March 02, 2010

The Haunted Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Goede Hoop (Good Hope) is a star fort which was built on the original coastline of Table Bay between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company to serve as a replenishment station for ships sailing by the Cape of Good Hope. From 1678 it was the centre of civilian, administrative and military life at the Cape, until the settlement grew and some functions and activities moved away from the Castle. It replaced an older fort called the Fort de Goede Hoop, which was made out of clay and timber and built in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck upon his arrival at the Cape. This largest of South Africa’s buildings is also the oldest…and the most haunted. The pentagon-shaped castle was constructed on the shore so high tides would fill its moat. There was a dreaded Donker Gat (dark hole) dungeon used to hold prisoners, who would be chained to the walls and tortured. If an extra-large wave came crashing up the shore during high tide, the hole could fill with water within seconds and drown the prisoner chained below. One can imagine the mental anguish of hearing the waves getting louder and louder as the tide rose—hoping the next crest doesn’t fill your watery tomb. The castle also served as an execution site for convicts, escaped slaves, and rebellious natives. There’s small wonder why this place is haunted.

One of the most profound sightings at the castle involves a tall, glowing figure that is seen pacing between the Oranje and Leerdam bastions. The spectral figure would occasionally stop his march to lean over the castle wall to view the street below. The sound of phantom footsteps have also been reported in this area when no living person is present to make the sounds. It’s rare when we can put a name from history to a ghost, but in the case of the Castle of Goede Hoop, we can: Governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt.

In April of 1729, van Noodt ordered seven soldiers to their deaths for desertion. One of the seven stood on the gallows and announced that the group was wrongly accused and condemned van Noodt to “divine justice.” The seven were hanged, and van Noodt died later that same day of unknown causes. Today, van Noodt has been seen walking the grounds and been heard cursing under his breath before disappearing. Other resident ghosts include the curly-haired specter of Lady Anne Barnard, who lived at the castle in the late 1700s and has been known to make her appearance at parties, and a phantom black hound that leaps at visitors but vanishes inches before colliding with the frightened visitor. Today the castle is an Africana museum offering daily tours.

Sources :
Encyclopedia of Haunted Places : “Ghostly Locales From Around The World” Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger;
http://www.castleofgoodhope.co.za/;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_Good_Hope

Pic Source :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kasteel_de_Goede_Hoop_circa_1680.jpg

1 comments:

very beautiful castle! Thanks for sharing!!

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