Do you have someone in your life who is hard to buy for? It was this exact dilemma that lead me to search for Adelaide experience packages that I could gift instead. After cycling through the ‘normal’ experience packages in Adelaide (think: luxury car hire, wine tasting, hot air ballooning) I eventually stumbled across the website for Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons and was instantly intrigued as they not only offered ghost tours of various sites, but they also offered ghost hunts. Being a non-believer but a complete scardy cat I thought, why not?
Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons provides ghost tours and hunts at various locations around the Adelaide region of South Australia. Sites include the Adelaide Gaol, the Adelaide Arcade (the oldest arcades in Australia), the National Railway Museum, Old Tailem Town and Z Ward Asylum.
Some of these locations are a little way out of Adelaide, and since I was buying tickets for my partner and myself, I decided that I didn’t want to drive too far. Eventually I settled on the Z Ward Asylum, and I did this for 2 main reasons: (1) My partner works in health so this locale is related to his interests, and (2) what could be more haunted than an old-timey asylum? Without a thought I booked us in for both the tour and the hunt, I mean, what better way to test your non-belief than to participate in an actual ghost hunt?
We arrived at Z Ward just in time for our tour to begin. We met our hosts, offered flashlights and provided with a brief history of the site.
The Z Ward Asylum was built in 1885 to house the “criminally defective.” Nick named “the bin,” the Asylum was designed to house up to 40 inmates at a time, most of which were left there to see out the rest of their natural lives. While the building has a beautiful aesthetic to it (it was designed by the same made who designed the Adelaide Parliament house), it was surrounded by a ‘haha’ wall. A haha wall appears to be a reasonable height from the outside, but extends deep into a trench on the inside of the walls.
You’ll notice that the brief history does not include any ghost stories. This was by design as our hosts wanted us explore the asylum and form our own impressions first. My partner and I explored, sometimes together and sometimes not. During my explorations I did not get good vibes from the bathroom, possibly because mirrors freak me out, and from a room located in the back right-hand corner of the second floor. I followed my partner into the room and instantly felt chilled to the bone. That room felt unsafe and I refused to stay in there. My partner didn’t feel a single thing.
After our 15 minutes of exploring we met back as a group and proceeded with the tour where we learnt the stories of some of the inmates. We learnt that the bathroom is one of the most haunted places in the entire building and that a violent murder rapists (I can’t remember his name!) was kept in the same room that gave me the heeby-geebies.
Once the ghost tour part of our package ended we said goodbye to those not staying on for the hunt and proceeded into one of the back rooms to get ready. It was like shit suddenly got serious. Where there was giggly fascination on the tour, there was a dead serious tone to the hunt. Next to the tea and coffee station were a range of hand-held devices including EMF readers, inferred sensors and ghost boxes (radios that scan frequencies that supposedly allow you to communicate with ghosts).
Following explanations on how to use the equipment, our small group of 6 began ghost hunting. I confess that I felt a bit silly walking around holding a ghost box in my hand. Surely this thing wouldn’t actually work. I got the scare of my life when the device suddenly started spouting words like “the priest” and “bad.” Our guides stopped us in our tracks and tried to engage with the ghost(s) trying to communicate with us: “Was there a priest here? Did you like the priest?” With no reply we continued navigating our way around the asylum, sometimes stopping to give the inferred scanner a chance to pick up on any foreign movement. Unfortunately for us the ghosts must have decided to have a quiet one as we experienced no more interactions.
Despite this, I left the ward feeling jazzed and quietly questioning my non-believer resolve. Before this experience I would have solidly classified myself as a non-believer, but now not so much. Perhaps ghosts are real. One thing’s for certain, I will definitely be joining Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons for another ghost tour the next time I’m in Adelaide.
Location: As stated earlier, Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons hosts ghost tours and hunts in various locations in and around Adelaide. To cope with the current COVID-19 crisis and to give all wannabe paranormal investigators a chance to experience the supernatural, they are holding ghost hunts on Facebook Live which are actually quite intriguing.
Price: Prices range from $44 for a 2hr ghost tour or $80 for a 4hr tour and hunt, right up to $125 for a 7hr all-nighter ghost hunt.
Need to bring: They will provide most items that you will need, but I’d recommend bringing your own torch and bottled water (it was the middle of summer when I went so it was stifling hot in that old building). You can bring your own ghost hunting equipment if you are participating in a hunt.
Would you go on a ghost hunt?