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Johannesburg - They heard footsteps shuffling up the stairs of the hospital. It was just before witching hour on Halloween, that time when ghouls rise from graves and corpses walk abandoned hospital wards.
Through the inky darkness, the footsteps grew closer.
So Shane Joubert, of Kempton Park, hid in the only place he could think of – a cupboard.
But when it was opened, and when Joubert’s eyes adjusted to the glare of the torchlight, he wasn’t seeing dead people.
He was busted. Not by a ghost, but by a police officer.
Joubert and about 40 other revellers, who had decided to spend Halloween in the abandoned Kempton Park Hospital, were caught by the police and the local neighbourhood watch.
The Kempton Park Hospital is said to have ghosts. A couple of ghost photographs have even been posted on the Internet – perhaps Photoshopped or the real thing.
So at night, people come to wander through the hospital and test their nerve. But the neighbours have had enough.
So who do you call when there is something strange in the neighbourhood?
Norkem Park police station.
Those inside were trespassing, they said. There was some busting to be done.
Soon they had the trespassers lying on the ground with their hands on their heads.
Some were in costume.
Joubert was painted all green. “I am the Incredible Hulk,” he said. His sister Kassidy was “corpse girl”.
“I had come to catch a ghost, when I heard the noise, I thought it was the kids, but it was the cops,” said one woman, who didn’t want to give her name.
Twelve of the trespassers caught had arrived in a party bus that came with a fully stocked cooler box.
They had stopped at the nearby Prime Time Sports Bar, where someone told them about the haunted hospital.
One occupant of the party bus claimed to have had a paranormal experience. She was in the operating theatre on the fourth floor, she said, when her nose ring and earrings disappeared.
“Feel my hands, they are still shaking,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name in the paper.
The trespassers were warned and told to leave.
But the lure of Halloween and the haunted spot kept thrill-seekers coming.