News / Africa

On the Paranormal Prowl with South Africa’s Ghost Hunters

  • A GPS member pores over old documents during a probe of an abandoned hospital near Johannesburg where they recorded a very loud noise “like a man that took in his breath. We have no logical explanation for that sound.” (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranorm
  • GPS investigators listen to audio recordings they’ve made, trying to find evidence of a haunting in Pretoria. The owner of one house said that was the voice of her father humming a favorite tune. (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranormal Society)
  • GPS members at the scene of an alleged haunting near De Deur, where a father accidentally decapitated his daughter and her boyfriend while they riding a motorcycle. (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranormal Society)
  • GPS investigated a “haunted” building near Johannesburg where their devices measured high electro-magnetic fields, “bundles of energy” that indicate the presence of ghosts. (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranormal Society)
  • Paranormal investigators examine photographs they’ve taken for evidence of a ghost. They believe the Pretoria bar was haunted by a man who died in a fight over a game of pool. (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranormal Society)
  • The GPS often investigates abandoned buildings for evidence of the paranormal. Sometimes they refer cases to priests and demonologists and mediums. (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranormal Society)
  • Paranormal experts load evidence into a computer at a restaurant in Pretoria
  • The Gauteng Paranormal Society investigated a Pretoria restaurant for evidence of a spirit in the bar area where “an old guy likes to touch women.” (Photo Courtesy the Gauteng Paranormal Society)
Looking for Gauteng's Ghosts
Darren Taylor
A pouting Marilyn Monroe looks down with smoldering eyes from a wall poster on two bulky, bearded men tucking into bloody T-bone steaks at the bar counter of a suburban restaurant in Pretoria.
The venue is filled with people who are eating, talking and laughing – blissfully unaware that the popular hangout is apparently haunted in recent years by two ghosts said to have terrified staff members cleaning up after hours.
“The pub’s said to have one very dark spirit at the bathroom area; he died there during a fight over (a game of) pool,” said Taryn Oliver, case manager for the Gauteng Paranormal Society (GPS). “The other spirit is in the bar area - an old guy who likes to touch women. A medium confirmed this.”
Darren Taylor reports on ghost chasers in Gauteng
Darren Taylor reports on ghost chasers in Gautengi
|| 0:00:00

A photograph taken by a GPS member during the group’s investigation of the premises shows a long, dark but translucent shadow hovering high above customers near a fireplace.
“This is a common manifestation of a spirit as captured with our photographic equipment,” said Olivier. “You usually won’t see it with the naked eye.”
The GPS probes supernatural sightings and “paranormal events” across the province of Gauteng.
“Paranormal to us means anything from poltergeists to demons, but mostly we come across your normal ghosts – the spirits of people who have died that haven’t found rest yet,” Olivier told VOA.
Energy spikes on the K2
To gather solid evidence of the paranormal, the GPS uses electromagnetic field (EMF) meters, digital video and still cameras, night vision telescopes, digital audio recorders and laptop computers.
But perhaps the organization’s most important apparatus is a K2 - a type of EMF meter that uses LED lights to measure the strength of an energy field. Olivier describes paranormal entities as “bundles of energy.”
“The K2 catches energy spikes,” she says. “The moment we walk into a site, we will do a base reading. Normal areas with no electricity leakages will have readings of between zero and one. So, the moment we have an investigation and the meter spikes up to three, seven, we know obviously something is there…”
Olivier recalled visiting a house where an EMF meter peaked to a reading of 1,500. “That was shocking, considering that the highest we (previously) ever got was 32. Our technical guys established that there were no electrical leakages in that house that could cause that dramatic energy spike.”
Olivier added that the GPS has so far been unable to establish the nature of the paranormal phenomenon present in the house.   
“I think it would be a very powerful spirit, and very active, or it could be that there are multiple spirits there,” she speculated. “We’ll have to investigate further, maybe using a medium to contact the spirits as well.”
Heavy breathing ghost at an abandoned hospital
Olivier said she’d been involved in many “fascinating” cases but one that “sticks” in her mind is a probe of “weird happenings” at an abandoned hospital in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.   
“We also made audio recordings there and there was something very strange on one of those tapes. It was very loud, like a man that took in his breath. We have no logical explanation for that sound.”
Then, at another private residence she said she recorded a tune being whistled by an invisible entity.
“I played it (the audio) back to the (home) owner… and she said her (deceased) father used to hum that tune.  That’s how we knew that her father’s spirit was active in that house,” said Olivier.  
Haunted hotel and decapitation
The GPS had one of its “greatest” experiences at an old hotel in KwaZulu-Natal province’s majestic Drakensberg Mountains, according to the case manager.
“Our two lead investigators walked through the kitchen, into the ballroom and up a staircase. And then just half way up the stairs the apparition would disappear. It was like a loop that the entity was walking. They caught it with the K2 meter.
“We have it on video. You can see the light from that entity on the video. You can see Chris (an investigator) standing still and the lights on the K2 going haywire. Then you see a big ball of light moving in front of the camera.”
On another occasion the GPS set up its equipment at a site near De Deur, south of Johannesburg, where “something terrible” happened a few years ago, said Olivier. 
“A farmer had a teenage daughter, and at night she would slip out to visit her boyfriend and they would go on motorcycle drives - even though her father had forbidden her to do this. The farmer decided to do something to scare them.
“So he had taken barbed wire and put it around a tree. From one tree he span (sic) it over the road, to the other tree – just to knock them off the motorcycle. But unfortunately when they were driving past (they were going very fast and) it actually decapitated both of them…”
Since then, said Olivier, there had been regular reports of paranormal activity near the scene of the deaths. 
“If you are on that road in the evenings you’ll see a ball of light coming up to that area, and then just vanish. Some of our team members have seen it. There are some of the public that I know have seen it.” They tried to capture it on their equipment “… but we didn’t get anything…”
Demons and Satanism
Olivier is concerned with an increase in people contacting her to report “very violent” paranormal incidents. She described people being pressed down on their beds, others with unexplained scratch marks on their bodies, and “A lot of people report being thrown around by an unseen force…”  
She maintained that such physical, supernatural assaults are evidence of attacks by demons.
“The first thing I ask people who report such things is: ‘Have you played Ouija board or have you been involved in Satanism?’ Dabbling in Satanism and playing games where you try to contact the dead is very, very dangerous,” Olivier asserted, because they “open people up” and allow “demonic entities to come through.”
She said the demons then “attach” to these people to “feed” on their energy.
“A lot of people might get sick. Some people will get angry easily; that demonic presence will have a massively negative influence in your life. You might start drinking heavily and taking drugs; you may lose your family and your job; get violent...”     
To any skeptics Olivier smiles and comments: “We human beings think we’ve found all the answers to everything. But we haven’t even scratched the surface of everything that’s out there…” 
More afraid of criminals, than ghosts
Olivier said the GPS would “love” to do more to help people suffering because of the paranormal, “but as we explain to them, our job is as researchers. Our job is to collect information that will give people a better understanding of paranormal events in South Africa.
“There are other people such as priests and demonologists and mediums who are much better-qualified to help people overcome supernatural threats than we are, and we refer our clients to those people.” 
In the near future Olivier said the GPS planned to focus on “boosting investigative capacity” and buying better-quality equipment, as it continues its quest to capture incontrovertible evidence of paranormal activity.
And, despite constant involvement with mysterious forces that would terrify most people, Olivier emphasized: “Hunting for ghosts isn’t scary at all when compared with the other dangers we face out there in the field in Gauteng.”
She explained, laughing: “Like if we want to go to a graveyard, we’re more afraid of being hijacked (carjacked) there than of seeing a ghost!”

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs