Derwent Valley Gazette

Paranormal experience trumps virus

WILLOW Court has had a colourful history as one of Tasmania’s darkest yet intriguing colonial sites, and Willow Court Asylum Ghost Tours are bringing that surreal experience to their guests.

Given access to the asylum wards after hours, Sharmaine Mansfield has led countless groups through the wards in the hunt for the paranormal, though the effects of Covid are limiting the group size she can take through.

“We were taking up to 25 people per tour previously, but now we are down to about 12 due to the distancing restrictions,” Ms Mansfield said.

“We’ve been running more tours of late to make up for the lower numbers, but in the last month especially, we’ve been getting a lot of cancellations due to the lockdowns and border closures.”

Ms Mansfield said her business kept a healthy follower presence over their downturn of tours, gathering a number of followers on her social media pages as she toured the state looking for paranormal sites.

Often guests on her tours are those same followers. “It’s one of the nice things for our business to come out of Covid.

“We like to know where people come from, and we’ve had quite a few people saying they followed my Facebook and came to see the real experience.”

The Willow Court Asylum tours focus around immersing the guests in a true paranormal experience, with equipment and tours focussed around detecting ghosts in some of the asylum’s most chilling rooms.

Ms Mansfield has said although her groups were now smaller, the experience hadn’t changed for the guests.

“Things have been going well lately, obviously not as great as they were prior to Covid, but we are picking up again.”

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