The ghosts of New Year’s Eve past

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MACABRE: Tokai Manor, where a ghost horse and its rider are said to appear every New Year's Eve.

Cape Town - Some of Cape Town’s most famous places are said to be haunted, including Tokai Manor, where on New Year’s Eve the ghosts of an eccentric man and his horse have been viewed enacting a scene from hundreds of years ago.



The tale of the Bush of the Forsaken begins with a disgruntled citizen wanting to take revenge for ill treatment by the governor. The man hatched a plan and gave the governor’s son a flute that had belonged to a leper. Within days, the young man was infected with the disease and cast out by his family.

He was forced to move into a small hut on the slopes of Table Mountain where he spent his days alone until his death.

It is said that when the sun sets, the haunting melody of the flute can be heard as it is carried down the slopes by the wind.

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APPARITIONS: The Castle of Good Hope has its share of gruesome ghosts. Photo: Tracey Adams




The manor was built in 1796 and was owned by Hendrik Oswald Eksteen, a rich and eccentric man.

Eksteen and his son Petrus Michiel loved to entertain guests, and his New Year’s bash was looked forward to by all. The manor’s high stoep and twin flights of stairs greeted guests as they made their way into the party.

Michiel was prone to bragging about his excellent horse-riding skills, and gladly accepted a challenge to ride his steed up the stoep and into the dining room.

He completed the task without much difficulty, and began celebrating his feat. But as he did so, his horse was spooked and tumbled down the steps, killing itself and Michiel.


On New Year’s Eve, drunken laughter and the sound of a galloping horse are said to be heard, along with that of its terrified neigh as it fell to its death. The only physical evidence of Michiel and his horse left behind at the manor is a hoof print on the dining room floor.



The history of the castle features several well-known and often gruesome tales of mystery and cruelty.

The ghost of Governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt is said to wander the halls of the castle after one of his men cursed him before he was hanged. Four soldiers tried to flee the harsh rule of the governor during the 1720s, and were sentenced to death for their failed escape attempt.

At the hanging, which the governor refused to attend, the last soldier to receive his sentence cursed the governor with his dying breath. When officers went to report to the governor, they found him dead in his chair with a look of sheer terror on his face. The governor is said to still roam, unable to escape the soldier’s curse.

The Lady in Grey is another apparition said to haunt the castle. Her ghost apparently has been seen covering her face as if she is crying. But this ghost has been largely invisible since the skeleton of a woman was found during excavation, fuelling suspicions that the Lady was finally set free from the walls of the castle.



It would be no surprise if some thought a hospital to be haunted by tormented spirits, but the hospital boasts some friendly ghosts who are said to help staff with their work.

One is believed to be that of a young nurse who committed suicide after she contracted an incurable disease during World War II. Her spirit is said to have taken up residence in the hospital, and to have a calming effect on staff.

A sister with white eyes is also said to roam the corridors, frightening anyone who gazes at her face, while another ghost, known as Sister Fatima, reportedly tries to help nurses doing their rounds by handing out drinks to patients when the trolley is left unattended.

The ghost of a young man is also said to wander the corridors after he fell to his death while desperately trying to escape the upper floors of the hospital for an unknown reason.



The suburb of Mowbray was once known as Driekoppen (three heads), after the heads of three slaves were put on spikes for the murder of a local innkeeper. Making the tale even more gruesome is that the heads are said to have been fed to hyenas. Some say that the howls of the animals can still be heard in the dead of night.

A room at the Little Barn is also said to be haunted by slaves who were housed there.

An old man, wearing 18th-century clothing, can sometimes be seen floating in a bedroom at the 17th century house, Westoe. - Weekend Argus

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