South African Ghosts
Some South African ghosts have the unusual habit of appearing at odd hours of the day and night.
There is never a sense of foreboding or doom just before they appear as is common with there European counterparts.
I have titled these three short stories the dinosaurs, the old woman and A sighting of the flying Dutchman.
The most unusual ghost that has been seen in South Africa happened one night in 1993 on a highway just outside the city limits of Port Elizabeth.
A security supervisor was driving along just after two am on a bright moon light night, when he suddenly saw what he at first thought was a troop of elephants crossing the road he slowed down and approached cautiously.
However when he got closer to the large beasts that he had at first mistaken for elephants, he saw to his amazement, that it was a group of dinosaurs of rather large size. Stopping he watched this heard of ghostly apparitions with some fear as he was aware that he was watching some thing quite spectral.
For five minutes he continued to watch with trepidation; the great beasts reflecting the moonlight of there bodies.
Wandered across the road into the surrounding bush the last of which disappeared as another vehicle approached casting its headlights on the beasts. This begs the question did the security supervisor perhaps not step back in time for a moment to an age when dinosaurs once roamed the plains and see an event long passed which has been imprinted on the atmosphere of the area?
The second Ghostly story I would like to talk about happened about two years later and concerns one of those modern inventions that is supposed to make life easier but in most cases turned out to make life more difficult. The burglar alarm.
On a certain Friday evening a very busy and overworked security officer was busy dropping of dayshift guards when he received a call on the two-way radio that the alarm a large wool storage house had been activated.
The site manager was asked to go and check on it as he was near the premises through the rest of the night until just after twelve o’clock am the supervisor was busy with various duties.
However he became aware that there was a problem with the alarm at the wool storehouse as it continued to go off. Shortly after the witching hour he happened to be in the area when the alarm was once more activated he picked up the Site manager and the two men proceeded to the warehouse. After thourally checking the warehouse they managed to isolate the area from which the alarm was been activated.
They were busy checking the particular devise that happened to be an infrared beam. When the security supervisor happened to become aware of someone looking at there activities from a short distance away as the store was in darkness he holding the torch turned the torch in the direction from which he felt the eyes watching.
To the utter bewilderment of both men they saw a shade of a woman of short stature dressed very much in a fashion of two hundred years earlier with a wicker basket on one arm watching them.
The men froze the women smiled and turned and glided into a wall this was enough for both men to bolt for the door.
It might be of interest to note that just across the road from the warehouse is a private mortuary that was build in the early 19th century and it is quite possible that the apparition was at one time a customer of this old business.
The most famous ghostly apparition on the coast of Africa is of course the Flying Dutchman.
The story of the flying Dutchman is well known how a merchantman of the Dutch East India company was fighting her way round the Cape of Good Hope in a terrible storm.
The captain vowed to sail round the Cape if it took all eternity the devil appeared and told him he had received his wish and he and his crew would sail round the Cape until judgement day, as a harbinger of disaster.
The following story concerns a young man who went to sea in a fishing boat quite regularly in the 1980s but one day on a clear and calm day he saw the ghostly shade of a square rigged ship and vowed never to go to sea again.
Jim was out of work and the small town of Port Alfred did not offer much in the way of work for the young man he could earn a small living by going to sea as a fisherman and to this course he duly applied himself.
Having met an old sea dog who owned his own fishing boat Jim and the old Air force captain came to an arrangement where by Jim would go to sea as a fisherman and the captain would pay him for any thing he caught.
This been agreed upon they set out on a number of occasions to the fishing banks some days Jim made quite a lot of money as he was an expert fisherman and other days when things went badly he made nothing.
The captain was a very difficult man to please and he used to take delight in giving Jim the short end of the stick. However nothing wavering they continued for about eight months.
Then on one of those days that fishermen love the sun was shining and there was not a hint of wind they set out across the treacherous bar at the mouth of the Kowie river and out in to the deep waters.
Finding a suitable spot they dropped anchor and began to fish the captain with a short stocky sea rod and Jim with a hand line as this was all the captain would permit.
The fishing was good and by mid morning Jim had caught about a hundred kilograms of line fish of various types at about eleven oclock the captain called a halt to the fishing and rations of sandwiches and coffee was broken out.
There was some idle chatter among the four men aboard the boat nothing of a serious nature was discussed and most of the conversation was about local matters and some goings on at the local public house.
Once the lunch was finished the men drifted back to their stations. On coming to the bow of the boat Jim checked to see that the anchor was still secure and resumed fishing he had not been engaged for long.
When he happened to look out to the south east to his surprise he saw bearing down of them a squire rigged merchantman of the 17th century with blood red sails.
Hurrying to the back of the boat he called out to the others to come and assist as they were in danger of been run down by the strange craft.
The other men hurriedly helped to lift anchor and started to drift still the strange ship approached the two other crewmen also saw the ship but the captain did not. He would not start the engine so they continued to drift before the ship for the space of about ten minutes.
Then slowly the apparition dissipated. This was enough for Jim that day when he reached the shore he packed away his sea going gear and never went to sea again as for the captain with in a year of the incident he had passed away.
THE AUTHOR RECOMMENDS ” THE STERLEY’S OF OAKLAND PARK ( A PARODY OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE)
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