April 29th, 2011
Jenny was new to the school, and the first night in her junior dorm she couldn't get to sleep. Needing the bathroom, she trembled a bit at the thought of getting out of bed. The older girls had warned her about Mother Margaret - the school's ghost who prowled the halls at night for naughty girls who got out of bed.
But Jenny was desperate, so, heart pounding, she made a mad dash for the loo and got back into bed as quickly as she could.
Suddenly she heard a noise and, peering from beneath her blanket, she spotted the matron at the end of her dorm room.
"Matron, please help me. I can't sleep. I feel terrible." Jenny whispered.
The matron hurried over, remade her bed, gave her some water and lightly stroked Jenny's hair until she fell asleep.
The next morning Jenny singled out the matron to thank her for her kindness the night before.
"What are you talking about child? I wasn't here last night. It was my night off..."
Jenny was a student at the well known South African St John's school. And while her story might be a bit of an urban legend, it does showcase the idea that some of our most haunted buildings are in fact, our schools.
With buildings dating back over 150 years, many South African schools have seen a lot of history and had many feet cross their thresholds... no wonder they are haunted.
Doc Robinson, the ghost of Kings School
Doc Robinson and his wife ran a local convalescent home at the beginning of the 20th century. They were a happy couple, with a young daughter that they nicknamed 'Tiny Pie'.
Sadly, in 1905 their daughter died and Doc Robinson never recovered. After a rapid decline, he died of a broken heart.
Shortly after his death, Doc Robinson reappeared at his home's front gate - to the immense surprise of his wife and neighbours.
From that day on, Doc Robinson was sighted more and more often. When St Winifred's School for Girls took over the premises in 1910, the Doc's ghost made many a young girl feel uneasy as he appeared just as they were getting dressed.
The building then became Kings School in 1922 and local legend states that the Doc appears every August 14th.
Many people put this down to overactive school boy imaginations, but it could still be worth checking out next time you are in the area in August...
Mary Moore, the ghost of Wykeham Collegiate
Mary Moore was the headmistress of Wykeham Girls' School from 1905 until 1919 and was feared by all the girls that she taught. Her broad-brimmed hat and stern demeanour made her the epitome of a headmistress.
This old school underwent a huge change in 1990 when it amalgamated to become The Wykeham Collegiate. The Wykeham building was sold and everything was packed up and moved. Including the ghost of Mary Moore.
Awakened by the move, Mary Moore is now keeping an eye on all the girls from the end of Geekie Hall, alongside her portrait and desk. Her eyes in the portrait perfectly match the stern look she had in life, and students are convinced that those eyes can really follow you and see right into your heart...
Other haunted schools...
Durban Girls High School was used as a hospital during the war and saw the deaths of many soldiers. Students have often reported seeing wounded men wandering the halls...
St Andrews College in Grahamstown is one of the oldest schools in South Africa and is said to still be protected by its founding headmaster, Arthur ‘Foxy' Knowling. Dying from a heart attack shortly after retiring, Knowling has never left the school, making his presence known in Mullins and Holland Houses.
Did you have a strange experience at school? Let us know if you think your school was haunted...
Find out more about South Africa's legends with GoTravel24:
- KwaZulu Natal ghost stories
- Table Mountain Myths and Legends
- Cape Town myths, legends and mysteries
- Like you've seen a ghost...
- Mermaids in the Karoo
- Legendary Cape Town
- Gauteng ghost stories