It really is a creepy enlightening experience, visiting a once-thriving establishment whispering ghostly stories, especially for empaths and very sensitive (or overimaginative) people.
The video in my 6th-sense brain played stories of groups of active children, particularly little girls in fluffy party dresses, running around laughing. Teenage lovers hiding around a corner near the games room. The dining room chattered away – knives & forks, a dessert trolly rattling across the floor. The nightclub felt full and hot and stuffy.
Outside along the beachfront imaginings of families relaxing under umbrellas sipping Gin & Tonics, surrounded by an assortment of coconut smelling SPF creams, books & fashionable fancy swimming caps wafted across the white sand in swathes of picture mirages. This now empty rusty concrete shell entertains ghostly voices and personalities who pace restlessly day and night.
Upon entering the kitchen, the atmosphere felt loud. Difficult to describe to you exactly what that means. Was it the frenetic energy of preparing meals and feasts or was it the sound of staff talking, shouting orders, plates crashing, cutlery being washed and shoes of busy people clicking across the floors?
A rumble of cars and busses summoned friendly porters dressed in white uniforms and boxy hats offloading suitcases whilst I could see giggling, squabbling and excited children pouring out of exits and travel-weary adults – sporting fancy brightly coloured beach hats – making their way to the sunny Reception Room filled with palmy pot plants.
There are shadows hovering around the hotel rooms – suddenly vanishing like mist into the dark corners of passages. Do you ever experience this ? Last week I opened the front door of my cottage and just 6 metres from me stood a woman in a bright red dress….. one minute she was there and next she was gone. Who could she have been? We have an electrified 6-metre fence and an electric gate – no live person can appear and vanish in seconds.
Stacked in a corner were old faded, stained, rained upon double lounge suites that I couldn’t look at twice. The sinister threatening energy pushed me away from the area. An unseen war of dark against light. Perhaps people had cowered behind them, with pounding hearts trying to still their breath, fleeing from terrorists? Perhaps poverty-stricken folk had huddled on them feeling hungry and terrified during the post-Frelimo war years when people starved to death due to their broken, crumbling economy. Sadly the once thriving coral reef was plundered and left depleted too.
Is that perfume I notice, Chris – can you smell that divine smell? Yes, phew – thought it was my imagination. How on earth does that happen we wonder. Then we ramble on a while about what the scent could be – and what was popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Can you remember what perfumes were in fashion?
EVERYONE RAN IN TERROR
Moving on – through the vale of cheer and anticipation peered visions of anguish, shouting, rushing, panic – many people scattering everywhere like chickens when they notice an Eagle in the sky above. Disorientated, directionless, yet having an obvious purpose of flight or fight.
I remember the day of the hovering danger. Our little family was not staying at this particular hotel at the time, but on an island off the coast of Lorenzo Marques. (I shall tell you about that too, in a different post).
Thankfully, my inner sense did not see the days, or weeks following the coup as Frelimo terrorists sought out fleeing Portuguese folk who missed the 24 hour time limit to escape the country. Therefore, as the experience was not mine -I shall link you to another storyteller describing retold events & of phones ringing through the sand dunes during the night.
COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE WITH A HISTORY ….
She sits silently waiting for visitors from a happier era, like me, a holding dear to her visions of joyful holidays, playing children swimming in the warm ocean for hours, employment for many, thriving coral reef to be shared with the world. Once beautiful now scarred and discarded. Retirement years wasted admiring the beautiful ocean, basking in the African sunshine, watching hopeful fishermen and occasionally hosting curious visitors who excitedly photograph her and listen to the whispered stories of days gone by.
I LOOK BACK NOW I’M 50 (shh- plus a bit)
A revisit to Maputo would bring back strange memories of the coup (as pre teen tourist) in September 1975 which are etched into my memory and nothing good would come of going there I suppose. It is interesting for me to observe my emotions and memories in my 50’s now – somehow there is no angst, fear, sorrow or anger about those events. The everyday things now are too much to handle – what changes – does one use up all frontal lobe energy leaving none for later in life perhaps?
I digress – from HSP to emotions to Maputo (Lorenzo Marques) – so let me take you further north to The Chongoene Hotel – near Xai Xai. En route, we popped into the Montego Resort for a cool Fanta Orange drink (for old times sake – my favourite cold drink back in the day) and ended up chatting with the friendly staff in the great Restaurant. They told us that the grand abandoned hotel is now on the list of Haunted Hotels. The lady has been empty and ghosted the beautiful white beach sands, snuggled safely into the dunes for 44 years.
It is visited only by a salty sea breeze whistling around the empty pool through to the buildings cavernous dining rooms, games rooms, nightclub, ballrooms, lounges and en suite bedrooms.
Abandoned in the year 1975, when the Portuguese were forced to leave the country within 24 hours, the last residents of this hotel were a family that hid there when they were unable to make the curfew fleeing from Guerilla fighters. The soldiers found them and after a terrible skirmish the Portuguese family was taken captive, tortured and executed. Again, I must remind you this is a story that has been passed down over four decades. I do actually believe it, from other accounts recounted elsewhere in the country at that time.
Don’t think it’s so strange that we spend hours and thousands visiting new countries when we all have what other people travel to see in our own back yards??!! Within a 2 hour drive we have Nottingham Road Hotel, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa where ghosts roam the passageways and rooms at night.
It’s time for you to collect a cuppa coffee and take a walk…
See you later alligator, in a while crocodile – for Chapter 2 to follow ……
More spooky stories https://lets-gallivant.com/2016/12/20/the-haunted-hotel-xai-xai-mozambique/