When you first meet Marcus Hicks, you would be forgiven for assuming he had just strolled out a nearby office for a quick bite of lunch.
Dressed in what would best be described as ‘work casual’, his non-descript lavender v-neck jumper and tan chinos give no indication whatsoever that he has spent the morning crawling through derelict buildings chasing spectral beings.
As he sits down and orders a latte, he opens the book on what is easily described as an unusual pastime. It all began while he was opening houses in the real-estate business part time, while putting himself through university.
“One day I opened a house and had a strange feeling the whole time I was in there like somebody was watching me. When I left I had a call from the office – it was the receptionist asking if I told anyone the place was haunted because that’s why the old tenants moved out.”
Initially confronted by the thought of ghosts existing outside of Hollywood, he felt a surge of excitement the more he thought about it – and knew he needed to find out more. With a taste for the supernatural, he joined a local investigative group and eerily describes some of his earlier investigations. He remembers vividly one house where the long-term tenants described poltergeist activity.
“The eldest daughter was home alone one night and as she walked towards a set of glass doors leading to the back of the property, she saw a figure walk behind her into her brother’s room. She called out to [her brother] asking when he had gotten back home from work but no one was there. That was kind of the last straw and they called our group in. We found a child spirit in the house who knew he had passed and another spirit who didn’t seem know they were dead.”
Some of the investigations he describes as creepy, while others have been extraordinarily intense and physical in nature – driving the last remaining doubts over the existence of the metaphysical from his mind.
“I was sitting in a dentists chair at the old Geelong Gaol one night and [our team] had a night vision camera set up on me while [one of the team] sat next to it and streamed the video on her iPad. The next minute I felt the dentist chair rocking and after a few moments we could actually see it on the monitor rocking back and forward. All of a sudden I felt a push on my neck and the chair flew back.”
Despite the excitement of the chase, Marcus recognizes the deeper complexities that run in the ghost-hunting business. Understanding the individual issues that cause ghosts to remain in this plane of existence can be like solving a puzzle with many missing pieces.
“I think they come to their state for two reasons; they have a connection to the house or an item that they don’t want to leave or trauma has caused a stain in history and they’re stuck in a loop.”
While chasing ghosts and solving spectral issues can be terrifying, dangerous and dirty work, there is no discussion about whether he will be playing it safe anytime soon.
“There is a lot I haven’t done, seen or experienced yet.”