My Fairest Cape by Maggie Tideswell





South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ was described by Sir Francis Drake as ‘the fairest Cape in all the circumference of the earth’. Dominated by Table Mountain, the tip of South Africa has attracted seafarers since the 16th century and is today one of the top tourist destinations.

Since the arrival of the first colonists in 1652 with Jan van Riebeeck, the Cape has had its fair share of miscreants, crimes and wrongful deaths. It is small wonder that many hauntings have been reported over the years. As I am a paranormal romance writer, these unexplained events are of great interest.

The Castle of Good hope was built as a refreshment post for ships making the long voyage from Amsterdam to the East Indies around the Cape. It even had a moat that was kept full of water by the high tide. It is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town and served as jail, courthouse and trading post over the years and until the 60’s it was a military base. A long and sometimes bloody history has left its imprint on the castle.

The castle has many tales to tell and is said to be haunted by several ghosts. The Lady in Grey had been sighted the most. Nobody really knew who she was; but as she was often seen with her hands covering her face as if she were crying, it was assumed that she had been the victim of a terrible tragedy. After the skeleton of a woman was excavated in the castle and laid to rest, The Lady in Grey has seldom been seen. It is as if she had been released from the clutches of the castle.

The most notorious ghost is that of Governor Van Noodt, governor of the Cape Colony in the 1720’s. He was a harsh man who punished his soldiers ruthlessly for any hint of disobedience. Four soldiers tried to escape his tyranny but were caught and sentenced to a beating and deportation to Batavia in the East Indies. For no apparent reason the Governor changed the sentence to death. One by one the soldiers were hanged. The last of the condemned men loudly cursed the governor and called him before God to answer for his actions. While the hangings took place, Van Noodt waited in his office; he was to be informed once it was all over. The officers found him dead in his chair, a look of absolute horror on his face. His ghost still roams the castle, forever condemned to the dying soldier’s curse.

Workers and visitors to the castle have heard voices and footsteps in the narrow corridors of the building and especially in the windowless dungeon, known as the ‘donker gat’ (dark hole), where many criminals where tortured.

The bell tower had been walled up hundreds of years ago after a soldier hanged himself on the bell rope, yet the bell sometimes rings by itself.

A black dog also haunts the castle. It is reported that it leaps at visitors and then, in the second before impact, it vanishes.

I love stories of the unexplained and ghostly. They play a large part in my novels. I cannot resist their allure.

You can share some of my haunting experiences on my Facebook page for Moragh, Holly’s Ghost. Come visit




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17 thoughts on “My Fairest Cape by Maggie Tideswell

  1. Cherrye Vasquez

    Wow! What scary adventure, but it sounds like a place that anyone would want to go who loves this sort of action and escapades. It’s not for me because I’m too “chicken” but I love reading and imagining the same. Just long as I don’t have to actually experience it personally, I love hearing about these sorts of things and believe that they happen.

    Fondly, we speak of a “Mr. Brown” in my Moms home, but we were the first and only family that ever lived there. Pieces of mail comes to my Mom’s home bearing his name among other things, so whenever something spooky happens, we blame it on Mr. Brown, and get a great giggle.

    Thanks for sharing this adventurous story, Maggie.

  2. Monica Brinkman

    Maggie, A woman after my heart, or at least one who puts fear into it.
    I am a lover of all things that go creak in the night and you are by far one of my favorite writers. Wish I could visit the sites you’ve described, but think I’d need a stiff drink first. LOL

    Keep those stories coming!

  3. Micki Peluso

    Wonderful history lesson on a fabulous, if tumultuous land. I have a friend who lived there and loved it. The paranormal element is amazing. I think these things exist everywhere and people choose to pretend not. My favorite home for six years was a haunted 100 year-old farmhouse and the things that went on were terrifying to my family, yet the house gave me a sense of peace never felt before. That was decades ago and I still dream of that house. Oddly, someone with my name lived there long ago. Reading your tales gaves me shivers!!

  4. Anne Sweazy-Kulju

    History rocks; especially histories that involve ghosts! I loved this post, Maggie. I actually lived in a haunted house (but they were all nice ghosts, with great senses of humor!) in the form of my Victorian B&B Farmhouse that my husband and I restored in 1990 (sold it in 1995.) Just about every (skeptic) family member has seen “Clyde” during a night spent at my inn, and many of my guests describe fun “sessions” with a ghost–probably Bill; he was quite a character. (Interactions sometimes involved flying popcorn and teasing guests with the TV on/off button.) I loved it! On the darker side of ghostly appearances, a contractor who had a rough break-up with his live-in “mate” went missing during the construction of our present home. Every summer, my daughter or I will glimpse a dark column of mist in the NE corner of my living room. It comes and goes. I tell it to leave, and it always does, but I can feel it’s hostility. My dogs won’t even be dragged to that part of the house… weird, right? Yep, your post is right up my genre-alley. This was a fun read!

  5. Delinda

    Now I want even more to visit S. Africa and see the flowers and visit this fortress. I love hearing about new places, but then I always want to visit them.

  6. Clayton Bye Post author

    I had never considered south Africa as a tourist destination. To me it always epitomized what was wrong with African politics. And here, now, we have not only a beautiful destination but an interesting one. Just think–a haunted castle in Africa! If that’s not interesting, I don’t know what is!

  7. T.R. Heinan

    Ghosts! I love a good book about ghosts. Some places seem like they just HAVE to be haunted, New Orleans, Tombstone, Arizona, civil war battlefields, for example. It never occurred to me to look to Africa. This has to be worth a peek.

  8. Linda Hales

    Funny about that T.R., when I was reading the ghost tales in this piece, my mind immediately went to New Orleans and its fascinating ghost history. I personally have no confirmed ghost experiences but did live in a rented house once for about a year that did have a few curiosities. The one that comes to mind is the bathroom door. It opened by itself at the most unnerving times, like when I was naked and about to step into the shower. It closed by itself when leaving that room and not because of any fan or breeze from an open window. The feeling of being watched as I entered the shower was palpable but I got used to it and rationalized that this might be the only jolly this poor entity ever experiences. I use present tense because I’m aware that others since have had the same experience and still are. Ghost tales come in all shapes, sizes and colors and add spice to our otherwise, ordinary existence.

  9. Yves Johnson

    If not for this site, I wouldn’t have read anything of this genre. You caught my attention! Interesting. When I think of going abroad…I wouldn’t have thought about hauntings. Thanks for the different perspective.

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