Sharmaine Mansfield is on mission to sniff out Tasmania’s spooky past by using present-day technology.

The self-proclaimed paranormal investigator runs ghost tours out of the historic Willow Court Asylum in New Norfolk, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced her to think outside the box.

Ms Mansfield has hit the road and has started sharing her ghostly adventures via social media so anyone, anywhere can join in.

“During COVID, people were at home and not able to get out to do anything so basically I thought, ‘What can I do for these people sitting at home?’, so I started creating some live feeds,” she said.

Old photo of staff assembled for group photo.
Staff at the then-named New Norfolk Insane Asylum around 1890.(Supplied: Willow Court History Group)

Ms Mansfield said her hope was to bring life Tasmanian tales from beyond the grave via what she termed “paranormal live steams”.

She aims to encourage Tasmanians to visit historic locations across the state and holiday in their home state.

Exterior of Gaiety Theatre in Zeehan, on Tasmania's West Coast
Onlookers on social media experienced ghostly happenings at the West Coast’s Gaiety Theatre.(Supplied: Sharmaine Mansfield)

Ghostly streams from the wild West

As part of her state-wide tour, Ms Mansfield recently travelled to the state’s West Coast where she was invited to host her live paranormal investigations at both the Gaiety Theatre in Zeehan and the Penghana Bed and Breakfast in Queenstown.

Her streams have been beamed to about 28,000 Facebook followers where viewers interacted with Ms Mansfield through the comments.

“Apparently she was a daughter of the caretaker many, many years ago and they were seeing this particular vision of this little girl.”

Ms Mansfield said her audience also saw paranormal activity during her streamed tour in the bed and breakfast in Queenstown.

Exterior of Penghana Bed and Breakfast in Queenstown on Tasmania's west coast
Queenstown’s Penghana Bed and Breakfast recently hosted a ghost tour online.(Supplied: Sharmaine Mansfield)

“Thirty minutes before the night ended we were in this particular room and what everyone was experiencing and feeling; it was noises of sirens, alarms and people screaming,” she said.

Ms Mansfield believed the audience was picking up the residual haunting of the Queenstown mine disaster from 1912 when 42 workers died in a fire in the Mount Lyell Copper Mine. 

She says she likes to go about her work by investigating without any preconceived ideas.

Although the paranormal equipment Ms Mansfield uses in her live feeds is yet to capture an apparition on camera, some people watching the streams have reported seeing ghostly things on their own screens.

Ms Mansfield said she experienced the ghostly figure of a nurse wearing period dress while conducting ghost tours at the Willow Court Asylum.

The next stop on the ghost train will be the Mole Creek Hotel in the state’s north.

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