Maybe because it’s a quiet, country town steeped in history or maybe because it’s of spiritual significance to the aboriginal people. Whatever the reason, Helensburgh is a centre for encounters with the supernatural.
When a new Facebook page sprang up for people who have had experiences of the ghostly kind, membership quickly swelled to 550, surprising creator and Helensburgh resident Bec Marshall, who says it all came about because she has had a few encounters of her own and is drawn to the spiritual realm.
With a background in psychology, Bec has worked in mental health and community services for more than 15 years, but always knew she was in tune with the universe and its many facets.
Bec chose not to explore this in depth until a few years ago. Being older, with kids of her own, and moving to Helensburgh prompted Bec to open her mind to her gift, and discovered there are a lot of people who have had contact with ‘the other side’, which prompted her to delve even deeper.
“The supernatural has always interested me,” says Bec. “Then one day I saw a post on Facebook about a little girl who said she had been talking to someone her parents couldn’t see outside Helensburgh Community Centre. It got me thinking and at 3am, because I couldn’t sleep, I started the page Helensburgh- Encounters of the Supernatural, and the requests to join started almost immediately. I honestly thought it might develop into a group of 20 or 30 like-minded locals, but we had 100 members in days, and within a couple of weeks our membership had swelled to more than 500! Before that I had no idea there was so much interest or experience with the supernatural in Helensburgh!”
Bec says since the page gave locals the chance to tell their stories, she’s discovered there are a few long time locals in the spirit world.
“Lots of people commented on the page,” says Bec, “And many messaged me privately to discuss their encounters. There was a lot of talk about a boy named Boyd who has appeared many local children. Some parents thought their kids were saying ‘Boy’ but now believe it’s Boyd. I have reason to believe he was older, but with the mind of a child, perhaps with an intellectual disability, who died in tragic circumstance. He seems to only appear to the children. He talks to them and frightens them, as well as trying to lead them into trouble.
“One man actually sent us a warning saying ‘Don’t let your children talk to Boyd’. The man said he’s a local legend who has been causing problems for generations.
Bec believes Helensburgh is a hub for supernatural activity.
“This is aboriginal land,” she says. “There are burial grounds close by, and this connection with sacred ground really needs to be investigated. I can also feel old trauma associated with the town, as well as energies working to stop that trauma being uncovered. But what is most important with any work with the spiritual world is that we remain respectful.
“Another ‘regular’ story is of an aboriginal man spirit who is often seen in one particular area.
“Helensburgh is the oldest coal-mining town in Australia. It has a diverse history and very much it’s own culture. Lots of families living here did it tough. There is still a strong work ethic here and the true Aussie Battler is alive and well in this town. But there is also a vortex here, drawing in creative types and alternate thinkers. It adds to the mystical nature.”
It appears to be children who are seeing most of the ghosts and adult locals have reported seeing spirits in the area when they were children. “Kids are free-thinkers,” says Bec. “They can physically ‘see’ the apparition, whereas adults tend more to ‘feel’ it. I can sense a presence then have visions that describe the spirit to me in detail. I don’t actually ‘see ghosts’. “It could possibly return in the elderly. We have had many stories of residents, visitors and staff at Garrawarra seeing spirit children playing outside.”
And while nobody can fully explain what makes a ghost, Bec believes they’re souls stuck between this life and the next. “They can be people with unfinished business, or are perhaps confused about where they should be,” she says “Most people go toward the light and pass over without any trouble, but there are some who don’t want to leave. Children in particular seem to be susceptible. They can spend a lot of time between dying and the next level. It’s like they’re still trying to adjust to their new circumstances.
With historians keen to gather stories about the area’s past and so many stories about current sightings, anyone who has witnessed anything paranormal is being urged to contact Bec via
Helensburgh- Encounters of the Supernatural
or on her business page HERE