ABC’s ghost story busted

AN ABC radio presenter has tonight acknowledged the national broadcaster’s error in stating the Derwent Valley Council had hired a team of paranormal investigators to study Willow Court. In an item broadcast on the ABC TV Tasmanian news on Saturday night and followed-up online today, it was claimed a team of “ghostbusters” had been hired by the council to investigate strange happenings at the former hospital site.

The story spread across the internet today and was picked up by news services around the country. In the late afternoon, Statewide Evenings radio host Annie Warburton announced she would be discussing the council’s plan with sceptical investigator Peter Barrett who had heard the news in Canberra. But by the time the segment went to air, the ABC had been tipped off that its story was flawed.

Ms Warburton introduced Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans who said no ratepayer funds were being spent on a hunt for ghosts. He said the council had approved the request of three men wanting to “go in and have a look to see what was there.” Councillor Evans said the council had imposed strict restrictions on what would be included in a documentary the three researchers proposed to produce.

Sceptical investigator Peter Barrett then came on the line from Canberra, where he had picked up the story today. Having heard the mayor’s comments, Mr Barrett said the council seemed to have adopted a responsible attitude. Ms Warburton then made a “slight mea culpa on behalf of the ABC” and noted that the item aired on Saturday’s 7pm television news had been titled “Council hires real-life ghostbusters” and that this was incorrect.

The news item can be viewed here.

An image from the ABC TV report

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