DO you like ghost stories?
Mackay author Samantha Munt loves them. As a child, she would read and collect ghost stories, and even made up a few of her own with her friends.
Ms Munt recently wrote The Larrikin, a story about Mick Pope, that was staged at The Metropolitan Hotel, but her next writing project is far more haunting.
She has started researching ghost stories to put together an anthology about haunting and haunted places in the Mackay region.
"They are great stories. It can change people's lives or change the perspective," she said.
But Ms Munt is as much a sceptic as she is a believer because of her own relationship with ghost stories.
When she was a child, Ms Munt and her friends made up a story about the Blue Nun; it was based on an old book about convents that they had read, which had in it a picture of a nun.
"The nun was at Shoal Point and if she looked at you then you would die," she said.
She has heard the story of the Blue Nun several times since, but now it is at Lambert's Lookout.
"I'm not sure if it's the same story that my friends make up years ago, but it's the Blue Nun," she said.
"She is the most famous local ghost that has no grounds in truth."
Ms Munt can understand how an invented story can become folklore, but she also has had some real paranormal experiences that she can not explain.
"Personally, I've had a pretty terrifying experience," she said.
"I used to live in a house on Bridge Rd when I was 20.
"We had a pet and we wanted a fence. If we ripped out the wallpaper, then the owner would build a fence. We did that and then weird stuff started happening."
Ms Munt later learned that a man had recently died in the house, so she got a psychic circle to attempt to communicate with anything supernatural in the house.
"I never do that sort of thing. I asked if anyone was in the house with me, nothing happened but then suddenly all the lights went out," she said.
"I thought it was something electrical because it was an old house, but every dimmer had been turned down at the same time.
"After discovering the second dimmer was turned down I just grabbed my phone and called a taxi to take me up town. I was terrified."
As a result of her experience and love of ghost stories, the anthology is something she has wanted to do for many years.
Recently she put out a call for people's ghost stories and the response has been overwhelming.
One of the most recent stories she has been told is about a stockman who haunts the road around Gargett to Eungella.
The story goes that there was a huge storm in the region and a station boss told the hands to stay indoor, but the water started to rise and a stockman left the house to muster the cattle to higher ground.
He was never seen again.
"Now people say they see the stockman following them at night while driving, and even in a car they can't get away from him," she said.
"Most of the stories are linked to some sort of tragedy, but I'm hoping to get ghost stories that go in a lot of different directions."
Ms Munt has only been researching for about a week but already has been flooded with stories and is planning visits to many of the sites. She said there repeated stories of ghosts from Lambert's Lookout, Greenmount Homestead, Marani Hotel, and the MECC.
"It's pretty typical for theatres to have haunting stories," she said.
"I want to find the main (haunted) areas in Mackay, where there have been repeat sightings or experiences, and have a look around. Then I want some more private recollections."
If you have a ghostly experience to share email firstname.lastname@example.org
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