The Somerset East Old Parsonage Museum has a few ghosts. A tall man in a black suit has been seen sitting behind the desk in the study. The light bulb over the desk switches on and off when people enter the room. Heavy footsteps have been heard, descending the staircase. Slow, heavy footsteps have been heard in the upstairs rooms. It is believed that this is the ghost of a church minister. People have reported seeing a little boy in Victorian dress standing in a corner, or running, with a very sad expression. There is a grave under the floor of the room where he has been seen, where the infant son of a church minister was buried. A soldier roams the Walter Battis Art Gallery. It was the Officer's Mess, built during the time of Somerset Farm. It is said that on some nights, one can hear the English officers throwing their glasses into the fireplace. On dark nights, passers-by have reported seeing a man standing at the upstairs window.
|Somerset East Old Parsonage Museum|
Kimberley is well-known for its many ghosts. It is said there are 158 haunted houses and buildings with over 200 still to be verified by paranormal experts. The Clyde N. Terry Hall of Militaria, a private military museum, is close to the Honoured Dead Memorial which contains the remains of British soldiers killed during the Anglo-Boer War. An old military trunk in the museum rattles on the floor and moves around while no-one is watching. There is a strong smell of herbs. A baby’s cries can be heard as the lid of a tin trunk mysteriously opens and closes.
Dunluce, a stately home built in 1897 for the diamond buyer Gustav BONAS, was bought in 1903 by John ORR, one of South Africa's early retail barons. Flickering lights and moving figures are often seen after dark. A woman in a pink period dress is often seen walking through closed doors. The house was originally named Gustav Bonas House or Lillianvale, and renamed Dunluce by John ORR, when he bought it with its fittings and furnishings for 6400. He lived there until his death in 1932, after which his eldest daughter and her family moved in until 1975. Dunluce was purchased by Barlow Rand in 1975, restored and donated to the McGregor Museum. It was used as accommodation for Barlow Rand managers until 1985, and was declared a national monument in 1990. The gardens, maintained by Charlie DZENE for more than fifty years, are often used for wedding receptions and garden parties.
Rudd House was built on Plot 931 during the late 1880s. Known as The Bungalow, it originally had four rooms. In 1888 the property was occupied by William Henry SOLOMON. In 1896 The Bungalow was transferred to Charles Dunell RUDD, and in 1898 to his son Henry Percy. The house was opened to the public in September 1988. Ghosts have been seen tending the plants in the greenhouse. The ghost of the last owner's son, who committed suicide, is said to pace the garden. In the conservatory an apparition of a governess is said to be visible occasionally through the windows as she tidies the room. Behind the house there are outbuildings, including a garage. Many people have taken a photograph through a gap in the garage door, and later found an unexplained image in the photograph. Some people have heard a baby crying at night in the nursery, and others have heard glass breaking in the pantry. A lady dressed in a white dress is sometimes seen in the sun room on the roof, looking very sad. Sometimes she's seen standing at the tree in the garden. Some have even said she joins visitors in their car when they leave.
|Charles Rudd and family at Rudd House|
Charles married Frances Georgina Leighton CHIAPPINI on 05 February 1868 at St George's Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town. She was born circa 1847 in Cape Town, the daughter of Edward Lorenzo CHIAPPINI and Anna Catherine Margaretha GIE. Frances died on 10 September 1896 at Sheildaig Lodge, Gairstock, Scotland. They had four children - Henry Percy born on 05 December 1868, Franklin Martin born in 1870, Charles John Lockhart born on 12 March 1873, and Evelyn Lily born about 1881 who married Sir John Eldon GORST. In 1898 Charles married his second wife, Corrie Maria WALLACE, eldest daughter of R.E. WALLACE of Kimberley. Her father was Charles' partner in the machinery company.
Henry Percy was baptised on 10 January 1869 at St Paul's Church in Rondebosch. He was known as Percy. In 1898 he owned The Bungalow. He married Mabel BLYTHE, daughter of Captain BLYTH, in 1893. They had two sons and two daughters. Their son, Bevil Gordon D’Urban RUDD, was born in 1894. Bevil was a Rhodes Scholar from St. Andrew’s, Grahamstown, and in 1920 he won the 400m sprint for South Africa at the Antwerp Olympics, and later worked as a sports journalist at The Daily Telegraph. He married Ursula KNIGHT. They lived at The Bungalow until 1930. Their son, Bevil John Blyth RUDD, the eldest of four children, was born in the house on 07 April 1927. He was known as John. Bevil senior died in the house in 1948.
John died on 31 August 2009 in Worcester, South Africa. John and his younger brother Robin were sent to Eton. After attending Sandhurst, where he won the Sword of Honour, John was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards. He served for two years in Palestine and was injured in the Irgun attack on the King David Hotel in 1946. Invalided out of the Army with osteomyelitis in 1949, he became personal assistant to Sir Ernest OPPENHEIMER. He joined Sailor MALAN's Torch Commando which in 1951-2 opposed the disenfranchising of Coloured voters. John achieved prominence in May 1961, when the South African police raided his home, Mingary, in Bryanston and found him in bed with Dorothy TIYO, a 21-year-old snake dancer in the African musical King Kong. They were arrested under the Immorality Act, which prohibited relationships across the colour line. The magistrate, Mr. GUSH, sentenced them to six months in jail, and John served four months. Afterwards John worked for the De Beers group in London, sent there by Harry OPPENHEIMER. After two years in New York (1966-68) he spent a decade as head of industrial diamonds for Asia-Pacific, based in Japan. He edited De Beers' magazine, Indiaqua. He married Tessa Marie-Louise LAUBSCHER in 1954, but this ended in divorce in 1958. In 1966 he married Anna KLINGLUND, daughter of Swedish diplomat Karl Ake KLINGLUND, with whom he had a son. They divorced in 1977. Back in South Africa and retired from Anglo American, he became director of Benguela Concessions which mined offshore diamonds on the Atlantic coast. He owned a wine farm in Franschhoek and a five-star guest house in the Karoo.
Percy lived at The Bungalow until 1954, when he moved to St. James in Cape Town. In 1933 he married Emilie Stephanie POOLE, of Evilly, France. She was a former companion to Mabel RUDD. Upon his death at St James on 12 September 1961, Percy left the house to Emilie, who lived there until her death in 1963. She left The Bungalow to her sister and brother in France, who auctioned off the furniture and contents. They were not able to sell the house and it stood empty until 1968, when it was bought by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd and donated to the McGregor Museum. Today the house has 22 bedrooms. Percy is said to haunt the former sick room. The servants’ quarters have at least six ghosts. Dr. P.K. LE SUEUR, a Scotsman who has studied the house for many years, has noted orbs of light that appear in photos taken in the house. Haunted North America Investigations, which does investigations world-wide, placed Rudd House on 12th spot in a list of the 25 most haunted places.
The Kimberley Club has a haunted top floor, where an elderly man is sometimes seen moving along the corridor. A ghostly waiter serves in the dining room, and a woman in period dress stands on the staircase. Wealthy philanthropist Joe VAN PRAAGH insisted on building a private bathroom when he resided at the club. His presence is sometimes felt in the reading room on the first floor.
At the old Main Cemetery many apparitions have been seen at night. In the old De Beers offices, with Rhodes's chair, wheelchair and other items, meetings have been interrupted by windows and doors opening on their own. Lights swing mysteriously as a ghost walks by. On the veranda, a ghost dog is heard howling. A ghost rides the elevator in De Beers House.
The ghost of the first Librarian, Bertrand DYER, walks around the Africana Library. He drank arsenic in 1908 after he was found doctoring the accounts. Visitors have seen books crashing to the floor, and heard teacups tinkling at 11am and 4pm. The story goes that it took over three days for him to die. He is seen in his Victorian clothing, pacing the halls of his beloved library. Often books are rearranged or moved and the only clue to their mobility is the sound of hastily retreating footsteps. The librarians say that if they ever need to find a book, they ask him and the book will suddenly fall off the shelf. The Library, now the Africana Museum, was built in 1882 and has a wrought-iron gallery, spiral staircase and chandeliers. Bertrand arrived in 1900 from the United Kingdom where he had worked for the Queen's library.
The McGregor Museum was originally the Kimberley Sanatorium, opened in 1897 as a health resort for people with chest problems. In 1933 it was let to the Sisters of the Holy Family who used it as a convent. The convent closed in 1969, but a ghost of one of the nuns haunts the administration section, roaming the corridors in a flowing white habit.
The Magersfontein Anglo-Boer battlefield has a ghostly Scottish piper and the flickering lanterns of the stretcher-bearers can be seen. A Celtic Cross memorial, dedicated to the dead of the Highland Brigade, sits atop Magersfontein koppie. December 1899 - a British relief column advanced along the Cape railway line and in three earlier clashes, forced the Boer commandos to pull back. The Boers planned to make a stand at Magersfontein, but instead of defending from the heights of the koppie, as the British assumed they would, they dug camouflaged trenches around its base. For two days, the British poured artillery fire on the hill. At dawn on 11 December, the Black Watch advanced in massed ranks. They were 400 metres from the hill when the Boers opened fire. They died while the bagpipers played on. The Highland Brigade commander, Major General A.G. WAUCHOPE, was among the first to die. The Gordon Highlanders were sent, only to suffer a similar fate. All day the wounded lay out in the field and were picked off by snipers. Eventually confused orders led to the troops retreating. Casualties lay on the battlefield all night although stretcher bearers ventured out with lanterns to rescue those they could. A truce was called the next day. The Highland Brigade lost 202 soldiers, and 37 soldiers from the guards and other units were killed. More than 660 British troops were wounded. The Boer forces lost 87 men, including 23 Scandinavian volunteers. Marta VAN SCHALKWYK has run the Bagpipe Lodge and Cafe on the hill for the past 30 years. Her son has seen the ghosts, men with rifles marching forward.
Henry the ghost has been around Houw Hoek Inn for over 40 years. He is often seen downstairs around reception, in rooms three and four (now used as store rooms) and in the passage on the first floor. In the early days, the sound of footsteps and doors opening were heard coming from the first floor although no one was booked into these rooms. When telephones were installed in the rooms, a call would come in from one of the rooms upstairs or the telephone would ring in the room with no calls going through the switchboard. When televisions were introduced, they would switch on and off on their own. The last person to have seen Henry was Ronnie, a manager between 1988 and 1992, who died about 10 years ago. In the late 1970s, a lady sitting in the lounge started sketching a man standing close to her, but the man vanished before she could finish. When the drawing was shown to the owner's wife, Mrs MCENTYRE, she recognised him as the farmer Henry, a regular who committed suicide on his way home from the inn one night. One of the waiters, Sakhumzi (Sakkie) NDONDO, had a strange experience about six years ago during his first night duty. He locked the back door to the veranda and then sat by the fire in the lounge. He heard a door opening and footsteps on the wooden staircase. Upon investigating, he found the back door wide open. About three months later, he was on duty again when he walked out of reception to the bar next to the staircase. The lights on the staircase and the passage upstairs went off. As the only light-switch was upstairs, he went upstairs to investigate and switched the lights on again. On hearing noises coming from one of the empty rooms he went to look. As he walked down the passage, the lights in the communal bathroom went on and off again. Reaching the room where the noises were coming from, he found the door open and the TV and lights on. He switched off the lights and the TV, and the passage lights went off. That was his last night duty.
|Houw Hoek Inn, with the old blue gum tree|
One of the early settlers in the Overberg was Johannes Jacobus TESSELAAR. He was born in 1748, the son of a German cook at the Cape, Johann TESSELAAR and his wife, Johanna Catharina SMUTS. He became a Lieutenant in the Cape Cavalry. For his military service, he received two farms in the Overberg - Hartebeestrivier and Steenboksrivier - from Governor Willem Adriaan VAN DER STEL. In 1783 he was one of the officials involved in salvaging the Nicobar which stranded near Quoin Point. By 1797 he owned five farms, 14 male slaves, four female slaves, 125 horses, 60 cattle and 505 sheep. He married Aaltje (Alida) VAN DER HEYDE in 1774. They did not have any children. He died in 1810 and she died in 1832. His 1804 will stipulated that the farm Hartebeestrivier be left to the BREDNKAMP boys and HEYSENBERG sisters. His 1809 will added the GERTSE brothers and KOERT to this bequest. It is believed that some of the heirs were from his relationship with a woman of mixed race. The nine who inherited were the twins Barend and Jan Frederik BREDENKAMP, Joggom KOERT, Gert and Jan GERTSE, Alida HEYSENBERG, Christina HEYSENBERG, Elizabeth HEYSENBERG, and Aletta HEYSENBERG. The BREDENKAMP brothers and their children were assimilated into the White community. The GERTSE, KOERT and HEYSENBERG people were regarded as Coloureds. Joggom KOERT married Alida HEYSENBERG, and their descendants still live on part of the farm. Genealogical research on these families has been done by the Caledon Museum.
When he died, Aaltje was left with an estate that included jewellery, 38 servants and 150 horses. She continued farming at Steenboksrivier with wheat and barley. In her last will Aaltje stipulated that the slaves be freed and all those under the age of 15 be educated. Hartebeesrivier was used for sowing and grazing. It was informally exchanged or transferred amongst the families and their descendants. By the early 1900s, a Dutch Reformed Church mission, an Anglican church and a primary school were established on the farm. Hartebeestrivier became Teslaarsdal, said to be the Cape’s most hidden village, among the mountains between Caledon, Napier and Hermanus. The farm eventually became a land claim court case in 1971 with 87 Coloured and 41 White people claiming rights. The case was still on the go in 1982 and as late as 2004. One of the claimants was Clemens REYNOLDS. His maternal grandmother was the granddaughter of the twin Jan Frederik BREDENKAMP. Clemens' mother was Hester REYNOLDS and his father Jan NIGRINI, who was married to Hester's mother and her step-father. Hester was 17 when Clemens was born. She later married Coena VAN DYK.
After Aaltje's death, Steenboksrivier was passed to Johannes' nephew, also Johannes Jacobus TESSELAAR. He married Cornelia in Stellenbosch. Upon their return to the farm, a feast was held, attended by the bywoners, tenants, neighbours and friends. One of the guests presented the bride with a large bouquet. She smelt the flowers and promptly fainted, and the strange guest disappeared. Once revived, Cornelia refused to speak about the incident. As time went by, the couple received fewer and fewer visitors. Farming became disastrous. The couple were childless. Johannes died in Cape Town in 1869. Dr. James Ross HUTCHINSON, a Scot, bought the farm and renamed it Dunghye Park. The locals called it Donkiespad. The next owner was Thys DE VILLIERS. A crying baby can be heard in the old farm house, the outbuildings and around the yard. Thys decided to dig up the area. A child’s skeleton was found, and after a proper funeral was held, the crying stopped.
Ratelrivier, originally known as Buffeljagt aan de Ratelrivier, was loaned out to Matthys LOURENS in 1745. A loan farm was land that leased grazing rights to farmers, usually for a year, and was not registered in the farmer's name but remained government property. On 16 June 1831 Hans Jacob SWART, age 45, became the first registered owner of the farm. When he died in 1835, his widow Catharina Elizabeth (maiden name MOOLMAN) continued farming with her sons and slaves. She was a harsh woman, punishing any slave who did wrong by burying hi in sand with only the nose sticking out. One fatal day, she forgot a buried slave for four days. By the time he was pulled from the sand, close to death, he had placed a curse on Ratelrivier. In the late 1860s, Dirk Gysbert van Reenen VAN BREDA bought the farm. He was also a member of the Legislative Council of the Cape Colony’s first elected Parliament and a Cape Town municipal commissioner. His two sons, Dirk Gysbert junior and Pieter Johannes Albertus, were known for their violent tempers, heavy drinking and abusive behaviour towards slaves and their own wives. Barely six months after their father’s death, had they both killed their wives.
|Jacoba Alida MORKEL|
Dirk Gysbert junior was a brewer in Cape Town. His first wife, Ellen, died in 1855 after the birth of their first child. Eighteen months later he married the 15-year old Jacoba Alida MORKEL, daughter of a wealthy butcher, Pieter Loret MORKEL. They had seven children. On 30 July 1865, Dirk Gysbert junior was declared insolvent and his father appointed him manager of Ratelrivier. The farm was profitable and the family had a housekeeper, a governess for the children, a cook and many servants. They often entertained guests at dinner dances and hunting parties. According to one of Dirk Gysbert's daughters, Susanna Petronella Hendrina, her parents were not on good terms at the time of her mother’s death. Eight days before her death there was a party at which there were Scotchmen. Her mother danced with a Mr. MCMILLAN. During the party Dirk Gysbert junior went outside and returned with a razor, looking for his wife. She tried to evade
him, but got hold of her and assaulted her in front of Susanna. On 21 March 1871 while having supper, her father continued his quarrel with his wife about her dance. He grabbed a revolver and in the ensuing struggle a shot went off. The children called the farm manager, Jurie GERMISHUIS, and Dr. ALBERTYN from Bredasdorp was sent for. Jurie helped his employer get rid of the revolver. Jacoba died early on the morning of 22 March before the doctor arrived. Legend has it that the dying Jacoba left a bloody handprint on the passage wall, which subsequent farm owners could not erase. The doctor did not do an autopsy, believing her death to be an accident. The Cape Supreme Court dismissed the death as an accident. Three years later, Dirk Gysbert junior attacked a servant, who then filed a complaint against him. His wife's case was re-opened and Susanna was called as a witness. On 06 May 1874 Dirk Gysbert junior pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, but was found guilty of culpable homicide. He was sentenced to five years hard labour. He died in 1901, a poor man. Seventeen days after Jacoba's death, Dirk Gysbert junior's brother, Pieter Johannes Albertus, a doctor in Fort Beaufort, stabbed his wife to death.
Baardskeerdersbos used to belong to the Stanford Congregation. The land was donated by one of the congregation members, Aunt Luitjie, on the condition that it would only be used for services. The building was completed in 191. Soon afterwards the young people organised a meeting of the Young Men and Women’s Christian Association in the hall one evening. Aunt Luitjie was not pleased and predicted that, like Jericho, the walls would come tumbling down. Three years later, after heavy rainfall, the roof and walls of the cursed building collapsed. The church hall was later rebuilt. Aunt Luitjie passed away. One night the church bells suddenly started to ring at midnight. The residents came out but saw no one. Every fourteen nights thereafter, the bell rang at midnight for months. Then it suddenly stopped. Years later a retired farmer and a Colonel were sitting in front of a local shop one day. Having found jobs elsewhere, before they left they had a party and later decided to go ring the church bell. Before they could do so, the bell started to ring. Instantly sober, they hid away. Up in the ridge of the roof above them, the bell kept ringing, without a rope.
Flickering lights, knocking at the door, the ice machine switching on and off, condiments from all the tables mysteriously all landing up on one table only, and a tap on the shoulder are some of the strange happenings that waiters have experienced since the Longhorn opened its doors on the corner of Lombard Street and Mooirivier Drive in 1988. It is said that Jurie SCHOEMAN’s ghost is responsible for the closure of six restaurants near his grave. Six restaurants have come and gone on the River Walk corner, even though the site is perfectly situated to attract passing trade from the N12 Treasure Route. According to Rob SCHOEMAN, his father, Jurie, owned the site where River Walk Shopping Centre now stands. He bought it in 1951 for 10000 pounds. When Jurie died in 1982 his ashes were buried on the same corner. His granddaughter, Kay’s ashes were added alongside his in 1988. In 1979 the family built the Checkers Centre. The adjacent restaurant premises were built in 1988 and occupied by Longhorn. In 1989 it burned down under mysterious circumstances. The restaurant was rebuilt as Mike's Kitchen. It did well until it was sold after 1995. It eventually closed after the new owners were liquidated. Shortly after the Checkers Centre was sold in 1995, Mike’s Kitchen became Food Construction Company. The owner sold to his brother, and went on to own four Spar franchises in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Towards the end of 1999, the restaurant became a MacRib franchise, and was sold within three years. It was followed by Saddles, until that was liquidated in 2009. A Keg and Mulligan was opened, closing down in 2011. Rob SCHOEMAN recalls that as a young child in the early 1950s, his grandparents owned the old Potchefstroom Cheese Factory where Toyota is now.
The Western Cape Premier's official residence, Leeuwenhof, has its own ghosts. Sometimes the lights mysteriously go on after they were switched off. There are also the sounds of someone walking in the corridors. One of the stories is about a young woman who committed suicide after she had a child with someone who did not have her parents' approval. Those who have seen her on the teak stairs, say she will give you the baby if she likes you. She is dressed in white, has brown hair and blue eyes. An older woman is said to haunt the ground floor sitting room.
The Castle of Good Hope is the country's oldest building, built between 1666 and 1679. It was already occupied in 1674. The Castle is said to be one of the 100 most haunted places in the world. It has many apparitions, of which Governor Pieter Gysbert VAN NOODT is one of the most infamous. During his time as the Governor of the Cape in the 1720s, he enforced strict discipline and ruthless punishments for soldiers who disobeyed him. After the execution of seven soldiers who had tried to escape in 1729, he was found dead in his chair in his room with a look of horror on his face. The chair is in the Koopmans-De Wet Museum. No cause of death was found, a heart attack was suspected. He is said to still haunt the Castle. The soldiers were unjustly condemned to death, after the Governor overturned the Council's more lenient sentence. He also haunts Rust-en-Vreugd in Buitenkant Street. It is said to be linked to the Castle by a secret passage. The ghost of a woman appears at an upstairs window, next to a ghostly cot, watching for the return of a seafaring lover. A floating woman in a long dress has been seen on the ground floor, and an invisible hand taps people on the shoulder. Mysterious footsteps are heard. The house, now a museum, was built in 1777.
The Donker Gat is a windowless dungeon that also served as a torture chamber. During winter rains, the water rose three feet in there, drowning some of the convicts who were chained to the dungeon walls. The Zulu King Cetewayo was imprisoned in the Castle, along with some of his wives. In 1915, an unidentified two-metre tall figure was seen on the Castle's battlements. It was seen again in 1947 over a period of weeks. It walked between the Leerdam and Oranje bastions. This may be the same ghost who rings the Castle bell from time to time, since a guard hanged himself with the bell rope hundreds of years ago. A large black dog also haunts the Castle, leaping at visitors but vanishing at the last moment. In the Buren bastion, lights are switched on and off by themselves. Near the guard room, the voices of an unseen man and woman have been heard arguing.
|Lady Anne Barnard|
A lady in grey haunts both the Castle and Tuynhuys. At the Castle she was seen weeping with her hands covering her face. She may be connected with a woman's skeleton which was unearthed near one of the Castle's old sally gates. During the Royal Tour of 1947, the Royal Family stayed in Tuynhuys, and Princess Elizabeth celebrated her 21st birthday there. During the Royal stay, the ghost was seen by several people. By 1949 the ghost had not been seen since the skeleton was discovered. Also at Tuynhuys is a portrait of Governor Lord Charles Somerset, which causes dogs to bristle and snarl.
Verlatenbosch on Table Mountain has the ghost of a Governor's son who was maliciously infected with leprosy and forced to live and die alone in a cabin on the mountain. A vengeful citizen who held a grudge against the Governor, tempted the boy into using a flute that had been used by an old leper. When evening falls, the haunting sounds of this flute can be heard.
In 1641 the Flying Dutchman, a Dutch ship, was getting close to rounding the Cape of Good Hope after a difficult voyage to the East. The crew were desperate to get home. No one took note of the slightly stronger wind and ominous clouds. Before the lookout could shout a warning, the ship had sailed into an intense storm. The crew begged Captain Hendrik VAN DER DECKEN to turn back, but he refused, uttering a blasphemous curse he vowed to round the Cape even if he had to keep sailing until Doomsday. The terrified crew caused mutiny on board, and the Captain killed the instigator, throwing his body overboard. As the body hit the water, a ghostly figure appeared on the deck and condemned the Captain's stubbornness before being shot by the Captain. The figure cursed the Captain and his crew to sail the oceans for all eternity, enduring hardship and bringing death to all those who cross their path. Ever since, ships have reported sightings of a ghostly ship and some have been led astray to be crushed against unseen rocks.
The most famous Royal Navy sighting of the Flying Dutchman was recorded by King George V, who in 1881 was a midshipman on HMS Bacchante. In his diary of 11 July, he wrote "At four a.m., the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows." The lookout on the forecastle, and the officer of the watch, also saw the ghost ship off the port bow. Prince George described "a strange red light, as of a phantom ship, all aglow in the midst of which light the mast, spars and sails of a brig two hundred yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up." The ghost ship was sighted from other ships in the squadron, the Cleopatra and the Tourmaline. Thirteen crewmen reported seeing the ship. The squadron was commanded by Prince Louis of Battenberg, great uncle of the present Prince Philip. The seaman who first reported the ghost ship died from a fall, seven hours afterwards. Prince George published his account as The Cruise Of H.M.S. Bacchante.
Keepers of the Cape Point lighthouse often reported seeing her during storms. In 1835, Robert Montgomery MARTIN, South Africa's first statistician, described a personal encounter with the ship. In 1879, the steamer SS Pretoria changed course, after the passengers and crew saw lights which they thought to be a distress signal. A strange sailing ship was seen, but it vanished when the steamer approached it. In 1959, the crew of the freighter Straat Magelhaen reported a near collision with the Flying Dutchman.
Another ghost Dutch East Indiaman that haunts the Cape is the Libera Nos. Captain Bernard FOKKE and his crew are often mistaken for the Flying Dutchman.
Many South African children remember the saying: "Be good or Antjie Somers will get you". Antjie Somers was said to be a slave who worked herself to death and came back to avenge her hard life. She tormented those who did her wrong. She is also often described as a man in women's clothes, with a hare lip and really bad teeth. At night, when husbands are away, Antjie plunders a house and kills the children. Pretending to be a woman in need of a lift, it attacks and robs travellers. Apparently there were two outlaws in the early nineteenth century, one known as Antjie Somers and the other as Antjie Winters. The legend of Antjie Somers began in Tuinstraat (now Queen Victoria Street) in central Cape Town. Near the top of the street was a dark area with many trees, where the Dutch colony's last executioner hanged himself. The executioner was paid a fixed amount for hanging the bodies of suicides on the gallows. His livelihood was ruined when the new British Governor banned torture and cruel punishments. In the 1840s the same area became the haunt of a ghostly man in women's clothing. It became known as Annetjie, and as it appeared mostly in warm weather, the surname Somers was added.
Bellevue in the grounds of St. John's Hostel near Upper Kloof Street has a kitchen where some children were said to have been hidden to save them from slaves trying to harm them.
Waterhof in Hof Street, Gardens has a ghost dog that searches the ground for buried treasure. The ghost of a bearded old man roams the house at night, and the story of children hidden in an oven, to escape murderous slaves, has also been associated with this house.
Hiddingh House in Newlands Avenue has lights that turn on and off by themselves. A young lady has been seen here. It had been the officer's mess of a cavalry regiment, in the time of Lord Somerset. At different times, the South African artists Gregoire BOONZAAIER and Frank SPEARS lived here. Somebody is said to have been walled up in the house, but another explanation of the haunting is that a maid fell down the stairs, during a drunken party with the officers.
Groot Constantia has Simon VAN DER STEL strolling to the ornamental swimming pool on summer mornings. He was a well-loved Governor, and wasn't White, a fact that was not known for many years. He was the son of a Dutch official and his East Indian wife, and was the first commander of the settlement to be given the title Governor. He retired to Groot Constantia, but his wife, Johanna SIX lived in Holland. His older son, Willem, succeeded him as Governor. Willem's administration was marred by corruption and incompetence, and he and his brother Frans were banished from the Cape in 1708. Their father continued to live at the Cape until he died in 1712. Shortly before his death, he freed the slave Christina van Canarie. In 1713 she bought the house and estate of Stellenberg, from Simon's exiled son Frans. Stellenberg still stands in Stellenberg Avenue, Kenilworth.
99 Milner Road in Rondebosch was used by a cult in the 1970s. An old man wanders around and doors open of their own accord.
At 71 Bree Street, an 18th century house demolished in 1950, was haunted by an elderly woman in a long dress. She was seen by many people, even by the contractor who demolished the house. A séance revealed that she was Martha CILLIERS, whose child Henrietta had been buried in the garden.
Westoe House in Mowbray had a Chinese room, which had so many manifestations that it was locked for many years before finally being demolished. The house dates from the 17th century and with 18th century additions. A bedroom with a four-poster bed is haunted by an old man in 18th century clothes. An old man haunts a four-poster bed. Klein Schuur in Mowbray became the official residence of South Africa's Minister of Justice. A room in the basement, where slaves were housed, is haunted. Mowbray was once called Driekoppen because the heads of executed slaves had been placed on spikes here.
At Kronendal in Hout Bay, the ghost of Elsa CLOETE haunts the house that is now a restaurant. She fell in love with a British soldier, but they could not marry. He was so distressed that he hanged himself from a tree in Oak Avenue. Elsa died of a broken heart, and is now often seen at a window. A table is set each evening for the couple in the restaurant. Her father, Abraham Josias CLOETE, owned the farm from 1835 to about 1849.
|The Mount Nelson Hotel in 1899|
The cloud that covers the top of Table Mountain in summer when the south-easter wind blows, is believed to be the ghost of the retired Dutch pirate, Jan VAN HUNKS. He lived on the slopes of Devil’s Peak with his sharp-tongued wife. To stay out of her way, he spent his days on the mountain smoking his pipe. One day a stranger showed up and challenged him to a smoking contest. It went on for days until he finally beat the stranger. The stranger turned out to be the devil himself, and upon being beaten, struck Jan with thunder, leaving a scorched dry patch where he sat. The tobacco smoke from the contest turned into the table-cloth over Table Mountain. Whenever it appears, Jan and the devil are smoking again.
The Cape Argus building is haunted during storms by Wilberforce, a hanged pirate. He rattles windows and apparently once left a poem.
Green Point Lighthouse dates back to 1824 and it is believed that it is haunted by a one-legged lighthouse-keeper, known as Daddy West. This is most likely W.S. WEST who became keeper in September 1901 and retired in 1912.
|Dr. James Barry|
|Dr. James Barry, John the manservant and Psyche the dog|
Along the famous Chapman's Peak scenic drive, a procession of ghostly monks has been seen. The origin of this haunting is unknown.
In the days of Dutch rule, Simon's Town was the Cape's winter harbour. The main road, St. George's Street, is also known as the historic mile. The town was also the South Atlantic base of the Royal Navy for many years, and is still used by the South African Navy.
Simon's Town Museum has a haunted portrait of a young lady. If you try to take a photo of it, the photo comes out blurry or not at all. Ibeka House, a private residence, apparently has three ghosts. The rectory in Cornwall Street has ghostly footsteps and banging of doors. Admiralty House has Naval officers and a woman in a grey dress. At the Palace Barracks there is an old sea captain and an elderly woman.
The Residency, now housing the Simon's Town Museum, was originally built as a residence for Dutch Governors on their occasional visits to the port. When the Royal Navy occupied Simon's Town in 1814, it became the seat of the Government Resident or Magistrate, and remained so until 1980. Some of the doors in the Residency were once cabin doors on sailing ships. There are stocks where prisoners were restrained as punishment, and cells where men were chained. In one cell, there are bloodstains and, sometimes two ghost prisoners are seen. An old sailor, unjustly flogged to death, has been seen in the building, as has the ghost of a warder's wife, who in life had abused female prisoners. Photos of a mural in the Residency are often, for no apparent reason, blurred or blank. The bar room, originally for visiting sailors, has a portrait of a young gentlewoman. She is sometimes called the Lavender or Lilac Lady. She was often seen by the wives of Magistrates. One magistrate, Duncan NEETHLING saw her following his wife around the kitchen. She has also been seen since the Residency became a museum. It was thought she was the teenaged Eleanor MACARTNEY, daughter of the first British Governor. Others believe she was a young woman who loved Horatio NELSON. In 1776, he came ashore from his ship, The Dolphin, to be nursed through an illness. This was long before the Cape was British. In 1776, the building had already been used by the Cape's Governors for five years, and it was the year in which the building ceased to be used for that purpose. It was sold to Gideon ROUSSEAU, a wealthy businessman with 12 children. The ghost might be one of Gideon's daughters who drowned herself when her lover had to leave the Cape.
The building now called Admiralty House has been standing since at least 1740, with alterations through the years, especially after it was damaged by a storm in 1853. During the American Civil War, the house was visited by the Captain of the Confederate raider Alabama. This visit inspired the song, Daar Kom Die Alabama, sung by Cape Town's Muslim community. In 1947, the Royal Family attended a garden party here. In the 1950s Lady CAMPBELL, wife of Vice-Admiral Sir Ian CAMPBELL, saw the ghosts of men in naval uniform on the stairs. In the 1970s Mrs. JOHNSON, wife of Vice-Admiral J.V. JOHNSON, saw a ghostly gentleman who opened a door for her, and closed it behind her. Admiralty House is also haunted by a woman with brown hair, who wears a long, grey dress. It is thought she might be the same woman who haunts the Residency. Another naval building, Ibeka, is also haunted by her. The three buildings are apparently linked by tunnels. The Ibeka might be linked to a governess who hanged herself on the attic landing. Ibeka also has a ghostly old man, who is seen sitting on the toilet.
The Palace Barracks was once linked to the seashore by a cable car. It is haunted by an old sea Captain, who disturbs officers in their billets. The sounds of drinking and billiard playing are heard from the billiard room. Upstairs, the ghost of an elderly woman is seen making beds. Another ghost at Palace Barracks is that of Mary KINGSLEY, the famous explorer of West Africa. In 1900, Mary, age 37, volunteered to nurse Boer prisoners during an outbreak of enteric fever. She contracted the illness herself, and her ghost wanders around the building.
In Black's Lane there was a group of three houses known as Mafeking Terrace. House No. 3 was haunted by a tall, dark man, nicknamed Wilbur by the family that lived there. He was Robert MartinCOUPAR, who, while a boarder at the house shortly after the Anglo-Boer War, strangled his seamstress girlfriend's baby and threw it in the sea. The court hearings in Cape Town in 1906 were packed, due to his good looks. He was sentenced to death, and a public outcry followed with a petition gathering 10 000 signatures. He was hanged at Roeland Street jail in 1907. Mafeking Terrace was abandoned in 1992.
St. George's Church, also known as the Sail Loft Church, is on the upper floor of 18th century stone building where sail makers once worked. The building has a clock tower, a gable decorated with an anchor, stinkwood entrance doors, and yellowwood floors. There is a mural by the South African artist Joy COLLIER, who has heard ghostly footsteps in the church. The former rectory of the Anglican Church, next to the Simon's Town Museum, is a stone-built residence, where ghostly footsteps and banging doors have been heard. In 1949 Mrs. MARTIN, the wife of the Anglican minister, wrote a letter to the Cape Times about the haunting. She also mentioned a ghost called the White Lady, which haunted a house a few doors down in the same street.
|The Old Gaol in Grahamstown|
Grahamstown started life as a military outpost. By 1830 it had libraries, newspapers, courts and museums. The Old Gaol on Somerset Street was most recently a backpackers' lodge, but it is famous for being one of Grahamstown's most haunted spots. The ghost of Henry NICHOLLS doing the dead man's walk from gaol to gallows (between the Old Gaol and Drostdy Arch) is often heard. He was the last person to be publicly hanged in the town in 1862 on charges of rape. He was not offered final words or last prayers, and many say his spirit cannot rest. He pleaded guilty and spent four months hoping to escape execution (rape was not a capital punishment in English law). He was a military man and fell under military law in which rape fell under capital punishment. On 19 February 1862 a large crowd witnessed his execution. Rhodes University's Journalism Department is occasionally visited by a man and girl in period dress.
St Andrews College is one of the oldest schools in South Africa. The founding headmaster, Arthur (Foxy) KNOWLING, died from a heart attack shortly after retiring. He still makes his presence known in Mullins and Holland Houses.
The city's architecture lends a wonderful backdrop to its wandering spirits. Haunted places include the Public Library where an unhappy policeman wanders; a row of terraced houses where a nun, woman and child have been seen walking through walls; and a murder house in Walmer.
The Cleghorn, Harris and Stephen's building, next to where the present Port Elizabeth Public Library was later built, burnt down on 06 May 1896. Police Constable MAXWELL was killed when stone coping fell onto him while firemen tried to put out the fire. A remembrance stone was placed on a low wall in what was to become the Library grounds. When construction of the Library started, the stone was moved to the Library gardens. From then on, his ghost haunted Room 700 until the stone was returned to its original place, after which no more sightings were reported. Another Library ghost is caretaker Robert THOMAS, who died on 06 February 1943. He was a bachelor and started looking after the Library in 1912 until his death. Staff say doors open and shut of their own accord, books are removed from shelves and stacked on the floor, and books fall for no reason. Others feel his presence, including one man who hid in the building in the 1980s at night on a dare and had to call the police to let him out.
|Port Elizabeth Public Library|
Cradock Place is haunted by a young slave girl who was murdered by her jealous lover. He threw her into the large oven in the kitchen, locked the door and built a fire. She had been employed in the house, and the drawing room was her favourite. She took great care dusting the piano. After her death, soft music was often heard in the empty room.
In the 1880s, the British and Irish were at loggerheads. A group known as The Invincibles decided to protect Irish interests. When Lord Frederick CAVENDISH was chosen as Chief Secretary to Ireland, the group was enraged and he was assassinated. Dublin-based James CAREY turned State witness against the assassins and sent five Invincible leaders to their deaths. In exchange, he was granted a new name and life in South Africa. When he boarded the Melrose Castle bound for Durban, he was followed by an Invincible assassin, who shot him when a passing fishing boat caused a distraction. The assassin was arrested, and John's body was eventually buried in a pauper's grave in Port Elizabeth. Shortly after his burial, the cemetery was moved to make way for a new power station. An employee tasked with the moving the remains from the cemetery took a liking to John's skull and used it for many years as an ashtray and candle holder. The ghost of John refuses to leave the boiler room or the site where the cemetery once was.
In 1845 Queen Victoria agreed that a village in the Karoo could be named after her consort, Prince Albert. Ailsa THUDHOPE is an expert on the village ghosts, including the doomed bride killed in a cart accident on the eve of her wedding and is seen in the parlour of the Fransie Pienaar Museum. An elderly gentleman greets pretty ladies from the veranda of a house in Mark Street. When new owners took over the house and filled the veranda with bookshelves, he threw books on the floor. When the owners asked him to stop, he did so. The house of Dr. MEARNS is haunted. The doctor treated Boer Commando Gideon SCHEEPERS in 1901 after he was wounded by a British bullet during the Anglo-Boer War. A young lady in a white night gown with lace at her throat and tiny buttons down her front, bounces on the bed of Mearns House.
One of Johannesburg's ghosts is known as Mr Chips, a worker at the potato sheds in Newton, who was killed by a falling sack of potatoes. He is said to haunt Museum Africa’s costume collection section, where he is heard ruffling the clothes and re-arranging shelves. The potato shed buildings were built in 1912 as part of the original Indian market between Carr Street and Museum Africa. The Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market relocated from the city centre to Newtown in 1913. In 1974 the market was relocated to larger premises in City Deep.
The old Florence Nightingale Nursing Home has a blonde Afrikaans nurse with maroon epaulettes. She would speak to patients and change their drips correctly. She still roams the building at the corner of Constitution Hill.
The Breytenbach Theatre in Gerhard Moerdyk Street started out as a German club. The building was later used by Emily HOBHOUSE for a weaving and crafts school. During the flu epidemic of 1918, it was a temporary hospital. It was later used as a film and artists' studio before staging its first production in 1958. The cellar below the stage once housed the bodies of those who died in 1918, including that of a nurse named Heather. She was in charge of the children admitted in 1918 and eventually caught the disease herself. After her death, she never left her post, patiently waiting to care for any sick child that needs her.
Daisy de Melker was the first serial killer to be convicted in South Africa. In the 1920s, she killed two husbands and a son, for insurance money. She poisoned them with arsenic or strychnine. She was hanged in 1932. Her home in Club Street, Turffontein is still standing and sometimes she can be seen there, peering out the upstairs window. Passers-by have noticed the curtain moving and a ghostly hand appearing at about 6pm. The Supreme Court's Court 3 is also haunted by her, where she was sentenced.
The View, a Parktown Ridge mansion, was once the home of Sir Thomas and Lady Annie CULLINAN. She is often seen at the top of the stairs in a beautiful dress and the sounds of footsteps have been heard on the first floor. The sound of someone climbing a staircase can also be heard, but the staircase has long since been removed.
Aurora in Central Avenue, Houghton, is haunted by Bubbles SCHROEDER. She was popular with high society. She was found dead in a blue gum plantation near Wanderers Sports Club in August 1949. Her ghost can be heard walking around the building and howling.
Foxwood House is an historic boutique hotel in Houghton. Built in 1924, it was one of the first houses in the area. It is filled with antique family heirlooms, such as the radio gramophone which has been in the same spot since 1936. Apart from mysterious footsteps, several guests claim to have seen a lady with a child on the balcony and some have sworn they’ve seen Paul KRUGER.
On 16 June 1976, school children assembled in school grounds in Soweto, singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica before starting their protest march against Afrikaans at Orlando Stadium. During the march, Hastings Ndlovu and schoolboy Hector Peterson were killed by police bullets. The ghost of Hector is often seen by some as a schoolboy with his hand clenched in the Black Power salute, at the foot of the rocky knoll after dark. The faint sound of gunfire can be heard by some.
Sammy MARKS was a successful industrialist at the turn of the 19th century. His home, Zwartkoppies Hall (now the Sammy Marks Museum) and apparently still lives there, his icy presence felt along with doors that open and close on their own. Some have heard a baby crying in what was the nursery, which could be the ghost of one of his children who died there in 1890. It is the only Victorian mansion in the country whose interior is authentic and intact. The mansion’s 48 rooms include a Scottish ghost. Employed as the children’s tutor, he died in the mansion and now pinches the bottoms of ladies.
The former home of General Jan SMUTS in Irene is said to be haunted by a little grey man and a Royal Hussar who committed suicide on the premises. The grey man has a Kruger-style moustache. He is reported to be the keeper of a secret regarding the whereabouts of Boer treasure buried on the property.
A home in Silverton has a ghost who enters the sitting room in the evening, sits down in a particular chair wearing a red jacket and reads a newspaper.
An English soldier from the Anglo-Boer War, whose remains were stashed in the Uncollected Goods section of the Pretoria Railway Station, before being moved to Lost Goods, is seen wandering about the station late at night.
Victoria Hotel was opened in 1880 and was then known as Hollandia. One of its ghosts is Alfie, who turns taps on and off. He is also seen in the kitchen. An old, grey lady haunts the majestic staircase just after 10pm.
There are a few ghosts who are said to roam the old State Museum. Once a military hospital, the groans of soldiers are said to be heard at night, while two angry ghosts haunt the corridors. Some claim to have been confronted by the ghost of a woman in a nurse’s uniform brandishing a scalpel.
Erasmus Castle is now a National Monument, said to be haunted by the ERASMUS family who were the original owners. Staff have heard footsteps and claim taps are turned on and lights switched off. Apparently two or three of the children, who contracted leprosy and were confined in a room under the main tower until their death, have been seen roaming the staircase and corridors.
|Erasmus Castle in Pretoria|
The Nottingham Road Hotel has a sad ghost. Charlotte, a turn-of-the-century prostitute, fell in love with a British Army officer who didn't feel the same way about her. She committed suicide because of her broken heart, but some believe she was murdered. She died after she fell or was thrown over the balcony of her favourite room in the hotel - Room 10. She hangs around the hotel until this day, and can often be found re-arranging flower arrangements, moving mirrors around, and ringing the service bell in the non-existent Room 22. Some who have slept in Room 10, have woken up to neatly folded clothes and Charlotte having a long conversation with an unseen friend.
Doc ROBINSON and his wife ran a convalescent home at the beginning of the 20th century. They had a young daughter that they nicknamed Tiny Pie. She died in 1905 and Doc never recovered, dying of a broken heart. Shortly after his death in 1906, he appeared at his home's front gate. He was seen often. When St Winifred's School for Girls took over the premises in 1910, his ghost made girls feel uneasy as he appeared as they were getting dressed. The building became Kings School in 1922 and he still appears every 14 August.
James Douglas LOGAN built the Hotel Milner in 1899, which still stands today. His ghost still appears in the lounges at the back of the hotel. Kate is the most poignant ghosts there, and can often be seen staring out of the window of the top turret, her white dress flowing in the breeze. The young woman worked as a nurse in the hotel's earlier days. She loved to play cards with the patients and was popular. At 19 years of age, she died suddenly without cause or reason. At the top of the second floor, a steep staircase leads to a tiny room, known only as Kate's Card Room. Here the noises of cards being shuffled and soft crying can often be heard. She sometimes comes out of her room and can be seen floating around one of the lower passages, always in her nurse's uniform. Another ghost, known as Lucy, floats around the passages and stairs in a negligee.
Johnnie is the resident entertainer and will tell you the story of the ghost in the photo. He had the picture taken with the two little girls and the one asked "Who's the lady?" No-one else could see the lady, but she was there when the photo was developed and posted to Johnnie by the family. It may be the ghost of Olive SCHREINER, who lived in Matjiesfontein and wrote The Story of An African Farm there. Her house is near The Lairds Arms.
The old Kempton Park Hospital, now named Khayalami Hospital, was closed down on 26 December 1996 after the then MEC for Health, Amos MASONDO, declared it "underutilized and in an inappropriate location" as reported in the Mail and Guardian newspaper. The hospital is still abandoned with its operating theatres, beds, confidential files and equipment. The equipment has been estimated to be worth R10 million. Security costs R1 million per year. A team from Supernatural Phenomena Investigation Team of SA (SPITSA) investigated the hospital. They specialise in paranormal investigations on request, using sophisticated equipment and scientific methods to record, document and analyse findings to reach conclusive decisions on what is happening on a specific site. They uses thermal imaging cameras, digital recorders, night vision, infrared cameras, digital voice recorders, electromagnetic field detectors, digital thermometers, and other equipment.
Ronald HART was born at this hospital in 1991. He found his birth records there, showing the theatre he was born in. He runs a Facebook group, A true history of the untold – Kempton Park Hospital, where people share stories of the hospital and upload pictures of their visits there. As long as you have R40, keep your torch down when you are near a window and don’t make too much noise, the security guards fade away with the ghosts.
In early 2012, a family of six moved out of a rented house in Craig Street, Birchleigh North, after several strange experiences. While their 12 year old daughter was watching TV in the main bedroom, the water started flowing in the shower. This happened four more times. The family also claimed hearing footsteps in the wooden floor passage while they were all in the dining room. Doors also slammed open and close, even after they had been locked.
Twenty minutes from George Airport there is Land's End, the closest guest house to the sea in Africa, according to owners Rod and Shanell HOSSACK. Many years ago, the property was owned by Mr. MARAIS and his wife Daphne, where they had retired. Daphne died in the house. A clairvoyant who stayed at the house saw an elderly woman sitting at the breakfast table. Her description fitted Daphne's appearance. Ever since, the owners have set a place for her.
Alanglade was the home of Richard Allan BARRY, general manager of Transvaal Gold Mining Estates, and his wife Gladys Isabel VAN DER BYL, until 1930. Built between 1915 and 1917, it is now a museum. Richard was born on 20 October 1874 in Barkley, Eastern Cape, the son of Jacob Dirk BARRY and Charlotte MERRIMAN. His uncle was John X. MERRIMAN, the last Premier of the Cape Colony. Richard married Gladys on 06 February 1902 in Cape Town. Her family were Anglicised Afrikaners, who had owned the land which is today Woodstock - from De Waal Drive to Salt River beach. She grew up in Roodebloem Manor. From 1900 to 1952, Gladys kept a daily diary, listing the day's activities and whom she had corresponded with that day. The original diary is part of the Africana collection of the National Library in Cape Town. The diary consists of 53 note books. She started the diary when she was 18 years old, while living with her parents in Cape Town. Richard also kept a diary, with an entry each month, including family events such as births, deaths, triumphs and trials, his work and financial situation. The couple had seven children - Erica Agnes born 1903, Mary Gladys born 1907, Margery, Adrian Michael, Richard Vincent, Nathaniel John, and Barbara Deidre born 09 December 1922. Richard Allan died on 07 October 1949, and Gladys in 1954.
Margery died at Roedean School from meningitis at the age of 13 years. The family dog, Jock, and his favourite chair was next to Margery’s bed, with a dent in its cushion. Sometimes photographers are unable to focus on it, as if there is something moving there. One photographer's camera shattered inexplicably as he left the house. Some cameras only work in certain rooms and steam up in others. Margery’s room is much colder than the others. Sometimes there is a strong smell of cologne or talcum powder. Sometimes Margery slams her bedroom door and nobody can get in until the next day. Toys are often moved, a pram mysteriously goes from the playroom to the governess's room. Margery’s brothers also have a tragic ending. Richard Vincent died in a mountaineering accident in 1938. Adrian, a surgeon, died in 1942 when HMS King George V crashed into HMS Punjabi. In October 1940 Nathaniel was shot down and killed in the Battle of Britain. Barbara married Marthinus VERSFELD in 1942, a Doctor of Philosophy at Cape Town University. She was an active member of the Black Sash.
At the cemetery, Naboompi is sometimes seen standing next to visitors. He had his legs sawn off below the knee because he didn't fit in his coffin. Mrs. STOPFORTH had 11 children before her husband left her for another woman. She sometimes walks around the cemetery shaking hands with all its inhabitants.
The house in which rugby legend Mannetjies ROUX grew up is known by the locals as the Ghost House or Spookhuis. His parents lived on a farm when he was born in the local hospital. After his father's death, when Mannetjies was two years old, his mother moved to the town with her children. They lived in the house, which is actually named Rotsvas. This is where he got his nickname - the veranda is quite high, and the children's nanny would warn him in Afrikaans: "Mannetjie, you will fall off." The name stuck, and many years later his wife added the extra s. The house has been empty for many years. After the ROUX family, it was inhabited by Jack CLOETE, a lawyer, and his wife Paddy. They had three children - John, Garth and Barry. Next, the Co-op manager, Hennie SPANGENBERG, lived there. The PRETORIUS family were the next residents, staying for many years. Mannetjies owns the antique shop in town. The building was previously used as a library, cinema, synagogue and Methodist church. He doesn't know why the locals call it a ghost house, but believes that it is because it has been empty for so long.
At the Barandas turnoff 19 kms before Uniondale, you'll find the most famous South African ghost, the Uniondale hitchhiker Maria ROUX, who died in 1962. She was asleep on the back seat of the car her fiancé, G.M. PRETORIUS, lost control of. She was killed and he survived. The first reported sighting was in 1976, when she hitchhiked on the same road. Anton LE GRANGE noticed a young woman hitchhiking on the side of the road, so he pulled over and offered her a lift. A few minutes later, he realised that he didn't know where she wanted to go, he turned to ask her but she was gone. He reported the incident to the police. Sceptical, they were finally convinced to go with him to check the area where she disappeared. As they were driving there, the police officer noticed the back door of the car opening and closing by itself. Back at the police station, Anton identified his mysterious passenger from an old photograph of Maria. In 1978, Army Corporal VAN JAARSVELD had a similar experience. He stopped his motorcycle and offered a lift to a young woman with long dark hair and dark clothing. She climbed on, putting his spare helmet on her head and wrapping her arms around his waist. A few miles down the road, he felt a small jolt and turned to see that she was gone. He turned around to go and look for her, only to notice a few minutes later the spare helmet fastened to his luggage rack.
On the road to Standerton, about 24 kms outside town on the Balfour road, a ghost car is sometimes seen. Marita MCKECHNIE was a 20 year old student at Pretoria University when her mother and younger sister picked her up in the mid-1960s to spend the April holidays in Newcastle, where the family lived. They left Pretoria in a Ford Zephyr at dusk, with Marita driving. Shortly before Standerton they noticed a car without lights on and going in the same direction as them. As they went over a hill, the car was standing in the middle of the road. She swerved right to avoid hitting the car, and at that moment the car disappeared. There were no people in the car, which looked like an old black Buick. Years later her brother-in-law told her his uncle lived in Standerton and he used to tell the story of the ghost car. The car was used as a hearse and it stops on the spot of an accident which took the life of a young girl. Frans SWANEPOEL of Ruimsig said he often heard the story in the 1950s.
Fish Hoek Farm dates from 1818 and was the sixth farm to be granted in the valley, after Slangkop (Imhoff’s Gift), Poespaskraal and De Goede Hoop in 1743; Brakkloof in the late 1700s, followed by Groot Zilvermijn in 1813. The farm consisted of three sections - Lot A (The Great Whalery - Sunnycove to Fish Hoek Beach corner), Lot B (The Harring Fishery - from the shoreline towards Sun Valley / Ou Kaapse Weg) and Lot C (Kleintuin - known as Clovelly now). On 05 October 1883, the farm was bought by Hester DE KOCK, a former school mistress. She was already 69 years old when she married Jacob Isaak DE VILLIERS of Noordhoek in 1901. By 1916 they had both died and were buried on the family plot next to the Dutch Reformed Church on Kommetjie Road. The farm was sold off as plots. Hester and Isaak pioneered holidaying in Fish Hoek, offering the first beach front accommodation. The farm house later became the Homestead Hotel, which once stood where the Naval Mess SAS Southern Floe stands today. There are at least six ghosts on the old farm.
Originally the Glencairn Hotel, the Glen Lodge and Pub between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town, has two ghostly residents. Some claim to have seen a woman and a little boy on the stairs of the hotel and their presence is occasionally felt when furniture is moved around.
Uitkomst farm south of Machadodorp was the scene of a tragedy at the waterfall. No one is sure of the date, stories range from the 1960s to "many years ago". A honeymoon couple were captivated by the beauty of the waterfall and spent many hours there. The bride posed on the edge for a photograph. As she turned to smile at her husband, she slipped on the wet rocks and plunged to her death. A year later, her husband returned and in his grief, threw himself off the rocks in the same spot. People who go to the waterfall on moonlit nights are never alone. The reunited couple are sitting hand-in-hand at the top of the waterfall.
Seweweekspoort is in a mountain ravine and used as one of the three major gateways linking the Central and Little Karoo. The 17 km winding route is quite distracting. It was known as Smuggler's Route in days gone by, being the main route for brandy smugglers, runaways, slaves and outlaws. To stop these people, a toll-house was built. The ruins can still be seen at the northern entrance to the Poort, along with the ghost of the first toll-keeper. He runs frantically into the road on cloudy nights, waving his lantern to warn of a threatening storm or raging river up ahead. He sometimes flags down motorists to take their toll fee, but vanishes when the car comes to a stop.
One of Africa's leading independent girls' schools, The Wykeham Collegiate, in Clarendon, is still visited by the ghost of Mary MOORE. She was the headmistress of Wykeham Girls' School from 1905 until 1919, and was feared by the girls that she taught. Her broad-brimmed hat and stern demeanour made her the epitome of a headmistress. In 1990 the school amalgamated to become The Wykeham Collegiate. The Wykeham building was sold and everything was packed up and moved. Awakened by the move, Mary now keeps an eye on the girls from the end of Geekie Hall, alongside her portrait and desk. Her eyes in the portrait match the stern look she had in life.
Miranda was the 19 year old daughter of a high-ranking official at Government House. She fell in love with a lowly stable boy and they tried to elope, getting as far as the Star and Garter Inn before they caught on the road to Durban. He lost his job and Miranda was locked in her room where she eventually died of a broken heart. Today, she still roams Government House at the head of Longmarket Street (now Langalibalele), which became the old Natal Training College.
On Howick Road there is a house called Ketelfontein. It was built in 1862 and was a hostel where the transport riders could change horses or rest overnight before continuing on their journey to Durban from Johannesburg. One stormy evening a traveller arrived with a horse so exhausted that it was unable to continue to Durban. The stables had no fresh horses left to exchange, so the man had to spend the night. He was being pursued by the police for being in possession of stolen diamonds. During the night the police arrived and a gun-battle ensued. The traveller was shot dead. His body, horse and possessions were searched and no diamonds were found. The diamonds have never been found by the traveller, who comes back often to look for them.
A mystery lady in white inhabits Macrorie House. She was the wife of the head warder of the jail in Burger Street, but was having an affair with someone at Government House. There was a reputed tunnel that ran from Government House to Fort Napier, built as an escape route for the Governor. This is where the lovers met. One night her husband followed her. He used his bunch of keys, killing them both directly beneath Macrorie House.
Sergeant BOSCH is known as the Polo Tavern Ghost. He died in 1919 by crashing his Harley-Davidson motorbike with side car into a lamppost outside the Polo Tavern, which he frequented often. After his body was removed, a local newspaper photographer took a photo of the accident site. In the photo the fuzzy figure of a man can be seen climbing the steps to the tavern, even though onlookers, pictured in the photo, swore that no one entered it while the photo was being taken. Over the years patrons and owners have said he still frequents the pub, leaving an empty beer bottle and glass on the bar counter, which is found by staff the next morning after the bar has been thoroughly cleaned and locked up the night before.
The Alexandra Park cricketers appear on summer afternoons when the thick fog rolls up from the Duzi and shrouds the cricket pavilion. The voice of the umpire echoes round the field. Other men's voices join in, shouting "run!" or "stay!". In the grandstand, a single pair of feminine hands can be heard and a lovely voice cries "Bravo! Well done!" The mist lifts and there's no one there. The Pavilion is empty and the pitch bare.
The old Forsythe’s Jewellers in Church Street was a theatre in former years. A lovesick actor hanged himself there when his advances were spurned by an actress. He was known to haunt the shop.
In the Great Gale of 31 August 1902, 21 boats either sank or were blown onto North End Beach. Forty-one crew and rescuers died this disaster and many were buried in the South End Cemetery. Some of their ghosts are said to wander through this graveyard.
During the Anglo-Boer War a young British soldier, Sergeant LARLEY was injured. He was cared for by a young Afrikaans girl, Magda. They fell in love, but her family accused her of treachery and locked her away. The soldier was heart-broken and, he soon died. Not knowing what happened to him, Magda sat at the log fire in the Dullstroom Inn for many years, waiting for him to come and fetch her. If you stand on the corner outside the Dullstroom Inn, just after the sun sets, you might hear the sound of thundering hooves as he comes to rescue her. Those who are see him are said to be forever lucky in love.
The Old Fort is set in beautiful gardens and was once the headquarters of the Durban Light Infantry. Brigadier-General G. MOLYNEUX haunts the gardens named in his honour. The Warrior’s Gate building is home to the ghost of a soldier who likes to re-arrange furniture and displays.
53 Hospital Road on the corner of Point Road was the office of Rosie DRY, a famous madam in the 1940s who had a string of brothels. The building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a soldier whom she had killed in 1944. She dumped his body in a barrow and wheeled it to a nearby dance floor.
The Mountain Park Holiday Resort Hotel is a manor house with creaking floors and Tudor-style accommodation. It has seven ghosts. Two ghostly drunkards reside in the pub. Three men reside on the third floor. There's the childminder Ruth, seven-year-old Matilda and Wisp, a ghost dog.
The Zorgvliet Country Lodge is one of the Cape’s oldest wine farms. Travellers once feared to here as the dense forest was inhabited by gangs, escaped slaves and wild animals. The mischievous ghosts today only open and close doors or play with light switches in the tasting room.
The Wayside Inn is a 19th century coach inn. There is a peppercorn tree in the grounds, under which a nurse and an officer of the Inniskilling Dragoons used to meet. They were killed in an attack during the Anglo-Boer war. Their ghosts continued to meet there, until the tree blew over in the 1960s and the officer's grave was moved to Barberton. Also in the grounds, is the Krugerhof, where President Paul KRUGER stayed before his exile in Europe. Before he left, he and his Cabinet met in a railway carriage, and it was from here that they are said to have disposed of the gold of the South African Republic, known as the Kruger Millions.
Wild horses roam the area, descendants of animals left behind by British forces during the Anglo-Boer War. The area was once called Duiwel's Kantoor. One of the village's ghosts is an old woman, said to have been an alcoholic who murdered her husband with an axe. Another elderly woman haunts the veranda of the Green Venus, now a pub but once a trading store. The screams of a child crying for help have also been heard in the pub. A mother and child burned to death there in the 1940s. Children can also be heard laughing outside, among the nearby rocks. Breaking crockery has been heard when loud music is played. The mining commissioner's house was built in 1884.
Reinette VAN NIEKERK looks out for the welfare of the wild horses. She moved to Kaapsehoop in 2004 to work with horses. After owning the local backpackers’ lodge for a few years, she became the Horse Lady. She also acts as booking agent for all the accommodation in Kaapsehoop, and is a tour guide.
One of the outside buildings that was previously used as a hospital by the only doctor in town is thought to be haunted. Many miners died from malaria and TB. The buildings have been used as servants’ quarters. Many have seen a big White man with a beard who threatens them with a whip if they dare lie down and sleep. He swears at them in their native tongue, and makes them stand up. Kaapsehoop's graveyard dates back to the 1800s. The local pub, the Salvador Bistro, is believed to be haunted.
In the gardens of the Bougainvillea Hotel, there is Hanging Tree, where horse thieves and claim jumpers are said to have been hanged by lynch mobs. Sometimes, when there is no breeze, the tree shakes violently.
The Barberton Provincial Hospital was haunted by Sister BROWN, who nursed in the early 20th century. During a break from her work, she was taken on a hunting expedition, where she was mauled by a lion. She is said to wear an old-fashioned grey uniform and her feet are invisible. The hospital was renovated since her death, and the floor raised.
The Old as Gold Guest House in Primrose was said to have been haunted by the ghosts of Chinese mine workers. The building dates from about 1880, and was built as the home of a Cornish mine manager. There were three underground rooms that once housed Chinese mine workers. A secret staircase leads to the rooms, which may have been used to hide unregistered workers. Smugglers, known as black birders, traded in people. Joff VAN REENEN, an auctioneer who researched the history of the house, believes that three tunnels, now sealed off, once led from the rooms to the gold mines in the area.
Mark Rose-Christie owns the Mystery Ghost Bus Tours. Tours are available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Each tour includes haunted sites, the history and science of the paranormal, and an historical cemetery at midnight.
Kimberley Ghost Tours by Steve Lunderstedt
Tel: +27 (0) 83 732 3189
Prince Albert Ghost Walk by Ailsa Tudhope
Supernatural Phenomena Investigation Team of SA (SPITSA)
Ghosts of Pretoria, by Eric Bolsmann, published by My Guest Publishers, Pretoria, 1997
An Historical Meander through the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, by Bill Bizley and Pat McKenzie, published by the Midlands Meander Association.
Haunted Corners, by Margaret Williamson
Ghosts of South Africa, by Pat Hopkins