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‘A Lot Of Dark Shadows’: Teams Navigate Tasmania’s Most Haunted Site

On Tuesday night, the teams had to explore one of the most haunted sites in Tasmania to find Beau at the pit stop.

Having shucked their way through oysters, bobbed for apples in freezing water and struggled with a tape dispenser, the teams found their way to Willow Court Asylum at New Norfolk.

Built in 1827 to house sick and invalid convicts, Willow Court has a rich history of paranormal experiences that lure ghost hunters into its dilapidated corridors.

Waiting at the pit stop with Beau was Sharmaine Mansfield of Tasmania’s Most Haunted, who runs ghost tours of the asylum. During the pandemic, when running tours wasn’t feasible, Sharmaine would live-stream from haunted hotspots across the state. 

While Sharmaine and Beau waited for the teams to check-in he quizzed her on which of the buildings at Willow Court were the most haunted. Ward C, built to house criminally insane men, has a reputation for being one of the more sinister in Willow Court.

In 2008, a team from Research and Investigate the Paranormal Australia (RIP) planned to spend an afternoon in Willow Court to film any instances of paranormal activity. When two of the members entered Ward C, the door locked behind them trapping them for some time.

It’s said that only after one of the other members of the crew joked about them needing a “Governor’s pardon” the door swung open freeing the investigators inside. 

The two-storey ward is well built with concrete walls and steel windows. Some of the rooms have iron shutters looking out onto an airing yard surrounded by a large concrete wall with a rounded edge to curtail escapes.

Speaking to Youtuber Amy’s Crypt last year, Sharmaine said there are “a lot of dark shadows seen” in Ward C, “sort of peering out from behind the doors… a lot of disembodied voices”, adding that she has found it more common that women feel the sensation of being touched more than male visitors.

Staff in one of the other wards reportedly demanded the building be exorcised after repeated run-ins with what they believed to be the resident ghost. A 1992 report stated that a male nurse “felt the full impact of the ghost” when he collapsed on the floor of Ward 5 and did not respond to an anti-anxiety shot that one of the doctors administered.

Back in 1944, there were descriptions of a room in the main women’s building that was known as the “ghost room” which some nurses refused to enter “unless it is essential for them to do so” due to the room’s “uncanny atmosphere”.

While the teams only had to navigate the labyrinth of corridors, creepy dolls and the occasional wig on a bannister (try saying that three times in a row), there’s no doubt they felt a sense of relief as they made their way out of the buildings and onto the pit stop one-by-one.

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