What is a ghost?
Ghosts, with thousands of reports of the paranormal, from all over the world, leave little doubt that haunting experiences are quite real. Yet, what causes them and why?
Like our photo to the left here, you may have seen them depicted in movies, read stories , and seen TV shows and documentaries sensationalizing them. You could have seen the rare genuine photos of them. I'd bet you have heard of first-hand ghostly encounters from friends and relatives. I get at least 8-10 people who come on my ghost tours every month telling me about these experiences. You may have even seen a ghost yourself.
But what are ghosts? I'll give you the best answer I have: No one really knows for certain.There are, however, many more theories on this subject than you can poke a stick at. People have an over-riding need, to explain the many thousands of documented experiences, that many around the world have had since the beginning of recorded history. Ghosts and hauntings are common part of the human experience.
There are at least several types of ghosts or hauntings, so it may take more than one theory to explain them all.
"I SEE DEAD PEOPLE"
The traditional view of ghosts is of them being the spirits of dead people. For some reason, they are "stuck" between our world and the next world of spirit. This is usually because of some tragedy or trauma - or that there is some kind of issue that needs resolving before "passing over". If some TV shows, ghost hunters and psychics are to be believed, normally these earth-bound spirits don't know they are dead. Hans Holzer, a US based ghost hunter wrote, "A ghost is a human being who has passed out of the physical body, usually in a traumatic state and is not aware usually of his true condition. We are all spirits encased in a physical body. At the time of passing, our spirit body continues into the next dimension. A ghost, on the other hand, due to trauma, is stuck in our physical world and needs to be released to go on."
Known as "intelligent hauntings," it is believed that ghosts exist in a state in which they haunt the scenes of their deaths or locations that were important to them in life. These types of ghosts are able to interact with the living. They are aware of the living, and react to being seen on the occasions that they materialize. Psychics and Mediums claim to be able to communicate with them. When they do, they will typically try to help these spirits to understand that they are dead, and to move on to the next part of their journey.There have been a number encounters of this kind reported at Tarella, the haunted mansion on our Lower North Shore Ghost tour, of people who died there. They appear happy to remain on the grounds, haunting this mansion over a hundred years after their passing. Similar experiences have been reported in the old St Thomas Cemetery grounds in West Street that is also on the Lower North Shore Ghost tour.
These experiences are like spirit recordings - residual energies - that replay over and over again, like a movie film "on loop". Some ghosts appear to be recordings of parts of a person's life, that seem to replay in the environment in which they once existed. The laughter of a dead child is heard echoing in a hallway where she often played. A world war 1 soldier appears in the window of a building where they used to stand guard. A dead nurse walks the halls of a hospital, brushing through the wards on their rounds. Even cases of ghost trains and cars can still be heard and sometimes seen, even though they are long gone. These ghosts neither interact with, or seem to be aware of the living. Their actions and appearance are always the same. These experiences have been reported in Tarella, the haunted mansion on our Lower north Shore Ghost Tour, in the wards of the old sections of Royal North Shore Hospital, and in the Gore Hill memorial cemetery on our Middle North Shore Ghost Tour.
"Traumatic events in time leave a strong energy imprint on the building or area," says Daniel Phillips," "replaying themselves for eternity. This could allow an observer to get a 'glimpse of the past' - a recreation of some traumatic or emotion-laden event."
It is my belief that the Quarantine station at North Head in Sydney,the Port Arthur Prison site in Tasmania, and places like the Dachau Nazi concentration camp in Poland have literally absorbed the emotional trauma of the people who were undergoing truly awful events in these places, leading up to their deaths. I believe that people sensitive to their surroundings in that way can pick up on that information, and feel what those people must have felt, and will sometimes get a lot more information than that.
These kinds of ghosts are the most common form of Paranormal phenomena. These are the spirits of people, that appear shortly after their deaths, to people close to them in life. Unlike traditional ghosts, and residual hauntings, these ghosts are completely aware of their deaths, and interact with the living. They will normally bring words of comfort to their loved ones. Typically, they re-appear for a last time to say that they are well and happy, and not to grieve for them. They are usually motivated by love, and will briefly return for the express purpose of helping the living cope with their loss.
Sometimes, these ghosts are called "crisis apparitions." While these paranormal visits can take the form of a farewell, sometimes important and useful information is relayed - like health information, or emotional information about another family member. Though dying is the most common crisis, other life-threatening situations can also trigger this kind of ghost visit.
The word poltergeist comes from the German words poltern ("to make noise") and Geist ("ghost"). The term quite literally means "noisy ghost". This type of paranormal haunting is the most feared, because it has the greatest ability to affect our physical world. Poltergeists are unique paranormal phenomena, in that they have the ability to affect physical objects.
Poltergeists are blamed for unexplained noises, such as wall-banging, rapping, footsteps and even music. They are known for taking objects and hiding them, only to return them later. They turn on water taps and gas taps, are known to slam doors, turn lights on and off, and even flush toilets. They can, and are known for throwing things across rooms. They have even been known to pull people's clothing or hair. Malevolent poltergeists are known to even scratch, hit or slap the living.
It is because of these sometimes "mean-spirited" actions, that poltergeists are considered by some to be demonic in nature.
A lot of the time, though, these activities can be more accurately described as 'mischevious' - such as paranormal activity reported in Tarella, a haunted mansion in Cammeray, on the North shore of Sydney, Australia, (which is part of our Sydney Ghost tours - Lower North Shore Ghost tour ) where furniture gets re-arranged at night when no-one is in the building, and the alarm is on.
This is the kind of paranormal activity that typically result in a priest being called to a house to perform an exorcism . Although most churches tend to frown on this kind of ritual in the 21st century , nearly every culture on the planet has some form of ritual form of banishing "evil spirits" - which suggests that it is a very common human experience.
Other investigators, however, believe that poltergeist activity is not caused by ghosts at all, but by certain living people under stress. They believe that certain people have the ability to unconsciously move things with their mind when under stress - a process called "psychokinesis". While this theory is the subject of on-going research, it remains to be proven.
Sydney Ghost Tours made page 1 of "The Mosman Daily" for our Valentines day Ghost tours!
This was our original press release below: “Picking a bone” with Valentines Day
Valentines day is a day of stress, expense, and obligation for singles and couples – and can be boring to boot!
It can be filled with un-necessary drama for even normally romantic couples. If you are single, chances you are feeling the pressure to change that. Or want to shoot yourself to get away from all of the annoying soppiness.
“Could anything be less romantic, than having to book an over rated, overpriced, over crowded restaurant weeks in advance, being stressed out to get there, and then getting hassled by photographers and flower sellers trying to put you on the spot?” asks Daniel Phillips, Leading Sydney Paranormal Expert and founder of SydneyGhostTour.Com
Singles can find themselves surrounded, by uncomfortable, over the top reminders of their temporarily un-romantic life. It can be a struggle to find something on Valentine’s day that isn’t going to make you feel guilty for not running around with a “+1”. Surprisingly, not doing the ‘traditional’ valentines routine, can work whether you are single or part of a couple…It will take your mind off all of the soppiness if you are single, and many a couple has gotten closer in the dark, when they are not sure what is about to appear. The adrenaline rush of a good fun scare,has been known to make many a date ‘warm up’ into something much more memorable!
This Valentine’s day evening Sydney Ghost Tours will reveal the often dark, and previously secret tales of love, forbidden love. lust and illicit sex that lies buried in the leafy back yards of Sydney’s Lower North Shore. “We will talk about Sydney’s most famous first aboriginal couple - Bennelong, and Barangaroo, who was a Cammeraigal woman. We will also talk about how a famous politician got away with killing his wife to marry the maid, at a haunted mansion– and much, much more. Reality is weirder than you could ever make up – and the photographs taken on our tours have had more than just our visitors show up in them! ” said Mr Phillips.
SydneyGhostTour.Com’s Valentines day tours start at the corner of Miller and Amherst Streets in Cammeray, opposite the Wild Sage restaurant, at 6.15pm, 8.15pm and 11.15pm, and are $40.00 per adult. Bookings can be made on 02 8197 0363, or on www.sydneyghosttour.com
Are you thinking about going on a Ghost Tour this summer holidays? If you are, these are the things that Daniel Phillips, the founder of SydneyGhostTour.Com suggests you need to be aware of before you hang out with the “things that go bump in the night…”
1. Don’t drink or do drugs: “You will be walking around in the dark, and can hurt yourself, if you are intoxicated. Mediums and Psychics also strongly recommend that before putting yourself in contact with ghosts, do not put chemicals in your body that affect your health. It could give unwanted paranormal energies an invitation…”
2. Know what you are looking for, and tell your guide. “Are you there to be frightened silly, to have a good laugh – or are you a history buff? A good ghost tour has elements of all three in different measures. Ask the tour operator before you make a booking what their specialty is, and when you arrive, let the guide know what you expect. A good guide will know their stuff so well, that they will tend to tailor how they present the tour accordingly”
3. Choose who you go with carefully. “Ghost tours are events people are either really positive about, or have negative pre-conceived ideas about. Bottom line- you are going out to have fun. If someone in your social group is really not keen to come along, or has a very negative opinion about this kind of tour – leave them at home. A silently hostile skeptic, or a loud obnoxious one, will make your night miserable, and affect the enjoyment of the rest of the tour group.”
4. Patience. “Looking for Ghosts is a lot like fishing. On some ghost tours, you'll find paranormal activity. On others, you won't. Sometimes what you thought was paranormal can be explained by natural causes. Treat it as an entertainment activity – and if something freaky happens, it is a bonus!”
5. Plenty of flashlights. “Always bring plenty of flashlights, along with extra batteries. Be Safe!”
6. If you are serious – bring an EMF Meter (Electromagnetic Field Meter). “An EMF meter measures electromagnetic radiation, and can be a very useful tool. Usually, areas of paranormal activity produce strong magnetic fields, and have high EMF readings. Be careful, though. EMF meters can produce false positives. Power lines, appliances, mobile phones, and fuse boxes, can give off strong EMF readings – so check first. One strong indication of ghosts is EMF's that move. (The background EMF needs to remain constant in order to locate such fields.) Usually, these EMF's will either move away from you, or follow you.”
7. Wear good walking shoes and warm, comfortable clothing. “Walking around haunted places, and cemeteries at night, can and does get cold..”
8. A camera – “Bring either a digital camera or a 35 mm camera. If you use a 35 mm camera, bring several fresh rolls of high-speed film. For best results, use 400 speed film or higher. If you use a digital camera, use the highest resolution and make sure the memory stick is empty (or has enough storage capacity).”
9. Video camera. “Always use clean new recording media, or a fresh, clean memory micro SD card – the largest capacity one your video camera will accept. Gyro stabilized ones are good for hand held models. Switch torches off before shooting to prevent light reflection.”
10. An open mind. “Go along on a Ghost Tour with a positive attitude, an open mind, and use your good sense. Remember to Have fun.”
Daniel Phillips of SydneyGhostTour.Com is currently running family friendly “Ghosts of Christmas past” tours, that explain the traditions of Christmas, from 6.15pm to 8.00pm. Adults Only tours run at 8.15pm and 11.15pm on Sydney’s North Shore. Details of these tours can be found at www.sydneyghosttour.com, or alternatively on 02 8197 0363.
“Mum, I am so bored...” – the phrase that drives parents crazy on school holidays. If you are a parent, with school term finishing today, you are probably on the look- out for something that will keep your kids entertained right now. If possible, you probably also want to do something more than just fills in time in a way that makes your life easier – not everything on offer right now does that. Unfortunately, the phrase “ Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening!”, is not a guide you can use to bring up kids with, as a parent.
But this does not mean that you can’t do something unusual, that is fun for them, AND for you too!
In Sydney’s lower North Shore, SydneyGhostTour.Com will be running “ Family Friendly” Ghost tours, (for parents with kids from 9 up,) visiting allegedly cursed aboriginal sites, a Victorian era haunted mansion , and a historic cemetery ( the oldest on the north shore) complete with resident ghosts. Will you and your kids feel the chill of electricity running up your spine, or a shiver through your body from a spirit passing through you, this School holidays?
Daniel Phillips, local historian, Author, and owner of SydneyGhostTour.Com said “ Real life is always weirder than anything you can make up. This place has stories of Aboriginal curses by the first local residents, the Cammeraigals. There is a skull buried here, of a man eaten by cannibals, and the spirits of two little girls that haunt a playground, that is built on top of their dead bodies. That is not even scratching the surface. Give me two hours, and I guarantee you will laugh, feel chills through your body, and never look at Sydney landmarks the same way ever again!”
SydneyGhostTour.Com will be running the “Family Friendly” Ghost tours from 5.50pm and 8.00pm, on Tuesday’s through to Sunday nights, this school holidays. The normal “Adults only” tours will still be starting at 8.15pm, and 11.15pm. Ticket prices are $20 per student under 16, $25 for students over 16, and $35 per adult, with family pricing available. All tour participants under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on the tour. Tours begin at the entrance of Stocklands Mall Cammeray Square, on the corner of Miller Street and Amherst Streets in Cammeray. Numbers are limited, bookings are essential and can be made by by calling 02 8197 0363, or by visiting www.sydneyghosttour.com
"Season to catch up with Ghosts"
by Kat Adamski, North Shore Times
THE ghosts of Christmas past are making a timely appearance on the North Shore.
Historian and tour guide Daniel Phillips has discovered many quirky facts about Christmas since he started organising daytime history tours and Ghost tours at night.
Mr Phillips became fascinated by the names on the gravestones at St Thomas Cemetery in Crows Nest, when he was walking his three year old Weimaraner dog William.
"I've lived in this nick of the woods for 16 years and I realised that most of the history of the North shore is here under our feet" Mr Phillips, of North Sydney, said.
"I researched their names, who they are, and what they did, and real life is always weirder than anything you can make up. I didn't even have to start stretching the truth ( for a good story) - the stories I found freaked me out, and I have a reasonably strong constitution".
One story revolves around a 19th century Cammeray Mansion called Tarella, on Amherst Street, where a number of children died of Cholera. Neighbours have reported seing "lights" which are floating orbs of Ghosts , Mr Phillips said.
"One of the things that really stands out when you read the letters and diaries of Sydney's pioneers is how important celebrations like Christmas were" Mr Phillips said.
"They had fun trying to keep essentially European traditions in a place where even the seasons appeared to be upside down"
"I explain the history of many of these traditions in a north shore context, how all of the street and suburbs names came about, and how our pioneers adapted winter traditions to summertime living"
The ghost tours ( at 9.15pm and 11.15pm) and the Ghost of Christmas Past tour ( at 7.15pm) run 7 days a weekwith the exception of Christmas day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.
For Details go to sydneyghosttour.com
The history that's right under our feet:
Nearly everyone has either seen a horror story take place, or heard of one at an Office Christmas Party. Many a potentially bright career has been suddenly curtailed by saying or doing something that just wasn’t smart in front of work colleagues, or the “company brass”.
Daniel Phillips, founder of SydneyGhostTour.Com, Sydney’s leading History & Ghost Tour company has compiled a list of the top things NOT to do at your office Christmas Party.
“ The Office Christmas Party, for the naive, looks like a great opportunity to cut loose and let your hair and guard down, all paid for by the rare generosity of the Company you work with. Unfortunately – it isn’t. The Key is to remember that this is an OFFICE event. It isn’t your home, and these people are your work colleagues, which unfortunately means that they aren't necessarily your friends” Daniel warns. These are his top 10 tips not to become a Christmas Party Horror Story:
1. Know your alcohol limits and avoid them – or if in doubt, don’t drink at all. It is better to wake up with a job and interesting memories of the night before, than with excruciating embarrassment, costly regrets, and a hangover.
2. Don’t avoid the hors d'oeuvres. If you are going to drink at all, drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea, unless you want the alcohol to go straight to your head.
3. Avoid getting “too friendly” with anyone from the office at the party. Think David Jones, Mark McInnes , Kristy Fraser-Kirk & the $36,000,000.00 sexual harassment lawsuit than resulted from combining Alcohol, hormones and stupidity. The hottest girl or guy, is not worth the risk to your career, if they are a co-worker..
4. Think carefully about the impression you want to create from what you wear, and dress conservatively. Ear, nose, eyebrow and lip jewellery for a gentleman or showing too much skin for a lady is probably a really bad idea. Use what you wear to the Office Christmas Party to further your good professional reputation, rather than damage it.
5. Dancing is often a part of Christmas parties these days. This is also a very dicey area. If you go on your own to a party, dance with a group, move around and mingle appropriately rather than allow one person to get the wrong impression, and dance with the chasteness you would exhibit if you were dancing with your brother or sister. There is enough gossip flying around usually already – don’t add to it by an R rated performance on the dance floor.
6. Don’t drag someone else's date underneath the mistletoe, or go under the mistletoe with anyone else, period. Even kissing your own date at an office function, no matter how quickly, is not “good form”. Save it for somewhere else.
7. Do NOT Sit on Santa's lap. If they were Jabba the hutt in a business suit before the party, they are still Jabba the Hutt in a red and white suit tonight.
8. Don’t talk shop or about your co-workers at the party. It usually backfires – and frankly, you just don’t know who is listening.
9. Sure, perhaps everyone might look like they are letting their hair down, however, don’t be tempted to start using “blue” language. It is a work function, and people have memories like elephants about how professional or otherwise you appear. Do NOT let your guard down! You may be at what seems like a festive event, but you are still swimming with sharks.
10. If the food is genuinely good – pass on compliments both to the organiser and the people at the venue. Genuine appreciation is worth it’s weight in gold. However, if the food is lousy – SHUT UP! Complaining about it is just adding to the unpleasantness of the food. Smile, be gracious, and eat later elsewhere.
Bottom line, behave at the party the way you'd be expected to behave if it was a client party. Keep it dignified, light, and friendly. The rules of good office behaviour don't change because someone opens a bottle of champagne. If anything, they get even more important. Break them and people will remember. For a very long time.
Of course, if you would like to experience an Office Christmas Party Horror story that is a lot of fun, and has no career casualties attached to it, SydneyGhostTour.Com and the best restaurants of Cammeray can help you have a really fantastic night. This would be a wonderful office Christmas party dinner, at a range of different restaurants featured on our website, followed by the adult version of the “Ghosts of Christmas Past” Sydney Ghost tour. If you need to organise a last minute office Christmas party, or just want to do something different for fun, you will need to contact us quickly on 02 8197 0363, or check out www.sydneyghosttour.c