Out­door ideas for South Africa from The Hamp­ton Court Palace Flower Show

Many sight­ings over the years

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD - – Page 15

LAST year around Oc­to­ber an in­de­pen­dent film pro­ducer spent the night in the Cas­tle, leav­ing au­dio and film record­ing equip­ment be­hind locked doors. Those who have seen the video footage say that what was cap­tured was very in­ter­est­ing.

But what was most in­ter­est­ing was the au­dio record­ing from in­side the Garrison cells. When the pro­ducer lis­tened to the au­dio of him call­ing out for those who were there to speak up, a voice from the fur­thest point of the empty cells clearly stated: “In here.” When Ghost Hunters In­ter­na­tional vis­ited the Cas­tle they took their usual steps of set­ting up cam­eras and au­dio de­vices, and call­ing out for any ghosts to speak or show them­selves. But they called out in English and, for a laugh, ex­pert on the his­tory of the Cas­tle Willem Steenkamp told them that call­ing out in English would do no good be­cause th­ese were Dutch ghosts.

The Ghost Hunters were quick to hire a trans­la­tor. One US cam­era­man called out to the ghosts in the Tor­ture Cham­ber and was slapped in the face by an in­vis­i­ble hand. Steenkamp said you could see clearly that he had been slapped. “He was so shaken that he couldn’t speak,” he said.

The Cas­tle’s res­i­dent restora­tion artist had to work late one night. She doesn’t be­lieve in ghosts and knew she was the only per­son in that sec­tion of the Cas­tle. The door be­hind her had been open, but when she turned around it was shut. There was no wind and not one per­son in sight.

The sec­re­tary of the de­fence re­serve of­fice in the Cas­tle is, ac­cord­ing to Steenkamp, a down-toearth and prac­ti­cal per­son who is not “a be­liever”, but even she is shaken by the fact that ev­ery night she closes all the win­dows in her of­fice – and many morn­ings one win­dow, al­ways the same one, stands wide open. “It hap­pens of­ten enough to freak her out,” he said.

One of the older Cas­tle leg­ends is that of the woman in the grey cloak. In the late 1860s there were at least two sight­ings by “re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens”. When they started build­ing the Cas­tle they found a tem­po­rary grave­yard, mov­ing the bod­ies to an­other lo­ca­tion. Shortly af­ter the grey woman was spot­ted, they found an­other grave, that of a woman. They moved it and she was never seen again.

One night Steenkamp was do­ing a ghost tour and had lots of fake ghosts or­gan­ised to add to the en­ter­tain­ment. While fac­ing his au­di­ence he spot­ted some­one on a bench be­low. At the end one woman com­pli­mented him on the “ghost” on the bench, and asked how you could see the bars of the bench through the man. And how did the smoke from his cig­a­rette seem frozen in the air? Steenkamp just said: “Well, he wasn’t one of mine.”

The only known sight­ing in broad day­light was in 1915, when a sen­try spot­ted a man in old-time cloth­ing. The man was lean­ing on a wall, look­ing out to­wards Dar­ling Street.

The sen­try shouted: “Who goes there?” and the man van­ished.

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