Love it or hate it, there is nothing like a lekker skrik. I still have flashbacks of the many times my older brother used to jump out behind a half-closed door, screaming “Whaaagh!”
The 10-year-old me would retaliate with a blood-curdling scream of my own, and then I would burst out laughing, so relieved that I was not about to die a horrible death.
These days, I’m the scarer in my family.
But, having watched at least four seasons of The Walking Dead, my technique has become much more sophisticated.
Every now and then, to the delighted shrieks of my two older kids, I would lurch through the house as a zombie. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that a part of me loves seeing them run – at last, some respect!
Yes, I do have moments of guilt, worrying if I’m scarring them for life, but then I think back to all of those spookstories my dad used to tell my brother and I as we sat around the braai fire during summer holidays.
As a young man, my dad was a “troep” at the Castle of Good Hope and, boy, did odd things happen to him when he stood night guard there.
So, with Halloween just around the corner, it got me thinking – just how many spooky spots are there in and around the city?
According to Cape Town Tourism’s website (www.capetown.travel) quite a few.
I decided to Google four of them, starting with the Castle of Good Hope, of course.
The iconic mountain is listed first in Cape Town Tourism’s list. The story goes that a distant governor of Cape Town made enemies of a citizen who in turn offered a fine-looking flute to the governor’s son as a gift.
The flute was once used by a leper and so the boy contracted leprosy. He was forced to live in exile in a lonely hut in the forests of Table Mountain. Thus he came to be the ghost of Verlatenbosch. To this day the eerie sounds of his flute can sometimes be heard on the slopes of Table Mountain.
Now I can’t guarantee that you will meet any ghosts, but you will definitely be greeted with the best views of the Mother City, Robben Island and the Peninsula. You can get up there the old-fashioned way by following any one of the many walking trails or you can take the cable car.
The easiest way to check rates, opening hours, operating times and specials, is by visiting tablemountain.net. You can also buy your tickets online at this website.
Adults pay R225 for a return trip, children between the ages of four and 17 years pay R125 and children under the age of four are free.
On Fridays, SA senior citizens pay R100 and students R130, providing that they purchase their tickets at the ticket office.
“An ornate building dating back to the late 1700s, Rust-en-Vreugd is now an art museum where it is not uncommon to hear visitor accounts of ghost sightings”, or so Cape Town Tourism says.
It goes on to state that some guests hear footsteps, some see a woman drifting between the downstairs rooms and others see a different woman staring down on them from an upstairs window.
It is reported that dogs often snarl at the painting of the British Governor of the Cape, Lord Charles Somerset.
Today the museum hosts a programme of mainly South African contemporary art shows. A permanent installation is the William Fehr Collection.
I don’t proclaim to know much about art, but located at 78 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, the museum conjures up a spectre of the past.
The museum is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm. Adults pay R20, kids between six and 18 pay R10 and SA students and seniors pay R10 each.
For info, call 021 481 3903.
The Castle of Good Hope
According to the Cape Town Tourism website, workers and visitors have reported hearing voices and footsteps in the windowless dungeon and in the narrow corridors of the building.
The bell in the Bell Tower, which was walled up centuries ago after a soldier hung himself with the bell-rope, sometimes rings of its own accord. A black dog is also said to haunt the property and has been known to approach visitors and then disappear.
Lady Anne Barnard is another of the Castle’s ghostly residents. In the late 18th century, as the colony’s First Lady, she often entertained dignitaries. Her ghost is said to have appeared at parties held in honour of important visitors as well as at the Dolphin Pool, where she bathed.
The Castle, located on Buitenkant Street opposite the Grand Parade, may not be as scary during the day, but a visit to the Torture Chamber will send chills running down your spine.
There are guided tours from Monday to Saturday at 11am, noon and 2pm, while weekdays at 10am and 12pm, a Key Ceremony is performed, replicating the ceremonial unlocking of the Castle in olden times. It is followed by the firing of the cannon.
Adults pay R30 and children R15 entrance fee.
For more information, call 021 464 1260/4.