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TThe ghosts of South Africa are a colourful, dramatic and varied lot. You'll find killers, victims, poltergeists, spooky drivers, battlefield wraiths and road-death spirits. Each one gives you a little insight into South Africa's story. But most of all, they provide for cracking good entertainment – a South African ghost story is always worth telling.
So, when you ask the folk at the Swartberg Hotel in Prince Albert about their ghosts, they'll tell you about flying vases, characters moving about in old paintings and the shenanigans of a late-night poltergeist in the corridors. Ghosts, you see, are good for business.
Many years ago, a man murdered his wife in a riverbed near Beaufort West. Since then, people have seen a fast-moving light running up and down the river. They say it's the angry spirit of the dead woman. One driver who drove towards it, the story goes, ended up in a lunatic asylum.
The most famous country spook is the Uniondale hitchhiker. On a stormy night in 1968, an Air Force officer and his fiancée crashed in their Volkswagen Beetle just outside the town in the Kamanassie Mountains. He was badly hurt, she died instantly. Since then, people travelling the area on rainy nights have picked up a woman hitchhiker – who then simply disappears into the darkness again.
Then there are the offshore ghosts, in the form of the captain and crew of The Flying Dutchman, cursed to a futile attempt to round the Cape of Good Hope for eternity. Let the haunting begin...