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A Crowded Cemetery


Back in about 2002 I was the lead vocalist of a Gothic rock band, and we regularly played at an Alternative club in Pretoria's mid city.

About four blocks from where the club used to be stands an old and rather large cemetery known as the Church Street Cemetery, a portion of which is the historic Heroes' Acre, which is the burial place of some notable historical South African figures such as Paul Kruger and Eugène Marais, among others. Many of the graves here date back to the 1800s, and some of the tombstones have sadly fallen into a rather sorry state.

My first strange encounter at the old cemetery happened one night after we played a gig at the club. My band-mate Allen and I decided to go to a friend's house after the event, and left in the friend's car in the early morning hours. We passed the cemetery on our way to the friend's place. Allen drew my attention to something that seemed rather out of place at the cemetery fence facing the road.

A young woman in a flowing white gown was standing behind the fence, and was staring at us as we passed. Something about this woman made me feel very uneasy, and I soon found the reason for my discomfort: She seemed to be slightly brighter than her surroundings, and from her knees downward, there was absolutely nothing to see but the tombstones behind her. Her legs did not gradually fade into transparency, there was simply nothing below the knees, making it seem like she was floating above the ground. As we passed, she held our stares, then took a single step back as we neared a turn and simply vanished into the shadows.

Needless to say, Allen and I were a bit shook up by what we saw, but admittedly also a little excited. Our friend, who was driving at that time, didn't see the woman and thought we were trying to pull a fast one on him when we related what we saw. To this day he still doesn't believe it.

Over the months we passed the cemetery many times, but never again saw the woman in the white gown.

Several months later a photographer contacted us to do a promotional photo shoot for the band's album and merchandise, and claimed that the Heroes' Acre would be the perfect spot for a Gothic photo shoot. Though we felt that the idea was a bit cliched, we were getting it done for free, so we readily agreed.

We arrived at the cemetery about midday on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon. As soon as we entered the gates, however, I started to feel uneasy. I kept feeling as if somebody was watching us, even though we were the only people in the cemetery at that time.

We took several group photos, then moved on to the individual photos, each of us being told by the photographer what pose to strike.

As we walked on, searching for interesting places to take some pictures, the photographer spotted a small monument with the statue of an angel on top, it's hands pressed together in prayer.

I was told to kneel before the statue in the same pose. As I knelt down and looked at the inscription on the monument, I could see that it was the grave of a small girl who died at a very young age.

Suddenly, the area around me started to feel extremely crowded, as if many people were converging on me. I wanted the photo taken and be done with it, so that I could get the heck out of there, but the camera, which had been working fine up to that point, suddenly was not functioning the way it was supposed to. The photographer told me to hold my pose and not move.

As I was kneeling there, I started to see movement between the tombstones further to my right, what looked like small, amorphous gray figures darting between the stones. Then I felt a pressure on my shoulders, as if someone with rather large hands was slowly pressing down on me. The oppressive feeling grew much stronger at that point, and I nearly jumped up, but just then the camera decided to work again, and the photographer snapped what was to become one of the best photographs of that day.

As soon as the photo was taken, I jumped up and walked very quickly out of there, the photographer and my band-mates looking at me as if I had lost my mind.

Later I told them about what I had felt, and they all relayed to me that they had also at various points felt as if they were being watched.

The photographer developed the pictures that same day, and when we looked over them, we found a rather interesting little anomaly on that last photo. To my right, just behind one of the tombstones, is a small figure, about the size of a porcelain doll, its head slightly turned toward me. The face is slightly deformed, and looking at the picture sent chills down my spine.

Whether it is simple matrixing caused by the focus of the camera, or whether there really is something there staring at me in the background, it is a bit disconcerting, and this is not an experience I would like to repeat.

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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, Hexotericka, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Cloudzuc (9 posts)
10 years ago (2014-04-25)
Hey, yet another South African 😉 Your story was the very first one I read on this site and since then I've been hooked! It's also one of the stories that got me the most spooked, hehe. Thanks! Cloudz
sheetal (6 stories) (771 posts)
10 years ago (2014-03-18)
Very nice (horrible) experience. Your picture is backing your story. It gave me goosebumps. Thanks a lot for sharing with us... 😁 ❤
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-07)
girlie, I am glad you liked the story. As for the band, we split up in 2004. We never got the full album recorded, due to a rather stupid disagreement with the recording studio. I am, however, in a new Darkwave band called Hexotericka, just like my YGS name.

Valkricry, I know what dolls you are talking about, and now that you mention it, it does kind of remind me of one of those! Thank you for the comment.

Lady-glow, the story would not have been complete without the inclusion of the picture. I should have changed my email address before posting the story, then it would have been included in the story itself, but at least I am still able to share it with everyone.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3155 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-06)
Hexoterica: thanks for posting that pic, it is very interesting... And creepy.
valkricry (49 stories) (3268 posts) mod
10 years ago (2013-12-06)
Hi Hex,
Well I took a gander at the picture and had no problem seeing the doll-like thing. I didn't even have to look for it. I zoomed in and you can clearly see features. It reminds me of the soft-rubber dolls they had back in the 50s, early 60s. You could sort of smoosh their faces and it would remain 'deformed' for a minute or two before morphing back to its original shape. (I'm not saying that's what it is, just what it reminds me of.) Very interesting!
girlie (15 stories) (426 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-06)
wow I like the story and I loved the picture. It was very creepy. Where I lived there are a lot of creepy cemeteries, even one where I have have seen a few things. Nothing like you saw, but still creepy to me. Lol. I also wanted to know the name of your band. I'm really interesting in hearing your music as well. I like anything rock and anything Gothic and both together. Lol
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-06)
Sorry for the double post, folks, but I just want to add a comment on the photograph itself. The photo was taken with black and white film and a lens filter (hence the dark areas around the picture), and at first I thought that some of the strange things in the picture were due to the combination of these. Who knows, it may still be, but something about that picture just feels a little "off" to me. Especially the doll-thing.
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-06)
[at] Swimsinfire:
The thing that creeped me out the most was the doll-like figure, slightly above and behind the 7th or 8th headstone to my right, since it just looks so...unnatural, for the lack of a better word. The other anomalies in the photograph I found a bit puzzling, but not as creepy.

[at] RomanzQ:
It's good to meet yet another fellow South African on here.

Well, the only time I ever entered the cemetery grounds was for that photo shoot, and never again. I doubt I would visit it again. The atmosphere there just does not agree with me, hehehe.

I am glad you enjoyed reading this account of mine.
RoMaNzQ (4 stories) (36 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-06)
Hello fellow South African 😊,

WOW! Had a look at this picture and I am stunned...

I used to live in Gauteng for four years and have on many occasions driven passed Church Street Cemetery.

When I moved to Pretoria for a few months, I lived not too far off from the Cemetary... I never had the guts to actually do a walk through but would love to when I visit Gauteng again.

Thank you for sharing. Well worth the read 😊.

Blessed Be
Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-05)
Do you mean the one that looks like she's leaning on the headstone, or is that part of the stone? Or do you mean the smaller one that does indeed look like a doll, or the one directly behind you? This is amazing.
Hexotericka (6 stories) (45 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-05)
Hi everyone. Since my old email address no longer exists, I have been unable to send the picture along with the story, but I can paste a link to it.

You can see the picture here:

Lilady4 (7 stories) (427 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-05)
Sounds really scary. I don't think that you should've been there in the first place, as it looks like the Spirits didn't want you there and were trying to warn you.
I'm with the others, would love a picture.
Love & Light, Rachel ❤
lady-glow (16 stories) (3155 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-04)
This is such an interesting story... Though is missing that pic at the cemetery. 😢
spiritsrreal88 (4 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-04)
Interesting story can you put that pic of you at the cemetary please?:-)

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