Grahamstown rural, 2008
While we lived in P.E., my daughter went to visit a school friend and I was told her parents were "loaded" and had a farm near Grahamstown, where I usually have my films screened at the Arts Festival. So this is what she told me after she returned two days later, quite spooked and excited. It is a desolate farm, flat and empty with red soil, save for the dry bushes and thorn trees, typical of the Eastern Cape climate and plant life.
Nush was told that the house is haunted, but she dismissed it as fun small talk....until she saw it. It was a typical old farm house, huge and cool with a stoep (porch) that goes all round the house. Inside the ceilings were high and intimidating in its majesty. The corridor ran high and long into the bathroom at the end. And this is where the girls had their first encounter that Saturday night.
Lizbe, Nush's friend, decided to take a bath and asked Nush to keep her company. Now, I raised my kids very privately. We never share baths or come in when someone is peeing or bathing and such, so she thought it odd that this chick did not mind her parking her ass on the toilet lid while she was taking a bath. But she kept her friend company, nonetheless.
Now we know why...... The tub was filled and the tap closed. Lizbe stripped in the corner and Nush parked on the toilet. As Lizbe was about to get in the bath, both girls were astonished to see an invisible hand run strongly up and down through the water!!!! Like someone was testing the water.
They bolted out of the bathroom and ran straight into the guestroom, which was apparently the worst thing they could have done, because it was the most haunted room. After composing themselves and trying to find some rational reason for the water disturbance, they each had a bottle of Coke and chilled out on Lizbe's bed. There were two single beds in the room, but they both sat on the one bed.
As they were chatting, the bed started rattling a little, stopped, and then slowly began to slide. They thought....or shall I say HOPED....it was maybe a slant in the floor that made it slide under their weight, but then the bed violently shifted and ploughed into the other bed!!!! They squealed and sat dead still, as not to piss it off. All calmed down.
They started talking about what to do, as Lizbe's parents did not believe her before and they dreaded the night ahead. While they talked, Nush's Coke bottle flew off the dressing table and crashed against the opposite wall, sending the two girls screaming down the big corridor and they took refuge in the small TV room, where two lamps were shedding very welcoming light. They watched TV for a bit and every few minutes the room would turn icy cold. Every time the cold spots came, the TV screen would show static.
They decided to try and brave THE ROOM again. As they left the TV room, both lamps died simultaneously!!! Needless to day, the girls decided on an all-nighter.
Another blatantly creepy thing that happened earlier that evening: The girls were all over the farm with quad bikes. All afternoon. At dusk, they made a move to the house, as it was "not wise to be outside after dark". Lizbe knew the roads much better and sped ahead of Nush, leaving Nush pretty much alone on the ridge, at dark dusk.
Nush told me that she was driving really slow, because she could not see the road and ditches very well in the dark and did not want to speed on unknown terrain. She looked ahead to try and find Lizbe ahead of her, and then she saw a sight that made her blood run cold.
All around her, like an old camp site, she saw light grey shapes take form into what looked like soldiers from a forgotten era. Anushka did not know anything about Grahamstown's history at the time, so that is how I know she was serious. She saw soldiers take shape and walk around as if they are in a military camp, surrounding her completely. The fear numbed her legs and she was unable to call out to Lizbe. At once, her adrenaline kicked in and she revved her quad bike into action, jolted out and sped down the black road she could hardly see.
I did some research on the area around Grahamstown and lo and behold, there it was!!! This farm was part of a military post in the 1800's !!! Anushka was not impressed :-))
"In 1812, the Colonial Office in Whitehall received a dispatch informing them that Graham had succeeded in his task by using “a proper degree of terror”.
The war of 1811-1812 was in fact a very nasty and bloody conflict, unlike the earlier skirmishes. Stockenstroom was killed and Graham was lucky to escape with his life.
Before the action in which Stockenstroom died he and Graham were scouring the countryside and looking for a place where they could establish a military base.
They came across an overgrown and abandoned Boer farm called the Rietfontein which seemed to be a most ideal spot, and the military base began to grow. The tree which they sat under is now marked by a plinth in High Street. Cuyler named it in Graham’s honour and called it Grahamstown."