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Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, October 2015

My Paranormal Investigations on the Island of Mahe in the Seychelles

by: Brent Raynes

Located in the Indian Ocean, Mahe is one of the main islands of the tropical Seychelles. It was July 18, 1974, and while on liberty call from my ship the USS Paul (DE-1080) I always had my eyes and ears peeled for anything of an anomalous, paranormal nature. On this particular date, I was following up on a lead in a section of the island known as Les Mamelles. I visited a house that I had been told was haunted.

The resident, Mrs. Rene Michel, claimed that her home seemed to have ghosts indeed. Mr. Michel expressed skepticism openly since he hadn’t seen anything himself, inspite of having lived there for some two decades. However, Mrs. Michel insisted that some strange things had gone on in their home and she was adamant that she wasn’t just seeing and hearing things.

She recalled how about a couple of years after they had first moved in that their nanny, a young native girl, was returning from a dance about 3 a.m. when, walking upstairs, she heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs. She couldn’t see anything, but felt something, a breeze of air or something, as if something was passing by her.

About six months after this incident (her fourth daughter was about 11-months-old at the time) Mrs. Michel was in the bathroom when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw an arm in the hallway. Then she heard footsteps of someone descending the stairs. She rushed to the top of the stairs, and though she could still hear the footsteps, there was no one to be seen. Nonetheless, something bumped into a chair at the bottom of the stairs and then proceeded out the back through the kitchen. Their dogs slept through the entire affair, and so when Mr. Michel was told by his wife of this occurrence he said that she had probably imagined things or something since the dogs would normally have been aroused.

In another incident, one day around 6:30 in the evening, on August 17th, sometime in the 1960s (it was the eve of her husband’s birthday) Mrs. Michel was sitting out front of the house, her husband was in his office (he ran some kind of fishing/boating business) when suddenly she heard like plastic child’s shoes walk into the house and then walk up the stairs. About 5 minutes later, Mr. Michel emerged from his office and yelled demanding to know who had gone upstairs. She explained that she had seen no one. He then went upstairs and did a thorough search, but found no one.

About a week before Mrs. Michel’s father passed away, their dogs began to bark and howl. It was about 3 a.m., the moon was rising, and walking out onto her balcony she saw an old man sporting a long white beard, wearing whitish clothing, walking down from the woods. He was short in stature. “Who are you?” she shouted. There was no answer. “Who are you, damn it!” she demanded. Still the man continued to ignore her. He just kept walking until he had passed behind a large rock. She moved around on the balcony to try and catch sight of him from a different angle/. She watched for about an hour and never saw him again. She told me that he could not have gotten away without her seeing him. It was as though he had vanished.

I was told that the house was very old and had belonged to a Corsaire, a man who had fought for the King of France against English enemies and pirates. She added that there was supposed to be a tunnel somewhere beneath the house, she had heard. They had seen the entrance down by the water front.

Mrs. Michel also recalled a time that she had heard a sound just like glass breaking, but upon rushing to where the sound seemingly had originated, she found nothing disturbed. On occasion, she had also noticed strange smells, she stated.

A Poltergiest?

The next day, I followed up on another paranormal lead. Along with a fellow Navy man I visited the Secretarial Services of the Standard Bank in Victoria, where I spoke with Nelly Poole. She recalled for us a very intriguing tale.

The location was an island known as Manora, off of Karachi, Pakistan. She said that the last she knew it had belonged to the Royal Pakistani Navy. The year was in or around 1943. She had moved into an old building nicknamed locally “the chapel” because of its archways and it was “peculiar looking.” She said that she lived in that particular house for six months, though she had lived on the island for about one and a half years.

Living in the house was herself, her husband, their baby daughter Joy, and their nanny, a house servant/cleaner. Mrs. Poole said she began to feel a presence; felt as though she was “being watched.” At first, she brushed it off as her imagination, even though there had been nightly incidents where she’d hang pictures on the wall and in the morning they’d be on the floor, leaning up against the wall on the floor.

Then her husband was away for about a month, and apparently the night before his return two guests had visited, a man and a woman, and the woman revealed that about five years earlier, for some three weeks, she had been a house guest in that home and the same odd thing had been happening then with the pictures. She told Mrs. Poole that the house was haunted.

Hearing this made Mrs. Poole nervous and that night she moved her, the child, and the nanny into one room. Then around 10 p.m., shortly after the lights had been turned off, they heard a loud crashing sound from downstairs (it was a two story dwelling). She rushed downstairs and found the pictures again on the floor leaning against the wall, although this time one of them was clear on the other side of the room. It was unbroken, and again the nails were intact in the walls. She felt that now the entity was not pleased with her because it sensed her being nervous.

She was about 20 at the time, and felt that the spirit had just been curious at seeing a young mother and her baby. On another occasion, a small dog sitting beside Mrs. Poole suddenly “shot out of the house.” She figured that it had sensed the entity and in fear she ran into the kitchen, at which point a newly hired cook told her that she had a poltergeist.

Mrs. Poole described to me how she had a photograph that she had taken in that house of her baby on the bed while the nanny was feeding her and standing behind them, in a doorway, could be seen, from the shoulders up, what resembled a Pakistani looking man. She said that he had a box-type hat on with no rim. She took my name and address and promised to send me the original photograph, or the negative, so that I could study it myself. I never did receive anything from her in the mail, but it was an intriguing account nonetheless.

Monday, May 29, 2023