I live in Newcastle NSW and am very passionate about the place.
I love its unique history, the way it developed from the second oldest settlement on the East Coast of Australia as, well a repository for political prisoners who stirred up a shit fight at Castle Hill in the first instance, and then for those convicts that continued to be pains in the backside for the government in Sydney.
We started with what would have been seen as the dregs of society to become a totally kick arse place to live!
View of Great Northern Hotel and Newcastle Hospital -
Cultural Collections Ncle Uni
Nothing could stop the amazing progress of Newcastle in the 1800's - we had one thing everyone needed.
But that's another story -
Getting back to my point in this blog...
Anyone walking the path of creating tours and events for all of you paranormal investigators and ghost hunters knows, with hand on heart, that it is not an easy job.
You require 'knowing someone" or having street cred or massive persistence to get anywhere at all. You have to know your shit.This is not a game - we pay loads of insurance to make sure it isn't. We have your safety to look after.
Getting sites is an ongoing process that can break the toughest of us as we navigate local councils, sites owners, stakeholders , rules and regulations, site fees, insurances, accreditations and even our tour participants.
But what a shame it would be if we didn't!
One of the big questions is - why does it cost so much to do a tour?
Have you ever tried to hold an event and hire a site?
Do you really think someone is going to give you one for free?
Dont hold your breath honey!
This costs serious $$$$!
Now I am NOT begrudging paying for site hire (something I am negotiating right now and so it is at the forefront of my mind) but you have to understand that our charges to YOU are based on what WE are being charged.
Tour costs contain site fees and staff payments or may have a % of the tour price going straight back to the site owners just so they can continue to exist. These are negotiated before any tour begins and if we cannot cover those costs - guess what it comes out of our pockets.
Each time you do a tour you contribute to historical sites that are aching for funding just to keep the doors open. Yes, you may be putting some money in the pockets of the ghost tour business, but if they are anything like my business most of that goes back into equipment, research, advertising and standard running costs.
Never the less, we continue to do it - we do it because we LOVE IT.
We would not be doing it because of the money - there is very little of that.
I'm lucky to have a band of volunteers that can help me out, as without them I would be up sh*t creek.
But the balance of trying to cover costs and keep tour prices reasonable is always an effort.
Believe me, tour companies are ARE NOT trying to rip you off.
This stuff costs us heaps, not to mention the stress of things we cannot control like sites pulling out, the weather and none paying customers.
BUT I would not have it any other way right now.
I am lucky to be able to put effort into a job I love and in the process give a little back to my local history.
You see I am gleefully and willingly and lovingly stuck in the past.
One of the very best ways to learn about the past is by going on a ghost tour of your city.
Don't wait until you have seen other places on your travels - don't neglect the very place where you live.
Don't leave it till the very last.
You will probably find things that amaze you right under you very nose.
All this has come up because I am so very close to adding a new site site to my itinerary.
Its going to be good - very good.
But I can't tell you what it is yet.
You will have to wait just a little longer.
For even though the decision is close - it can still all go pear shaped as it has countless times in the past.
I have gotten very excited, just to find out that prices have changed, committees have changed, priorities have changed or simply 'we don't see the value of telling the public that there are ghosts here".
Support your local ghost hunting tour and investigation providers - they are all doing a marvelous job.
Take a moment to tell site owners and stake holders how you enjoyed the tour so that they know.
It may take a moment of your time but it means a lot to the tour guides and business you are supporting.
In the end we are TRYING TO SAVE HISTORY.
God knows we have so few historic sites left in Australia.
Why lose what we have.
Pay the fees with a smile and know that you are supporting small business in a myriad of ways.
And above all explore - learn - get spooked - be in wonder - as you get it.
YOU GET IT.
History is alive and living right along side of us.
Let's do our part to keep our connection to the past alive and well respected.