The Haunted Auckland team investigates the Kingseat Psychiatric Hospital, reputedly one of New Zealand’s most haunted locations. In this, our first of three investigations, we explore the former Nurses’ Hostel, now occupied by the Spookers Haunted Attraction.
Kingseat Nurses Hostel and Spookers Haunted Attraction
It was a warm sunny evening when we arrived, with clear skies, which remained fine throughout our time there. Lunar cycle; Waning crescent in Pisces – Two days before the new moon. The moon was not visible in the sky during our investigation.
Kris – I love the buildings. I think they are an architectural treasure. I simply love Art Deco and this is just pre Art Deco. Everything about the whole complex is amazing. The Gardens, the playing fields, the rotundas, the awesome wide roads. From the outside, a wonderful, modern complex, built with I believe, much pride and good intentions at heart. The entrance ways are grand and the term ‘Villa’ that they use for the different housing complexes I think is ideal. It feels like, and is the size of a small town. But with time, budget cuts, and increased population of criminally insane people being housed in the same area as dementia patients, ignorance, more budget cuts, the depression and under-staffing, became a Hell-hole. Their treatment of patients was not up to modern standards, but I do believe that there was a sincere attempt to try to treat people, not just dump and forget like in the old school ways of places like Bedlam, or leaving the insane in prison. I think it would have been tough on the people working there, most of them, people who got in the business to try to help people.
Being Spookers, there is not much about the place that puts folks at ease. Personally, I felt a presence that this place is rather gloomy and not a nice place to be in its past, however, if there is anything that can interact, would have been driven off by all the action around the place as of recent years. Interestingly, I did get a lot of, for want of a better word ‘anti-EVPs’. I would respond and hear stuff in person and can hear me responding, but not caught at all on my phone’s sensitive recorder.
Karen – The building was very large and imposing as we stood outside for group photos beforehand. I had never visited Spookers before, so it was intriguing to step inside and see the impressive, scary décor. I found it hard to get a true psychic impression of the themed areas of the building. This may have been because the props and décor were distracting – or perhaps some of the old equipment and items which had been brought into the rooms from elsewhere carried vibrations of their own. I believe that for me, the volume of visitors which come through these areas made it harder to get the real vibe of the place. In terms of the rest of the building, the admin corridor upstairs, which contained offices and storage rooms for props and costumes was quite interesting psychically. I felt it became increasingly interesting towards the end of the corridor, towards the end where a bath chair or commode had been left by a fire escape door. It felt to me as if this area would be more ‘active’ than any other in that part of the building.
Tanya – There are many stories about Kingseat in general but I tried to go into it by putting all that aside and be as objective as possible, under the circumstances. I have heard that the nurses’ residence had the most recorded deaths there. I can only imagine how stressful the job must have been, amongst other things they probably had to deal with on a daily basis. This must have been too much for some, which might have ended their lives there. It was hard to assess how the building really made me feel due to it being a haunted house type thing, so it took me a while to get my head in the right space and not get freaked out around every corner because of some prop or something. Once that settled, there were certain areas that brought a range of different emotions. Mostly sadness, depression and a lot of anger. I also had feelings of claustrophobia, but there was a lot of dust and damage so definitely could not say it was anything paranormal.
Jessie – It was old but has been commercialized a lot. There were a few rooms that I felt uneasy in and got a strange feeling in my stomach a few times but nothing overly notable. I never felt uncomfortable there although I felt like there was something under the surface. It was very big and much like a maze (on purpose) in places. There were many rooms. There were areas that were quite derelict where there were just empty rooms. There were long hallways where the entrance way was in the middle so there were about 10 or so rooms on each side. Room 53 upstairs stood out to me.
Heather – The building, like the rest of Kingseat, has a disturbed past and has captured the imaginations of people for years. The place was claustrophobic, dusty and old. We started on the top floor of the building in one of the wings where Spookers have used a few rooms for storage. The end room of the wing was set up as a bedroom and looked like it had been slept in. Between the 2 wings is where Spookers have set up the “scare rooms” filled with weird props, lots of curtains, cobwebs, etc. It was extremely dark in places and you couldn’t see anything without a torch. This was all done so that the folks wandering around would lose their bearings as within the Spookers playground.
Kel – When I first stood outside Spookers, I felt a very strong vibe. I felt I was being watched.
Karl – A couple of the rooms stood out, mainly the clown room upstairs, where there was a significant change in temperature, especially for a room near the outside. There was also the room we stopped off in just after the hall way, which Kel seemed to have a strong affinity for.
Matthew – I found the downstairs west wing to have a more enclosed and cluttered feel it. Partially because there were some rooms with windows missing which made it feel more open to the elements. The upstairs offices/storage/dressing rooms felt much like a hostel which was missing its beds.
Barbara – Wow. So big!! It was awesome!! A first impression is difficult to explain as each area of the building was so different. There were staff and office areas, the actual Spookers rooms, numerous stairwells, abandoned corridors, mazes and dining rooms. Some areas were quite well maintained and others felt almost derelict. My first impression was that the building was so stereotypically spooky that it wasn’t spooky at all. There were so many areas in this vast two-storied brick building. Although it had once been a nurses home a lot of the interior had been renovated and altered so that most areas bore no resemblance to its original state. Upstairs there was a wing which was used as offices, storage, dressing and staff rooms. There was also a twin wing to this on the other side of the building which was abandoned and neglected. The area between these two areas was the actual Spookers part. The whole upstairs is maze-like with hidden doors, narrow corridors and black curtains for access to other areas. Because I missed one curtained doorway, I missed the whole front section of the house and balcony until the end of our time there.
Several stairwells joined the two stories of the building. Downstairs was the entrance to the Spookers area of the building, a function room, a café, several offices and staff service areas and the maze area of the Spookers attraction.
Kris – I had interests in 3 sorts of places. One was the big dining / function room downstairs. I felt like I was in an old, established restaurant. One that had been there for years. In retrospect, this was probably the case and would have been a dining room in its use as the nurses chamber. It was here that I had a voice come in my head, saying exactly the same thing as Kel, however, whether that was a moment or just thinking the same thing at the same time is unclear to me. Another, is the stairwells. I seem to get drawn to this kind of area often. Common places of death. Accidental, violent and suicidal deaths. And there is the bathrooms. I am rather sure this area was where the bathrooms would have been, as they were in the same areas up, down and on either wing. I think in a communal living arrangement, these areas would have been used for private tears and venting of sadness. Maybe suicide. Was rather creeped out by the kids room. Not just due to aesthetics. There were old, small beds and children’s hospital beds. Here I did an EVP session.
Kel – The rooms that stood out to me the most were down stairs. A room full of old prop computers, near the fake Morgue. I felt a presence and received a name “Margaret”. Taking a photo, my camera went out of focus, but on taking another one straight after, the photo was fine. Mark asked a few questions. “Margaret” wanted to know who Mark was. Mark stated who he was and why he was here. In the function room, I felt a presence. Mark tried a trigger test by asking if someone is here could you please tap on the table or move something. Nothing happened. Everyone had a turn asking questions. Part the way through the session, I was feeling unusually hot whilst the room felt cold. Answers received from the ‘entity’ revealed that he was European, a 32-year-old male who belonged to the land. He was very angry that he had been left there, abandoned back in 1973. He was not a former patient at the hospital and had not worked there. He says he was not left here to help anyone. Kris asked If there was anything that he wanted to tell us before we left.
The entity replied “Be careful of the others,”
I wanted to confirm and asked “What do you mean be careful of the others?” I received, “Not so nice.” Mark asked if he was referring to other patients. I received the answer “Yes.” Mark asked if there were others there with us. I received “Yes.” Mark asked confirmation they were in the room with us. I received a very faint and distant sounding “Yes.” Mark asked them to come forward and make themselves known, by touching the EMF meter he was holding. The meter flickered and beeped briefly, registering something minor. After that I felt they had left us and the room suddenly cooled down again.
Upstairs in Room 65, I felt 2 presences in the room. Tanya commented that her batteries had drained unusually fast here. Tanya and I requested they touch us to show they were here, nothing happened. I then started getting pins and needles all the way up my legs to my knees. I felt that one of the entities had something wrong with their legs. I heard one voice say “Yes” while another voice said “No.” I felt quite dizzy after this, my head was spinning. I asked “What happened to your legs? Did you have them amputated?” I received “Yes”. Tanya felt a pain in her ankles, so asked “Are you holding my ankles?” I received “No.” Other answers I received straight after, were that they were a child and a male. I asked the entity who has hurt their legs for a date and received 1863. The other entity gave me 1864
Matthew – At one point in the upstairs admin corridor outside a room that was too filled with miscellaneous props to enter, I thought I heard a sound like an in-drawn breath. Barbara had a similar experience in the same area previously. EMF was pretty flat, nothing that was cause any electromagnetic-sensitivity issues. No fluctuating EM fields detected.
Heather – The most interesting rooms I noticed was the bedroom in the wing, it felt like someone was living there past or present? I don’t know. The Dentistry room was cool and freaky, you could just hear and feel the screams and torture from the bully doctors / dentists experimenting on the patients. I stood alone in the room and felt something / someone move around the chair, but it could have been vibration from others walking around as the floors in some places were very squeaky and uneven. The room next to it was the Nanny’s room, which had dolls in cribs as babies, a baby’s room was just off to the side of it. Why is there a Nanny room and a baby room? Are these just Spookers props to freak people out or were there women kept in Kingseat who had babies taken from them and looked after by Nannies / Nurses and how well were these babies/children looked after? Downstairs there was a specimen room with parts of bodies bottled and sitting on shelves. The bedroom at the end of the wing still comes to mind every time I think about the place. There was something there, even in the wardrobe, it had something to say. The whole place was stuffy and hot to me, the cooler spots were in the wings and downstairs where the air crept in through the holes of the old building.
Barbara – I did like the Children’s room. I spent quite a lot of time in the corridor outside it doing EVPs in the quiet. I also set up a video camera and left a light in the room (but did not capture anything). I had a feeling that there may have been something happening in the function room on the ground floor. I felt like there was possible activity in the children’s’ bedroom upstairs and the function room downstairs. One team started off upstairs in the main corridor which had offices, staff and dressing rooms, and storage off it. The 4 camera DV-R System was set up on the floor in the corridor whilst the team headed on to the Spookers themed section of the building. From there they made their way through to the abandoned corridor and the stairwells between the second and ground floors. Along the way taking audio recordings, photos and videos, as well as a few ‘trigger’ tests.
It was in this area, that the team all noted the children’s bedroom being of interest. One member of the group heard someone walking down the corridor, yet all team members were accounted for and no one else was on that level with them. There were a number of temperature rises and drops, in many locations. I would not like to say it was related to anything paranormal unless backed up by something else, as the area has mixes of open air and deep stuffy hallways with sheets over windows. There were the odd fluctuations and my EMF meter kept jamming up again in certain spots.
This was not the only unusual equipment disturbance during the investigations. Barbara’s laser thermometer was malfunctioning also during the first full session, so she was unable to get accurate temperature readings. Many of the team members reported constant battery drainage of their cameras and audio recorders.
Tanya – While we were investigating in one of the corridors outside what looked like a medical room, we were tracking an energy field that kept moving. Mark was tracking it with the EMF meter and it definitely kept moving amongst us. Now, I am not saying it was paranormal but it was very interesting, especially how it moved and we were able to track it. I also had a couple of odd experiences in the dining area / café / function area, where I thought I heard responses to the EVP session we were conducting, but not 100% sure if it was just external noise / voices as we were not all present in the room at the time – all being the whole group. Where the nurses stayed, in the far right hand end room by the doorway out to the balcony, I think I felt some kind of presence. The feeling that came over me was of complete sadness and very depressive. I was in the room with Kel at the time and she picked up the same. Possible suicide was my first thought / feeling.
Mark – This incident startled the team a bit. We were standing in a corridor outside of one of the ‘set’ rooms. There were prop pipes and old TV sets attached to the wall giving an ‘Industrial‘ look. The was no power in that area. No power points or cables. Even a couple of mechanical props in the room next to where we were didn’t register on the meter as they were turned off and there was no power going through them. I was scanning for any miscellaneous energy field readings.
The EMF meter suddenly went off. We started tracking the field and found we could actually gauge the shape and size of it. It was about the size of a football and was floating about a meter or so off the ground. By using the meter, we could determine its size and movement. It would then move away and the meter would drop to zero. Moving the meter around, we would find it again, moved a few feet away, before moving somewhere else in the corridor. At one point it was ‘hovering’ around Kel’s head for a couple of minutes, before moving off. Kel commented at the moment she felt it. The meter confirmed this immediately after. As I was measuring the field around Kel, I could feel an icy cold patch all around my hand holding the EMF meter. This disappeared as the field moved away from Kel. There was definitely some kind of energy anomaly moving around in that area. Certainly didn’t feel ‘natural’ to me at all.
Jessie – I did feel something weird upstairs in the first lot of rooms that we went in. It felt like something cold was over the bottom half of my face. It wasn’t oppressive, just noticeable. In room 53 upstairs however, my torch starting playing up. Karen noticed that it blinked on and off while I was holding it at my side. It hadn’t played up all night and they were brand new batteries. It flickered a few times after that while we were talking about it flickering, so I put it on the floor and asked if “it” could make it flicker again. Sure enough it did! Karen then put her torch down and asked if it could do anything to her torch. Nothing happened. My torch didn’t flicker again for the rest of the night. Also while upstairs in the Nanny’s room, I thought i saw someone go past me when everyone was still in front of me or in the next room. Also at one point in the ‘Disturbia’ room, I stopped Karen to say “Oh here they come”, meaning the rest of the group, as I had heard footsteps, but there was no one there. I felt a cold spot over my face in the first rooms we went to right down the end with the bed and the treadmill it would have been just after 7pm. I also felt cold just on the front of my calves, but oddly, those were the only two places I felt cold.
Karl – Did I see anything? No. Hear anything? Honestly, I did continuously think I heard things. Nothing that stood out, but little whispers of sounds that sounded like they shouldn’t be there. A little too quite sometimes, that made me feel uncomfortable. As far as sensing things in the rooms, uncomfortable in some, yes. The hallway EMF incident was an experience on its own. I’ve never seen anything like that. We had the EMF reader, It was quiet, then BAM, it went nuts! Moving it around in the area, keeping it in an area where it was going nuts, checking all around to make sure there was nothing. Which of course there was nothing in the room that would have set it off. Then it started moving around the place. We followed it around until it dissipated. It was quite intense!
Karen – Jessie and I somehow became separated from the rest of our group whilst exploring the upstairs corridors. After squeezing ourselves through a narrow gap, we found ourselves completely alone (in what we called the ‘abandoned corridor’) – where we remained for some time. This area seemed largely untouched by the props department and the rooms unused. It seemed as if very few people walk about in this part of the building, as we were constantly assaulted by natural cobwebs across our faces and arms, which had been left to accumulate across doorways and parts of the corridor. The nurses’ rooms were left pretty much completely intact. They were small in size, with a single window and a reading/night lamp on the wall, with a glass shade. Each room had a fitted chest of drawers, with a wall-mounted mirror, and a fitted single wardrobe. It was interesting to note that almost every one of the metal drawer handles had been removed – presumably to sell as scrap.
We explored the corridor and rooms quietly and in the dark, using only occasional torchlight to navigate our way around. In Room 53 there was a chair in addition to the standard furniture. It appeared to be old, but with so many props at the location it’s impossible to be sure. In this room we noticed Jessie’s torch flickering on and off as we spoke. We placed the torch on the floor and noted that the flickering continued as we spoke. The phenomena stopped when I tried to capture it on video. We tried my torch (which had a push-button on/off mechanism) but this did not flicker when we tested it. Interestingly, we did not notice the flickering in any other room. Jessie and I both felt that the far end of the corridor (to the right of the doors as you entered) felt like it was going to be most interesting psychically. However, as we approached and got to that end, neither of us particularly felt anything specific there – and it felt then, like the other end of the corridor was more interesting. Whether this was something moving around and observing US as we navigated the corridors I can’t say for certain, but it almost felt that way. Whilst at the far end on the right, we both heard scratching/shuffling noises from back down the corridor. We assumed that these were potentially animal noises.
Matthew – While Kingseat has a very haunted reputation I’m not sure it lives up to the hype. There were those reports mentioned during our scouting mission (the mattress jumping off the bed, cold spots in the dolls room etc), but I think a lot of the reputation has been exaggerated over the years in the paranormal community because the location has been off-limits to investigators for so long (and the fact it has been featured on the NZ Ghost Hunt show in 2005). It has become a bit of “Holy Grail” for New Zealand paranormal investigators, but it’s hard to tell from the time we’ve been allowed there, whether it lives up to the legend.
It was a huge privilege to be able to officially investigate on the Kingseat grounds, in the building with the most haunted reputation on the site. The location has a rather sad history as a psychiatric hospital, which has contributed to its mystique among the New Zealand paranormal community. The time in which we were allowed to perform our investigation was unfortunately not enough to make any solid conclusions about the building, however the reports of the Spookers staff are difficult to ignore, and there may be something lurking the corridors of the former nurse’s hostel once the staff go home at night.
Barbara – I suspect it may be haunted due to the feeling of something being in the children’s room and the function room and the whistling through my EVPs, because the whistling seems to be in all areas of the building. I think that whatever is there may have been following us around, so would be an intelligent haunting.
Heather – It’s one of many buildings that was used to exploit people who needed professional help. The silent screams, anger and being so scared, all seeped from the walls, windows and all areas of the building. I think that this building is more docile than the rest of the buildings at Kingseat because it has been used so much by Spookers. Not that I am putting Spookers down in any way, they have done a fantastic job in making this building a place to be freaked out and scared witless in. I wish we could have spent more time there. There were so many rooms and spaces that needed more time to explore. Otherwise it was very interesting, there’s a lot more history there, besides the hospital, it also goes back to the Maori Land War times. I think there’s something there, what or who, not sure, but with the history of the place and area it would be strange for it not to have some sort of residual or intellectual legacy. I’m not totally sure on how I feel about the place, I felt I needed to spend more time in some of the rooms to get a complete vibe of them. Would have liked to explored some of the other buildings, especially the big one out the front. I had a good time being there with the group and exploring. I think what bothers me is that, it is all going to disappear and become something else when it should be preserved for its historical factor.
Karl – I didn’t see any overwhelming evidence of the place being haunted, though yeah, I do believe the building might be haunted. It could be one of those, ‘I’ll show you when I’m ready’ deals. Personally I think the investigation went really well. The whole team worked really well and we did see some things that were ‘out of place‘.
Tanya – I have wanted to get into Spookers / Kingseat for ages. Beautiful building and structure….very imposing and definitely has a ‘spooky’ feel to it. I think it is a highly active place (feeling-wise) and definitely deserving of more time there if we can get it. I really enjoyed it and felt it went really well – definitely deserving of another visit, hopefully to different buildings. It did not disappoint my expectations at all!
Kel – I do think there could be residual energy remaining in the place. I felt that there were a lot of entities there. An answer I received from the entity from Room 65 who had amputated legs stating that they were a child. I feel they were actually an older male. At this stage my findings are inconclusive as to whether the building is haunted or not. Though there is definitely a lot of residual energy there.
Jessie – I feel it could be intelligently haunted. Although there could quite possibly be a lot of residual there as well. While I didn’t get scared or feel like it was blatantly haunted, there was something under the surface, something I can’t put my finger on. I say they are intelligent as I believe they have learnt to stay away from the more refurbished sections for the most part. It was a great place to investigate and I would love to go there again. There is definitely a presence there and I would love to get some better evidence of that.
Karen – Jessie & I spoke with Beth, the manager on-site for the evening, who told us that the apparition of the Grey Nurse was most often spotted in the admin corridor and in her office upstairs there. She advised that there had been more deaths in this building than in the rest of the hospital, tragically mostly as a result of suicides amongst the nurses. The actors employed in the building by Spookers apparently delight in winding each other up by telling stories about sightings and activity – although it would appear that a lot of these stories are simply that; stories. Beth also told us that a security guard had been in the nursery-themed room at night and reported that he’d seen the mattress on the child’s bed apparently lift by itself and rotate around. I think the building contained plenty of residual energy which had accumulated over the years. I didn’t personally find evidence of an intelligence or haunting – but as always, it’s hard to gather something concrete over just a few hours, so I wouldn’t rule it out simply based on our lack of evidence.