The people who work among ghosts every day.

Ghost stories are having a moment right now.

The rise in popularity can largely be traced back to a podcast that has gone gangbusters, Ghost Story, by journalist Tristan Redman.

The seven-part investigation weaves together the story of a faceless woman, the paranormal, a potential murder, a dark family secret and lots of ominous music. And it has people hooked. 

With the hype of the podcast, many are now sharing their own spooky stories. But there are some people who are rubbing elbows with the paranormal on a daily basis – because it's their job.

Watch: Psychic Debbie Malone on how to know if there are spirits around. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia. 

Cael O' Donnell is considered Australia's only Indigenous queer medium. He was also named Australia's number one psychic medium by Penguin Random House AU, given he has more than one million followers on TikTok.

For years now, he has been working in this field, and professionally he has done hundreds of readings. Some of those include clients reaching out to Cael, as they're concerned or intrigued by an unknown energy around them or in their home.


"A lot of people feel that maybe there's something standing behind them, or they feel a presence around them. They want to seek out answers, and part of the medium's role is to identify, what is that energy? It's trying to put the puzzle pieces together," he tells Mamamia.

"The person then walks away feeling a lot more centred."

Cael says he prefers the term spirits rather than ghosts – it feels more personable.

"Spirits are our loved ones who have crossed over, whereas 'ghosts' have more Hollywood connotations like they're lurking, stalking and ominous."

Medium Cael O’Donnell. Image: Instagram.


One recent experience comes to mind for Cael regarding his client encounters and the paranormal.

"A lady came to me and said, 'I know I sound crazy, but my packets of cigarettes keep moving around the house, but I live by myself and don't move them. I'll put them on the dining table at night and then I'll wake up the next morning and now they're in the cutlery drawer.'

"So she had a mediumship reading with me and I sensed the presence of her father, who was saying she needed to give up smoking, particularly because he had died from lung cancer. The next day she quit smoking."

Anne Rzechowicz has forever loved all things paranormal. She vividly remembers her first ghost experience, an encounter that spurred her fascination for "ghostly stuff".

"I was only a child and at my grandparents' house visiting when it happened. It turns out their house was on a place called Stockton, which was historic Indigenous land. I remember when I saw the ghost a few times I would scream bloody murder," she tells Mamamia.

"Then throughout school, I read so many ghost stories in books – the scarier the better. And later saw a few ghost hunting TV shows. It struck a chord."

Now she is the owner and operator of Australia's largest online paranormal equipment store, Oz Para Tech, and she also co-hosts podcast True Hauntings.


Thermal cameras, electric motive force meters, electronic voice phenomena recorders, night vision lights and more – Anne stocks it all.

Paranormal investigator and business owner Anne Rzechowicz with her paranormal equipment (L), and with her podcast co-host Renata Daniel (R), also a paranormal investigator and psychic. Image: Oz Para Tech.

She also organises group tours to haunted locations across Australia and overseas. Just recently she arrived back home from the haunted Myrtle Plantation in New Orleans, where she and her group investigated the space using their paranormal equipment. It's a career, hobby and source of passion all rolled into one. 


Jack Sim is the Director of Historic Australia, which owns heritage brands such as Crime Tours Australia and most notably, Ghost Tours Australia

For many years now Jack has been sharing Brisbane's local history via his ghost tours, telling stories that have been passed down through the generations. And it's all done within the environment of some really haunted places, such as a cemetery, the gallows, or an old heritage building.

Seeing a ghost isn't promised; nothing is conjured or staged.

But Jack says that over the years, a lot of people swear they have seen something, heard or felt something "rather gross and eerie" during the tour.

"There's this tour we do in the historic Ipswich cemetery where there's often a ghost of a little boy. He often comes up behind people, playing with their clothing, poking them in the back, tickling the back of their neck," says Jack.  

"The other week there was a couple on one of my tours, and the wife felt she was being sort of chastised by her husband and kept saying 'Stop touching my neck.' Then the penny dropped a little when she realised it wasn't him as he was too far away from her to touch her neck."

Jack on one of his Ghost Tours. Image: Historic Australia/Ghost Tours Australia.


Something that both Jack and Anne agree on is that what you see and hear about ghost tours via television, films, and American YouTube vlogs, is very different to the reality.

They say it's not staged, nor is it about shock value.

Rather for Jack, he feels it's about storytelling and looking at history through a new lens. Plus, he still feels quite spooked out by all he encounters.

"It still gets to me. My guides and I aim to keep calm and keep everyone safe, that's always our mindset. But yeah, it does still creep you out a little – we're walking through a really haunted place."


Anne agrees, though she finds it more fascinating rather than terrifying.

"I call myself a skeptical believer, which means if science and fact can prove me wrong I'm all for it, but I'm also open to the possibility there might be more out there, like paranormal activity," she explains.

"And with that mindset, I've come to be really intrigued by this whole area. Now I live, breathe, eat all things paranormal. When my husband introduces me to new people in social situations he will always say, 'This is my wife Anne and she's a ghost hunter,' which is quite funny."

But despite this title of 'ghost hunter', what Anne does isn't anything like we see in popular culture. 

"Having a passion for the paranormal, and doing this sort of work, it's not demons and horror like Hollywood tells us, or like the YouTubers screaming and carrying on over the top in a haunted hotel. It's actually ghosts and spirits that lived lives before they passed on and letting you know they're still around in some way," says Anne. 

"There's nothing to be afraid of. Not everything is dark, negative energy. There's really not a lot out there that will hurt you."

As Cael puts it: "You can lean into it without fear. As humans, we're afraid of the unknown. But by pulling the curtain back, the less afraid you become."

Feature Image: Supplied/Historic Australia/Ghost Tours Australia.

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