Spirit boxes and shadowy shots: A night in the life of Murraylands Active Paranormal
Meet the ghost hunters looking for evidence of the unusual in a Murray Bridge cemetery.
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Lights shine in the Murray Bridge Cemetery on a chilly Monday night.
Torches flickered around, chasing shadows away, but there were other lights in the darkness, too.
A tiny plasma sphere sat between two headstones, a red LED glimmered from a little box on the grass, and nearby an invisible hand drew shapes on an iPad screen, watched by a video camera.
Supervising the gadgets were members of a group which calls itself Murraylands Active Paranormal.
Adriaan Haan, Liz Burton and their colleagues were looking for evidence of the spirits of the dead.
Anyone joining them was given a little bag containing three crystals – tourmaline, jet and smoky quartz – as soon as they arrived; for protection, Ms Burton said.
A cemetery at night seemed like an obvious place to look, Mr Haan said; but the devices the group used were able to detect activity almost anywhere.
“It’s more spooky at night time, but paranormal (activity) can happen during the day or night,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where we go.
“But we seem to get more activity at night time.”
An unexplained shadow could be evidence of paranormal activity, he suggested.
He spoke about growing up in a haunted house, and seeing and hearing the dead.
Ms Burton said her understanding of spirituality had come partly from American TV shows Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, or Youtube channels such as Amy's Crypt; but partly from the Aboriginal clients she used to work with as a counsellor.
“I saw that things that were getting blamed on mental health was actually spiritual stuff for them; there were some that they thought was spiritual that was actually mental health,” she said.
“If you didn't have an understanding of both, they just were labelled: mental health, mental health.
“It’s not always.”
She suggested that the search for something more – in the paranormal, in crystal healing – had helped her recover from the death of her husband and a major health scare.
Members of Murraylands Active Paranormal occasionally took requests from people interested in having their properties explored and any ghostly activity brought to light, she said.
They might charge a small amount for such a service, just to cover the cost of fuel.
For the most part, though, the group took an interest in the sites it visited, looking up history, picking up any rubbish they found between tombstones.
In time she hoped they might host regular ghost tours, at the cemetery perhaps, raising money that could be used to maintain some of the old graves.
What would they say to anyone who ridiculed or doubted their beliefs?
“Some people are believers and some people are non-believers,” Mr Haan said with a shrug.
“We just go ‘come in as an open person, be open-minded about it’.”
They didn’t have any complex motivations, Ms Burton suggested: “It gives you something else to do other than sitting in the house.”
More information: Search for Murraylands Active Paranormal on Facebook.