June 30, 2016 Alex Eliseev

The Haunted Mansion Talk

I have spoken about #ColdCaseConfession at some interesting venues, but none as interesting as the one I’m visiting on July 6, 2016. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the former mansion of one of Johannesburg’s Randlords, a 40-room national monument, now believed to be haunted by the ghost of a flamboyant socialite.

The talk is being organised by the Rand Club, but not at its former home in the Joburg CBD. Instead, it’s taking place at the Northwards mansion in Parktown. The place has such a rich history – stretching back to 1904 – there are tours running through what has been described as a “historic landmark” in the city.

The mansion once belonged to the Dale Laces; John, a wealthy broker and his wife Josephine, who apparently rode around in a cart pulled by zebras, slept till noon, bathed in milk and had affairs with an English king (she was also rumoured to have been proposed to by Cecil John Rodes, who has done a great deal of #falling lately, although not in love). The house is believed to be haunted by Josephine, who died in 1937. Step on a certain part of the staircase and, legend has it, you’ll hear the rustling of her dress. Forget to straighten her portrait in the hall, and she’ll do it for you.


Over the past century the Northwards mansion has been sold and bought many times, including by the SABC. There were plans to demolish it and erect a television tower in its place. Not entirely unexpectedly, during the nine years the house was under SABC control, paintings and fittings were stolen and one employee even made off with the gate. “Sterling work” as Hlaudi Motsoeneng might say today.

There have been fires and extensive restorations, but the mansion stands and is the venue of my next talk. If you want to read more about the history of Northwards, click here. On the day, I will talk about my book using an audio presentation, so you will hear the voices of the main characters in the story. I will also talk about South Africa and its criminal justice system. There will be time for questions and you can also get a book signed.


Details of the talk are as follows:

Date: 6 July, 2016.

Time: 12pm

Venue: 21 Rock Ridge Road, Parktown

Cost: R230 (including lunch and drinks).

RSVP: Roanne@randclub.co.za / 011-870-4260

(Information used in this blog is contained in an article published on the City of Joburg’s website. Link provided above.)

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,