Dacorum’s top 10 scary urban myths, true horror stories and unexplained events
Few people can resist super-scary stories of ghosts, apparitions and the like.
And with Halloween just around the corner, it seemed an apposite time to present some of the scariest urban myths, true horror stories and creepiest unexplained events in Bedford's history. Will this be the scariest thing you have ever read IN YOUR LIFE? Go through our gallery and decide for yourself.
Picture the scene: It's the 17th century. You're lady, married to a lord, and he dies. What are you supposed to do with your life? Well if you are Lady Ferrers you turn to highway robbery. Well done if you guessed that, although you might have also guessed that you'd die of gunshot wounds during a robbery. Dang. Lady Ferrers lived in a 12th century prior, which is now the site of Cell Park, Markyate. She haunts there AND she haunts 'Nomansland Common' which is the best name of any common ever.
Have you ever seen a large jolly man in a pub? And was that man in Hemel's The Olde Kings Arms. And did he look oddly familiar, as though he was King of England from 1509 to 1547? Well you're not alone, as apparently the ghost of Henry VIII is said to haunt some of the upstairs bedrooms. Apparently Henry was a big fan of the various hostelries of Old Town (who isn't?) so half a millenium later he still pops down there.
The ghost of a young man apparently still linger in Hemel's White Hart pub. His was a sorry end, as apparently he was beaten to death there by some soldiers because he was too scared to sign up to the army. “We have had members of staff say they don’t like to stand near the staircase where he died because they get a feeling of terror," local ghost-watchers (Ghotchers?) told the Gazette in 2015.
Sticking with the pub theme - blame Henry VIII, he seems to have started it - there is also Hemel's Rose And Crown. It is said to be home to a murderer called Jack, whose ghost is bricked up in the basement of the Rose and Crown. Ghotchers (if I keep using it then it will catch on) have described this gohst-of-a-murderer as "not a very nice person.”
If there's one thing you'd expect to see haunting a priory it would probably be... people who lived in a priory. Which is the case at Priory Orchard in King Langley, where apparently there are ghosts of monks. That's all I've got on that one. More scary is the man in grey, the groaning timber, and the clanking chains, at nearby Gallows Hill. More scary, although all my research has turned up multiple references to "groaning timber" but no explanation of what that means. Please email in if it makes sense to you.
If you think of a film involving Patrick Swayze and the paranormal you would probably think of... Ghost? Maybe. Or you would think of Black Dog, which is terrible, but is somewhat similar to an apparent haunting in Tring. Apparently a black dog haunts the town, with some accounts claiming it is the spirit of a man who murdered a woman in 1751 because he thought that she was a witch.
Spare a thought for the restless spirit of poor Robert Snooks. Or don't, because in 1802 he became the last highwayman to be hung in England. He was buried at the scene of his crime where robbed a post boy on the turnpike on Boxmoor Common in Boxmoor. Two stones, erected by the Box Moor Trust in 1904, mark the spot.
And with all this sadness and brutality and Patrick Swayze, lets end on a high note. Yay for the treasure hunters who found, um, treasure, in Rose's Hole, Frithsden! But also sad times because it slipped back into the earth. Still, it does mean that apparently some treasure is out there... somewhere. Maybe. Unless the entire story is nonsense.