The Ghost House

by Mark Hinds

On the grounds of the Karroo Hotel, situated about 700 meters away from the main building, stands an empty labourer’s cottage. It has been uninhabited for a great number of years and is extremely run down. Most of the window panes are broken, tattered remainders of curtains still hang. A washing line, rusted by the elements, surrounded by debris strewn everywhere. Inside one will find primitive furniture, pots and pans, a desk with reading glasses, an old pen, a forlorn teddy bear and the odd remnant of clothing.


This abandoned cottage is known to all as the spookhuis (ghost house) and locals refuse to go anywhere near it as it is home to a legendary ghost ... or so they say. When one approaches this dwelling, a distinct eeriness is apparent which gives one goose-flesh. There have been numerous sightings of this ghost which appears habitually at full-moon. A phosphorus glow, in the shape of a human wielding a stick, dances around and around the dwelling and then disappears. It then reappears a while later, repeats the procedure only to vanish again. The sighting of the phenomena has been reported by a number of guests over the years, but there is no explanation as to what it is.


Apparently the last person to inhabit the dwelling was an ex-farmworker by the name of Flip Paaltjie. He was in his early forties and a most peculiar character. He loved walking and he would disappear for weeks at a time hiking off to wherever he desired. He was always talking to himself and most of the locals were wary to involve themselves with his ramblings. He constantly carried with him an enormous bunch of keys and a pole which he would use to sit on (or rather prop himself up on). He was apparently at all times talking about what he owned. Every car around was his, every house, every donkey and cart. Thus the great collection of keys.


One day Flip Paaltjie (Paaltjie being a nickname given because of the pole he carried) disappeared. No one gave it much thought as this was his custom, however he never returned. Many months after his disappearance a completely decayed corpse was discovered in one of the stables down at the show grounds. An utterly horrifying discovery. The bunch of keys and the pole at his side concluded that these were the remains of Flip Paaltjie. His corpse had been in in a clenched sitting position looking as if he had died of cold although he would have died in the middle of summer. No one knows how he ended up in the stable not much more than one kilometre from his abode. Until today the cause of death is still a mystery.

Stoep Stories

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