In folklore, a ghost (sometimes known as an apparition, haunt, phantom, poltergeist, shade, specter or spectre, spirit, spook, and wraith) is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living. In ghostlore, descriptions of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions.
According to the English language the word haunting can mean different things; as an adjective it can mean poignant and evocative, remaining in the consciousness; not quickly forgotten. As a noun, the use we are familiar with, it can mean the act of a person or thing that haunts; visitation. A haunted house or ghosthouse is a house or other building often perceived as being inhabited by disembodied spirits of the deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. Parapsychologists attribute haunting to the spirits of the dead and the effect of violent or tragic events in the building’s past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide. Below are some of the most haunted houses in Africa!
Castle of Good Hope-South Africa
Castle of Good Hope
Centuries of violence and slavery in the Cape of Good Hope Castle have left the legacy of disturbed and restless spirits. There was a Donker Gat (dark hole) where prisoners were held and tortured. Consequently there have been many ghostly sightings such as that of a 2 metre tall ghost which haunts the battlements, striding up and down, semi-luminous and terrifying. There are rumours that you can spot a large black dog which will lunge at you, disappearing at the last possible moment. Lights switch on and off by an invisible hand. Blood-curdling screams, strange voices and footsteps still terrify soldiers on guard during the late night “ghost shift” at the Castle of Good Hope. To this day, soldiers who guard the Castle would rather walk all the way around the outside of the building than pass through the haunted archways in the wee hours of the morning.
Torture Chamber Door; Castle of Good Hope
The Castle is on Cape Town’s ghost route – the buildings believed to be haunted, which people can visit to see for themselves if they dare. Eerie stories have been told of footsteps pacing along the battlements between the two bastions of Leerdam and Buren; after World War Two, these inexplicable sounds were accompanied by a floating human shape without legs. It is said this ghost could be that of a soldier who hanged himself in the bell tower 300 years ago.There is also the ghost of a sad-faced woman, wearing a long, grey cloak, who walks through the Castle at night. Then there is the ghost who loves to join parties. It is said it could be Lady Anne Barnard, who lived at the Castle for five years from 1797 while her husband was colonial secretary. Her ghost has been seen at functions in the ballroom, clothed in a ballgown of that era. Guards and staff at the Castle insist there is more to the Castle ghosts than just “spook”stories.
Lady Anne Barnard.
State House-Kenya (Haunting of Jomo Kenyatta)
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta State House, Nairobi.
Previous Heads of State Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and current President Uhuru Kenyatta have all lived at the powerful house after they ascended to power except for the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. One of the close associates of Mzee Kenyatta, Duncan Ndegwa, revealed that during his 14-year rule, the founding President only slept at State House on one night in January 1969. Even so, those who were close to him say that he never slept a wink on that night but he instead forced his aides to drive him to his Gatundu home in the middle of the night.
State house 1940’s
Mr Ndegwa, while narrating how the founding President ruled after he ascended to power, revealed that among all things, one thing that stood from Mzee Kenyatta is that he never slept at State House. According to Ndegwa, Kenyatta would not sleep in the House on the Hill because he said there were ‘ghosts of white people and frogs’ that croaked the whole night. “He would not sleep at State House because he said there were ghosts of white people and frogs were croaking… he thought they were saying he should not be there,” Ndegwa stated. Regardless of how late it was, Kenyatta was driven every night to his home in Gatundu, Kiambu County where he slept and spent time with family when he was not on official duties. It became a custom every night and when he was not in Nairobi, he loved spending time at State House in Mombasa until he died on August 22, 1978.
Duncan Ndegwa worked at Central Bank for 15 years
Trafalgar Court-Zimbabwe (Haunted Flat of Harare)
Over the past few years, Trafalgar Court has turned into the dreaded haunted flat of Harare. Mysterious happenings including incidents of suicides, fatal accidents and other unfortunate events have been part of the Harare City Council owned building. The building is between the imposing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and internationally acclaimed National Arts Gallery along Julius Nyerere Street. Despite being associated with the country’s mega infrastructural and architectural structures housing several financial institutions, Trafalgar has become the horror house of Harare.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The news of a jilted woman, Ms Brenda Chinguwo (25), who plunged to her death from the building’s 13th Floor following an altercation with her husband, is but one of the sad news to come from that place. Ms Chinguwo reportedly had a misunderstanding with her husband Dyvon Takawira Masona and she threw herself off the apartment they shared. The two had reportedly accompanied each other from Mbare where she was staying after moving out of the flat they shared earlier in the day. They had their altercation and she killed herself. The incident was the climax of gory scenes which have been prevalent at the building.
Residents at the flat said Ms Chinguwo’s suicide was not something new and are certain that some phenomenon are at play. Several incidents have taken place in full view of council traffic police officers and City Parking officials who use the building’s first three floors as their offices. People have come up with several explanations to the myths surrounding the unfortunate events calling for some cultural or contemporary cleansing ceremonies at the building. Some have even associated the previous ownership and building name to some of the incidents but efforts to link this was in vain.
Mr Dyvon Takawira Masona and estranged wife the late Brenda Chinguwo.
Morocco Mall opened in Casablanca
Inside the Morocco Mall.
In 2011 the Morocco Mall opened in Casablanca, it’s the second largest shopping center in Africa and rumors started almost immediately that the mall was haunted. There’s a mausoleum nearby and others have said a cemetery was razed to put the mall on top of leading to the the appearance of ghosts and other unnatural happenings. Others dispute this claim and say that it’s only a rumor put forth to detract from the success of the mall and its operations.
The Morocco Mall, the largest shopping center in North Africa.
Baron Empain’s Palace-Egypt
Baron Empain’s Palace-Egypt.
Known as the Baron Palace, this outstanding piece of architecture was built in 1910 by a Belgian businessman, industrialist, and amateur Egyptologist by the name of Baron Édouard Empain. There are a few interesting myths about both the palace and the spiral staircases, such as; The palace was built on a rotating base so that the Baron could see the entire city without moving from his seat. Some people claim that the palace had a secret tunnel which connected to the Basilica Church. Another part of this rumor is that the Baron had a customized vehicle to take him from one part of the tunnel to another. There are rumors that the Baron Palace had an enchanted chamber. The Baron’s daughter and sister, Helena were not allowed to enter the pink bedroom at the basement of the palace, which is where the door that took him to the tunnel in Basilica was located. The Baron’s daughter, Mariam, suffered paralysis since birth and grew up to have psychological issues. They were mostly related to her father’s firmness and his cold behavior. Some people say he imprisoned her at times. She was found dead at the service elevator which connected the kitchen to the roof, but some speculate that it was a suicide attempt after a love affair with one of the servants.
Baron Édouard Empain, had made his fortune in railway-building. His first visit to Egypt inspired him to build the city of Heliopolis.
It is believed that the spiral staircase caused the death due to the palace’s revolving base where his wide fell to her death. When Baron died, it is said that the mirrors covering the walls of the pink room in the basement turned red. Currently, it is believed that the Baron’s Palace is extremely haunted. Bats, stray dogs, and ghosts are said to wander about the palace. Others believe that the Baron’s daughter lingers in the palace. There have been multiple stories of ghosts in the palace, mysterious music playing as though the days of palace partying had never ended, and the sounds of furniture being swept from one room to another during midnight have been heard.
Staircase of death: The interior of the palace’s main tower, said to have been built on a revolving base. It was from this tower that the Baron’s wife fell to her death, just a few years before his daughter was also killed.