Geoff and Dawn run Asylum Ghost Tours from the amazing Bijou Theatre at Beechworth Asylum in country Victoria. They also organise writing retreats there where a bunch of writers sleep in the big theatre hall and a professional author guest gets their own room at the end of the theatre, and everyone does loads of writing. Over the course of the weekend, the guest author runs workshops for the others. Geoff kindly invited me along as the guest and I happily accepted. 0I did a couple of workshops which the writers seemed to really enjoy, and I got a chunk of my own writing done too.
Not only do Geoff and Dawn throw a fantastic, fully catered retreat, but they combine it with their main business of ghost tours. So all the retreatists (totally a word, shut up) also get to go on tours and paranormal investigations in the middle of the night through the broken down old Asylum.
The tours were brilliant – the guides are superb (we had Laura for the ghost tour one night and Craig for the paranormal investigation the next night). Walking through these old buildings in the dark, torchlight dancing nervously off the walls, being told stories of the horrible atrocities that befell so many poor psychiatric patients is both heartbreaking and proper creepy. A really unique experience that I highly recommend. Did you just hear that..? *stares into the darkness*
Strange stuff goes on at night in Beechworth Asylum. If you get a chance to go along, do it. Take advantage of the tours and see (and feel) something very different. Believer or skeptic, it’s great fun. And when the writing retreat comes around, jump on that too. I can’t think of many places that got my creative juices flowing and my story brain in gear quite like this place! Here’s the link to all the info you need about Beechworth on their Facebook page.
And here’s a link to a set of photos I took over the long weekend (on my Facebook page). This link will work whether you have Facebook or not and there’s a bunch of descriptions with the photos to give you a better insight into the place.