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SCARY: Ghost tour guide Jack Sim seeks out the unnatural around the city

Ghostly spirits haunt tourists
By Lou Robson

It's 9pm and a man dressed in black is standing on the fourth floor of the Embassy Hotel.  "Can you feel the evil?" he asks a group of tourists gathered on the spot of a double murder in the 1970s.  "Can you feel a presence?"

Standing in a dark, wood-panelled room on the last stop on Jack Sim's Brisbane Ghost Tour is enough to make the crowd feel decidedly edgy.  For 90 minutes the 15 tour members have been listening to tales of dead librarians, angry spectres, apparitions of headless bodies and slaughtered cattle who drum their hooves and bellow in the night...and all in the brightly lit streets of the city.

Tour guide Jack, who is dressed like an old detective in an overcoat and a felt trilby, provides a combination of fact and speculation during the walking tour.  His stories, the result of several years of research and a macabre fascination with "the other side", include tales of a decapitated public servant who haunts City Hall and an elderly librarian who used to throw books and slap staff in the old State Library in Queen Street.

Across the road in the old Lands Office, now the Treasury Casino Hotel, the tour guide, 27, tells of a secretary who mysteriously disappeared in the building in 1920.  Known only as Majorie, the woman is said to haunt the forth floor, turning radios on in empty rooms, shredding newspapers in the halls and trying to start fires.  Guests have reported seeing the face of an angry woman peering from a glass pane above their doors and flitting silently through the halls.

In the public bar a drunk called Charlie, who fell to his death from the top floor, is said to open doors for patrons and fondle barmaids as they work. The list goes on and Mr Sim, who had his first supernatural experience as a child, says the tour changes every night.

"It's not uncommon for a tour member to report feeling a cold hand on their back or icy fingers around their wrist at the most haunted spots," he said.  "I tell people to be prepared and if they're scared they should stick to the front of the group.  People at the back tend to encounter more and those who trail behind have had sightings."

The basic tour is $10 but for enthusiasts, the service offers extended trips including sleepovers in haunted properties, circuits of haunted jails and after-dark cemetery tours.

This story was taken from the "Sunday Mail", Sunday October 4 on page 24.