Stories from the Gladstone Gaol – part V
If you’ve been following the blog weekly, you would know I’ve covered a little history on the Gaol, and a couple of deaths that happened inside her walls. This week, I am going to delve into some of her paranormal mysteries, and my own personal paranormal experiences.
The Gladstone Gaol is a foreboding presence, perched slightly higher than the rest of the town, like a massive jutting crown of cold stone and brick.
Inside her walls, that imposing stone gives off a claustrophobic effect, cutting you off from the rest of the world. Standing in her cells, looking out the small windows, you can feel the sense of dread that prisoners would feel, waiting for their sentence to expire…of course, most people only spent a few months in this gaol, serious offenders were always transported to Adelaide, but still, you knew, being here, was being cut off from the world, from life.
I first ventured across the gaol many many years ago whilst in the area following up some genealogy leads, I walked through her cell blocks during the day, and knew…one day I would be back to investigate for spirits.
That day eventually came, and many more nights have followed since, but the gaol, like all allegedly haunted locations, doesn’t always reveal her spectres every time you visit. In fact, this is one place that is very much hit and miss with paranormal phenomena. Maybe the ghosts just aren’t in the mood, or maybe they are out doing other ghostly things, who knows? But I find this Gaol to be one that doesn’t always offer a haunting.
I am very much a researcher, sceptic as well as an investigator, and like all locations my team enters, I always try and find out what has already been seen, felt, heard or captured, to see if I can put forward a reasonable explanation that is natural, but also to see if my team gets similar evidence. (Some people would say that going in cold is better, as you have no preconceived notions, but I say, if ghosts are real, and are indeed there, your notions preconceived or not, are irrelevant.)
I had heard of the alleged “cold spots” in C wing, An apparition sighting in the Main Hall. Claims of odd sounds, such as doors opening and closing in A-wing, and many other alleged paranormal occurrences that, to a sceptical mind, can be easily debunked as natural occurrences that seem paranormal, or, in technical terms, “Xenonormal”.
My team has investigated a number of times with other teams in the gaol, and so far we have very little “evidence”, but a lot of personal experiences, some of which we tried every which way to debunk, and could not.
One involved an experiment where we locked people in the cells, and I and a team leader from another team acted as ‘Warden and Gaoler’. We told the “prisoners” it was “lights out”, and as we turned off the lights, in the complete silence of the gaol, we heard footsteps shuffling behind us. We both turned and saw a tennis ball-sized yellow, hovering light leave a cell and vanish into the air.
It happened in a blind spot of the CCTV system we had set up, so we could not offer it as data or evidence, just personal experience – but it happened!
We tried to debunk it, we told the other teams, and they tried to debunk it – and none of us could offer a simple explanation.
What was it? No idea – but it was pretty exhilarating at the time.
At a later investigation, I decided to aim a CCTV camera at the door where we had seen the light previously. We were with different teams this time, and it was well into the night. Three of us were sitting on the cold slate floor watching the monitor, while another investigator was walking through the cell block.
When the investigator came to the door that the camera was pointing at, three of us all saw a man walk out of the woman’s body and into the room, and then watched the investigator, a female, walk into the room. All of us jumped up to see what the heck was going on.
The investigator was startled by our reaction, as she had no clue what had just happened?
I reviewed the CCTV system, and you can clearly see the investigator walk in the room and the reaction of the other three investigators looking at the screen (a camera further down the hall was pointing back at us) but you could not see the apparition leave her body and walk into the room.
We tried everything we could think of to debunk the image, and we have no plausible explanation. What we do have is a ton of “what if”s” – What if the CCTV was faulty? What if the DVR frames per minute were faster/slower? What if it was some weird trick of the light?
Of course, we cannot offer “truths” or validations to “what if’s?”
They remain exactly that, unexplored scenarios that did or did not happen in an instance of time. Sure, we can remove variables, try and debunk, try and re-enact, but the exact moment is gone and not re-creatable to the exact specifics of the initial incident, so lets just leave that as another “personal experience” for those involved.
I am yet to hear a convincing EVP, see a photo or video that truly defines the Gaol as haunted, of course, that doesn’t mean it is not haunted, just that the spirits that reside there are a little cautious, or perhaps shy…but like many, I’ll keep going back, as I love chatting to caretaker Tony Holland, and enjoy walking through the old Gladstone Gaols spooky corridors