24 April 2003
In 2001, South African born illusionist Mark Rose-Christie brought the concepts of the London Ghost Bus and Jack The Ripper tours to South Africa. Now the The Mystery Ghost Bus Tour has gone national – climb on board and get into the spirit of SA’s own ghouls, haunts, phantoms, famous murders and other paranormal delights. Sceptics welcome!
Opening at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, The Mystery Ghost Bus Tour was an immediate sell-out success. By the time it re-ran with a new itinerary at the 2002 festival, Die Burger and the Herald hailed the tours as “Top Seller and Top Attraction” at the festival.
The tours then opened countrywide: they have run to full buses in Johannesburg, have had additional buses running in Pretoria, and will soon be running in the Midlands Meander in KwaZulu-Natal, Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route.
The buses run all-year round on a regular basis, except for Cape Town, which has been “a bit slow”, says Rose-Christie, partly due to the lack of guides there. To redress this, Rose-Christie hosted two tours in Cape Town last year, and will be training new guides to help boost the tours in the province.
The tours include ghost encounters that would have had ghost author Eric Rosenthal scared out of his wits, mysteries that even writer Lawrence Green would have sought out, murders that Benjamin Bennett would have “killed for”, plus legends and other paranormal phenomena.
Well-researched, all accounts are based on actual case studies, police reports, research documents, various “X-files” and other sources. Being a scientist as well as an entertainer, Rose-Christie adds parapsychology and paranormal research to the tour, and promises to turn the most hardened sceptic into a believer.
Quantum physics tells us that energy is “never created, never destroyed, only transferred”. It is this “transference” that Rose-Christie deals with on the tours, going on to explain the difference between Replay, Interactive, Crisis, Doppelganger, Poltergeist and Vardoger type ghosts.
In an interactive segment of the tour, audiences try out dowsing rods to verify the existence of unseen energies and force fields, which only serves to heighten the expectation of the unseen that will greet them at the end of the tour . in a cemetery.
Added to this are murder mock-ups, with models of the bloody victims of many a famous South African murder, including those of poison murderess Daisy de Melcker, scissors murderess Marlene Lehnberg, and the Hangman affair of Pretoria.
There is “haunting” music on the bus, live dramatic recordings, and actuality recordings which include the voice of the officer who investigated the notorious Uniondale Hitchhiker affair.
And it’s not just a bus ride – one enters haunted pubs, a haunted room and a cemetery with suitable surprise scares, and there are few pubs stops to calm one’s n-e-r-ves. On other occasions one visits the eerie exteriors of haunts, some of which are way out in the dark countryside.
It’s a full evening’s worth of “info-tainment”, with a bit of something for everyone. Book for the tours in the city of your choice by calling Computicket on 083 915 8000, and find out more by visiting the Mystery Ghost Bus Tour website.