Africa is a mysterious continent, there are drastic differences between the north and the south, and South Africa at the tip seems to break free from the stereotype of either desert or jungle and is a thriving country. But like any country, it is not without its own history and identity. Part of that identity takes place in Cape Town, and the star shaped fort known as The Castle of Good Hope.
The Castle of Good Hope holds the honor of being the oldest colonial building in South Africa. It was originally built in the 17th century by Dutch colonialists. It has served as the seat of government and military operations for two centuries and now offers tours, museums, and expansive grounds for tourists and visitors.
From 1899-1902, the Castle was used as a prison during The Second Boer (Farmer) War. Interestingly enough a prisoner, Fritz Joubert Duquesne was imprisoned there. He had almost escaped by digging his way through the thick cement wall using an iron spoon. (Sound familiar to a well-known movie that also involves an escape?)
The torture chamber, called Donker Gat (Dark Hole) located in the dungeon, was a windowless room that flooded in Winter, drowning its contained prisoners. When the floods started the water would rise 3 feet per minute. Those that were imprisoned and executed within the castle for trying to escape included, slaves, outlaws, and rebellious natives.
But the thing we want to know, is the Castle of Goood Hope haunted? Those who have worked in the Castle will tell you that it is full of paranormal activity.
Here are some of what you may encounter when visiting the Castle of Good Hope:
You may be able to hear voices and footsteps in the dungeon and in the narrow corridors. The bell in the bell tower also can ring on its own. And since it was bricked up centuries ago, it should be impossible for it to ring. The story behind it is that a soldier once hung himself by the bell rope, perhaps he rings the bell now?
A black dog haunts the castle grounds. It is vicious and will lunge at people before disappearing. There are also reports of a tall man leaping from the castle walls. He disappears before hitting the ground. Others report that a man and woman are heard arguing near the guard’s room. When investigated a shapeless figure is seen.
Lady Anne Barnard is said to haunt the castle to this very day. She had resided in the Castle in the late 18th century and was responsible for entertainment of guests. She took her role seriously as she continues to do this after death, and usually is seen when important people visit. After the Dolphin pool was restored from Anne’s drawings, people reported more sightings of her as she would bathe nude in the pool.
Lights will also frequently turn themselves on and off and guards are hesitant to patrol in the arches as that is where the spirits like to roam. And lastly,
A ghost that continues to visit is that of Governor Pieter Gijsbert van Noodt. He was a strict man and sentenced 7 men (unjustly) to death. A prisoner’s last wish was refused right before his hanging, and it is said that his prisoner cursed van Noodt. It was a fast-acting curse as van Noodt was found dead in his office that same day. Today, visitors can hear him cursing and swearing inside the castle walls.