• Essence Productions

The Black Beastie

I often get asked ‘have you seen any ghosts’ at the end of a performance at Werribee Park. And I have to be honest and say ‘no’. Whilst we have a scary element in the show – it is a scripted play. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. But have I, at times, been scared – a big resounding YES. I never pack up on my own – the one thing we notice in a 19th century built mansion – when the doors are shut there is a deafening silence from outside but then the house creates its own noises. Sometimes so loud we are stopped in our tracks. Literally, one time during a rehearsal – six of us there – we all heard it and had to stop the rehearsal to investigate.

But there was this one time – I was outside the front of the mansion having just said goodbye to the guests and I went to switch the big outside light off on the left. Done – then I walk over by the edge of the gravel path to switch off the other big light under the tree. I was stopped in my tracks by a huge black shape at the edge of the lawn. It didn’t move but I could see it was an animal. I froze. Now I understand what happens in movies when people stand there and you’re screaming at them to ‘run away, run away!’. I froze because my brain was trying to comprehend what it was and what to do. After a few moments the logical part said to me it wasn’t a monster, so I stepped closer and closer, slowly. I eventually realised it was a life-size and life-like sculpture of a huge gorilla. There was to be a big event on the following day and apparently this gorilla was a feature. I did a high pitch laugh and ran back into the house.