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Melbourne’s Haunted Bookshop lease not renewed because of landlord’s “spiritual beliefs”

Melbourne’s Haunted Bookshop lease not renewed because of landlord's “spiritual beliefs”

MELBOURNE, Australia – Iconic occult bookstore, The Haunted Bookshop is more likely to shut its doorways after 22 years following the rejection of a brand new lease software being refused because of the landlord’s “religious beliefs.”

The store’s supervisor Drew Sinton has filed a spiritual discrimination grievance.

Haunted Bookshop in Melbourne – courtesy  D. Sinton

Rental Costs Soar within the Metropolis of Literature

The grandchildren of the aged proprietor of the constructing that presently homes Sinton’s MacKillop Road store greater than doubled his lease after the proprietor handed away lately.

“Clearly, being a small unbiased bookshop, this was a rise I couldn’t afford,” Sinton advised TWH.

“So on the sixth of June Luke Conquest [of Conquest Estate Agency] knowledgeable me my lease wouldn’t be renewed when it expires on the first of October and my store might be changed by a shoe retailer promoting Nike and Adidas runners – a lot for Melbourne being a UNESCO Metropolis of Literature since 4 different native bookshops closed or introduced closure in June.”

Melbourne joined the UNESCO Artistic Cities Community in 2008 when it was designated the primary and solely Metropolis of Literature in Australia, and the second on the earth.

The Melbourne Metropolis of Literature web site states that this designation was made in recognition of a lot of elements, together with “Melbourne’s city setting through which literature is integral,” and “Melbourne’s libraries, bookstores and cultural centres.”

“A slap within the face and an indication of disrespect”

Unable to afford the steep lease improve and discouraged by the excessive rents at different properties he checked out, Sinton had thought-about closing the shop utterly.

“Initially my plan was to shut the store all collectively [sic] on the grounds most landlords I spoke to have been asking ridiculous rents for largely unsuitable properties,” he advised TWH.

“…however then on the 25th of June I noticed a property which seemed fascinating as a result of it appeared reasonably priced and was simply throughout the street from the top of my lane.”

The Bourke Road property is managed by property agent Alexandra Harper of Business Actual Property, who carried out an inspection of the property with Mr Sinton on the 25th of June. In the course of the inspection, Ms Harper knowledgeable Sinton that the proprietor of the brand new property was “a high-profile member of the Buddhist group” who “stated that ghosts have been demons.”

“I didn’t take a lot discover of this remark,” Sinton advised TWH, “since I noticed the owner had no drawback proudly owning a multi-million-dollar carpark, and was clearly not a vegetarian since he had McDonald’s as a tenant.”

Nevertheless, after Mr Sinton offered Ms Harper with the whole lot she wanted, together with pictures and a rendering of proposed signage for her shopper’s property, the subsequent day she returned an e-mail which learn “Hello Drew, I despatched via the render, pictures of your store and your web site and sadly because of the landlord’s religious beliefs he isn’t prepared to place the Haunted ebook store in his asset.”

E mail – courtesy D. Sinton


“The rejection e-mail was a slap within the face and an indication of disrespect for somebody like me who does inventory books on Buddhism (which Ms Harper photographed when she inspected the within of my store), is a vegetarian, doesn’t personal property and has lived under the poverty line for the previous 22 years with a purpose to pay all enterprise bills first,” Sinton stated to TWH. “What a hypocrite, I assumed, and what blatant discrimination.”

Ms Harper wouldn’t disclose the identify of the proprietor to Mr Sinton, however Simon Johanson’s article in The Age on July 1st revealed it to be multimillionaire metropolis landlord and property developer David Yu, whose firm Ausvest Holdings owns 41 properties round Melbourne.

Yu can also be recognized for his buy of a French Renaissance type 19 room mansion within the prosperous suburb of Toorak, which he has left vacant since its buy in 1995, after a number of rejected proposals to demolish the home and develop the land.

Buddhism and Witchcraft

The world’s fourth-largest faith, Buddhism includes a variety of totally different beliefs, practices and traditions, principally based mostly on unique teachings attributed to the Buddha and ensuing philosophies and interpretations.

Whereas it’s unclear which custom of Buddhism Yu follows, the seventh of the 36 sramanera/sramanerika precepts in Tibetan Buddhism counsels adherents to keep away from,      “… mendacity by which one claims to have religious realizations or powers that one doesn’t have.”

The 36 precepts are vows often taken by male monks (sramanera) and feminine monks (sramanerika) at their time of ordination, however they’re additionally typically taken by laity as a part of vital initiations, elevations or empowerments.

The Grievance

After looking for authorized recommendation, Mr Sinton has lodged a grievance with the Victorian Equal Alternative and Human Rights Fee.

Within the state of Victoria, it’s towards the regulation to discriminate towards an individual due to their spiritual beliefs or actions, precise or assumed.

A petition “Hold the Haunted Bookshop Open!” has additionally been arrange, encouraging the Victorian State Authorities to step in and assist save the Haunted Bookshop.

“Each human being is entitled to the liberty of expression and proper to follow their religion with out persecution as per the United Nations human rights conventions. In denying a enterprise lease on the grounds that it goes towards the faith of one other is unacceptable and silly when such a enterprise attracts guests from numerous elements of the globe and interstate to buy and attend the ghost excursions.” – petition description

When requested for remark, President and founding father of the Pagan Consciousness Community (PAN) inc David Garland was supportive of the grievance being lodged however not stunned at what had taken place.

“I shouldn’t be stunned with the present surroundings in Australia, the place we appear to be getting increasingly more conservative.” Garland stated to TWH. “That is for my part a transparent case of spiritual discrimination and I shall be following with curiosity.”

PAN’s mission assertion is to actively right misinformation, to boost group consciousness, to teach and to foster the expansion of the Pagan group.

A Cornerstone of Melbourne Occulture for over Two Many years

The Haunted Bookshop opened in 1997. In these early days, native witches Buddhy Gilbert, Josephine Langerac, and Samantha Pierlot ran Witchcraft and Spellcraft workshops within the again room of the store earlier than Spellbox opened in close by Royal Arcade. Different workshops included Psychic Improvement, Mediumship, Seances, Psychic Vampirism, and Ghosthunting which later turned the Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour, now in its 22nd yr.

Sinton advised TWH that Melbourne witch and artist Vali Myers used to pop into the store. Belgrave witch Kerry Kulkens signed copies of her books within the again room. Different writers who Sinton might keep in mind dropping into the store embrace ceremonial magician and writer Dr Stephen Skinner, chaos magician and Tarot artist Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule, Tarot writer Mary Okay Greer, Tantra and Tattwa writer Dr Jonn Mumford, witchcraft writer Ly De Angeles, Halloween writer Chris Kullstroem, horror writer Tania Donald, and astrology writer Angelica Danton, who additionally labored on the store within the early days.

Australian Witchcraft Journal author and editor Caroline Tully was additionally a daily. “Till Spellbox and later Muses of Thriller opened, The Haunted Bookshop was one of many solely locations that Melbourne Witches and Pagans might truly get fascinating and uncommon books within the metropolis,” Tully advised TWH. “…particularly because the Theosophical Bookshop scaled down its Occult part – everybody used to go to the Theosophical, however within the final 20 years they’ve been going to The Haunted Bookshop.”

For 20 years the Haunted Bookshop was additionally on the centre of Melbourne’s Goth, Satanic and Vampire scene.

Sinton informed TWH, “[the shop was] reverse one in every of Melbourne’s main nightclubs, DV8, now closed, and near close by various outlets Deviate Store, Wildilocks, Lacking Hyperlink, Metallic For Melbourne, Downtown Revolution, Peril Underground and Freeway to Hell, all now gone from the town. Legendary Goth store Mortisha’s, additionally gone, made the drapes for the store in addition to my ghost tour costume, which I put on to today.”

Melbourne Satanist Michael Nero ran free Saturday afternoon periods within the again room of the store referred to as Salon Noir the place native Goths obtained collectively to debate all issues occult, vampiric, and paranormal.

Richard Davis, writer of Ghost Information To Australia and UFO writer Keith Basterfield each visited the store together with Most Haunted’s Derek Acorah who “talked about shopping for Aleister Crowley’s Boleskine Home.”

In 1998, Melbourne filmmaker Jamie Blanks launched his US-made film City Legend on the Haunted Bookshop. Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro visited the store twice throughout filming of his film Don’t Be Afraid Of The Darkish. Actress and comic Mary-Anne Fahey, comic Frank Woodley and comedy duo The Scared Bizarre Little Guys are among the many Australian celebrities that Sinton remembers visiting his store through the years.

In 2007, Melbourne movie maker and paranormal fanatic Stelios Kokotos approached Sinton to host Mystical Guides Haunted Australia, which he did for a dozen episodes screening on Channel 31 then Foxtel.

In 2018, The Haunted Bookshop additionally turned house to all the occult assortment of Australian paranormal author John Pinkney after his passing.

An episode of actuality TV present The Actual Housewives of Melbourne was shot on the Haunted Bookshop in addition to scenes from the film Witch Hunt, which was impressed by the Household cult chief Anne Hamilton-Byrne.

An episode of “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” was additionally shot on the store. The present was produced by Rhonda Byrne shortly earlier than she revealed her million-dollar bestseller, “The Secret.”

“Rhonda purchased the ‘Satanic Bible’ from me through the shoot which could offer you a clue to the place she received at the very least a few of her concepts,” Sinton informed TWH, “as did… documentary maker and writer John Safran who might have used Anton LaVey’s e-book as inspiration for his guide ‘Relies upon What You Imply by Extremist.’”

Drew Sinton – courtesy

Giving Up the Ghost after September

Sinton’s plan so far is to shut the bookshop by the top of his present lease.

In a public Fb submit he stated, “Melbourne’s iconic Haunted Bookshop at 15 McKillop Road is closing in September after 22 years. This provides you ample time to make use of your Haunted Bookshop present voucher both on the bookshop or to switch it to The Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour which, from October, will begin at The Mitre Tavern in close by Financial institution Place. Thanks in your help through the years.”

On the time of publication, this submit had been shared virtually 200 occasions and the store had acquired an outpouring of help and nicely needs on-line.

“I’m so utterly and completely devastated by this information,” one commenter stated. “This e-book retailer was among the best issues about travelling to the Metropolis of Melbourne, what has occurred to the superior various metropolis I used to like? Melbourne is actually letting vacationers down throughout the board these days.”

When chatting with TWH, Caroline Tully had comparable ideas. “Drew sells new and second hand Occult books, tarot decks and objects, and for a very long time nobody else in central Melbourne did that,” Tully stated. “He additionally is aware of what he’s speaking about in regard to a variety of intriguing and diabolical subjects and so far as I do know, in regard to his specific areas of experience, nobody else is doing that.”

“Clearly I discover it discriminatory that the owner of the store that Drew needs to lease has an issue with Drew’s religious beliefs.”

Tully continued,

I see that [Sinton] has lodged a spiritual discrimination grievance with the Victorian Equal Alternative and Human Rights Fee which I feel is the appropriate factor to do.

There’s nothing like The Haunted Bookshop elsewhere in Melbourne, and if it has to shut as a result of it could possibly’t discover a storefront it is going to be outrageous, in addition to another nail within the coffin of precise ink and paper bookshops on this metropolis. A metropolis the dimensions of Melbourne ought to have many bookshops (new and second hand). I feel the agent was silly to say that the owner refused Drew’s software due to the owner’s religious beliefs, because it’s simply going to trigger extra hassle for them now. However, it’s good publicity for The Haunted Bookshop.

When requested by TWH about his plans for after his store closed, Sinton replied, “perhaps shifting in with the possums in Flagstaff Gardens and beginning my very own faith referred to as Sintonism. First commandment? No landlords!”

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