Conversations with a Paranormal Investigator ... Sharmaine from Tasmania's Most Haunted
I have known Sharmaine for a while now and met 'online' through my blog. She has always been incredibly supportive of my endeavours and equally keen to have me come down to Tassie to meet her awesome crew and to check out her second home - Willow Court Asylum. The first thing that I have noticed with Sharmaine is the tremendous amount of respect she has for Willow Court. There is no ego here. What you have is a person leading a team who are very open to learning and experiencing the paranormal. I think Sharmaine will also be one of the nicest people I will ever meet when we finally meet face to face. I am hoping to visit next year but in the mean time, meet Sharmaine.
Please provide a short bio of who you are and what you do in the paranormal field:
Well firstly before being involved in the Paranormal Field, I was a Private Investigator for a few years before I commenced working full time in my other business (welding/fabrication) in Hobart with my husband which we have owned for over 12 years.
I have only recently joined the Paranormal Field approximately 3 years ago where I started attending Paranormal Investigation Tours before becoming a Paranormal/Ghost Tour Guide with Tasmania’s Most Haunted.
Then on the 15th December 2017, I became the new owner of Tasmania's Most Haunted hosting Paranormal/Ghost Tours and Events in Hobart, Tasmania.
How did you get started in the paranormal field?
Although I have always had an interest in the Paranormal, however my interest increased when I attended a Paranormal investigation tour at Willow Court where I had my first paranormal experience. This first experience sparked my interest and from that day forward I have been on this journey to seek answers to this phenomenon.
What is it that draws you to the paranormal?
I am drawn to the Paranormal because of my own personal experiences and I am just purely “curious” as to what exactly is a “spirit/ghost”. I cannot answer as to how it is possible a spirit can communicate with us, as this is one of the reasons as to why I am drawn to the Paranormal. Although we may have heard/seen spirits by using our senses and/or a variety of communications devices, I will continue to seek answers as to how this is possible.
Do any members of your family research/investigate the paranormal as well? (Does it run in the family?)
No other members of my family research or investigate the paranormal, however they are all supportive in what I do in the Paranormal Field.
What is your area of expertise in the paranormal?
I don't believe I have any expertise in the Paranormal as I have only been in the field for approximately 3 years, therefore I have many years to continue with my research/investigate in the paranormal before I can make such a statement.
What do you believe a ‘ghost’ is? Do you believe in ghosts/spirits?
Although I do believe in ghosts/spirits based on my own personal experiences and others in the field, I still cannot explain what a "Ghost" is. This is my long-life journey to be able to answer this one day, but until this day arrives, I will continue with my research and hopefully one day, I may be able to answer this for you.
What approach do you take in researching/investigating the paranormal? Spiritual, technical, theoretical etc
My approach to researching and investigating the paranormal is to look for any rational explanations first, always trying to debunk. I also like to take the "old school" approach when researching/investigating as I prefer to use my senses and very little paranormal equipment as possible. I am also a big believer of taking notes on any findings during any investigations.
How did you start Tasmania’s Most Haunted?
Tasmania's Most Haunted was already established when I was given the opportunity to purchase the business in late December 2017 with my 1st year anniversary soon approaching (15th December 2018).
Before I became the new owner of the business, I was employed as a tour guide for approximately 1 year which gave me the experience on how ghost tours operate. With my previous business management skills, I also had the experience in dealing with proposals, promotions, staff, and how to approach potential clients on a management level which I believe is always important to any business owner.
Owning Tasmania’s Most Haunted has been an amazing opportunity as not only does it combine my passion for the Paranormal, but I also love organising social events. I now have the best of both worlds.
What are the benefits of running tours and paranormal events for the public?
I believe by hosting tours and paranormal events gives the opportunity for the public to be able to experience the paranormal in a safe and controlled environment with the use of paranormal equipment which can sometimes be quite expensive and is not always available for every person to purchase.
What sets your events apart from all the others out in the field?
I believe the only difference from my events to the others in the field is the location. My tours are very interactive where I allow my guests to become the Paranormal Investigator for the night with the full use of the latest paranormal equipment. We also do not use scare tactics on our tours.
Although I cannot be certain, but I believe most Paranormal Investigation Tours are conducted in a very similar way in the service they offer to their participants.
Running tours out of an old asylum can be a touchy subject. How do you answer your critics?
If anyone ever questions as to why we conduct Paranormal Tours in a Mental Asylum and why don’t we let the spirits who still reside here rest, I always say to them, that the spirits that are still here are doing exactly that, we do not conjure the spirits in any way. The spirits approach us.
We have shown our guests that although there may have been a dark history to the Willow Court Asylum, it was the system, not the place that has been identified.
Our tours are always done with the utmost respect to the owners, local people, the buildings, the history and community in general. We do not focus on the past patients or employees of the site.
This has worked well in managing our tours already at Willow Court and we have had great feedback about the Respect and Sensitivity we give to the buildings, grounds and treatments whilst hosting paranormal tours.
This is evident in the repeat guests that continue to attend our tours.
What makes Willow Court so special?
Willow Court is special to me as I grew up in the town of the Asylum which being a local gives me that connection. I grew up around the Asylum, seeing the site in full operation not only from the outside but also from the inside as I also had a close family member who was admitted as a patient to the Asylum for a short period of time.
I have always had a strong passion for the site, it has so much history, the buildings have amazing architecture and I have so much respect for the souls who remain.
Now having the opportunity to work within the Asylum after its closure makes it even more extremely special to me as I believe I am keeping the history alive of the site but hosting tours in these buildings which are not generally open to the general public.
Is investigating an old asylum different to investigating a house or an old gaol?
In my opinion I don't believe so, as I have my own methods of investigating and I seem to take this same method to any location I investigate. Trigger objects would differ due to the location, but this would be the only difference to me when investigating.
Do you investigate locations other than the ones you run tours from?
I do investigate other locations on a personal level and I have been asked to investigate some private businesses through Tasmania’s Most Haunted, but mostly my investigations are purely done at the Willow Court Mental Asylum.
How do you pick the locations you investigate?
From previous experience and from information obtained from other investigators or from the history/stories you read of the sites.
Do you research before an investigation, or do you go in blind?
I personally prefer to go in blind to an investigation. I prefer not to be influenced by what you hear or read on whom or what haunts a particular location, therefore I like to investigate not knowing and I seek to find answers for myself.
If you retired from the field tomorrow, what legacy would you want to be remembered for? (Achievement, Tours, theory, experiments, attitude etc)
Although Tasmania's Most Haunted was already established as a tour company when I purchased the business in December 2017, however I would like to be remembered for what I have achieved in such a short amount of time with taking this business to the next level by hosting new tours at other locations. Tasmania's Most Haunted has one of the largest, if not the largest Paranormal Facebook pages in Australia, which I am very proud of. I will continue to pursue my business further and create more tours statewide which I am already actively seeking, and I hope to see you Sarah at Willow Court Asylum one day soon.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?
Just be yourself, do want you want to do, do it your own way, believe in yourself and question everything, research what you have experienced, have an open mind and you will succeed.
If you could educate your peers or pass on knowledge, what would it be?
As my previous answer, I would just say be yourself and believe in yourself. Create your own investigation methods and do not believe or listen to everything you hear or see for the answers, be true to yourself and don't let others tell you otherwise.
Plug yourself! Do you have any websites, Facebook pages - advertise them
Please make sure you follow my Facebook page to keep up to date with all Tasmania's Most Haunted tours and events.
Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/TasmaniasMostHaunted/
I am also in the process of producing a website in my spare time which I hope to have up and running very soon.
Hope to see you all at Willow Court Asylum!!
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