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Hibiscus Coast


Many a summers holidays of my childhood were spent at the seaside resort towns of the Hibiscus Coast. When my father retired in 1992, my parents bought a cottage at one of these pretty coastal villages to escape the crime and congestion of the city, with us, their 3 teenage children.

Easter, Christmas and New Years would draw many tourists to the sleepy seaside settlements of the South coast and within days hotels, caravan parks and camping grounds would be filled with holiday makers keen to pursuit the outdoor activities on offer.

Unfortunately visiting a place and actually living there all year round can be very different, a lesson that we had to learn the hard way...

When the summer season drew to a close, the tourists would load up their cars and trailers and return to the cities. The town would become vacant overnight. The strong northeasterly wind would blow, leaving stinging blue-bottles and jellyfish on the beaches and the windswept coast with its rugged coastline and harsh vegetation would withdraw back into isolation.

Our house, fittingly named 'Hideaway' by previous owners lay nestled at the bottom of a green valley, which meant for cold winters and mosquito infested summers. Originally intended to be a holiday home, It was a single story dwelling built in the early 70's and had the appearance of being slapped together in a hurry on a shoe-string budget of materials, revealed by its poor plaster work, stable doors and steel wire mesh for burglar guards. Nevertheless, my parents felt it possessed a rustic charm and fell in love with the garden beautifully decorated with an assorted array of fruit trees, bougainvilleas, orchids and strelitzias. What was not so charming was the surrounding wild banana and sugar cane plantation, characteristic of Kwa-Zulu Natal, teeming with cane rats, spiders and deadly snakes.

From the day that we moved in the strange noises began. We were sitting in the lounge having a rest from a long, hard day of unpacking and moving heavy furniture when we first heard the loud thumping in the ceiling. Like someone banging violently on the wood board with their fist it resonated from one side of the lounge to the other. We sat in shocked silence looking up, listening, then exchanging horrified glances. My dad relieved the tension by suggesting it was likely just an iguana (large lizard) living in the ceiling. The thumps, bangs and scratches often accompanied by sweeping sounds would occur randomly throughout our 5 year residence, waking us up in the early hours of the morning.

My room, an obvious later addition to the house was constructed from cinder blocks, not bricks. Sometime between switching off my bedside lamp and falling asleep I would often hear tapping on my bedroom window. It sounded like little pebbles were being tossed up against the glass. Every so often upon pulling back the curtains to investigate I would see nothing but the pitch black of the night outside.

One evening whilst home alone something disturbing happened. I was sitting up late watching TV around 11 pm when I noticed the kitchen door handle turn downwards and the door swung open. Sitting directly oppose the door only about 3 meters away I was faced with nothing but the silhouette of the backyard mulberry tree in the moonlight. The night was still with not a breath of wind. Although the security gate was locked I didn't feel reassured. Had it been a would-be intruder the German Shepard next door surely would have barked his head off. Nothing, just silence. I felt as though a million eyes were on me and I slammed the door, locked it, turned on all the lights and the sound on the TV up. My parents only returned home hours later much to my dismay.

Before this, my older sister had often complained that she got the feeling of being chased when following the garden path down to the kitchen door when coming home late at night. I got this feeling even in the daytime.

Shortly before our house was sold in 1996 the thumping in the ceiling become louder and more aggressive. Around this time the geyser (water heater) in my parents en-suite bathroom stopped working. It also happened to be the only room with a trap door to the ceiling. My sister's husband, an electrician, came to repair the geyser and had to access the roof to fix it. Knowing he was an avid reptile collector we, being so desperate to rid the house of its menace, asked him to catch the iguana at the same time. After fixing the geyser he came down from the ladder and didn't look impressed. He remarked that the ceiling was cleaner than the house and there was no lizard or rats or animal droppings for that matter. The noises still continued the following night.

It was only after we left that we finally admitted to ourselves that something wasn't right about that cottage or its gardens. My mom even confessed to me that she had seen the ghost of a woman dressed as a maid coming hurriedly down the garden pathway one bright and sunny morning. The woman initially appeared solid and then faded the closer she got to the house.

Years later I came to know a little about the area's history. One of my former work colleagues had grown up in a township not far away. Local legend has it that the area was occupied by a tribe of cannibals and that Zulu's walking along the beach in passing would see strange glowing lights from the hills. Not only were the tribe cannibals but reputed to use human body parts for witchcraft. The name of the village directly translates into 'bad village,' a name given by the fearless warrior Shaka himself, King of the Zulus. Through his reign the village saw much bloodshed and he succeeded in almost completely wiping out the tribe 200 years ago.

The small stretch of road that runs through the town is also notorious for horrific road accidents. This has always puzzled us as it is seemingly a flat, straight stretch of road.

Last year I took my dad on a drive down the Hibiscus coast to relive our happy memories there one last time. My dad in ailing health, my mom having already passed on and my siblings living their own lives. We were sad to see how forgotten the village had become, its tourism ruined from the highway that now bypasses it.

Our little house too, seemed neglected and its gardens overgrown, standing empty and up for sale. Hideaway would always hold a special place in my heart as it was the last home we had all lived together as a family. I can never be sure if it really had a restless spirit or whether we shared our home with unseen creatures, but the bittersweet memories still haunt me in many ways.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, sistermary, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Thuynga (4 posts)
8 years ago (2014-08-21)
I love to read all your stories. They are very lively and interesting.
Trix (14 stories) (407 posts)
8 years ago (2014-06-12)
Hi sistermary, I just love the Hibiscus coast. Sadly KZN has so much history with all the wars and bloodshed over that land. Thanks for sharing. It was really well written and I enjoyed your story. Take care. Trix. ❤
Unexplained (2 stories) (122 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-29)
You write very well 'sistermary'. You mention that 3 teenage children were living there, along with the parents. What you describe are classic symptoms of poltergeist activity, often this is triggered by teenagers. Just google it and you'll find loads of info. Here is a link to start you off:



U. 😊
freakedoutfreddy (1 stories) (75 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-28)
Wow! That was a creepy place, with all the events that hapend there there is no wonder you were afraid.
I love the way you write, wish my social studies book was as interesting as your story. ❤
aamod_v (1 stories) (22 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-28)
witchcraft is something that should not be 'played' with

What you experienced was a advanced and "activated" witchcraft and not a mere 'ghost' (you experienced many things, but no evidence was found that witchcraft was performed)

Still good to know you were not harmed. I will search more about this.

elfstone810 (227 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
Wonderful story and so very well told! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. (Please don't feel obliged to share the snakes and spiders, though!)

One thing I love about ygs is hearing these first - person stories from all over the world. 😁
Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
All the stories from South Africa make it seem interesting. It's so old. You tell it so well. I'm glad nothing followed you when you moved. Five years to sell it, hmm, gess a lot of shoppers do their research. 😆
sistermary (4 stories) (13 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
Hi BattleScars, I have also emigrated and am living in New Zealand now.
I am eager to hear if your grandfather knows anything more about the Umzumbe/Hibberdene area.
I lived there from the age of 12 to 17. Back then I didn't know much about ghosts or the paranormal but maybe that was a good thing otherwise living in that house would have been unbearable.
Within 3 months my parents had put the house on the market but it took 5 years to sell. We never felt welcome there and spent most of our free time outdoors.
BattleScars (3 stories) (44 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
I shall ask my grandfather about this place, his family lived quite nearby. I also recognise the title. I'm a fellow south African too! I live in Australia now.

Back to the story. Sounds like a residual haunting. The maid that your mother saw is what may have been making the noises in the attic. I'm not sure which nationality the maid could have been but if she was a Zulu or Xhosa, there is a massive chance that she may have used a straw broom - that could have been the sound of "scratching" noise against the floor.

How old were you whilst living in the house?

Lovely story, well written too!
Best of Luck
sistermary (4 stories) (13 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
Thanks Fergie and LillyPieLindsay. The towns Zulu name is Umzumbe.
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
Sistermary, another well written narrative! When I saw the title, I knew it could only be from S Africa.

That was truly eerie with the crawl-space being so clean. I wonder what on earth you were hearing from within the ceiling? That to me, is the biggest mystery; the other peculiar happenings are undoubtedly to do with the history of the house or land.

I have had a friend tell me of the spiders and snakes that lurk between the vegetation in that part of the world. I also had an 'aunt' that lived in Eshowe, so I know how rampant vegetation can grow in those parts.

As usual, you have piqued my curiosity - was the name of the town a Zulu name, or an English one?

Thank you for sharing this interesting tale. 😊
LillyPieLindsay (35 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
This story is going in my favorites, I love the way it was written!, such bittersweet memories and interesting tales.
sistermary (4 stories) (13 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
To BadJuuJuu and RedWolf thank you for the comments. I do believe that the feeling we were getting on the garden path was from the spirit of that maid my mother had seen. My mother described her as looking very worried and in a great hurry as though she was being pursued by someone.
She had asked our elderly neighbour if the previous owners had a servant, which they did, but she couldn't or wouldn't tell her anymore than that.
RedWolf (31 stories) (1292 posts)
9 years ago (2013-08-26)
I agree with BadJuuJuu. Very eerie story but very well written. I love the way you described the house and garden. From the history of the area I am surprised that your neighbors and friends didn't tell you about their experiences, surely your house was not the only one that had such unexplained happenings.
My condolences on your mothers passing and your fathers ailing health.
BadJuuJuu (guest)
9 years ago (2013-08-25)
Very eerie, very well told. With that sort of history, it's unsurprising the area had activity. The woman your mother saw in the garden, I wonder if it was her presence that caused you and your sister to feel chased? Even though you didn't see her, you may have been picking up on her being there.

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