'Ghost car' mystery revealed

2004-12-13 09:39

Cape Town - The reason behind a mysterious jumping "ghost car" that had the country in a tizz was revealed by Renault South Africa, who published its findings after thoroughly investigating the phenomenon.

It turned out the Renault Megane's starter was activated by periodic short circuits caused by a rusty starter cable.

A rusty cable that leads to the battery supply relay box caused the short circuits. Since the car was parked in reverse, it "jumped" backwards every time the cable short-circuited, igniting the starter.

John Roberts, vice-president of after-sales services at Renault SA in Johannesburg, stressed that the findings made clear that rust, and not a faulty product, had caused the phenomenon.

Ian Schietekat, owner of the Roosboom guesthouse where the car "jumped" early one morning, was glad to hear that Renault had found the reason for the car's strange behaviour.

"We were inundated with calls from all over. Some people thought it was a marketing ploy for the guesthouse. Many people discussed the phenomenon, and I even had to tell it on radio," Schietekat said.

An exorcist contacted him and his wife all the way from America, offering to come and drive out the "demon that made the car jump".

Schietekat was glad the story had a happy ending and that everyone could breathe easy again.

"But as soon as something jumps again, I'll let you know immediately," he joked.

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