When you think of Canberra and ghosts, there are four words that undoubtedly spring to mind: Tim The Yowie Man. Tim is Canberra’s very own authority on paranormal and unusual phenomena and the worlds leading crypto-naturalist. Actually, he may be the worlds only crypto-naturalist given that it’s a term he invented for himself.
Tim’s Canberra Ghost Tours are so popular, they’re booked out weeks in advance. In fact, the only way they could be more popular is if he threw in a Freak-Shake to drink along the way.
Fortunately, I snared a spot on one of Tim’s spooky tours around town, just in time for Halloween. Three hours of driving around Canberra in a mini-van would normally be my idea of a horror story, but thankfully, the humour, the history and the stories kept me from nodding off on the back seat. Well, that and the bumpy ride through back-alleys and winding dirt tracks.
Tim and his cheeky side-kicks kept our little group entertained with a host of spooky Canberra happenings around Blundell’s Cottage, the Air Disaster Memorial and Duntroon and one of the biggest mysteries of all, that Canberra ghosts have a tendency to congregate in our national attractions.
One of the scariest parts of the tour was the drive through a real-life Canberra ghost town. At just 10.30pm on a Friday night Manuka was completely dead. We were all primed to don our masks to scare people on the street but there were none. Maybe the threat of Canberra lock-out laws had them spooked, or perhaps Tinder is just doing a really good job. Yet another Canberra mystery to ponder.
All jest aside, my favourite ghost story on the tour came from the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). A story told to Tim in very recent history, by a former employee who experienced an apparition of a large group of people, seemingly from another period in time. I don’t want to give a spoiler alert, you’ll have to hear it for yourself. But long after the disappointment of not capturing an “orb of light” on my camera, or experiencing anything remotely spiritual myself, this story still haunts me.
So Happy Halloween Canberra. Join in the spirits and check out Tim’s tours either around town or within the NFSA itself.