Does the thought of paranormal activity send thrills down your spine, or maybe even make you crap your pants a little? If you’re a self-professed ghost fanatic then look no further than Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons Tours. You can explore some of the oldest and spookiest places in the state including old gaol cells, an asylum for the criminally insane, and train carriages that were part of one of Australia’s first terrorism attacks. . Nothing is off limits here.
One of the better-known tours around town, Adelaide Gaol is most impressive at night with an experienced guide. Haunted Horizons were the first investigators to look into the gaol and have since published book Ghosts of the Past detailing 10 years of otherworldly activity seen in the cells. Rest assured, they know what they’re talking about.
Learn of the dark history behind the building, the criminals who spent time there and those who lost their lives – including the 45 executed. You can even tackle a night in the dark by participating in the all-night lock-down until 4am ($135 per person).
Said to be one of the most active sites in the Haunted Horizons folio, the Z Ward was home to the criminally insane for over 90 years, up until 1973. Many of these criminals lived the remainder of their lifetimes here, including a number of murderers who are thought to still occupy the walls to this day.
Alison says it’s the site she has had some of her strongest ghostly experiences at.
“I was giving a tour in the Z Ward at Glenside one night and there was a really tall silhouette of a man standing just six inches from my face blocking everything. I put my hand out to ask them to move to the side, but my hand just keep going straight through the figure. And I wasn’t the only one who saw it.”
On the tour, you’ll have the chance to discover the history of the building and some stories behind the imprisonments. And, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can be ‘locked down’ in a cell at the end of the tour.
Old Tailem Town
“In my 28 years of investigation, I can probably count maybe 15 experiences where I’ve physically seen things that really challenged me, and six or seven of those were at Old Tailem Town while giving tours.”
She tells of a time a silhouette walked into the dark church as she gave a tour. Thinking it was her fellow tour guide Ash, Alison started calling out his name but didn’t receive a response. The figure then sat down quietly, almost as if not to disturb the tour. Again, Alison asked if it was Ash but there was no response. She shone her torch in their direction, but nobody was there.
From the distinct sound of someone walking behind you, to shadowy figures in the corner and feelings of being touched, Tailem Town is certainly not for the fainthearted. Starting with a tour, you’ll go on to explore the haunted buildings, some of which are over 100 years old.
For the real enthusiasts, book a ghost hunt ($80 per person) and give the Haunted Horizons’ equipment a try. Alison and her team invested over $20,000 in high-tech supernatural gadgets to try before you buy, should you be so inclined.
National Railway Museum
Originally housed in Mile End before relocating to Port Adelaide in 2001, the National Railway Museum now sits where the working area of the Port Dock Railway Station once stood. At least 21 accidental deaths are said to have occurred in the area over the years, and these figures are thought to haunt the museum today.
Not just a tour for those interested in ghosts, this is also one for locomotive enthusiasts wanting to see the trains in a spookier light. Keep an ear out for the faint sound of whistling… bonus points if you can find where it’s coming from.
Feeling a little sceptical? Alison assures us that no two tours are the same and the guides cannot foresee what will happen on the night.
“The bigger the tours, the more likely it is that someone will have something interesting happen. We can’t predict it.
“It’s about peeling back the layers of history and heritage and really telling the stories. They’re all real – we don’t put any of it on or fake it.”
If the thought of meeting a few ghosts doesn’t tickle your fancy, have no fear! You can also experience a number of the Haunted Horizons Dark History tours during the day which dive deep into the heritage of buildings, people and the dark stories that occurred – without the hint of terror following you.
For a full list of tours, be sure to check out the Haunted Horizons website here.
Have you ever encountered a ghost in South Australia? Tell us in the comments below.