Written by Danni Remaili
Black Rock; a suburb south-east of Melbourne CBD and an affluent and gorgeous part of Victoria, Australia. It’s Saturday evening, October 29 approximately 6:30pm, and located only minutes from the water front, I pull up in a suburban street, greeted by a gorgeous sunset and perfect warm weather (17 degrees is very warm down here). Perfect weather for a late night investigation methinks! I arrive with my partner Alyce and Becky, a friend from theatre. For a moment, I thought we had the wrong place, but, you know, the sign that indicated “Black Rock House” kind of gave it away. The property is exceptionally unique and, back in 1856 when the house was built by Charles Ebden, would have had phenomenal views over the water. Now however, only a small walk way through the trees and other neighbouring properties pave the way to the water. When you walk around the back of the main house, you are met with an imposing yet gorgeous stone wall and timber gate leading to a stone courtyard and stables. This was where I met Paranormal XFiles crew Sarah, Martin, Rie and Glenn, and because I arrived fashionably early, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Sarah and Martin.
Danni: Hi Gooey peeps, I’m at the Black Rock House, here in Black Rock Melbourne with your hosts Paranormal XFiles. I’m with Martin at the moment, and we are 15 minutes out from our 7:30pm start of the Basic Fundamentals of Paranormal Investigating Seminar and Investigation. Everyone is pouring in as we speak, I remember you saying, Martin, that every night is a full house.
Martin: Yes, it is. Every tour is selling quite quickly, and within a week of it being advertised we are selling right out.
Danni: So it’s been about 3 or 4 months you’ve been hosting tours here at the Black Rock House, but you’ve all been well acquainted with the house many months prior to these tours. I’ve got my partner Alyce here and this is her first investigation ever, along with Becky my friend from theatre who has only ever been on one. So Sarah I’ll ask you, what do you do that’s different in hopes of making it accessible to people new to investigating?
Sarah: Well, for the investigation side, what we pride ourselves on is that we have a lot of equipment that other people don’t have; we teach people how to use it, and we actually allow them to hold and use it themselves. Some say, ‘oh this is too expensive, don’t touch it’, but we like to give them the full experience and we also explain how it works. So if something that we see is happening, and we don’t think it’s paranormal, we’ll tell the truth, and say, ‘looks it’s quite possible it may not be paranormal and these are the reasons why, etc’. We want them to walk out with a genuine experience so that they can go forward with their investigating, and say ‘well I know a bit more, and I know what to use and how to make a well informed decision.’
Danni: So in essence, you’re breaking down that barrier and saying no, you all can be an investigator, you all have the ability. Everyone is a part of this process.
Sarah: Yes, exactly!
Danni: So Martin, tonight, what’s the structure? What are we in for?
Martin: Tonight we will demonstrate the basic fundamentals of investigating the paranormal in a short seminar, so pretty much, you don’t have to go out there and buy all this flash and fancy, really expensive gear, you don’t need that. You can use basic equipment, and it’s pretty much how we found we received some quality evidence. We will then go on to utilise the equipment going from room to room, and then separate into smaller groups. Our main focus is to make everybody feel at ease and comfortable enough to experiment with our equipment and educate.
Danni: Awesome! I’m so excited, ok well let’s head on inside and get started, thanks Sarah and Martin.
Sarah continued with very hands on advice also. She spoke of breaking down barriers between ‘investigator’ and ‘guest’, and how it is important to share the knowledge and pass on experiences. I love how they’ve made it so accessible for newbies too! Alyce and Becky were listening intently and said that the seminar was so easy to grasp. Sarah went on to give examples of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena), and this particularly had everyone sitting on the edge of their seats.
We then had a break for a spot of dinner, and a chat with those around us. Great food (catering for vegetarians also) and great company. I got talking to Jo and Jesse, who have travelled from a town not far from me actually. We spoke about how Jo had come along to support Jesse who was very much interested in the paranormal and how they both share an interest in the unknown. After 10 minutes of nibbles and drinks, we were given pamphlets by the team with their contact details, where to find out more information with a list of learning websites and places to buy equipment. Handy tips for anybody beginning the journey of paranormal investigating. What a great idea! We then re-grouped, and Glenn led a more in depth talk on the individual pieces of equipment, especially the ones we were going to use later on that evening. I had never heard of an Ovilus. Forgive me, I’m not too in tune with paranormal equipment, but after that seminar I walked out feeling like a GOD! Ok, maybe not a god but you get the idea. I learnt a lot! Apparently, the Ovilus is also a controversial piece of equipment. Designed and created by Bill Chappel it is used to translate a spirit’s communication into words on a screen. I was naturally sceptical but keen to try this out and see how it works. Regardless of what you think about the various types of equipment, it’s important to give it a go yourself before you make up your mind about it.
The house has been done beautifully, in keeping with everything the way it was back then and also historically accurate. I was told even the wall paper was a replica and some parts original; just aesthetically eerie. I won’t go into too much detail of the evening, as I need to leave some bits as a surprise, but I can reveal this; Becky had some unusually accurate and uncanny messages come through in most eerie room of the house. We all felt it, the second we entered. Mind you, we hadn’t had any previous knowledge of the room until we sat down and Sarah gave us a brief history of the room. I had an interesting occurrence in the kitchen and also in the nursery so don’t forget to spend some quality time in those two rooms when you attend. As for Alyce? Well she was jittery from the get go, but as I said (and she deliberately went against what I suggested; ‘don’t go wandering on your own if you don’t want to be scared’). Then came the high pitched squeal, fast footsteps, and a wide eyed Alyce enters the room to join the rest of the group. Oh dear.