Gauteng ghost stories

2012-10-31 08:49
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14 Ghost towns

Abandoned, forgotten and strangely beautiful. Check out this selection of the world's most arresting ghost towns.

Most people know about the ghost of Cape Town Castle or have heard whisperings of strange happenings in the Karoo, but few people think that Jo'burg is a hub for ghostly activity.

But most areas in Gauteng are home to just as many ghosts as the ancient buildings in the Cape or the quiet beauty of the Karoo - and most of them have heartbreaking stories to tell.

Nurse Heather of the Breytenbach Theatre

The Breytenbach Theatre in Gerhard Moerdyk Street, has had many uses over the years. Starting out as a German club, the building was then taken over by Emily Hobhouse to create a weaving and craft school. Then a temporary hospital was opened to assist all those affected by the tragic flu epidemic of 1918.

Eventually the Breytenbach Theatre was established, being used as a film and artists' studio before staging its first production in 1958. Today the actors share the stage with a more unearthly figure...

The cellar below the stage once housed the bodies of those who succumbed to the flu, including that of a Nurse named Heather. She was in charge of the children who were admitted to the hospital with the flu 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.

The saddest ghost of Pretoria

There is a home in the Pretoria suburb of Silverton that is said to be home to the city's saddest ghost. No one seems to know who he was or when he lived, but he is now a definite presence in the house. He tends to arrive in the evening, sit in his favourite chair and begin to read the newspaper. His red jacket is the only cheery thing about him as he casts a sombre image, slowly rocking and occasionally sighing, disrupting the quiet evening of those around him.

Daisy de Melker of Turffontein House

The name Daisy de Melker is infamous. She holds the title of being the first serial killer to ever be convicted in South Africa...

In the 1920s, Daisy quietly killed off two husbands and a son, supposedly for their money. Her favoured method for murder was to poison her victims with either arsenic or strychnine - sending them to an agonising death. She was finally discovered and convicted and hanged in 1932 amidst much media attention.

Her home in Club Street in Turffontein is still standing and sometimes Daisy can still be seen there, peering out the upstairs window. It is assumed that she is watching for one of her husbands to return home so that she can set her ruthless plot in motion. Many passersby have noticed the curtain moving and a ghostly looking hand appearing at around six o'clock in the evening...

Alfie of the Victoria Hotel

Pretoria's Victoria Hotel started out as the luxurious Hollandia Hotel way back in 1880. This old hotel has seen many guests, and has just as many ghosts.

The majestic staircase is a showpiece in the hotel, but try and avoid it just after ten o'clock at night. Many people have reported something brush past them and an old, grey woman gracefully pass them. As the woman makes her descent, a flicker of a candle can be seen ever so briefly in the belfry...

As if the strange sighting of the grey lady were not enough, the hotel also has a more mischievous ghost. Alfie loves to turn on the taps out of the blue and then turns them off the moment you want to bath. He also loves to cause chaos in the kitchen and while no one knows who he is, he is still one of the hotels most famous guests.

Sergeant Larley of Dullstrooom

During the Anglo-Boer war, young British soldier, Sergeant Larley was injured and was tended to by a young Afrikaner girl by the name of Magda.

They soon fell in love and, horrified, Magda's Boer family accused her of treachery and locked her away.

The sergeant was heart-broken and, in combination with his wounds, it became too much for him and he soon died. Not knowing her love's fate, Magda sat at the log fire in the Dullstroom Inn for many years, patiently waiting for her sergeant to come and fetch her.

Today, if you stand on the corner outside the Dullstroom Inn, just after the sun sets you will hear the sound of thundering hooves as the sergeant comes to rescue his love and ride off to a happier life. Those who are fortunate enough to spot the love-sick soldier are said to be forever after lucky in love...

Find out more about South Africa's legends with GoTravel24:

Table Mountain Myths and Legends
Cape Town myths, legends and mysteries
Like you've seen a ghost...
Mermaids in the Karoo
Legendary Cape Town

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