It’s that spooky time of the year again and this column is sandwiched between Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night where the air is heavy with swirling fog and the smell of gunpowder.
Traditionally it is around now that ghostly happenings are at their most prevalent. Or are they? Is there really anything out there aside from an over-active human imagination?
I have always maintained that anyone claiming to see ghosts also enjoys a drink. Until last year, when a perfectly sensible – and teetotal – colleague from the High Court fled screaming from a notoriously haunted courtroom in London after a man sitting quietly in the public gallery just disintegrated before her eyes. This particular building was rumoured to be haunted by headless nuns, with one infamous court known for its bizarre supernatural happenings. So feared was this courtroom that it was only used as an emergency overflow because no member of staff – including some of the judges – wanted to work in it.
The court building has recently been demolished and luxury flats built on the site. I like to think that new residents who are paying a very steep price tag may get a little extra for their money!
Leighton Buzzard claims a number of resident ghosts too. The most popular spooky sighting occurs at the Bedford Arms, where a woman is said to lean over beds in the early hours of the morning, specifically between 2am and 3am.
A workshop in Lake Street was reported to be home to a troublesome poltergeist and a mystery hitch-hiker who suddenly vanishes has been encountered on a Stanbridge road. Another local pub, the Buckingham Arms, is claimed to be home to some strange ghostly noises.
I’ve never experienced anything remotely spooky, aside from being approached by a skeleton one Halloween as I walked home: it was easily pacified with 50p and trotted off into the night.
But research into the experiences of friends and colleagues unearthed a whole host of otherwordly experiences.
So are ghosts real? This jury is still out, but I’ll be watching out for things that go bump in the night!