Whether you’re a ghoulish campfire storyteller, or more of a fan of historical crime, there’s something for everyone in this spoooooky tour of Port Adelaide! (Or at least, something for anyone in those two categories I said.)
The Port Adelaide Ghost Crime Tour began out the back of the Lighthouse Inn, shortly before nightfall. The Friday night tour guide began by talking in depth about the documented history of old ‘Port Misery’, and introducing us to her ghost hunting equipment – a temperature gauge and an electromagnetic field reader.
She warmed to the crowd early, and as the night marched on, she chatted away more and more between locations, asking local tour members to recount their own ghostly stories, straddling the line between oral history and a bit of old-fashioned gossip-mongering.
It was an immersive way to experience the Port’s legends, steeped in history.
Our guide kept the tone dark but the mood light; perhaps the atmosphere was more a matter of location and plot than her storytelling per se, but she did a good job of drawing our attention back to the physical experience of the landscape.
Also, she caught a huntsman spider with her bare hands at one point, so she ticks a lot of boxes in my book.
As a sceptic, I never lost that slightly jarred feeling when each story departed from newspaper reports and documented oral history into, "Since then, psychics have felt the presence of an ethereal wanderer in this building." At one point, our guide showed us an Instagram photo of a previous ghost sighting. It was fun, but I must admit I wasn't really on board:
During the final descent into the basement of the Port Dock Brewery Hotel, for example, it was pretty cool to hear about the three ghosts regularly seen on site. It’s creepy to think about having a conversation with someone until they turn into a vapour before your eyes. But I found myself harkening back to the earlier stories of brutal murder and legal deceit.
For me, it petered out a little at the end.
Clearly not everyone on the tour was a sceptic, though – heading into the Port Dock Brewery, I overheard:
If I’m not too pissed, I might go staggering around looking for ’em at 2, 3am. The problem with these bastards is most of ’em just don’t know they’re dead! I reckon I just need to go up to ’em – say, "Hey, listen fella, you’re dead!"
So, I came into this as a sceptic, and I leave as a sceptic. But I leave seeing ghost stories as a cool medium through which to tell curious historical tales about the criminal underbelly of the centuries-old Port.
I went with my ladyfriend, who rather enjoys horror stories, however spurious – and good on her, why not? If that’s your bag, I’m reliably assured you’ll get a great deal out of it.
(Or at least, you'll get to take v spoooooky photos.)
The Port Adelaide Ghost Crime Tour runs Friday and Saturday nights until the end of the Fringe.