Halloween is just around the corner and who doesn’t like a good spooky story? South Africa has it’s own fair few tales of the weird and wonderful, so here is a round up of some of the creepiest places out there – ghost hunters take note!
The Africana Library, previously known as the Kimberly Public Library, was built in 1882. Bertrand Dyer worked there in the 1900s and was the city’s first qualified librarian. Unfortunately, he was caught committing fraud and committed suicide in the library building. Apparently his ghost can often be seen, still in his Victorian garb, pacing the halls of the library and rearranging the books on the shelves to his liking. The librarians say that if ever a book needs to be found, they simply have to ask Dyer and the book will suddenly fall off the shelf…
Story has it, many years ago, Frederick Eksteen, son of the owner of the Tokai Manor House, was dared to ride his horse up the stairs and into the dining room during a ‘spirited’ (ha.ha) New Year ’s Eve bash, resulting in the horse starting and Frederick falling to his death. Legend has it that nowadays a ghostly horseman is often seen and heard galloping around the forest, especially on New Year’s Eve.
Nottingham Road Hotel in the Midlands Meander is said to be home to a beautiful female ghost called Charlotte. Charlotte was allegedly killed under mysterious circumstances in the 1800s, either being thrown or jumping off the balcony to her room. Locals, hotel guests and even passers-by have reportedly had encounters with Charlotte – making her one of the most “famous” ghosts in South Africa. She apparently glides through the halls of the hotel, rearranges flowers, moves mirrors and even unpacks the bags of some visitors.
The Castle of Good Hope is one of the oldest colonial buildings in South Africa, and once housed convicts, many of whom were executed on the grounds. It is said to now be home to several restless spirits. Visitors to the castle have reported hearing ghostly footsteps, seeing flickering lights, hearing strange voices and even sighting a two meter tall figure, a black dog and the spectre of the castle’s first official hostess, Lady Anne Barnard.
5. Kempton’s Haunted Hospital, Johannesburg
The story of the abandoned Kempton Park Hospital is quite the mystery. The hospital closed down suddenly in the late 1990’s and has never been reopened. Visitors say that it appears is as if everyone literally stood up from what they were doing and walked out, never to return. There are jars of kidneys on the floor, blood spattered sheets on hospital beds, open files and x-rays strewn across tables. Of course, it is alleged that the hospital is haunted and visitors are purported to have heard babies crying, doors opening and shutting and to have seen the figure of a man roaming the halls. Some visitors who tried to take photos inside found afterwards that the photos were obscured by a strange white ‘sheen’.
6. The Uniondale Hitchhiker, Uniondale
Just outside of Uniondale, one can allegedly see the ghost of Maria Roux hitchhiking along the R62. Maria is said to have died in a car crash on Easter Sunday in 1968. Ever since, the dark-haired ghost of Maria has been seen standing near the scene of the accident, waiting for passing cars to pick her up. When a car does stop, she enters the car with a shrill laugh but disappears a few km’s into the journey, leaving only the scent of apple blossoms in her wake.
7. The Old Gaol, Grahamstown
Years ago Grahamstown was known for its martial law and held public beatings and hangings. Those who were sentenced to death were shackled and led from the Old Gaol to the military parade ground and hanged for all to see. The last person known to be publicly hanged in this manner was Henry Nicholls, who was convicted of rape in 1862. It is now said that his spirit can be seen walking the dead man’s walk between the Old Gaol and the gallows, passing right by the entrance to the university.
8. Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontein in the Klein Karoo
Matjiesfontein is host to the most haunted place in South Africa – the Lord Milner Hotel, which was built in 1899. Laughter can be heard in empty rooms and the sound of billiards being played is heard when there is no one there. The ghosts said to haunt the halls of Lord Milner includes a 19-year old Boer Nurse, and James Logan, the original town founder. In the town itself, the spectre of a wounded British soldier with his arm in a sling and a bloody bandage around his head is said to be seen standing at the turn-off to the Memorial Cemetery.