Ghostbusters seek out the city’s ghouls

Cape Town Paranormal Investigations team members.

Some of Cape Town’s popular landmarks – including the Castle of Good Hope – are haunted, say a team of paranormal investigators.

Cape Town Paranormal Investigations, a non-profit organisation based in Durbanville, is made up of a team of 16 investigators from across the city.

Their work includes researching the history of various buildings, including the Castle of Good Hope, Brackenfell Train Depot, Tygerberg Hospital and Green Point Lighthouse built in 1824.

The group’s founder, Marc Leitao, says it all started five years ago when he and some friends found themselves talking about their various paranormal experiences.

“Our experiences could not be explained, and we decided to investigate whether or not it was just our minds playing tricks on us or if spirits were roaming the city.”

Team members Amanda and Corne de Klerk, of Brackenfell, describe themselves as “sceptics by nature” and say they joined Marc on the ghost-busting journey because they wanted to know if they were living in a haunted city.

But the team doesn’t go ghost-hunting on a whim. Each case can take weeks, if not months, to prepare for.

“We do not walk into a place and believe that there is activity. We do sufficient research on the history of locations, speak to people who have lived at locations previously, visit museums and pick up old newspapers. Thereafter, we will visit the area to investigate for possible activity,” says Corne.

Some investigations are tedious while others are of a more spine-chilling nature, says Amanda.

“Sometimes you go and investigate, expecting an experience of a lifetime, but you sit there for hours and nothing happens. On other occasions, it’s unexplainable, and we scratch our heads about the things we find.”

Marc recalls the time when, out of frustration, he shouted, “Please just show us something! Come on prove that you are here!”

The team got a pen and a doorknob thrown at them seconds later.

Marc says all their findings are factual and the team do not dramatise their YouTube and Facebook videos.

They use infra-red cameras and motion sensors, audio recorders thermal-imaging cameras, hand-held camcorders and instruments to read fluctuations in electromagnetic fields.

The team say they can pick up anomalies, or spiritual energy, that the eye cannot.

In a video, which according to the team was shot at the Brackenfell Train Depot in March 2018, they can be seen shouting questions into the empty space around them. An audio recording from that night, they say, picked up an eerie response, which sounded like a disembodied voice from a faulty phone: “Insane, I am dead.”

At Simon’s Town School, founded in 1815, the team say, they found evidence that a boy who died many years ago is still roaming the corridors.

But waiting for responses from reluctant spectres is only one of the frustrations they face in their work, says Marc. There are those who waste their time and resources by calling them out under false pretences.

“Many people call us saying that they are having creepy experiences in their homes, and when we investigate, it turns out that they are testing the way we do things.”

Another problem is when they get called by tenants who believe they are rooming with a free-loading phantom, but the team can’t do anything without the landlord’s permission, and many landlords, says Marc, simply refuse.

Amanda says that while some of the team’s followers encourage them to pray or read from the Bible, they are not psychics, mediums or preachers.

“We have normal day jobs and are ghost hunters by night, which is a hobby,” she says.

Their new video, Ghost vs Brain, to be released in coming weeks, helps you tell whether you’re seeing a ghost or experiencing a trick of the mind.

To find out more about the group search online for Cape Town Paranormal Investigations or call 071 899 3467.