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CELEBRATORY MEDIA RELEASE

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We never believed it was possible, but we've now become the longest-running production (certainly 'on wheels') in SA, having placed SA on the map when it comes to ghost tours worldwide. And we have some incredible photographs to present at the same time (see attached).

Mystery has been an innate aspect of human nature since the dawn of time - it is the very basis of religion & our most deep-seated psychological yearnings in many ways. Every culture has had its own version of ghosts, folklore & stories. And South Africa is no different, where the Mystery Ghost Bus has become the only platform of its kind in the country to explore these aspects in fine detail, with entertainment to boot.

The newsworthiness of our media release below, is thus obvious.

We know that you and your audience will enjoy the release, and the curious photographs attached.

Thank you for your support over the years, where we now celebrate our 20th year.

Kind regards, Mark.

MARK ROSE-CHRISTIE

Owner of Mystery Ghost Bus

Cellular: 079 – 193 7536

 

MYSTERY GHOST BUS' 20th YEAR – LONGEST RUNNING PRODUCTION IN SA?

Mystery has been an innate aspect of human nature since the dawn of time - it is the very basis of religion & our most deep-seated psychological yearnings in many ways. Every culture has had its own version of ghosts, folklore & stories. And South Africa is no different, where the Mystery Ghost Bus has become the only platform of its kind in the country to explore these aspects in fine detail, with entertainment to boot.

Wending its way through dimly-lit streets in our major cities and out of the city centres into the darkness of the night, the Mystery Ghost Bus is now in its 20th year. Based on the original London Ghost Bus, which South African illusionist, Mark Rose-Christie, boarded in 1988, from all that is known, the Mystery Ghost Bus seems to have become the longest running theatrical production in South Africa, but certainly the longest-running 'Production-On-Wheels'.

Beginning with trial runs in 2000, the production then ran at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2001, selling out. After that it slowly spread its ethereal wings to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban & Port Elizabeth.

With Rose-Christie being an illusionist & theatre director, with an additional background in special effects & para-psychology (ie: paranormalist), the production has always offered a host of offerings such as history; architecture; entertainment, including some clever scares, including 'The Dark Room' inside a haunted building, and a graveyard at midnight (of course); the science of the paranormal, including dowsing rods audience participation where the audience detects unseen force fields; haunted pub stops; live & dramatically recorded stories, such as the country's most famous ghost 'The Uniondale Hitchhiker', and even eerie recordings of EVP's (electronic voice phenomena).

"Today, audiences also use various ghost hunting apps on their cellphones, whereas in the past one had to buy very expensive EMF meters. But now the cellphone apps can detect electromagnetic fields, record EVP's, and where the Spirit Box apps scans radio frequencies and even print any entity's voice in the form of words on your cellphone screen" said Rose-Christie.

Some of the highlights of the productions in the various cities are Tokai Manor in Cape Town, with its well-known horse & rider who plunge to their deaths down the verandah's stairs; poison murderess Daisy de Melker's house in Johannesburg; the famous Erasmus Castle in Pretoria which is known to locals as "Die Spookhuis" ("The Spookhouse"), where the owner incarcerated his leper children in the spooky tower; Richly House in Port Elizabeth, where a nun hanged herself in the tower room after having a baby; and "The Spookhouse" of Musgrave Road in Durban with its notorious "Grey Lady".

"Over the years people ask if we've seen any real ghosts", Rose-Christie said. "Although I was a skeptic myself in the beginning, this soon changed" Rose-Christie emphasised. The first strange sighting were three spectral figures, who seemed to be the well-known ghosts of the "Grey Nuns" who appear near the old nunnery in Grahamstown. Rose-Christie explains: "It was at the National Arts Festival in 2003, and just as our 60 guests were listening to the story, they & myself saw three benevolent figures who almost seemed to glide across the lawn near the old nunnery".

"At first we thought they could be Rhodes University students who had heard of the story and had maybe hired nun costumes from the drama department, to give us a scare. All of us then followed the 'nuns', who suddenly made a quick turn down an alleyway. As we all rounded the corner, we saw no doors in the alleyway, and even more shockingly the alleyway was very short, so where did they go to, for they had vanished?", Rose-Christie exclaimed.

"What really had our hearts pounding was when we noticed there were two gates at the end of the alleyway. They had a double chain & padlock around them. If they were students, they couldn't have climbed over the gates as the gates were 4 metre high. They also couldn't have unlocked & relocked the padlock so quickly, and besides, we all would've heard the rattling of the chains. This was thus perhaps the first genuine experience we had of Replay Ghosts – which are residual imprints recorded onto the environment, and replay at certain times – like a video", Rose-Christie explained.

In 2006, at the cemetery in Johannesburg, the entire audience saw a British soldier in full uniform, placing flowers onto one of the war graves. As he stood up he faded away. It hit the radio the next day. But, a more frightening experience occurred at a church graveyard in Cape Town, when a man standing at one of the graves told the person behind him to stop pulling on his jacket's collar. "He became really annoyed at one point and turned around to confront the wrong-doer, but there was nothing there", said Rose-Christie. "This is typical of an Interactive Ghost".

But is this all the imagination? Rose-Christie says it can't be "because too many photographs have been taken, showing that it's not one's eyes playing tricks". For instance, in Port Elizabeth, a little girl aged about 12, dressed in Victorian attire, was captured on a digital camera in the principal's office at a manor house called "Knockfierna", which is today St. George's Preparatory School. "This fits in with the history", said Rose-Christie, "because the office was once the manor house's owner's library, in which he would read stories to his children during Victorian times". In Durban, several of our guests captured a little girl on camera in the Old St. Thomas graveyard, which is believed to be the daughter of one of the early British settlers, who died from an illness aboard ship on the way to Durban.

Several of the photographs are quite clear, some are somewhat blurred, but you can see that there is a clear apparition nonetheless. "For instance, take the Erasmus Castle in Pretoria. It is the country's most iconic spook house with its eerie architecture & tower. So much so that the ghost movie "Hier's Ons Weer" ("Here We Are Again") was shot there on uncanny moon-lit nights. On an evening recently, several of the guests captured a woman standing at one of the windows. I think she is the wife of the owner, Jochemus Erasmus, who in her day would stand at the window looking out with a sad expression, maybe thinking of the two graves on the property of two boys, both named Daniel, who died very young", said Rose-Christie.

One of the more curious photographs was taken by a guest at a manor house called "Eikenlaan" in Johannesburg, which looks like someone in the standard white night-gown with night-cap of the Edwardian period. "We believe it can be none other than James Gogh, who in the early 1900s, became the first photographer in Johannesburg to use flash photography, using magnesium powder".

The Mystery Ghost Bus has not only entertained the public, but also corporate, private, hotel & tourism groups "where the guests, and even I, have all learned a great deal about our country's history & folklore. We also include stories about the various wars, the spiritual beliefs of the Khoisan, and the well-known stone-throwing phenomena found in Coloured & Black communities. But the stone-throwing is not the work of 'goelery' or 'witchcraft", Rose-Christie is quick to point out, "but rather the work of Poltergeist Phenomena, which is caused by humans who are distressed - usually those type of adolescents who don't cope with puberty very well, and then their mental energies spill off onto the environment, causing what we call Poltergeist Phenomena".

Ever since the Mystery Ghost Bus began to run in South Africa, several ghost hunting organisations began to spring up in South Africa, the most famous being SPITSA (Supernatural Paranormal Investigation Team South Africa), several haunted walks also springing up around the country. "So all round the past 20 years have really put our country on the map when it comes to ghost tours worldwide, and interest has grown to such an extent that we now also hold Ghost Dinners at the haunted Smuts House in Irene, and at the haunted Sunnyside Park Hotel in Johannesburg, plus Ghost Weekends Away in Parys which is not far from Johannesburg".

So, not matter whether you like history or science, whether you are a serious ghost hunter or just want to be entertained, to find out more about all these productions visit the main website at www.MysteryGhostBus.co.za where you will also find the next Public Events for the Mystery Ghost Bus on 15 February in Johannesburg, and on 16 February in Cape Town and Irene (which also includes a jaunt through Pretoria).

[IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ATTACHED PHOTOGRAPHS: Attached is a Hi-Res photo of James Goch which you can lighten if required. Plus a Hi-Res photo of the Erasmus Castle. Either or both can be used as your Main Photo/s. We've also supplied 3 x Photo's of the 'Lady At The Window' at the Erasmus Castle viz: the original photo, plus 2 x close-up photo's. The close-ups are somewhat blurry, but that is expected at night without a flash, but makes for an eerie photograph just as is, where people accept & expect such images, and in fact find them even more fascinating.]