Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Year and Old Spooks...

A new year is finally underway. Anyone else dealing with that post-holiday depression? For me it's that coupled with post-vacation depression where you realize where you were a few weeks ago and the reality of being back home. Added together with those all-too-common feelings of regret, worry, guilt, and other emotions still lingering from Australia it's a tough transition back to normality and my return to university study. I don't need to tell anyone out there who has been to college how that can be, or the challenges of sorting through financial aid. 

The clock is ticking away with my library talk on Australia's ghosts and I'm slowly piecing together what I'll cover. One thing has struck me as I delve into the many, MANY ghost stories from the nation: I managed to see more allegedly-haunted places than I previously thought! There are quite a few landmarks with hidden legends and dark histories to tell. Even iconic symbols of Sydney often carry supernatural undercurrents which most tourists never know. And then there's the cemeteries. Well, what used to be cemeteries. 

I did mention Rookwood last year and Old Sydney Burial Ground which once occupied the land where Sydney Town Hall stands today. I did, however, fudge slightly on the re-interment. There was another cemetery created before Rookwood within Sydney city limits before the bodies were moved to both the Necropolis and another graveyard. It too became the site of another Sydney landmark building. Of course, I didn't find out until after being there. Every year millions of people pass through the very ground where some say bodies and coffins still remain. I will say that it did feel slightly creepy for an unexplainable reason when I was there. As for the identity of this location, I'll wait until after I discuss it at Cuyahoga Falls Library to mention it here. 

Honestly I could spend two hours talking about ghosts and legends of Sydney itself. We so rarely hear about haunted Australia in the United States that it's amazing to discover the number of stories floating around, often unspoken. Australians aren't quite as ghost crazy as Americans. Few places have reached the legendary status of comparable buildings in the states. Still, there are a few well-known haunted places across the country: Monte Cristo Homestead, Quarantine Station, Port Arthur, Maitland Gaol, and a few others. On Thursday night SciFi Australia aired three episodes of Ghost Hunters International featuring Aussie paranormal hot spots. I've only been to one of them since my trip didn't include Tasmania. 

I did manage to watch all three episodes of GHI from Season 2 shown on Foxtel last night. While I often cringe at most of what I see on these shows the history and places can be entertaining. And for that reason, it was interesting. If you take away the bad EVPs, cold spots, and pitch black investigating it's not all bad. I can't quite bring myself to become as obsessed with these shows as some people can be. I love learning about new haunted places but I could do without a lot of the theatrics and suspense. But it was nice getting a visual tour of a few sights. When I eventually get back to Australia I'm hoping to see more of them for myself. A souvenir or two wouldn't be bad either. I can put them on my bookshelf next to the Q Station mug.

While I'm not sure if I'll get back to Australia before 2012, I will probably write here and there about some of the country's ghostly legends. It's still a fascinating country with a rich, dark history. And given that the novel I'm starting to work on again is set in a rather scenic region of the land down under it will always be on my mind. Yet there's a lot more to explore this year. I have places from my book to see and research, more gay and lesbian ghosts to discover, and new cities that deserve a bit of exploration. I have no doubt this will be another year of travel opportunities. And hopefully every place I see will unveil its darker, more mysterious sides when I have the chance to see them.

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