I have read several ghost stories surrounding Simon’s Town, quite a few of which are centred on “The Residency”, which was built in 1777 to house visiting VOC governers.

The most famous ghost reported in this building is connected with a certain painting which can be found in the Bar Room. It is a portrait of a young gentlewoman, and some people have reported seeing her still walking round the building. She is often called the “lavender lady” or the “lilac lady” and was often seen by magistrates and their wives when they had lived there.

There is also another story that there is a painting hanging in the building which cannot be photographed, and any attempt to do so results in a either a blank, or a blurry photograph.

The building is now used as the Simon’s Town Museum, and so, being open to the public here begins the adventure…..

Being intrigued by these stories, especially of a painting that can’t be photographed, I thought i would be fun to go investigate. I am a skeptic, but have always wondered about the explanation for ghosts. They just have this curious attraction, which I am sure I share with many people. I can’t quite say I believe in ghosts, but it is still fun to hunt down the stories.

So, this weekend, I got Claudia and Cole together, and we set off on our wild ghost chase. We got to the museum, after an hour long car-ride, filling up cole’s head with talk of ghosts all along the way. Once we arrived we couldn’t wait to start exploring. The museum itself was interesting, but working our way through, we finally got the Bar Room. It was the last part of museum which we got to, but that was purely coincidental, if you are willing to believe that. There was the painting on the wall which legends spoke of.

I went back to the front desk, and to check, I mentioned that I had heard of a painting, and before I got any further, I noticed a sly smile creep slowly across her face….she knew exactly what I was about to ask. That was indeed the painting of the lavender lady, and some people had claimed to see her. Apparently walking through the room where I had been moments before, and then trough a wall where there used to be a doorway.

Portrait of the lavender lady

Portrait of the lavender lady

I trundled back to the painting and just had to try take a photo of it. My first photo came out blurry, and I wondered if the legend was true. I then took a second shot, and it came out fairly clear, albeit faint. I am sure that this is the painting that you supposedly cannot take a picture of. And I do suspect that it is for a reason of earthly origin. You see, the painting is a very dark painting, without much contrast in colours, so unless you have very good light, it can be hard to see much detail even with the naked eye, so a camera likely won’t fair very well.

While taking the photo, I will be honest, and admit my mind kept thinking that the ghost of the lavender lady would pop up at me for daring to try take a photo of the painting, but nothing supernatural happened to me that afternoon.

So, in the end, I found no proof of the ghost, but never-the-less still had a fun trip to try……and if anyone else happens to bump into her, do tell.

For more tales concerning the Residency, check out this link