Mystery Murder Dinners have always been popular, but now, Mark Rose-Christie, owner & creator of the ever-popular Mystery Ghost Bus Tours of South Africa, has created ‘Mystery Ghost Dinners’ – a unique entertainment for the country.
After holding the opening night for the media on 26 July for the Mystery Ghost Dinners – a first in our country – Mark Rose-Christie decided to hold a Once-Off Opening Night Dinner for the Public on 23 August, but it sold out so quickly that Mark Rose-Christie have opened one extra & final night for the public. After that, the dinners will only be for groups of 24 – 30 people.
One spends an evening from 7pm to 11pm in one of South Africa’s most famous haunted houses, Smuts House in Irene, home of Jan Smuts – which is easily accessible for Johannesburgers & Pretoreans alike, and even those somewhat further afield.
Upon arrival, you are summoned by the host, Mark himself, to the drawing room whilst he plays a medley from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” on the antique piano, which Jan Smuts’ wife, Issie, played all those years ago.
This is followed by a tour to the various haunted areas in the historical house, which winds up in ‘The Dark Room’, where the tour concludes with a surprise thrilling effect. This is followed by starters, which is only the beginning of the sumptuous fare on offer at the dinners.
After starters comes a Victorian-styled séance, where the lights are dimmed, ethereal music is played, and the spirits are able to read an audience volunteer’s mind, producing answers in such an eerie manner that you would think you had stepped back in time to the 1850’s when Spiritualism was at its height. Here, Rose-Christie uses period props, for instance ‘spirit slates’, which were used in their hay day, for entities to perform ‘automatic writing’ using chalk on black slate.
This is followed by the main course, where everything from the vintage crockery & cutlery to the glasses used throughout the evening, are of the Smuts family period – the old cob-webbed candelabras on the tables adding to the spooky ambience in the main dining room, which itself is full of character and adorned with memorabilia – all creating an atmospheric trip back in time.
After the main course, Mark and his son, Kyle, who acts as a ‘medium’, present a Vaudeville ‘Spirit Cabinet Act’, which so fascinated Houdini in his day that he opted to leave conventional magic and enter the world of escapology.
In this act, although the medium is firmly tied up to a chair by audience members, and placed into a deep trance state, once the curtain of the cabinet is closed all manner of spirit manifestations occur, from ringing bells to objects flying in the air. Yet the moment the curtain is whisked open seconds afterwards, the medium is still tied tightly to the chair – even his hands & legs are still firmly bound, which the audience then inspects, making it impossible for the medium to thus create the manifestations.
One of the most surprising effects is when a member of the audience throws his jacket into the cabinet, where within seconds the curtain is opened and the medium is wearing the jacket, yet his hands are still bound, with all the knots of the ropes still intact – the very same knots which the audience volunteers had tied so tightly at the outset.
When dessert arrives along with coffee, Mark winds the evening up with a chilling conclusion, that even turns the most hard-nosed skeptic into a believer.
Unlike the Mystery Ghost Bus Tours, where one can buy individual tickets, the Mystery Ghost Dinners are performed for groups only, for a minimum of 24 persons, the maximum being 30 persons. The cost is R 595 per person with a cash bar available.
However, Rose-Christie has allowed for the public to attend a once-off public dinner on 24 August. To book, contact Mark directly on MarkRoseChristie@gmail.com whereupon you will be sent the booking details. Early bookings are essential given that there are only 30 seats.