Friday, 30 September 2011

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?? That being said however, every good urban legend that manages to stand the test of time is generally formulated from an element of truth, & it is the truth that will ultimately stand the test of time indefinitely after the associated legend has long been dead & buried.

13 years ago (back in 1998), a small & tight-knit group of "ghost hunters" was born out of curiosity in both history & the paranormal - the members, all friends studying in their respective fields at University (a mix of psychology, anthropology, archaeology & photojournalism), looked at the group as an opportunity to hone the skills they were learning within an unusual environment. On searching for a local forum through which they could share their efforts in historic research & photography, they found that no such medium existed. As such, a website was developed for the purpose, becoming the first of it's kind in Australia. What had initially been intended as a small-time hobby quickly generated incredible interest from both the local & international community, skyrocketing the group's status on the internet - thus, the group "Brisbane Ghost Hunters" was born.

Over the next five years, this ongoing success saw multiple articles & photographs from members published in Australian paranormal & spirituality magazines such as Insight, numerous stories about their exploits written in various Queensland newspapers, ongoing guest spots on Brisbane community radio with the likes of clairvoyant Steven Spencer & on 4BC's weekly "Paranormal Panel", lecture events at B.C.C. libraries across the city, & three independent documentaries. At one point, the opportunity even arose for a private meeting with internationally renowned skeptic James Randi to discuss the importance of scientific process & skepticism in the field of paranormal research. The group was finally put into stasis in 2003, at which time the members moved on to pursue careers & other projects, although the honour of being approached by Jeff Belanger (of international paranormal fame) to write the Australian chapter for one of his many books, "The Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales from Around the World," was accepted in 2005 - after being recognised still, as Australia's leading paranormal experts.

Throughout this time (1998-2003 & again in 2005), the ongoing primary vision of the group was to document the amazing heritage of Brisbane City with integrity & historic accuracy through high level research and photography - the ghost stories & suspected hauntings merely aided in earmarking historic sites for further investigation & documentation. The group's successes in this arena encouraged a very small number of others in Brisbane to critically question, to undertake historic research, to painstakingly document - unfortunately, they also inadvertently encouraged many to cut-&-paste & sensationalise with little if any regard to the historic fact behind the myths. An ever increasing number of new & establishing "experts" bandied about unverifiable tales of ghosts & hauntings gathered from friends-of-friends-of-friends both on personal webs & commercially - if historic fact hindered the tale, then fiction was immediately conjured & passed up as truth to lend the story credence...& so the situation has continued up until the present day.

Today, Brisbane's true history & heritage, in the easily accessed public arena, has become horribly muddied with inaccuracies mixed with fantasy, perpetrated by a few - after all, we live in a consumer society that, whilst discerning, consumes what is sold as the "real deal" - what is history, what is true. Throughout the years "Brisbane Ghost Hunters" were active, every statement behind a ghostly tale could be sourced impeccably, as it was the historic accuracy the group was focused on. After sitting idle the past 6 years, & watching individuals openly fabricate history rather than pay homage to it, the time has come to lay rest to sensational rumours & retake a previously held position of integrity & honesty in the ghost story trade.

So, in anticipation of the 13th Anniversary of the pioneering "Brisbane Ghost Hunters" group many years ago, & with an opportunity to document the unadulterated history behind the many Brisbane ghost stories that have been heavily fictionalised & fabricated over the past decade, welcome to The Haunts of Brisbane!

1 comment:

  1. A solid manifesto. Good luck with this blog.