Laubscher, B J F - The poltergeists who threw rocks and coal in the house of Mr and Mrs Nieuwoudt
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
B J Laubscher – Where Mystery dwells
Mr. Sadie furnished me with the following investigation by himself and a Mr. Vorster in March 1954 at Hurst Hill, Johannesburg.
Mrs. Nieuwoudt the lady of the house said that they had lived there for two years and all was peaceful until March 1954 when stones rained on the roof and later window panes were smashed. At times lumps of coal were thrown, and Mrs. Nieuwoudt observed that the lump of coal would travel in a half-circle before it landed. This shows that it was not thrown by physical means but was transported by some medium of energy which could change the course of its transportation.
On occasions all the windows were shut and yet the stones seemed to come in at the windows, at least they dropped as if coming in at the windows-but not a single window pane was broken. The next day the stones would come crashing through the window panes again. Thirty-one window panes were broken and the police were constantly on guard but could not catch any culprit.
Mr. Sadie found the house in chaos; lumps of coal and stones all over the house, even in the bathroom and many window panes were smashed. These were broken almost in the presence of the police on duty. The Captain of the police said that no one could have thrown those stones from the outside.
Mr Sadie as an experienced investigator discovered that Mrs. Nieuwoudt had a little native servant aged twelve years and that the stones seemed to have been drawn towards her presence. The Nieuwoudts had brought this girl from the farm to Johannesburg and allowed her to sleep in the house and not in the servant's room because of her youth and nervousness. They observed thatshe had been hit several times by the stones. The stone throwing took place between nine and ten in the morning and three to four o'clock in the afternoon. Sometimes however it continued into the night but not as a rule.
'Whenever strangers or visitors came to the house the phenomena usually ceased immediately. When the police first arrived the manifestations disappeared while they were there, but after a few days somehow lost respect for the uniform and the stones would fall whenever a policeman had his attention diverted.
Mr. Sadie suggested that the little native girl could be the source of action, and explained how these phenomena required a medium. It was not necessary for her to be conscious of the process. He even offered to take the girl to his home and keep her under observation for a few days. But Mrs. Nieuwoudt would not hear of this since the girl had been entrusted to them by her parents; besides she refused to accept the possibility that the servant girl could be an unconscious medium. They were convinced that the whole thing was the work of witchcraft and consulted a person versed in the power of witchcraft.
He burned all sorts of concoctions and the phenomena ceased immediately. Even Mr. Sadie was temporarily impressed. The Nieuwoudts sold their house in Hurst Hill and left for Van Wyksrust taking their little servant girl with them. They however were hardly settled in their new home when the same stone throwing and poltergeist phenomena started with renewed vigour.
This case has certain interesting features which suggest that indirect emotional effects on the subconscious, such as fear and belief in the potency of witchcraft remedies could for a time inhibit or prevent this pattern of power expression.
The phenomena ceased when strangers or visitors came to the house. This also happened while the police had a certain amount of awe-inspiring effect on the little servant girl, but once she saw them day after day and became used to the idea, the stone throwing would happen stealthily as if it were something that had to be done and could not be restrained. It almost seemed to avoid being caught by the law. The same emotional restraining effect took place when the servant saw the rigmarole of ludicrous magical rites performed in which her mistress and master evidently believed.
These are to my mind subconscious inhibitions working through conditioned mental mechanisms and perhaps closely related to the energy system which causes this electromagnetic field of force or aura. Mrs. Nieuwoudt herself might have been an unconscious medium and so augmented this pattern of expression of a primitive and infantile destructive nature coming from the servant. No one really inquired as to whether this little girl was happy so far away from her family and associates. There is often longing, nostalgia or subdued unhappiness in these cases. The fact that the phenomena restarted at Van Wyksrust was proof in itself that the fear which the girl had of the anti-witchcraft remedies did not apply to the new home for the rites were not performed there and so the whole business started afresh.