Let me be clear about something right off the bat, this feature is about my mother. It might be biased of me to call Louise Prinsloo the Enid Blyton of Afrikaans ghost stories, but then again, it might not. The audience is perhaps a tad smaller, but the adventures of the three mystery-solving friends are as big as anything the Famous Five could get up to. With July being all about Supernatural here at Perkolate Online, I asked my mother to make a little contribution.
“As my daughters were very fond of ghost stories when they were in primary school, I decided to write original Afrikaans ghost stories. I thought a ghost was a ghost, but when I started with my research, I discovered that there are many kinds of ghosts. I had written ten original South African ghost stories in Afrikaans, all part of the Gedaantes en Geraamtes series. One of the books, Die Geheim van Groukatlaagte has been translated in English as The Secret of Serpent’s Nest and will be published by Naledi Press and released during 2017.
“...I thought a ghost was a ghost, but when I started with my research, I discovered that there are many kinds of ghosts....” - Louise Prinsloo
My research led to discover there are ghosts of the sky, earth and sea. Although my stories are all set in South Africa, I did come across a few other interesting tales. A Wellington bomber regularly flies along the Towy valley in Dyfed in Wales and has been seen by many people – but no such aeroplane is in use now. This is only one of many stories of phantom aircraft and their crews. Phantoms are not always the lonely beings of the traditional ghost story, they appear in large numbers, re-enacting old battles. The Battle of Naseby, in Northamptonshire, was fought on 14 June 1654 and was witnessed many centuries later by ghost hunters.
The Flying Dutchman is the legend of Captain Vanderdecken who was making a voyage around the Cape of Good Hope when his ship was engulfed by a howling storm. The passengers were terrified and pleaded with Vanderdecken to find a safe port, but the demented skipper laughed at their pleas and, lashing himself to the wheel, began to sing blasphemous songs.
True or not, these tales have terrified and enthralled yound and old for centuries. Ghosts and spirits of the underworld will seemingly never go out of fashion and remains a staple of good old-fashioned story telling.