At the time, my father was stoutly sceptical of ghosts, claiming it was all our imagination (today he is a highly spiritual individual - perhaps a result of too many years living in that house), and my two brothers never reported anything strange (only one eventually admitted much later to hearing things). It is therefore very possible that the action of poltergeists is usually attributed to one person around whom the phenomenon focuses. Even though my Mother and I were always the ones subject to the activity, it seemed that whenever I was alone in the house, was when the phenomena would administer its full dose. I never questioned my own sanity, because I always knew that whatever was happening, even though unexplainable, was very real. One’s first thought association to the world ‘poltergeist’ may be that of a terrifying, malevolent being, as most reported poltergeist cases often describe the entity as demonstrating cruel and vindictive behaviour, mainly thanks to Hollywood. From personal experience, this was not the case. Terrifying? Yes. Malicious? Never. The entity was playful and prone to mischief. A portable radio in the bathroom would constantly move itself around – I’d often walk in to find it positioned in the middle of the floor. Kitchen cupboards would be heard opening and closing, with pots and plates banged about as if somebody was preparing a meal. Appliances were often tampered with, turning themselves on and off. The radio dial would turn over to different stations and the volume pushed up to an uncomfortable level. I once saw a heavy ceramic plate lift up from a table and tilt itself in the air for several seconds, before crashing back down again. Strange shuffling and banging noises would often be heard in the hallway. My Mum would find items removed from her bedroom drawers and hidden in strange areas such as the back of kitchen cupboards. Indistinguishable voices would randomly call out names. The distinct sound of footsteps on the staircase became increasingly frequent and more child-like (sometimes they would run down and ‘jump’ on the landing).

We’d go to investigate, yet as always, nobody there! One night when my Mum and I were alone in the house, we witnessed an unexplainable white mist appear and then hover over the dining room table, filling the room with a pungent odour resembling burnt Bakelite. We checked all power points and everything electrical we could think of, and were minutes away from calling the fire brigade, yet we found absolutely nothing out of place. Whatever this thing was, it was most definitely aware of what it was doing. And there was always, always, the unmistakable feeling that one was being watched. It is highly probable that poltergeists are, quite literally, just that – ‘noisy ghosts’. There are numerous cases where such noisy and unsettling disturbances have no connection to any particular person, or where there are no 'agents' about, such as teenagers in psychological turmoil. It may very well be that a poltergeist is simply the manifestation of an animated spirit, trapped between their mortal life and the afterlife by their own emotions. It was only when I was getting older, that I become attune to other spirits in the house - mainly those of children and that of an older male and female figure. Given the heavy energy in the house, it was obvious that something tragic had happened on the property, and probably to more than just one person. As these other entities surfaced as a result of growing sensitivity, I started to question whether this activity was simply the result of a ‘poltergeist’, or was it, in fact, just a haunting? One of the main differences between a poltergeist and a haunting is the duration of the activity. Poltergeist disturbances are reported to seldom last more than a few months. Reports of hauntings can last years, decades, or even longer. Ghost energy is usually perpetual over time, whereas poltergeist energy is gradually built up, with the energy peaking just before dormancy, when emotional energy is rebuilt before activity resumes again. With the on-and-off relationship we had with the entities, it seemed to be standard poltergeist behaviour. Though if it isn’t a human being unwillingly and unconsciously acting as the focus, then these spirits were obviously pooling their energy together in order to become strong enough to move things and make noises. I visited a clairvoyant in The Rocks, who looked uncomfortable when asked about the spirits trapped in our home, telling me she “didn’t want to talk about it”. That unexpected reaction certainly put an ominous spin on things. My mother asked our next-door neighbour if she knew of anybody who had died in the house. The neighbour, an elderly lady in her nineties, said she didn’t think so, but had heard the house used to be nurse’s quarters. My mother mentioned nothing of the unusual activity and thought it best not to say anymore. Some years later, my experience with hauntings and overall curiosity about the history of the house, eventually led me to research using the Sands Directory at the local Municipal library. The original intention of the publishers was to provide a Sydney-wide commercial directory. The Sands Directory covers the period 1858- 1933 and is an exhaustive microfiche of listings. It is organised chronologically and can provide an approximate date for when the house was built, a history of the house and of those who lived there and sometimes their occupation. After some time spent researching this property, I discovered the house was built in 1882 and housed many patients in what used to be part of a private hospital, partly confirming our elderly neighbour’s claims. After all those years, the melancholic energy of the house finally made sense.

Almost thirteen years later, the house is settled and has remained in a dormant state for quite 8 time now. The foreboding feeling that was always prevalent has definitely shifted. My Mum, who still lives there, swears that whatever was there in the first place, has finally left. Activity was still reported after I moved out, but nowhere near the extent it exhibited during those teenage years. If this was indeed poltergeist activity, could it have ceased as a result of its main epicenter no longer being an adolescent and inhabitant of the house? Or was all that activity simply a psychokinetic manifestation of unconscious mental and psychic energy? Was the ‘poltergeist’ simply the result of energy accumulated from a group of unsettled spirits, who all eventually moved on one day, even in a group? There is no definitive answer as to the cause of poltergeist phenomena and such questions may always remain unanswered. The phenomena may possibly be the result of a medley of earth fields, human energies and spirit entities and there may be a very logical, scientific explanation to it all. Yet exactly how any human being can unconsciously create objects to hurl through the air, create plates to lift up, create sounds of cupboards slamming, stimulate strange odours and materialise as amputated limbs is not something that science can easily account for. The time has now come for me to housesit soon whilst my parents go on holiday. As a result I can’t help but wonder… just how long that dormancy period goes for? If anything, there is nothing more exhilarating for me than to experience the unexplainable. I am more than open to it resurfacing, purely for research purposes. If history does decide to repeat itself, then at least I can put the teenager theory to rest. If they do decide to come back to play for old time’s sake, this time I definitely know who I’m gonna call. And for this self-proclaimed Ghostaholic, it’s certainly not going to be “The Ghost Lovers”.

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