A few months ago, while visiting my brother in New Zealand, I coerced him into retelling me his preternatural experiences while still living in South Africa. It was like pulling teeth when he first started, but then it all came tumbling out so fast that I had to ask him to stop, while I grabbed pen and paper to take notes.
This first account took place over thirty years ago (1983), when he was first married. Rob (I have his permission to use his name) was working for SAR&H (South African Railways & Harbours) at the time. He had been posted, by his work, to the smallish town of De Aar in the middle of the Great Karoo where the second largest rail junction in SA is situated. I know his bride, "L", wasn't too impressed, especially when she saw the house they were to live in.
The railway house was almost antique (by South-African standards), to all accounts (I never saw this house), but it was near Rob's work. Besides the house being old, it was dark, dingy and dirty. It had been neglected too and had an eerie feel to it. "L" was so disgusted with the kitchen cupboards that Rob had to order new ones from Kimberley.
Shortly after moving in, the high-jinks began. The new cupboards were obviously not approved of by the spirits of the house. They were heard banging open and shut in the middle of the night, while the sound of crashing plates echoed from the kitchen walls. Naturally, on investigation, nothing was amiss in the kitchen. This happened more than once.
One weekend, Rob, "L" and one of Rob's work assistants left the house at 4pm (it was still broad daylight) to set up a disco that Rob held/ran nearby. They made sure to switch off the radio and lock the doors before leaving. On their return, late that night, they found the house ablaze with light. Every light in the house was switched on and the radio was playing full blast. All three stood looking in bewilderment; then the fearful thought struck them that the house may have been broken into. They were flabbergasted to discover that the doors were still locked and all windows were secure. Despite Rob being a qualified electrician by trade, he could find no electrical fault with the house.
Sometimes at night, a hacking cough could be heard coming from the passageway. Rob said it sounded like an elderly man with lung problems. The ancient toilet, which was extremely difficult to flush and needed great force to get the mechanism to work (being one of those outdated 'pull chain' models) was heard flushing by itself, just after they got into bed. Rob and "L" looked at one another with "What the h...!" expressions, leaped out of bed to investigate, to discover the cistern refilling but no human evidence in sight.
Needless to say, Rob and "L" only lived there for two months. They found another, more modern house to move into. They had packed literally everything except the bed they were sleeping in. On that last night, the jangle of curtains violently opening and shutting resonated from the lounge. The problem was, the curtains, plus rings and curtain rods had already been taken down and packed.
Rob admitted that in the beginning, when these other worldly sounds started, he would sit on the side of his bed, gun in hand, too scared to go look what was going on. I think these were the first supernatural happening in his life.
The second house, thankfully, was light and airy, devoid of anything that went bump (or cough) in the night.
On a side note: While my brother was narrating this, suddenly one of his cats came flying into the room like all the hounds of hell were at her heels - Rob hopped about six inches off his chair. I ragged him, saying that he was scaring himself with his own ghost stories.