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Things that go 'click' in the dark of the night

Liam at Brookfield Cemetery

By Leah Mitchell

It is a calm, clear night. The stars are out and there is a slight breeze high in the trees. Footsteps are heard and a dim torchlight apears - a figure is dodging and weaving along the treeline. The figure stops short and in a blinding flash of light, the graveyard is brought to life. Again in the darkness, a click and a whirr sounds as the figure winds the camera onto the next frame. While this activity may sound strange to some, it's familiar ground for the members of the Brisbane Ghost Hunters.

Once a fortnight, the 12 members of the Ghost Hunters brave the cold weather to venture out into their local cemeteries getting photographic evidence of the existence of ghosts, armed only with their cameras and a healthy attitude. To Liam, President of the Brisbane Ghost Hunters, this attitude is the most important aspect of the entire experience: "Provided you're game enough to enter a cemetery at night, have an open mind, and give the spirits respect, they'll respect you back."

Inspired by many Websites detailing this practice, Liam formed the group eight months ago, with people who shared his interest in both photography and the supernatural. The group's successes so far include capturing photographic evidence of orbs - balls of light that hover in the air and only appear in the printed photo, and a vortex - a rippled transparent shape not visible to the naked eye.

Each trip is documented with great detail, with each successful photo put onto the group's Website, the first Australian Website on this topic, along with any unusual feelings or experiences of the night. The members believe that a person can feel a ghost nearby by a cold, tingly feeling all over the body, centred in the lower back.

They also carry with them a compass, as another sign of a ghostly presence is a swinging compass arrow, caused by the ghost's own electro-magnetic field. Liam stresses that group members critique each other's photos and feelings, as a healthy attitude also includes a dose of skepticism that gives them objective evidence.

The group has also investigated haunted buildings in the Brisbane area, an interest complimented by Liam's extensive research into the history of the city. Liam plans to soon write a book on the ghosts of Brisbane that analyses each known cemetery in the area, based on his historical and practical research.

The group is aware of the reaction of the general public to their activities and beliefs, but say that generally people are simply scared of the possibility of finding out ghosts do exist, as this often leads to asking the larger questions of life.

This story was taken from "The Queensland Independent", December Issue 1998 on page 17.