South African Ghost Stories

2012-10-30 16:09
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14 Ghost towns

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

South Africa has been a wilderness, a frontier as well as a place of struggle, adventure and history.

So its houses, streets and rivers are just bound to be haunted.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, one thing is for certain, there is not one place in South Africa where you can hide from spine-chilling ghost stories and mysterious happenings...

The Old Gaol - Grahamstown

Today, Grahamstown is home to a renowned university, an annual arts festival and a quiet way of life. But this was not always the case and long ago it was better known for its martial law, public beatings and well-attended hangings.

Those who had been condemned to death were shackled at the feet and hands and led on a humiliating shuffle from the Old Gaol to the military parade ground where they were to be punished in front of the jeering townspeople.

The last person known to be publicly hanged there was Henry Nicholls, who, in 1862, had been convicted of rape. He was offered no final words or last prayers and was simply hanged until dead in front of a bloodthirsty crowd.

Many say that because rape did not actually carry the death sentence and because of the rough, undignified exit Nicholls made from this life, his spirit could not be freed. Instead, he is condemned to forever walk the dead man's walk between the Old Gaol and the gallows, passing right by the entrance to the modern university...

Rudd House - Kimberley

Rudd House in Kimberley was built in the 1870s and is arguably the archetypal South African haunted house. Its sprawling verandahs and its squat design gives it a menacing atmosphere.

Once lived in by the Rudd family, the house was constantly added to as the family grew. These extensions resulted in the wooden building having 22 chambers and rooms and each one soon developed its own peculiar story.

The incessant sound of a baby crying or the unexpected clattering of glass and cutlery eventually led to the Rudd Family abandoning their home and the house now belongs to the McGregor Museum.

Even international scholars have shown interest in Rudd House, with Scotsmand Dr P.K Le Sueur spending many years studying the house. He has noted orbs of light that appear in photos taken in the house - or manifestations of ghosts in our dimension. The icy air that surrounds these orbs is a result of the ghost sucking in energy in order to manifest in our world.

Sounds ridiculous? Recently three journalists sat around the dinning room table in Rudd House to write. A photo was taken to document their experience, but only two of the three journalists appeared in the picture...

Africana Museum - Kimberley

The Kimberley Public Library, now the Africana Museum, was built in 1882 and created one of the town's most beautiful buildings. A wrought-iron gallery, spiral staircase and sparkling chandeliers accompanied many of the world's most sought-after books.

In 1900, Bertrand Dyer, arrived from the United Kingdom where he had worked for the Queen's library. He became the city's first qualified librarian and set to work restoring, cataloguing and organising some of the rarest books in the world.

But unfortunately, he was also a bit of a fraudster and took to fiddling the books to take a littleextra home each month. When his hobby was discovered, the shame (or the desire to avoid prison) caused him to commit suicide - by cyanide.

They say he took over three days to die and in the process, he left his soul behind. Today, he can often be seen, still 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 simply have to ask Dyer and the book will suddenly fall off the shelf...

Machadodorp - Mpumalanga

The Uitkomst or "Outcome" farm lies just twelve miles south of Machadodorp in Mpumalanga. The area is not only famous for its beautiful waterfall, but also for the tragedy that occurred there.

No one is sure of the date, stories range from the 1960s to "many years ago", but one thing is certain - a tragedy occurred at the waterfall.

A honeymooning couple were transfixed by the beauty of the waterfall and spent many hours languishing beside it. In order to remember the occasion, 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.

Exactly a year later, her husband returned and in his grief, threw himself off the rocks in the exact same spot.

Those who venture to the waterfall on moonlit nights are never alone. They are looked down on by the reunited lovers, sitting hand-in-hand at the top of the waterfall.

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


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