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Travel Memories :
Ghosts of Port Arthur
by Wendy Choo

Then, the photographs taken at the site revealed extraordinary phenomena such as ghostly apparitions, a misty substance termed Ectoplasm by parapsychologists, and shafts of light that seem to be traveling at a great speed. These photographs and their negatives have been proven genuine, as in not digitally tampered with in any way. Such photographs were also taken at other structures within the ruins. I remembered going out to the site to take my own photographs in hopes of capturing some of these phenomena. However, I did not succeed and ended up with lots of dark and gloomy photographs of the Church.

  Church at Night

There was also a specific and very interesting photograph that is posted on the notice board at the tour office where we started and ended our night tour. I clearly remembered the photo having a transparent face of a lady filling up the whole picture. It was as though she put her face right in front of the camera. At that time, I thought the face was staring straight at me; she didn't look quite happy but rather hostile. Perhaps the atmosphere and general excitement had affected my judgement…

Okay, let us proceed. The first house built in Port Arthur was The Commandant's House. Inside sits a rocking chair, which is known as the 'Nanny's Chair' (if I'm not mistaken). This chair is believed to be haunted as it was seen rocking on its own on many occasions even when the air is as still as a statue. Many people who sat on it felt strange and some even said that they felt someone touch them! I recalled the tour guide telling us that there have been many instances where tourists tried to take photographs but their cameras would somehow not work at that particular moment. Once they left the house, however, their camera would work perfectly well again. Mine worked just fine though. Still, this is something for you to judge but it did sound unusual to me as this had happened many times before and to different people. The following are some photos from the Port Arthur Historic Site link: web site with some of the strange light phenomena that I mentioned along with one that I took myself.

  The Commandant's House
  Haunted Rocking Chair

Another house, The Parsonage, is also known to be very disturbed. Just walking pass it at night gave me the creeps but that was because I was actually thinking of the house in Amityville Horror. But back to The Parsonage; there's this tale about a mother who saw her little girl talking and playing with some unseen person on a night tour at The Parsonage. When asked what she was doing, the little girl said that she was playing with another child. There are also reports of frequent sightings of a 'lady in blue' wandering in period dress near this house. At one point, The Parsonage was converted into a restaurant but it eventually closed down due to violent and hostile incidents such as flying cutlery, the switching on and off of lights by unseen efforts, and the shifting of furniture! These strange events even happened in front of customers!

This following story is actually not documented but I shall tell you anyway. It involves The Hospital, which was built in 1842 with four wards of 18 beds each. The basement housed the kitchen with its own oven, and a morgue or the 'dead room'.

  The Supernatural Phenomenon of Photos Took Near the Chair

I have gone through the ghost tour at Port Arthur (and received a certificate for bravery) and heard all the ghosts stories about it. Yet one night, four of my friends and I decided that we should go out and explore the place ourselves. The first place we went was The Commandant's House but it was locked at night. We took our photographs and proceeded to The Church. Again, we took our photographs, looked around a little and nothing seemed abnormal. We went on to see The Hospital. As we were about to enter what was once the main entrance, one of my friends suddenly stood still at the entrance. We asked what was wrong and she said she heard a man coughing. We all thought she was pulling some one-liner and promptly dismissed her. We continued our walk through the ruins taking pictures and scaring one other. We even bumped into other tourists who were doing the same thing. As we were about to leave, I heard a man coughing and it was a very sick man's cough. I still thought it was someone else's prank; but when I turned to look at my friends and saw their expressions, I believed they had heard it too. We searched that spot for other people and came to the conclusion that we were the only ones around. I still think it's a prank but since the event took place in Port Arthur, I believe in the possibilities of anything otherwise.

  Remains of The Hospital

With the end of this tale, I have told all I could remember for the time being. Port Arthur gave me an enduring mental album of photographs. And what was that they say about photographs?… "A frozen moment of a time in life". Yeah, something like that. I think I must have thousands of these frozen moments from Port Arthur. I must say that bringing these frozen moments to life in my mind is equally as fun as living through it three years ago. I hope it will be the same for those reading it.

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