Dodgy ghost hunters ‘put people at risk’
A GHOST hunter says rogue operators are exposing customers to fines and injury by offering tours of Brisbane cemeteries without having the proper permits and insurance.
Katie Harvey said she became aware of a group advertising the tours on Facebook, including to the abandoned Wolston Park asylum.
"I know there's definitely no way they would allow people in there. It's falling down," she said.
"Anyone who gets in there is going to get fined."
Ms Harvey said the group's initial Facebook post offered the possibility of doing a tour through Wolston, and later admitted they were still getting permission.
"Then someone came to us with a whole conversation with this guy saying it's $50 per person, we can pick you up, or here's the meeting place, they gave maps," she said.
"This is the first lot I've seen to charge people to break the law. It's dumb."
In messages to people interested in the tours, the operators talk about how they don't have any official permission "haha so it's enter at your own risk".
The tours included cemeteries at Toowong and Goodna and also the Wolston site.
Ms Harvey said the operators were putting potential tour participants at risk.
"The old mental asylum is fenced off because the whole top floor is inaccessible at the moment. It's very dangerous," she said.
"As an investigator and tour guide, I have a huge investment and amount of respect for the history. They have no insurance coverage. I think what they're doing is really dangerous, and it's disrespectful not only to the cemeteries but the families."
She said participants also faced fines for trespass if found in a cemetery with an unauthorised operator.
Ms Harvey operates Katie Harvey Paranormal and Historical Experience, and has 23 years' experience, operating in some of south-east Queensland's oldest buildings.
She said she has proper permissions and insurances, but accepts some people are dismissive of her business.
"I would always encourage sceptics to come along to my tours and my investigations."
A Brisbane City Council spokesman said council could take action against unauthorised operators, while trespassing would be a matter for police.
"Groups who fail to obtain consent to operate tours in cemeteries can face infringement notices of up to $630."
The spokesman said Brisbane Ghost Tours, Friends of Toowong Cemetery and Friends of South Brisbane/Boggo Road Historical Society have permission to conduct tours in Toowong cemetery.
West Moreton Health's acting executive director mental health and specialised
services Dr Ankur Gupta said the old Wolston asylum, which is a part of The Park campus, has been condemned and is cordoned off with fencing.
"This is to deter people from entering the building as it is both illegal and dangerous to do so.
West Moreton Health actively monitors The Park campus, which includes the old Wolston asylum, 24-hours a day. Security officers patrol the campus regularly and closed-circuit television (CCT) cameras are used to monitor the site," he said.
"West Moreton Health also has a close working relationship with Queensland Police Service, and as trespassing is a police matter, we refer all cases to them."
He said The Park is a place where many people live while they receive healthcare treatment.
"It is extremely distressing to have trespassers intrude on their privacy. The Park is a positive, healing environment and it is unacceptable that people would treat it as an
entertainment precinct," he said.
"One in four people experience mental illness at some stage in their life and I would ask everyone to show the respect that people deserve as they receive treatment."
A Queensland Police spokesperson said charges would be "case dependant".
"If there are signs stating no unauthorised access, no trespassing, etc, then potentially yes," the spokesman said.