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
...    
🔇
X

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

10 Migrants Drown, While 4,100 Rescued off Libyan Coast

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudi-led Airstrikes Use Banned Cluster Bombs

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

More Than 7,200 Dead, Thousands Missing in Nepal Quake

Hopes of finding survivors fade but search continues as US military aircraft, heavy equipment and air traffic controllers arrive in Nepal to help manage growing piles of relief supplies clogging Kathmandu airport More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs