HOW do you prepare to confront your worst fear?
If you’re me, no preparation is needed. That would be too easy.
The better alternative, and of course the only alternative, is to worry myself sick.
That really is the key for me.
And such was my life in the lead up to Thursday night when I went on a ghost hunt, searching for paranormal activity in the Port of Echuca, with investigators John and Deborah Christopher.
Now I can’t pretend to have seen a ghost in real life but I can tell you I am 100 per cent, cross my heart and hope to not die, beyond and shadow of doubt, terrified of them.
It could stem from the number of times (and pick any number here you like, so long as it is a big one) my best friend and I played with Ouija boards as youngsters.
And yes, having a clairvoyant as an aunty, telling you that playing with such boards are stupid – because you don’t know what (evil) spirits you could be inviting in – doesn’t help I might add.
Suffice to say the hour before the hunt the nerves were already jangling – I only needed to hear a few chains clanking and I would have been gone. Skyward.
Having my older brother Cody wishing me luck seemed to make matters worse.
“Good luck buddy. Hope you make it out of there without them following you … but I know you won’t,” he wrote in a message.
“There will be angry spirits everywhere in the Port of Echuca #prayfortyla.”
What are older brothers for if not to terrify younger sisters?
In the end I managed to pull myself together, well enough to head straight out the back door, hug my dog goodbye, telling her I loved her, then turn around and headed for the car.
“Pray for me, dad,” I whispered as I closed the door behind me.
When I arrived at the Port of Echuca – apparently a focus for phantoms – I was armed with a handheld detector (I immediately labelled the dinger, because it would ding when something spectral was sensed) and we headed into the uncertain darkness.
My dinger didn’t go off, but there were some strange things that did happen.
And although I didn’t have any personal experiences (thank God), others did.
Shadows were seen lurking on the PS Pevensey and Deborah’s camera went flat at a crucial moment.
The paranormal experts sensed temperature changes, felt things vibrate and heard noises – from kicked stones (by us) to rattles (by the unknown).
But I lived to tell the tale even if I did sleep that night with a movie running in the background and the lounge room light on.
It is, after all, better to be safe than sorry.
And when it comes to ghosts – even after hunting them – I am sure as hell not ready to be sorry.
To put my fear into perspective, it had been so patently obvious (and, to my colleagues, apparently hilarious) that my boss had apparently planned to be hiding beside my car at 1am following the hunt to try and scare me to death – if I was still alive.
I am so unbelievably grateful to have finished a few minutes earlier than planned and miss him and this terrifying ordeal (that I’m sure would have killed me) by mere minutes.
And yes, I would have returned as a ghost to haunt the man responsible. He should count himself very lucky.
For more on the investigation and the Christopher’s story, see today's Riverine Herald