Dark Origins, AFrican Myths and Legends: The Spectral Hitchhiker #Ghoststories #Uniondaleghost #southernafricanlegendsPosted: August 24, 2022
Uniondale is a klein dorpie (small town) in the Little Karoo, Western Cape Province of South Africa. The town was formed in 1856 by the joining of two towns, Hopedale and Lyons. There is nothing remarkable about this agricultural town except its famous ghost story.
On the national road, not far from Uniondale, there is a turn-off that leads to Barendas. It is here that a young women hitchhiker is seen around Easter time. She is dressed in dark slacks and a shirt and has accepted many a lift from unsuspecting motorists. She travels with them for about 17 kilometres until the next turn-off to Barendas, and then she disappears.
The ghost is said to be Maria Charlotte Roux, an administrative clerk, who was travelling with her fiance, Giel Pretorius (some of the articles refer to him as Giel Oberholzer), an army corporal, from Pretoria to Riversdale. The couple were planning to visit Maria’s parents and discuss the wedding.
Maria is said to have fallen asleep at the first turn-off to Barendas. At the second turn-off to Barendas, her fiance lost control of the Volkswagen Beetle he was driving and the car overturned. Maria was flung out of the car and was killed instantly.
When my family passed through Uniondale during our road trip in January this year, we were given the story to read at the local cafe where we enjoyed lunch.
If you would like to listen to the story, this YouTube video is quite good.
The ghost of Uniondale made her way into my book, Through the Nethergate.
This is the relevant extract:
“The road between Burnley and Nelson was completely deserted at that time of night and he was alone in his small car.
As he drove along a stretch of the road lined on both sides by tall trees, he happened to glance into his rear-view mirror. In the moonlight he saw a teenage girl sitting in the back of his car.
He assumed she was the daughter of one of the Catholic families who had attended the service and his initial reaction was one of irritation. Why had she stowed away in his car? Was she running away from home?
He swung around to look at the teenager over his shoulder, but there was no one there.
A few seconds later, he looked in the rear-view mirror again and the girl was back. Her skin shone whitely although he couldn’t see her face clearly in the dim light. He swung around for a second time and his annoyance intensified when he saw she was gone again. Why was she ducking down behind the seat when he turned to look at her? It was such a childish thing to do.
He slammed on the brakes and climbed out of the driver’s seat of the car. Marching around to the back door he flung it open, intending to give the girl a good telling off, but there was no one there. The car was completely empty. She couldn’t possibly have jumped out of the car and run away;
he would have seen her.
He shut the back door and walked back to the driver’s door.
Taking his seat, he again peered into the rear-view mirror. The girl was back. She was sitting serenely in the back seat, hands folded neatly on her lap.
He drove off, heart hammering in his chest. When he checked the rear-view mirror again, about a mile further down the road, the girl was gone.
A few days later he learned that there had been an accident on that stretch of the road a few days earlier. A teenage girl, who had been asleep in the back seat of the car, had been killed on impact, together with the driver of the car.
The idea of mythical creatures and ghosts was not new to Father Merton. His mother was from Norway and he had grown up on a diet of Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. It was not difficult for him to accept the idea that he had seen a ghost. This acceptance, and his own keen interest in the topic, paved the way for his new career as an exorcist within the structure of the Catholic Church.”
About Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has two published novels:
* Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy; and
* A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has ten children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written seven publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle
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