Built in 1907, this abandoned hospital served the local community and European miners.
  • These buildings once housed the sick and frail – and tales of patients haunting the hallways linger on. 
  • Business Insider South Africa asked a team of ghost hunters to show us South African's most haunted abandoned hospitals. 
  • They showed us plenty of creepy stuff, including a sanatorium with a lewd ghost.  

South Africa has its fair share of creepy abandoned hospitals, but which building leaves you chilled to the bone and fleeing in terror at the thought of disturbed dark spirits training their eye on you?

Business Insider South Africa spoke with Charmaine Roos, from the paranormal activities group Phoenix Paranormal South Africa, who gave us a list of the creepiest hospitals the group has investigated.

“We focus on the places no one has ever heard of, or been to, or places of interest. Which makes us the first official paranormal investigators there – which is probably why the activities are off the charts,” says Roos.

The group use many devices to search for the unknown:

  • A Kinect sensor, an infrared motion sensor, based on the technology of Xbox Kinect, that can track body motion even in the dark. This, the team say, can pick up anomalies, or spiritual energy, that the eye cannot see.
  • Audio recorders.
  • An SB 7, or Spirit Box. This scan’s the FM and AM radio bands, as well as white noise.
  • A DVR system with infrared cameras.
  • Thermal imaging cameras.
  • Cellphones (with today's latest technology, the audio and visual quality is great).
  • Handheld camcorders.
  • EMF meters, to read fluctuations in the electromagnetic field.

They are on the lookout for anomalies or strange, out-of-place sounds. Only after they have eliminated logical explanations do they consider the paranormal, Roos says.

“We are not investigating your normal, boring haunted places. For example, we’ve investigated Smuts house, the place dubbed as one of the most haunted in SA, covering the place with every piece of equipment and we literally did not capture a single thing.”

The group's most haunted hospital investigations were: 

1. An abandoned mining hospital in Pretoria.

Built in 1907, this abandoned hospital served the local community and European miners.

Built in 1907, this abandoned hospital served the local community and European miners.  

Former employees tell stories of experiencing extreme fear and would refuse to sleep in the old wards; they would eventually try to sleep in the emergency department. Staff would avoid the oxygen store and said they felt as if thousands of eyes were on them, or that they were being followed…but there was never anyone there.

“Nurses would apparently also refuse to treat patients in the old ward and would only put a patient in room one only if there was no other option left.”

People who have been there recount seeing numerous shadows across this derelict hospital – too many shadows.

One woman also reported what she describes as a “fire ball” leaping down the passage, which just disappeared, with no visible burning marks on the carpet.

Some staff said they had been pushed off the couches by an unseen force, and some that they have been scratched mysteriously.

Phoenix Paranormal SA investigated the abandoned grounds of this former hospital – but although they found it creepy, they found little evidence of paranormal activity.

2. The Old Jail in Heidelberg, Gauteng.

The planning of the jail dates back to 1867, when F.K Maré asked President Paul Kruger to build a jail in Heidelberg to prevent prisoners escaping during the Boer War. A hospital was allocated to the jail for inmates, police and their families.

The building was used as a prison until around 1963, when a new prison was completed outside Heidelberg. The jail then stood empty for about 30 years. 

“Our team carried out an investigation with high-tech equipment and found a few occupants that were sentenced to eternal imprisonment in the Old Jail," says Roos.

The team captured a full-bodied apparition in the same room where Salmon van As, a prisoner of war during the Second Boer War, was kept. They also recorded video footage of a heavy jail door being swung open by an unseen force. The really creepy part? The door was rusted, and the team could not move it themselves.

This hefty jail door swung open by itself.

They also recorded the voice of a ghost, known as an electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), after asking "how many of you are here" and someone replied "28".

They returned for a second time and detected an anomaly next to a producer on their Kinect detection device. 

The apparent figure appeared in a hall close to the front door for a couple of minutes. When the team went to investigate the hall, the figure disappeared from the monitor.

3. Abandoned mining hospital in Mpumalanga

When this mine located near Secunda closed, so did its hospital which treated everything from patients with a simple toothache to devastating mining disasters.

“This has been probably one of our most profound investigations, due to the compelling evidence we have captured," says Roos.

The hospital is close to an abandoned mine in Secunda, surrounded by cows and illegal miners.  

“As we investigated this hospital we had to be very cautious of our surroundings, moving between various debris, and ankle-deep medical waste and water, and we also stumbled across rock formations and cow hooves, which may have been the site of cultural sacrifices.”

The team heard children whispering, running footsteps, and screams. They also captured a strange beeping noise, coming from a building that hasn't had power since 2009.

4. THE MOST HAUNTED: A former sanatorium in Gauteng

The building is filled with dust.

“We believe that there were at least a thousand deaths in this derelict building, and after it was a hospital, they also treated the mentally insane," says Roos. 

The team say they encountered slamming doors, singing, footsteps, scratching, shadow people, and an apparition of a little girl in a white dress.

They found loads of creepy notes. 

A room where a suicide was committed, with "moet vergeet" (must forget) written on the wall...

A room where a suicide was committed.

...and then this room where a possible blood sacrifice took place. 

A possible blood sacrifice took place here.

They captured this perverted ghost. 

"We also captured on our Kinect, a very tall male figure, making naughty, suggestive movements with his body and hands, next to our female investigator," said Roos.

The skeleton maps shows two figures. On the right is one of the investigators, mapped in 3D in the right hand corner. On the left was something... strange.

"We slowed the video down and captured the moment one of the members took a photo of the room with a cell phone flash. The figure on the left was not there," says Roos. 

The Kinect picked up a very tall male figure, making naughty, suggestive movements with his body and hands, next to our female investigator.

"After our team member saw this on the laptop screen, he said 'sies man' [an Afrikaans expression of disgust] and we caught an EVP of a man who said ‘jammer’ [sorry, in Afrikaans],” says Roos.

Finally they recorded the voices of two haunted souls.

A sad girl whispering: “Help dis donker, ek kan nie hier binne sien nie”. [Help it is dark, I can't see in here].

Then there was a man saying “theatre” – and across from where that was captured, the team found a room where the skull and blood of a goat had been placed in the corner. 


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