Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Last of the South African Lighthouse Keepers: Unexpected Visitors 2

A series by Suzanne-Jo Leff Patterson

The little ghost of Cape Point Lighthouse

Latitude - 32° 21' 24’’ S.      Longitude - 18° 29' 12 '' E.

15th century Portuguese explorer and navigator Bartolomeu Dias called this rocky peninsula Cabo TormentosaCape of Storms.  It has always lived up to its reputation with many ships lying wrecked along these shores.

In 1860, the first lighthouse was erected at Cape Point at 238 metres above sea level, with the expectation that it would be visible very far out to sea.  Contrary to their hoped-for visibility, the light was too often covered by clouds and rolling mists.  For this reason, when the Portuguese liner, Lusitania, was wrecked in 1911, the decision was made to relocate the lighthouse to its current, lower position, at 87 metres above sea level.

Japie Greeff shares another unusual encounter with us;

‘I was stationed at Cape Point Light from 1990 to mid-1993 and I very soon became aware of a little girl, about nine years old, who would often appear in the sitting room with me when I was watching television in my cottage. She was a dear, sweet little girl and would come and sit in the chair next to me and quietly watch television with me.  

Many times I attempted to find out who this little girl had been.

Was she the daughter of a Lighthouse Keeper?  If so, which Lighthouse Keeper?

Perhaps the daughter of a Captain from one of the ships of old, lying wrecked on the shore?  Which Captain?  Which ship?

Might it have been the Lusitania?  Eight people died when a lifeboat capsized from Lusitania, could this little girl have been one of those lost souls aboard the lifeboat?

What year did she pass away and under what circumstances?   
All these questions lay unanswered as no-one knew anything about the history which surrounded her.  I tried in vain to discover something about my dear little sweetheart and all I know, and can tell you, is that she was an endearing and gentle little soul.

To this day she still remains at the Cape Point Lighthouse and forever in my heart.’

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