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|WARNING : DO NOT DO THIS CACHE IF IT RAINED IN THE LAST 7 DAYS. DROWNING IS A VERY REAL DANGER.
On the 25th of February 1727 Pieter Gysbert van Noodt arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. The Lords Seventeen of the Dutch East India Company appointed him as the new Governor, trusting that he will rule in a fair and just manner over the fledging settlement at the furthest corner of their Empire. If only they knew how wrong they were. South Africa has certainly had its share of loathed leaders, but Pieter van Noodt surely ranks as one the most hated of all. He was one of the cruelest and most inhumane despots to ever hold the seat of power this Country has ever seen.
Soldiers especially were treated extremely unfairly by him. It is rumoured that he syphoned most of their wages into his own coffers. They often went to bed hungry due to the pittance that they received. Out of pure desperation to escape their fate, 14 soldiers plotted to desert during the early part of 1729. They planned to steal gunpowder and lead bullets for their muskets from the Castle's supplies to aid them in their getaway. One in their number however buckled under the weight of his concience, and ratted on his mates to the authorities.
When word reached Governor Van Noodt, he exploded in a fit of rage: "Death be upon them. I will take it on me!" he yelled. How could he have known that those words would come true? Members of the Council protested, and argued for leniancy, but the Governor did not want to hear any of it. He was insistant that they should pay the ultimate price for their transgression. Eventually, after much heated debate and deliberation the Council did manage to sway for a sentence of corporal punishment and imprisonment for some of the soldiers. But Van Noodt demanded that the 4 ring leaders swing by their necks.
They were taken from the infamous Dark Hole, early in the morning, and marched off to the Governor's House where their sentences were read to them. From there the proceedings moved to the notorious Justitie Plaats on Buitenkant Street. Some of the most ghastly sentences in Cape Town's history were performed at this place. In full view of the citizens gathered there they were hanged, rope tight around the neck, one by one. The very last man, a theological scholar as well as soldier, just before he was to meet his fate, yelled at the top of his voice: "Governor Van Noodt, I challenge you at this very moment, before the judgement of the Almighty God, to answer for my soul and those of my friends!" He slowly stepped forward, off the platform, and died.
The Governor opted not to attend the execution, choosing to spend the morning at his Summer House in the Company Gardens instead. The Political Council made their way there to report back on the capital punishment. He was sitting in his lounger with his back to the door when they found him there. They spoke but he did not respond. They edged closer thinking that he might not have heard them. That was when they saw the look on his face. He was stone cold dead. An expression of utter and complete terror frozen on his feautures.
But the story doesn't end here. As was the custom at the time, Governors of the Cape of Good Hope was entitled to an official funeral, with all the pomp and ceremony that went along with it. And quite a fine sendoff it was indeed. Company officers carried the most magnificent Indian teak coffin. Soldiers, trumpeters and musicians formed part of the parade. Drums were beat and banners flapped in the breeze. The entire garrisson was present. Adderley Street was lined on both sides with curious onlookers. All of the citizenry came to bid this cruel man farewell. All races, colours and creeds. Slaves, Smiths, Tradesmen and Storekeepers. Woman, children and men, they were all there to witness this occasion. To regular gun salutes and half mast flags, Van Noodt's grand teak coffin moved slowly down the street towards the Groote Kerk for his official burial.
History books till this day claims that Van Noodt's remains were interred at the Groote Kerk. But that fine polished coffin was filled with nothing but a few sand bags. Under the cover of darkness his body was smuggled out of the Castle during the midnight hour in a makeshift casket. A small group of slaves were tasked to inearth it in an unmarked grave at an unknown spot. They were sworn to secrecy under threat of the rope of the gallows, should they ever breath a word of that night's events. Up to this day, from time to time, Van Noodt's phantom can be seen walking the grounds of the Castle. Those that came face to face with him tells how he is cursing under his breath before disapearing again.
Deep beneath the City as we know it today there runs an old tunnel. In that dark passage lies the Governor's secret, hidden to this very day. A ledger he kept to record all of his ill gotten gains stolen from the Soldiers. All these years later the task of finding this private log fell upon you. You don't have much to go on, but a faded sketch found in an old dusty dairy. During recent excavations at the Castle this book was found. It narrates many terrible stories of that time. But also a fleeting reference to this mystical journal. You know it will be an almost impossible task, but still you venture forth into the gaping black void in front of you. But, will the Governor really allow for his secret to see the light of day? Will he allow you to gaze on his corrupt activities or will he block you down there where his ghost dwells up to this very day, restless and ill at ease?
It is presumed that X marks the position where Van Noodt stashed his secret. Exactly how deep it is into the tunnels we do not know, but if the paces in the sketch are correct you should be able to track it down. Just be on the lookout, for that Ghost that lurks down there. Only the brave dare venture here, and very few are expected to return to tell of their encounter with the Governor.