Caitlyn Little takes a walk into the unknown on a ghost tour through a historic house in the Macarthur District of NSW

Are ghosts real? It’s a question my partner and I always manage to debate. Mr Sceptic thinks there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything, whereas I deliberately avoid the unknown because I watched The Exorcist when I was 13 and it scared the daylights out of me.

When I heard about Studley Park Ghost Tours, a light bulb went off. Surely the debate would be settled once and for all after two hours inside a 122-year-old haunted mansion.

Thirty of us lined up to catch a glimpse of frightening ghouls, but first there were questions from the other scaredy-cats about possession, levitation and being poked by invisible people.

The answers terrified me.

Two very passionate psychic mediums and one spiritual photographer accompanied us; something I took complete solace in.

Even Mr Sceptic was overwhelmed by the size of the mansion. The traditional Victorian windowpanes, high pointed rooftop and crumbling staircase made everyone uneasy. The building seemed to watch us with broken windows as we were given a brief history on the spirits inside, how they passed away and what kinds of tricks they get up to. I took a very deep breath and started walking.

The inside reflected a beautiful, elegant building with stunning detail covering every corner. High ceilings added to the creepy nature of the house, but I was surprised at the lack of cobwebs and thick dust.

The building is a true one-of-a-kind. Its interesting fetaures made me forget how scared I actually was, even though we were all standing in the shaking lights of our dim torches.

Everyone crammed into room after room: antique nurseries, bedrooms, a cellar and a belltower. Each room was filled with a chilling mystery that took place within the walls, but I didn’t see or feel anything. I was upset – surely a ghost would love easy prey like me. Within the first hour I was skipping through the rooms, searching for anything to scare me. Others were adamant they saw transparent faces in the windows, felt someone kicking their knees or had ghostly children playing around their feet.

I felt a cold breeze around my shoulders but Mr Sceptic quickly assured me it was an open window. When there was a distinct draught around my ankles he was adamant it came down the chimney. When everyone heard footsteps coming down the staircase I could have sworn the sound was made by one of our guides. All perfectly reasonable explanations, but was he looking too hard for answers rather than embracing the possibility of the paranormal?

Even though I didn’t have any direct experience with those who had lingered after death, the tour provides such great alternative Friday night entertainment that I couldn’t feel disappointed. I was no longer terrified, but I doubt even the bravest man would spend a night in there alone.

On the way home Mr Sceptic couldn’t stop telling me how wrong I was… but even he was unable to explain the sensations other people felt. I guess it’ll be a debate we’ll have for a long time to come.

The details:
What? Studley Park House Ghost Tours
Where: Tours start from the Crystal Shop, Camden. Contact Visit Macarthur for dates and times.
Cost: $35 – suitable for adults only. Money raised from ghost tours goes to restoring the historic house.
For more details: Phone (02) 4655 3703 or go to www.macarthur.com.au