and passages everywhere. And according to town legends, it was called the poltergeist kitchen for a long time. Allegedly, the cooks used to turn up to work and find knives spinning on the stainless-steel counter-tops. They’d turn around and leave, refusing to work that day. It’s no wonder the catering centre’s said to have closed down in a very short time.
So, of course, my very first live-feed was over there.
I walked over, taking my phone, an EMF meter (a basic piece of ghost-hunting kit which detects and measures electromagnetic frequencies), a noise and vibration sensor, and a laser-grid (laser pen with a diffuser to scatter light spots across an area, as a way of seeing if there is anything moving that escapes the eye but not the light).
I have to point out there that I HATE the catering centre. HATE it with a passion. Even though it’s not that old (compared to the rest of the place) it’s very, very creepy. No power, so no interference for the gadgets, but they always tend to be very responsive whenever someone is in there on a hunt.
I got there easily enough. Even though the outside of the asylum is nearly as creepy (and nearly as active) as the inside, I’ve gotten used to walking around by myself at night doing lock-ups after the tours finish. It’s scary, yes, but at least there is space to run, run away if something happens.
I unlocked the heavy door, and stepped inside, letting it ease closed behind me.
“Hello?” I said. “Anyone here?”
My voice echoed, causing me to flinch as the sound seemed to twist and warp before it returned back to me.
“If there’s anyone here, I’m just coming to say hi,’ I said. “I won’t stay too long, and I certainly won’t disturb you.”
I moved further into the place. I knew the layout from having been in there during the day (still scary then, just not as bad), so I could make my way to the main cooking area where I planned to set up the equipment and see if I could get any responses. It was cold, dark, and eerie. Just right to freak me out.
Walking around a little, I stayed near the edges of the building as much as possible, as reception over there isn’t that great and I didn’t want the live-feed to cut out. The cool-rooms all have drains set in the floors, so perfect for cutting up a body. Creepy.
I set up the motion detector near a doorway leading into the main cafeteria area. I set the laser grid on a stainless steel bench, pointing toward the same doorway. I had the EMF meter set up on the ground a few feet in front of me, and I sat myself down in a chair with my back to the nearest wall.
With Facebook page live-feeds, the people watching live can post comments and questions, and I’m sitting there in the dark chatting to the people watching, avoiding thinking about the many and varied ways I could die, when I hear a scraping sound, as though something metallic had been dragged across the tile floor. I immediately shat myself.
“What the [email protected]#% was that?” I said.
Comments came up on the live-feed post suggesting that others heard the same thing. That didn’t help. Makes it damn heard to convince myself it was my imagination if it goes through the microphone well enough for people watching at home to hear it too. I sat there, shivering, for a few minutes, talking to the live-feed viewers yet unable to take my eyes or my torch off the doorway.
Then the vibration sensor started going crazy. Flash, flash, flash. I started getting more wigged out, until I realised the sensor also registered voices, and it was flashing in time with mine.
Sweet, sweet relief poured through me.
Then I remembered the scraping.
Nothing else had happened since, so I started to calm down a little.
Decided it was safe to move.
Did the stupidest thing I could possible do.
There’s a table next to the door.
The paranormal guides had placed four partially-empty water bottles on it, one on each corner, just to see if they ever move. When I looked on the way in, they had been moved. Two were still in the corners, but the other two were in the centre, one balanced on top of the other.
Jokers, I thought. They did that on purpose just to freak me out.
I got up and moved them back to the two corners they should be on.
The second I did that, I heard what could only be described by my fevered mind as a growl, right next to me from that same doorway.
Not being big with the wordy-thingies, I repeated my query from before.
“What the [email protected]#% was that?” I said.
You could hear the fear in my voice.
It was literally unable to move for a second, but then I moved faster than I thought possible.
I packed up the gadgets (packed up equals grabbed, shoved in pockets) and ran for the door out of that place.
I remember locking the door behind me and running back to the safety of the tour foyer office, where there were other people.
On reflection, I probably should have stayed, but no way could I have done that.
I don’t scare easily, at least not to the point of running out of a building like I did, but I was scared that night.
I reviewed the video, and the growl actually sounds a little mechanical, which is nearly as weird, as there is no power in that building to run anything, but to me, when I was there, it sounded exactly like an animal growling at me for daring to move those bottles back to where they had been.
The video is here for you to listen to (language warning).
Make up your own minds.
I know how I felt in there, and I know what I heard.
I’ll end up going back in there soon.