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Private Residence – Edinburgh, Scotland

Private Residence – Edinburgh, Scotland

Our last spooky place of dwelling for a night before we head off to the airport tomorrow morning. Can’t say I’m very pleased about all that! Oh well, at least our last destination in Scotland is another spacious stunner. This one’s a private residence in Edinburgh that was offered to

Old Watties Building – Gisborne

Old Watties Building – Gisborne

Heinz Wattie’s Limited (or simply Wattie’s) is a New Zealand-based food producer of frozen and packaged fruit, vegetables, sauces, baby food, cooking sauces, dressings and pet foods in the New Zealand market. With the establishment of a new plant at Gisborne in 1952, in an area perfect for the growing

O’ahu Cemetery, Hawaii

O’ahu Cemetery, Hawaii

The O’ahu Cemetery is the resting place of many notable early residents of the Honolulu area. They range from missionaries and politicians to sports pioneers and philosophers. Over time it was expanded to become an area known as the Nuʻuanu Cemetery. It was the first public cemetery in Honolulu, founded

Abandoned Art School – Huia

Abandoned Art School – Huia

Nestled in the West Auckland bush, close to the roadside; but if you were to blink when passing, you might miss it.  Its only a flash of sea blue paint splashed across the frontage that might catch your eye. Also known as The Fisher Lodge, the Huia House and the Elam

Park Island Cemetery – Napier

Park Island Cemetery – Napier

Napier (Park Island) Cemetery contains the official war graves of 15 men who served in the New Zealand forces during the First World War and who died before 1 September 1921. Gates open at 8.00am and close at sunset. Toilets open 8.00am to sunset. Only existing family-owned plots are available

Bluestone Room

Bluestone Room

History In 1861, whilst the rest of New Zealand was being settled; a nondescript block building goes up in the thriving commercial centre of the far-flung British colony of Auckland. One hundred and fifty years later, the Bluestone Store resolutely remains anchored in Durham Lane, surrounded by high-rise apartments and

Mark’s Solo Overnight Stay @ Napier Prison

Mark’s Solo Overnight Stay @ Napier Prison

After a year-long gap, (well, it was only around this time last year, but seems an eternity!) I figured it was time to revisit this intriguing urban fortress. The plan was standard. To spend the entire night, exploring and investigating the entire facility. Documenting everything as I go. Since we

Orbs and Digital Photography

Orbs and Digital Photography

There is much debate and controversy as to whether “orbs” in photos are spiritual/ghosts, dust, moisture or insects. On one side of the debate, “Sceptics” are saying the orb is a reflection/ refraction of light caused by the flash being too close to the lens on modern digital cameras. Sceptics will also

Man records ‘ghost’ in abandoned mine

Man records ‘ghost’ in abandoned mine

Another video clip that has been doing the news rounds lately, is this one. The news article begins with… “An amateur film maker in the US has supposedly recorded the whispering words of a ghost in an abandoned Arizona mine. The man, known only as ‘Frank’, posted the video to


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Fortune Theatre, Dunedin
Fortune Theatre, Dunedin11/01/2014Haunted LocationsNew Zealand’s Fortune Theatre is on the corner of Moray Place and Upper Stuart Street, in the heart of the southern city of Dunedin. The theatre lays claim to being the world’s southernmost professional theatre company and is the sole professional theatre group in Dunedin. The Fortune Theatre building is registered as a category one historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, which recognises its historic and architectural significance. The theatre is a professional theatre, and is a regular host of both local and touring shows. Financial difficulties in 2000 threatened the theatre with closure, and forced the sale of the building to the Dunedin City Council. The council currently leases the building back to the Fortune Theatre Trust. Early years The Fortune Theatre company was co-founded by David Carnegie, Alex Gilchrist, Murray Hutchinson and Huntly Elliot. The company has been operational since 1973 and from 1974, was initially in the 105-seat Otago Cine Club theatrette at the rear of the Athenaeum building of the Octagon. However, after hiring full-time acting staff in 1977, it was decided that the venue was too small to continue to be viable. Since 1978, the Fortune Theatre has been in the former Trinity Methodist Church which was opened in 1870 and is close to the city’s centre. Church architecture The Trinity Methodist Church was designed by Scotsman R.A Lawson and made of the local materials trachyandesite and Oamaru stone. The former church is an example of Gothic Revival Architecture and contains a “Rose” stained glass window which is at the back of what is now the theatre’s main stage. Larnach – Castle of Lies In 1994, the Fortune Theatre performed a play about the tragedies of William Larnarch’s family, titled “Larnach – Castle of Lies”, before 100 invited guests in the ballroom of Larmach Castle. “It was a night to remember. As the guests arrived a terrible storm blew up from nowhere. The smoke from the fires blew back down the chimneys so that you couldn’t see – and your eyes hurt. Hail crashed on the iron roof so that you couldn’t hear. Doors mysteriously opened by themselves and it got very cold. In the play – just as Larnach shot himself there was a blinding white light. Afterwards at supper people were talking about the lightning strike as Larnach held the gun to his head. I said `Oh no that was stage effects.’ We asked the stage manager. He said `It was none of our doing, it was lightning.’ I think that Larnach was present that night. He didn’t like the play.” — Margeret Barker (Co-owner of Larnch Castle)   Ghost Hunt In 2005, the theatre was featured on Ghost Hunt, a New Zealand TV Show, as it is claimed that the theatre is haunted. Not long after the Fortune Theatre moved into the old church, tales spread of “sinister voices” being heard offstage and well-secured lights falling from the lighting grid. A phantom audience member has also been reported by theatregoers on numerous occasions. Reports continued to come from a variety of reliable sources until the claimed hauntings of the Fortune Theatre became a part of Dunedin folklore. The Ghost Hunt investigation team visited the theatre and were shown a picture that is claimed to show the ghost of a young woman gliding through a wall of the foyer, below a Gothic window. During the investigation team’s visit, they were also able to talk to people who had worked at the theatre and claim to have had paranormal experiences in the building: A lighting technician claimed that he was all alone setting up on stage one day when he “glimpsed a person” over his shoulder on the edge of the stage and thought that “they were reading through some lines, as an actor would” but knew no cast members were around at the time. He turned the stage lights on and “suddenly they were gone”. A man who ran the box office claimed to have had two “disconcerting” experiences. The first experience involved a “young boy sitting in the corner”. He initially “thought nothing of it” but the “realisation struck” him that the theatre was closed. He “turned back around, but he’d disappeared.” The second experience involved a girl he claims he noticed when he “looked up to the back corner of the audience seating, near where the soundman usually sits” after he heard “a strange noise in the theatre” on one occasion. [...] Read more...
What The Heck is a Haunting Anyway
What The Heck is a Haunting Anyway23/01/2017Ghost Hunting / Hauntings / Investigations / Opinions and TheoriesTHAT CONVERSATION ABOUT HAUNTED OBJECTS AND PLACES! A while ago I had a little online conversation with Jayne Harris regarding haunted objects and places. In which we discussed the concept of how haunted objects and places maybe the same or different. This was generally based on the fact that there appears to be a general understanding that some see the two as being different and others see them as the same. Initially I believe my position was that both objects and places must be the same as they carried the same attributes in regards to being haunted. There were similarities between them that made me see the haunting of an object to be pretty much be the same in principle as the haunting of a building say. However as I continued to think about it I looked deeper into the actual understanding of a haunting! Oddly this is where the concept began to break down. It’s probably important to mention that I have investigated many a supposed haunted location over the years and at some actually encountered phenomena which remains unexplained. The problem really begins to arise when you evaluate the phenomena in relation to a location or object. LOOKING AT HAUNTED LOCATIONS Firstly, if you look at haunted locations then we can often list off many varying types of paranormal activity which may occur there. However it’s relationship is often based on two leading factors, time and space. The activity is said to occur in our present time, but either be a ‘recording’ of another time when it’s a ghost or an entity from another time when it’s a spirit. However the evidence to support this is circumstantial at best. Conclusions are perceived given what is seen or felt, sometimes even based on what is understood of the communication. There’s nothing that relates 100% between the experience and historical fact. The reason for this connection to the locations history is simple in my mind, it helps to support the theory of us surviving bodily death and thus giving hope that there is more beyond our own death. In all fairness it’s an approach and understanding that I have made in the past and won’t rule out either. After all it still could be a possible conclusion and I for one would quite welcome the possibility of life after death. WHAT ABOUT OBJECTS? Objects are slightly different, these seem to follow a pattern being related to a spirit and often that spirit maybe seen as a little darker in its intentions. So why are objects like this, that’s actually not too hard either. An object is more personal, generally has a sentimental value to someone. So, rather than containing lots of varying possibilities of ghosts or spirits, they often are associated to one entity or at least multiple related entities. WHEN A HAUNTING ISN’T QUITE WHAT WE THINK What if neither locations/buildings or objects were actually haunted? It sounds mad I know, but hear me out. So, let’s assume that ghosts, spirits and general paranormal activity doesn’t reside at a location or within an object of some description. Then how do we explain the reports of these very things? If we take into consideration Jungs theory of the collective unconscious and see it as the concept of all minds being connected. This connection under the right circumstances allows transference of information. This has been seen time and time again with Mediums, but also research into telepathy. The work of Targ and co in regards to remote viewing has shown this too. The Ganzfield Experiment has been utilised considerably to document and record data to back this up. Telepathic interaction occurs, but is still not accepted by mainstream science. Information can move from one mind to another, which is important. ALL ABOUT THE TRIGGERS Now let’s think of our haunted locations, buildings and objects as triggers. These triggers cause the unconscious mind to ‘google’ in way the related relative information. This search for information is very important and mostly resides in the unconscious mind as it occurs as a part of each of our natural behaviour. As each of us enters a location our senses are working overtime to gather information, a function which has evolved with us to protect us through time. Now some of this information makes it through to the conscious mind on occasion and its my assumption that is where reality begins to blur a little. Some of this information relates directly to the physical environment and like a kind of live risk assessment our minds evaluate the potential dangers we may encounter. This is nothing new and recognised by psychologists I’m sure the World over. However I believe that we also manage a more telepathic connection with others that have information related to the very environment we have entered. When that information reaches our conscious mind, be it regarding the location or individuals which resided there, it breaks our formulation of relativty! In order to normalise this we cross-reference according to our personal experiences, knowledge and belief system, the result is the conclusion of paranormal activity attributed to ghosts and spirits. Obviously this is quite a large statement for a Paranormal Researcher and Investigator to make, but sometimes when you evaluate all the information you’re presented with the results may be a little unexpected! LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE There’s obviously a lot more to this that the information contained within this post, but that will come soon enough. In fairness some of it is already out there for you all to discover. Take the Ganzfield Experiment for example, that has been done to death, pardon the pun! The point being though that there is a lot of successful accounts of the Experiment which present the possibility of telepathic interaction to exist beyond chance. The work of Russel Targ on the subject of ESP equally presents strong cases for the possibility of information transference between individuals. Targ’s work and that of those who worked on the CIA Black Budget Project Star Gate have seen for themselves the potential of the human mind and its ability to stretch beyond the confines or our understanding. One of the results was something called Remote Viewing and it is this approach which actually begins to support the understanding I have of haunted objects and locations. You see during Remote Viewing the subject attempts to communicate information of a target location based on a code that only those running the experiment know relates to a certain location. Over the years the process for this has been refined and there are now many out there treading the same path as Ingo Swann. Now obviously Remote Viewing is a process and the scenario where individuals pick up on information or witness information based on what they pick up is more random, but the very fact that we can train our minds to do such a thing suggests to me the possibilities our minds have naturally. LOOKING AT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND POLTERGEIST Of course all this talk of Remote Viewing may cover the transference of information, but hasn’t touched on the element of physical activity during a haunting or at a haunted location. In order to answer this we must bear in mind another type of haunting which has hit the press and cinemas again recently, a poltergeist type of haunting. These kind of cases were the ones that first questioned the ‘source’ of the paranormal activity, rather than simply attributing it to a spirit they became associated with young girls generally entering puberty. The theory being that this time of their life was associated to increased emotional and hormonal change, which in turn generated increased levels of psychical energy too. I’m not inclined to disagree with that just yet, but on reading Playfairs ‘This House is Haunted’, which is he’s account of the Enfield Poltergeist case, I realised there was a lot more to such a case and indeed the Enfield story. What’s interesting is that Playfair equally questions the concept of the poltergeist and also brought up the source of the ‘haunting’ too. However in relation to he’s experience at Enfield he also likened some (not all) of the activity that was directly related to Janet to Tourette’s Syndrome. This was based around the beginnings of the ‘voice’ which started as barks and swearing. Now I dont know a lot about Tourette’s Syndrome, but what little I do know makes sense to me. Tourette’s is a neurological condition (affecting the brain and nervous system), which is characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements called tics. Now if some has higher psychical abilities and energy perhaps when they develop something similar to Tourette’s it could be possible that unconsciously they could be responsible for the physical activity too. HOW IT WORKS So, how does that all work when you’re investigating a haunted location. Well in that scenario we are already searching for activity even if we are there to debunk it, the element of belief exists. Add into the mix that there may be multiple people at a location looking for the same thing, then the focus is increased. The collective unconscious has a localised focal point. Expand that more or work with the same people and often this can develop in to physical activity. If a group of ten people sit around a circular table and each focus on asking the same spirit to move an object at the centre of that table, then if the object moves is that power of spirit or power of the collective minds? Focus is an important part of this too. Like an internet search algorithm, its my opinion that the more people focus on one thing the more the consciousness of it is increased and its potential to reach reality is increased. However dont take my word for it, take a look at the Philip Experiment which took place in the 70’s in Canada (if memory serves me well). During this experiment the group worked in a seance type fashion in order to communicate with a spirit. The oddity of this experiment wasn’t paranormal, but that the group created the entity themselves with such a back story that appeared to actuate into reality. This particular experiment is similar to the Scole Experiment where the spirits weren’t created by the group. However the Scole Experiment occurred at the Foy’s home and between entities with no relation to the location. So, good focus and process can present some interesting results regardless of the location being haunted. So, you see the concept of somewhere or something actually being haunted could more so be a product of our minds ability to gather information from the collective unconscious, but also its ability to actuate that information into our physical reality. Ghosts for example could be that information being visually represented as an overlay to the information our own eyes see or indeed presented in an audible fashion. If we can physically affect our environment that could equally extend to our devices too. Now whether this weird and wonderful idea, which isn’t necessarily just my own is provable is another matter. However if we are willing to attribute strange goings on to the spirits of those that have passed, then perhaps this idea isn’t so far fetched! [...] Read more...
Erskine College, Wellington
Erskine College, Wellington02/12/2016Abandoned Buildings / Haunted Locations / InvestigationsHistory Erskine College in Wellington built from 1905 by the Society of the Sacred Heart, is a collection of Class 1 recognised historic buildings which include the Chapel of the Sacred Heart and the Main Block Convent. The premises served as a Catholic girls’ boarding school; Convent of the Sacred Heart at Island Bay, until its closure in 1985. With a similarly named, Sacred Heart College, in nearby Lower Hutt, a decision to rename the building in the late 1960s eventuated. The name was changed to Erskine College, after Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, the 5th Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart. A few potential buyers have surfaced through the years though none have settled, due to the building’s positioning and its current decaying condition. The sad state of Erskine makes it a serious earthquake risk, which these days, with most historical locations is an unfortunate death knell. The Chapel has been described as “an example of French Gothic architecture with German stained glass windows, an Italian marble altar, and vaulted ceiling.” Reported Haunting Erskine was used in Peter Jackson’s 1996 Horror Comedy movie, The Frighteners; which starred Michael J Fox. So, is the place haunted? Well, there are plenty of rumours and theories abound about the place. Apparitions have been witnessed. Voices are heard, fleeting shadows are glimpsed and odd bangs and taps can be heard. Mediums have spoken of the building being haunted by both children and adults. Some firmly believe that Erskine is haunted by the old Mother Superior There are rumours about a mysterious blood stain on the chapel floor that allegedly reappears soon after being removed, apparently as a reminder of a young girl’s untimely passing. Photo Gallery   [...] Read more...
Maori legend of man-eating bird is true
Maori legend of man-eating bird is true17/09/2009Cryptozoology News / Kiwi CryptidsCreature that features in New Zealand folklore really existed, scientists say By Paul Rodgers A Maori legend about a giant, man-eating bird has been confirmed by scientists. Te Hokioi was a huge black-and-white predator with a red crest and yellow-green tinged wingtips, in an account given to Sir George Gray, an early governor of New Zealand. It was said to be named after its cry and to have “raced the hawk to the heavens”. Scientists now think the stories handed down by word of mouth and depicted in rock drawings refer to Haast’s eagle, a raptor that became extinct just 500 years ago, shows their study in The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei) was discovered in swamp deposits by Sir Julius von Haast in the 1870s. But it was at first thought to be a scavenger because its bill was similar to a vulture’s with hoods over its nostrils to stop flesh blocking its air passages as it rooted around inside carcasses. But a re-examination of skeletons using modern technology, including CAT scans, by researchers at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch and the University of New South Wales in Australia showed it had a strong enough pelvis to support a killing blow as it dived at speeds of up to 80kph. With a wingspan of up to three metres and weighing 18kg, the female was twice as big as the largest living eagle, the Steller’s sea eagle. And the bird’s talons were as big as a tiger’s claws. “It was certainly capable of swooping down and taking a child,” said Paul Scofield, the curator of vertebrate zoology at the Canterbury Museum. “They had the ability to not only strike with their talons but to close the talons and put them through quite solid objects such as a pelvis. It was designed as a killing machine.” Its main prey would have been moa, flightless birds which grew to as much as 250kg and 2.5 metres tall. “In some fossil sites, moa bones have been found with signs of eagle predation,” Dr Scofield said. New Zealand has no native land mammals because it became isolated from other continents in the Cretaceous, more than 65 million years ago. As a result, birds filled niches usually populated by large mammals such as deer and cattle. “Haast’s eagle wasn’t just the equivalent of a giant predatory bird,” said Dr Scofield. “It was the equivalent of a lion.” The eagle is thought to have died out after the arrival, 1,000 years ago, of humans, who exterminated the giant moa. The latest study shows it was a recent immigrant to the islands, related to the little eagle (Aquila morphnoides) an Australian bird weighing less than 1kg. Remains of Haast’s eagles are rare because there never were many. They lived only on New Zealand’s South Island, with probably not more than 1,000 breeding pairs at any one time. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/maori-legend-of-maneating-bird-is-true-1786867.html [...] Read more...
Lake House Art Centre – Overnight investigation session
Lake House Art Centre – Overnight investigation session11/05/2019Investigations / Lake House Arts CentreHi all, a big thanks to all those who stayed up so late to keep us company during some of our investigation last night. The location we were at was the Lake House Arts Centre, in Takapuna. A stunning piece of historic real estate, built in the 1890s as a family home and in 1997, relocated in 7 pieces from its original place on Hurstmere Road, at the Northern end of Takapuna Beach. A second story was added in 1909, bringing the bedroom count to 17. A fascinating place with a somewhat ”eclectic” and unusual back-story. [...] Read more...
Larnach Castle, Dunedin
Larnach Castle, Dunedin11/01/2014Haunted Locations  Larnach Castle (also referred to as “Larnach’s Castle”), is an imposing mansion on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula within the limits of the city of Dunedin, close to the small settlement of Pukehiki. It is one of a few houses of this scale in New Zealand. The house and its grounds are regularly open to the public. The Larnach Castle gardens are one of only five gardens nationwide to have been given the rating of “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. They were the first gardens in the South Island to be given this award; the only other in the South Island with this ranking is also in Dunedin – Dunedin Botanic Gardens. History 19th century The house was built between 1871 and 1887 as the residence of William Larnach, a prominent entrepreneur and politician in colonial New Zealand. The first architect was R.A Lawson, who was also responsible for many other buildings in Dunedin. The resulting complex eventually contained 43 rooms and a ballroom and required a staff of 46 servants. The ballroom was built as a 21st birthday present for Larnach’s favourite daughter Kate in 1887. Kate died at the age of 26 of typhoid, and her ghost is still reputed to haunt the ballroom. The ghost of Larnach’s first wife, Eliza, is also said by some to haunt the castle. The building, which Larnach himself simply called “The Camp,” did not ensure his happiness. After a series of personal and financial setbacks he committed suicide in New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings in October 1898. 20th century Following bitter legal battles over Larnach’s will, Larnach Castle was sold in 1906. The place went through constant changes of ownership and usage, and after many years in which it fell into disrepair, it was bought by Barry and Margaret Barker in 1967 and has been restored. It affords spectacular views of the Otago Peninsula and Harbour and is 10 kilometres by road from the city centre. In 1985 it was used as a location for the filming of the TVNZ Dunedin production “Hanlon”. The same year, it was used in the introductory scenes in the US-New Zealand film co-production, Shaker Run. In 1994, a play about the Larnach family tragedies, titled “Larnach – Castle of Lies”, was performed by Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre before 100 invited guests in the castle ballroom. “It was a night to remember. As the guests arrived a terrible storm blew up from nowhere. The smoke from the fires blew back down the chimneys so that you couldn’t see – and your eyes hurt. Hail crashed on the iron roof so that you couldn’t hear. Doors mysteriously opened by themselves and it got very cold. In the play – just as Larnach shot himself there was a blinding white light. Afterwards at supper people were talking about the lightning strike as Larnach held a gun to his head. I said `Oh no that was stage effects.’ We asked the stage manager. He said `It was none of our doing, it was lightning.’ I think that Larnach was present that night. He didn’t like the play.” — Margaret Barker (Co-owner)   21st century Larnach Castle continues to be a significant tourist attraction in Dunedin. The owners have acquired another modern house nearby, whose design is a revived form of the city’s Victorian tradition. The expanded complex successfully trades on the old building’s reputation – a sign of its enduring interest. The building has been visited by paranormal investigators and featured on local New Zealand television shows such as ”Ghost Hunt” and ”Spookers” as well as international television shows such as the American ”Ghost Hunters International”. Reported hauntings According to an article in the New Zealand Herald, as of November 2008, there had been close to 30 reported sightings of “cranky spirits”, “touches”, “pushing” and other “odd occurrences” at the castle. Otago: Eerie episodes haunt Kiwi castle By Sarah Lang  – New Zealand Herald When the crew of TV2 series Ghost Hunt filmed at Larnach Castle in 2005, the ghostbusters captured what looked like a spectre on camera. And when fellow Kiwi show Spookers holed up in the “haunted stables” one night in June, they got so scared they moved sleeping quarters in the small hours. You could put these eerie experiences down to a bunch of overexcited TV personalities and a trick of the light, but there’s a few other encounters to explain. There’s been close to 30 reported sightings of cranky spirits, not to mention touches, pushing and other odd occurrences at the castle. Tasty bait for US show Ghost Hunters International, whose paranormal investigators filmed there in March as part of an attempt to debunk claims of supernatural activity in the world’s most notorious haunted spots. The camera zoomed in on what sure looked like a ghost in the ballroom. William Larnach, I presume. Given the tragic history of Larnach and his family (the castle’s original inhabitants), if anywhere in our juvenile country was going to be haunted, this would be it. In 1871 bank bigwig William Larnach moved from Australia to Dunedin with wife Eliza, their four children and Eliza’s sister Mary. His choice of a remote hilltop for their new home didn’t please the grim-faced Eliza (while the castle is just 20 minutes’ drive from Dunedin now, it was utterly isolated in the pre-road colonial era). After producing two more children, Eliza died suddenly of a stroke at 38 – whereupon William promptly married her younger, prettier sister, Mary, who also died at 38 of blood poisoning. By now a merchant baron and MP, William married for a third time aged 57: this time to pretty Constance, who at 35 was his children’s contemporary. Five years on in 1898, William wasn’t a happy chap. Already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and inconsolable after the death of favourite daughter Kate, he opened a letter which contained news of his adored wife’s affair with his son Douglas. William promptly shot himself in a parliament chamber, aged 62. After scrapping over his unsigned will, the family disbanded, selling off the castle which was used as a home for shell-shocked soldiers and as a mental hospital. In 1967 the Barker family bought it and restored the building, grounds and old furniture and have cared for the castle ever since. The Barkers don’t dismiss rumours of a ghostly presence. Apparently William keeps an eye on the lower floor – he’s particularly fond of the ballroom and the billiards room – while Eliza keeps mournful watch upstairs. Whatever your take on the supernatural, there’s many more reasons to visit New Zealand’s only castle. Guarded by massive stone lions and carved eagles, it’s a magnificent blend of Scottish-baronial and Gothic revival-style architecture, combining Italian marble, Venetian glass, Welsh slate, English tiles and native New Zealand rimu and kauri. Slanted by the weight of the central hanging-spiral staircase, the four-floor castle is so vast and sprawling that we were glad of our map and tour guide, who filled us in on the history of the family. The elaborate dining room with its antique furniture, heavy chandeliers and waiter’s mirror (he couldn’t, of course, watch the diners directly) is still used for guest dinners. And its ornate ceiling is so intricately carved with cherubs and the like that they seem wasted in a room where you’re not lying down looking up. William and his wives slept in separate bedrooms, where the seemingly child-size beds are testament to how much smaller people used to be. They were also much smellier – each room had a chamber pot and dips in the one-tonne marble bath were few and far between (by the time the maid had lugged up enough pots of water, the bath would be cold). By tour’s end, I could almost see the Larnachs disappearing into their respective rooms after dinner: the women to the chaise lounge in the drawing room, the men to the library. But we’re told we can’t leave without checking out the tower, which is as medieval-looking as it sounds. The incredibly-narrow, winding staircase is well worth the squeeze: up top we’re greeted by a sweeping panorama of ocean, harbour and coastline, all the way from the environs of Dunedin to the peninsula’s lighthouse-capped tip. In the foreground are Larnach Castle’s 14ha grounds with their south seas, rock and heather gardens, native plant trail, fern walk, wishing well and boutique-lodge accommodation. The glorious views don’t end there. Driving northwards away from the castle on the harbour-hugging road, it’s tempting to glance away from the wheel to the aquamarine sea, sweep of beaches and hills shading from green to purple. At intervals along the road, sleepy villages huddle in sheltered bays. Just a kilometre or so down the road from the wee settlement of Portobello is the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium, an underexposed gem where we took a virtual submarine ride and marvelled at sea creatures like the Pinocchio-nosed bellowfish which changes colour at whim. At the peninsula’s end is Taiaroa Head, a former Maori pa turned military fort (established in the 1880s to counter the perceived threat of a Tsarist Russian invasion). Nowadays it’s a museum where you can stroll through old tunnels and check out the Armstrong Disappearing Gun, which can be fired from underground. But it’s wildlife, not weapons, that is the main attraction on this small headland. The peninsula is home to a colony of yellow-eyed penguins at Penguin Place and seals and sea lions can be spotted sleeping in the sun on eastern clifftops. Also, check out the Royal Albatross Centre, a bastion of New Zealand’s only mainland breeding colony. Plenty of tours, on land and water, offer a close-up gander. Driving south along the harbour mouth back to Dunedin, I realise I have a whole different perspective on where the city slots into its landscape: at the nape of a peninsula with some spectacular views and wondrous wildlife. Jury’s still out on the ghosts.   Historic Dunedin castle rich in myth Source: One News Larnach Castle, built a few kilometres out of Dunedin in 1871 by business tycoon and politician William Larnach, and its reputed ghosts are tied in with personal tragedies that beset his family. Or perhaps some eerie tales came from the castle’s days as a hospital for the mentally ill, one of its many uses for many owners over the years. Nowadays the castle, a mixture of Gothic Revival and Colonial style, set amid 14 hectares of grounds, are a prime tourist attraction. It has been owned since 1967 by the Barker family – a longer period than William Larnach, who shot himself in a Parliament committee room in 1898. More than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy panoramic views of Otago harbour some 300m below, and its splendid gardens have been named as being “of national significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. Guests stay in 12 themed rooms in the castle lodge, take breakfast in the adjacent former stables and dinner in a castle dining room. Also included in the tariff is admission to the castle – and it’s on tours of the ornate interior that the ghost stories usually come in. They’re helped along by the figure of a “floating lady” suspended from the ceiling in a room known as Constance’s Boudoir, named for William Larnach’s third wife – who allegedly had an affair with his second son. Who is the floating lady? “She can be what you imagine her to be,” said our guide enigmatically. Perhaps it is Constance herself, whose ivory silk wedding dress is on display in the boudoir. Another tale is that Kate Larnach, the patriarch’s favourite daughter, haunts the ballroom which was reputedly built for her as a gift for her 21st birthday – she died of typhoid five years later. Larnach’s first wife Eliza Jane died of apoplexy in the South Bedroom – it’s said that her “presence” can sometimes be felt in that room’s room doorway. After Eliza’s death, Larnach married his wife’s sister Mary Alleyne – who five years later also died suddenly, of blood poisoning. Larnach’s third wife Constance was 21 years younger than the 56-year-old William, and scandal erupted when she was accused of having an affair with Larnach’s son Donald – who later killed himself in a Dunedin hotel. Larnach’s own suicide came when he faced financial ruin after the collapse of the Colonial Bank. It has been speculated that his ghost is responsible for the mysterious opening and closing of doors in the castle during the night. Some hotel workers have reported hearing footsteps late at night and feeling as though someone has touched the back of their necks, making their hair stand on end. One evening as the castle owner and hotel manager worked late, both heard what sounded like a heavy piece of furniture being pushed along the floor. They found nothing had been moved. Another time, staff heard heavy breathing from the South Bedroom. The room was empty. Castle owner Margaret Barker tells of people feeling that someone or something touched them on the back of the neck at the bedroom door of the first Mrs Larnach. “A clairvoyant told us that this presence is very unhappy,” she said. “I think this is the first Mrs Larnach who would be pretty unhappy because after she died Mr Larnach married her sister.” A play about the Larnach family tragedies, titled Larnach – Castle of Lies, was once performed by the Fortune Theatre before 100 invited guests in the castle ballroom. “It was a night to remember,” Margaret Barker said. “As the guests arrived a terrible storm blew up from nowhere. The smoke from the fires blew back down the chimneys so that you couldn’t see – and your eyes hurt. Hail crashed on the iron roof so that you couldn’t hear. Doors mysteriously opened by themselves and it got very cold. “In the play – just as Larnach shot himself there was a blinding white light. Afterwards at supper people were talking about the lightning strike as Larnach held the gun to his head. “I said `Oh no that was stage effects.’ We asked the stage manager. He said `It was none of our doing, it was lightning.’ I think that Larnach was present that night. He didn’t like the play.” New Zealand’s only castle took 200 men three years to build at a cost in 1871 of 125,000 pounds. After Larnach’s suicide, the property and its furnishings were sold at auction. Among the castle’s uses during the first two-thirds of the 20th century were a holiday retreat for nuns, a mental hospital for shell-shocked World War I soldiers, a restored showplace and a billet for US soldiers in World War II. It was in “dreadful” condition when the Barker family bought it in 1967, but it was painstakingly restored and refurnished until it became Dunedin’s most prestigious tourist property and the scene of many glittering social events.   Further information: Larnach Castle has its own website at www.larnachcastle.co.nz. [...] Read more...

“Pioneers in the field…. Leading the way with Paranormal Research in New Zealand” – Connor Biddle, Paranormal Encounters.

“I have much respect for the level of study Mark and his team have put into the paranormal phenomenon through the years. His work is interesting and very well researched.” – Murray Bott, U.F.O Researcher & NZ’s MUFON representative.

”Refreshing to see solid and innovative investigation work, done with passion and honesty. Haunted Auckland stand out in the crowd and dont fit any typical mould. This is a very good thing”. – Paranormal Review newsletter

 

Paranormal New Zealand is the home of Haunted Auckland, a Paranormal Investigation and Research group.

Whether you’ve been aware of Mark Wallbank’s research work since the 1980s, attended his early 90s discussion events, received the quarterly newsletters, subscribed to his popular mid-2000s online blog BizarreNZ, followed the Haunted Auckland team since 2010, or just recently discovered us; WELCOME and thanks for joining in the fun, learning, and adventures.

We are a dedicated group of paranormal researchers, all having one thing in common – a passion and drive to find out as much as humanly possible about the mysterious and unknown field that is the Paranormal, as well as documenting New Zealand’s historical buildings and landmarks in their current state.

Paranormal (păr′ə-nôr′məl) adjective.
Paranormal events are purported phenomena described in popular culture, folk, and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described as beyond normal experience or scientific explanation. The term “paranormal” has existed in the English language since at least 1920. The word consists of two parts: “para” and “normal”. The definition implies that the scientific explanation of the world around us is “normal” and anything that is above, beyond, or contrary to that is “para”.

We’re always learning new things, so hope to pass that knowledge on to you all so that you might learn as we do, in this crazy but fascinating world of the paranormal.

Our primary reason for existing as a team is to experience first-hand and document any perceived paranormal activity so that we may learn to better understand the phenomena and the misconceptions surrounding it. Our aim as a research team is to study these phenomena as closely as possible to form more educated opinions via experimentation, documentation, and simply being present at the moment to record and respond accordingly to it and wherever it may lead us.

Firstly a few things you should know about Haunted Auckland. We’re a small Auckland based team of friendly, dedicated, well seasoned and enthusiastic researchers with differing levels of experience, knowledge, skills and expertise.  Our investigators are intelligent, honest, compassionate and possess critically thinking (yet wide open) minds. We’re also very good listeners.

We work closely with Property Managers, local Councils and Historical organisations to help preserve local histories, bring further awareness and raise funds by running public events.

We are also very proud to have worked alongside both the NZ Police and NZ Fire Services with our work.

Haunted Auckland has it’s roots deep and strong. Going back to 1984, with a team (Auckland Ghost Hunting Group) formed by H.A founder, Mark Wallbank; making them NZ’s longest running Paranormal field-research entity.

What we aren’t:

We aren’t Ghost Busters, Ghost Hunters, Exorcists, Mediums, Clairvoyants or Psychics and we don’t do clearings, blessings or the ridding homes of alleged demons. We don’t do prayers, rituals, or bring in any religious elements to our work. We aren’t mental health experts or sleep disorder professionals, though we do work closely with mental health professionals.

We travel that spooky road, between sceptic and believer. We are happy to sit right in amongst it all and take the research wherever it may lead us.

While we are sceptical and doubtful of certain cases and ideas, we have seen and experienced enough in our time to realise that dedication to the research is definitely a worthwhile cause. Instead of blindly believing (or disbelieving), or just accepting what we are told is true and real, we prefer to seek out the answers ourselves through first-hand, “boots on the ground” investigation. Experimentation, observation and documentation. We don’t have all the answers and we don’t consider ourselves experts.

The team prides itself in being quite a bit different from other paranormal investigation teams out there. We tend to stay away from the mainstream gadget fads.

Research time in locations is valuable and a privilege, so wasting it on pointless flashy boxes that offer no accurate data in return or are vague and open to interpretation (as well as mis-interpretation) is counter-productive and a poorly used opportunity. Thinking outside of the ‘’box’’ confinements of the popular T.V and social media- lead mainstream is something, the team sees as important if the field is to move forward and gain any serious credibility or traction within scientific or academic circles.

The team utilises a combination of old-school thinking and techniques, coupled with a modern way of thinking. Simple and stripped back yet embracing current technology to work though theories and ideas that may find their way into our research. We don’t make claims we can’t back up with evidence or reliable data.

We pride ourselves in keeping it real. No faking evidence or embellishing of facts. If nothing happened, nothing happened.

Why we don’t offer Clearings and Banishings

We decided many years ago to stop offering clearings and cleansings, as the more we learned, the more unethical (even damaging) we could see it was on a few levels.
We wanted to experience and observe these ”beings” and learn about them. Learn from them directly, if such a thing is possible.
To hopefully interact and document as much as we could of it to advance the study of the paranormal.

If the theories on spirits are correct, then clearing, or ”banishing” becomes nothing more than a punishment, torture, an eviction from a home, or even a death. Death to a person (possibly living in an alternative dimension we are yet to even understand or comprehend), that has as much right to exist as ourselves.
Until ghosts, spirits, negative energies, and demons have been sufficiently verified to actually exist, (to which they as yet haven’t, outside of belief, possible misinterpretation, and superstition) it would be unethical to assume a position of knowledge and superiority enough to think we have rights that far outweigh theirs. That we may enter their home and try to evict or eradicate them as if they were cockroaches or some other household pest.

It’s about respect, understanding and compassion; on both sides.

What we are, is “real world” researchers. Learning by doing. If we don’t know something, we say so.

We don’t charge anything for what we do. The opportunity to investigate a location and hopefully further our research is its own great reward.

We follow the Scientific Method as closely as we are able to; though it’s not always easy to create a fully controlled environment and the fact that true paranormal activity is sporadic and very rare means we don’t always have a lot to go on. Still, we do our best with what we have to work with at the time and go wherever it takes us.

We go to where the stories come from in order to see for ourselves. We talk to the people involved to get their sides to the occurrences.

Our conclusions are never really final and we find multiple return visits yield the best results; so have built up trusting relationships with quite a few locations within the historical communities in this country.

Our clean and respected reputation within historical circles is something the team prides itself on, as it has grown over the last decade and is based on well over 200 investigation sessions within that time.

For a full listing of References & testimonials, please visit our TESTIMONIALS page on this website.

Exploration – Observation – Experimentation – Documentation … Ultimately leading to Interaction, Understanding and Conclusion.

KEEPING IT REAL

Please check out our website and don’t hesitate to make contact if you have any queries or would like to know more about what we do.

We’re always happy to talk about spooks!

Through the years the team have investigated:

Auckland

Wellington

Northland

                                                                    Dargaville Central Hotel

Coromandel

Waikato

Hawkes Bay

Central North Island

  •                                                                Chateau Tongariro Hotel                                                               Jubilee Pavillion – Marton

 

Northern South Island

                                                                                 Trout Hotel

West Coast and Central South Island

  • Seaview Asylum
  • Otira Stagecoach Hotel

Canterbury

  • The Old Shipping Office (Akaroa)

Otago

  • Cardrona Hotel
  • Vulcan Hotel (St Bathans)

Dunedin

United Kingdom

  • The Drovers Inn – Scotland
  • Traquair House – Innerleithen
  • Ancient Ram Inn – Wooton-Under-Edge
  • 30 East Drive – Pontefract
  • Boleskine House – Scotland
  • Ballachulish Hotel – Glencoe
  • Chillingham Castle
  • The Golden Fleece – York
  • Bunchrew House – Scotland
  • Oswald House – Kirkcaldy
  • The Skirrid Inn – Abergavenny
  • Halston Hall – Carlisle
  • Airth Castle
  • Dalhousie Castle
  • Barcaldine Castle – Oban
  • The Witchery – Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Vaults – Scotland
  • Touchwood House – Scotland
  • Greyfriars Kirkyard – Scotland
  • The Hellfire Club – Ireland
  • Ostrich Inn – Slough
  • Caynton Caves –  Shropshire
  • Four Crosses Inn – Staffordshire
  • Torwood House – Scotland
  • Dalhousie Castle – Scotland
  • Windhouse – Yell, Shetland
  • Swan Hotel – Wooton-on-Edge
  • Weston Hall – Staffordshire
  • Clava Cairns – Inverness, Scotland
  • The Queen’s Head Hotel – Troutbeck
  • Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre – Hinkley

Australia

YHA [Katoomba]

Hartley Village [NSW]

Quarantine Station [Manly]

The Russell Hotel [Sydney]

Maitland Gaol [NSW]

Kilmore Gaol [Melbourne]

Aradale Lunatic Asylum [Melbourne]

 

Hawaii

Kaniakapupu Palace Ruins – Nuúanu Pali – Manoa – Oahu Cemetery [Oahu]

Norfolk Island

New Gaol – The Crank Mill – Bloody Bridge

Cryptozoological Field Research

YOWIE RESEARCH: Blue Mountains [ Australia] – Kanangra Ranges [Australia] – Blue Mountains Exploration: Research Area – Bullaburra [Australia]

MOEHAU RESEARCH: Coromandel Ranges [New Zealand] – Urerewa Ranges [New Zealand]

LAKE MONSTER RESEARCH: Loch Ness [Scotland]

 

… as well as many private home visits around Auckland and surrounding towns and extensive investigation and exploration internationally.

Some of the services and experience we have on offer:

Research and Investigation of buildings, historical locations and businesses

Photo & video analysis

Photographic enhancements

General paranormal consultation

Historical Research

Conferences / Public speaking

Educational talks & fundraising for historical locations

Media interviews