Spooky tour hits Old Gaol

NOTHING TO BE FRIGHTENED OF: Melissa Stephenson with Alison Oborn and Kag Allwaad showcase the equipment used during the nighttime investigation.

Charlotte Varcoe

WHILE it bared some resemblance to scenes out of a Hollywood horror movie, a weekend paranormal investigation at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol was nothing to be afraid of.

Venue owners Jamie and Melissa Stephenson invited old friends and paranormal investigators Kag Allwaad and Alison Oborn into the Old Gaol, where they spent Sunday night exploring its colourful history.

Forming a friendship over a number of years, Ms Stephenson said it was the right time for the Adelaide Haunted Horizon Ghost Tour duo to visit the venue and discover what lies in the darkness.

The duo investigated a number of interesting and historical points of the venue, including the prison cells once occupied by prisoners before their execution, as well as the main function room.

Livestreaming the event to social media, the duo said despite not expecting any activity, they experienced a significant amount within the two hours.

“We went in there not expecting anything in case none of the spirits wanted to talk to us but what was really interesting and what really stood out to us was when I went into a cell on my own and started talking to one of the executed prisoners who used to live there,” Ms Oborn said.

“Our equipment came up with the word flowers, which I ignored because I didn’t think it was very significant but I was soon reminded by those watching online that this specific prisoner died with roses in his hand.

“There were a few strange noises in the function room and then a voice came through the equipment which said grandfather that really resonated with the area because Melissa’s great-great-great grandfather was a warden here who passed away in the gaol.”

Ms Oborn said despite detecting paranormal activity, she believed there was no reason to be afraid of the venue, which she described as having a welcoming atmosphere.

Ms Stephenson said, together with her husband, they have worked hard throughout the year to ensure the environment within the venue is calm and welcoming, including conducting regular traditional smoking ceremonies.

“It is not a scary place at the gaol, from our point of view we are incredibly lucky to have these two women come down here because they are so respectful to the owners, spirits and the venue,” Ms Stephenson said.

She said previously she had guests contact her after their stay stating they had experienced hearing noises, voices or even footsteps but not once has there been a horror story.

“The community is so wonderful with their response to things like this, when we put this out there we expected a bit of hostility but we have not seen that at all, not even from those who don’t typically believe in this sort of thing,” she said.

“It has really opened up the opportunity for us here at the Old Gaol to work with Alison and Kag in the future and do a few collaborations such as a ghost tour through the gaol on a Halloween weekend or something similar to that.”

Ms Oborn and Ms Allwaad were also scheduled to investigate the Riddoch Arts and Culture Centre earlier this week but have since postponed.

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