Ghosts of Boggo Road?

The surprising and unfortunate truth behind the ghost stories at Brisbane's Boggo Road Gaol.
There has been an attempt in recent years to promote Boggo Road as a 'haunted prison'. This focus on ghosts is entirely the product of business people in the 'paranormal industry' attempting to convince paying customers that certain places are 'haunted'.

As the ghost-tour business model is entirely dependent on the perception of places actually being haunted, this has led to fraudulent and ridiculous stories being circulated. This has the unfortunate tendency to undermine intelligent interest in the genuine human history of a place.

It is now clear that the Boggo Road ghost stories are unreliable (to say the least), and in some cases demonstrably false. In addition to this, the notion of 'old haunted prisons' has become a tired cliché reliant upon juvenile popular culture and the 'aged' architecture and atmosphere of these places. This is despite the fact that, if there was such a thing as ghosts, they would be no more likely to turn up in a prison than anywhere else where people had died.   

This is not a question of whether 'ghosts' exist or not - although to claim the existence of something would require an accepted scientific definition of what that something actually is - this is a question of misleading business promotions.

The recent television-inspired fad for 'ghost hunts' - based on the use of obviously fake 'ghostometer gadgets' - has also proved problematic. Such activities have not only been scientifically discredited, but they are clearly disrespectful in a place where people have committed suicide or been murdered within living memory. This list is a reminder of those people. Relatives of the deceased have strongly expressed their opposition to commercial 'paranormal industry' activities inside Boggo Road. In 2015 this led to the Queensland Government taking the welcome step of banning ghost hunts at the heritage prison. 

Hopefully other Australian heritage sites will follow suit and also ban these unethical and fraudulent activities. Fundraising is important, but it should not involve charging customers to use fake gadgets.

The articles linked below demonstrate some of the serious problems in the local paranormal industry.


Busting Brisbane's Biggest Ghost Lie Is Brisbane REALLY is the 'world's second most haunted city', as claimed by ghost tours? Read here to find out the facts behind the marketing.

The Woman in Black: Solving the Mystery of a Vanishing Ghost Learn about
another bit of 'paranormal industry' fraud, this time the invention and sudden disappearance of a cemetery ghost.

Dumbing Down Death Penalty History How a ghost tour business dumbed down the centenary of the abolition of capital punishment in Queensland with made-up ghost stories.

'Haunting Australia' (...and Also Your Wallet) Colour-by-numbers 'paranormal investigators' TV show fails to show originality and intelligence.

Destroy All Your Books... Or Else: When Small Business Attacks Historical Societies The shocking story behind 'Brisbane Ghost Tours' baseless threats against a respected community group.

The Ghost That Haunted South Brisbane Cemetery... From 1,000 Miles Away Read about how a photo from Tasmania was passed off as a ghost in Queensland.

Ghost Hunts, Charlatans, & 'Pyschopathic Liars' An expose on the types of people that can find a home in the unregulated 'paranormal industry' of ghost hunts and ghost tours in Queensland.

The Exorcism of Ernest Austin's Phony Phantom The exposure of yet another fraudulent Boggo Road ghost story from Brisbane's ghost tours.

Why Ghost Hunting Should be Banned (Part 1) Should commercial ‘ghost hunting’ be banned outright? With ‘ghost hunts’ now thrown out of Boggo, this article looks at the question from a scientific and ethical viewpoint.

Why Ghost Hunting Should be Banned (Part 2) Should 'ghost hunts' be allowed in places where people have recently died, or should we be showing more respect for the dead?

'They Don't Know What Death Is': Ghost Hunting at a Suicide Scene Is it appropriate to hold ghost hunts in places where deaths in custody took place within living memory? This article looks at a Boggo Road case.

Back to Mythbusting 
Back to the History Vault