The LPS FILES
Museum Background The original village of Letchworth stood 1.5 kilometres (just under one mile) due south of where the museum now stands in Broadway. This was the area occupied by St Mary’s church and what is now the Letchworth Hall Hotel (the former manor house). For a long time, the village was a small one with just a population of 100, no shops and not even a public house, until Ebenezer Howard founded the Garden City Movement in 1899.
This was based on his book Tomorrow, later republished as Garden Cities of Tomorrow in 1902. His aim was to restrict the unregulated growth of industrial cities and create towns based on a combination of aspects of both the town and the country. This way he hoped to avoid the problems of overcrowding, pollution and poor living conditions. Work on the construction of Letchworth Garden City began in 1903 and was done so that every house had its own plot of land, all factories were outside the city whilst amenities were in the centre and the whole was surrounded by a ‘green belt’. All of this can be seen in the maps of the county, in 1901 there were just fields and by the 1922 map the town had been developed. The museum was built in 1914 for the specific purpose of housing the collection of stuffed birds in glass cages owned by the Letchworth Naturalists’ Society. Before then the collection had been on display in the main room of the Skittles Inn.
This was not as bad as it sounds as the Skittles Inn was an unlicensed public house selling Cydrax (a non-alcoholic apple wine), Bourneville’s Drinking Chocolate, Tea and Sarsaparilla. Adjacent to the museum is the library and it looks like the two form one building but the library is a later addition as can be seen on the old maps. On the 1922 and 1925 maps the museum is shown and labelled but there is nothing next door. On the 1938 map the library has appeared. Letchworth Museum was chosen because of its proximity to the library and because the library itself had recently been the focus of a paranormal investigation. The synopsis being that there had been paranormal activity recorded in the library and would this also be the case in the museum. This raised the question that needed to be answered especially as the museum was older than the library did it also contain paranormal activity?
During the investigation at Letchworth Museum a number of ‘coincidences’ were found. These were instances where different people had encountered the same occurrences or feelings entirely independently of the other team members. For the investigation we had divided into teams consisting of three teams of three people and one team of two. During the vigils the members of a single team would tend not to discuss what was happening especially if they were keeping their own notes. Team members who did not keep notes kept the team leader informed of what was happening to them. Discussions between different teams as to what had happened did not take place so as not to influence the responses of the other teams. As a result, members tended not to know what had happened until after the individual team reports had been written. It was when the collation of the reports was being done that the person who was doing the collating noticed certain similarities which are shown in the table below. As can be seen the common occurrences were at different times varying from the initial walk round up the final vigil and several hours after the investigation.
The most striking of these is the two independent reports in which team members felt that something was wrong with their lower legs (actually three reports but two were made by the same person but at different times, several hours apart) and a third reported sensing a man who had had the bottom of one leg amputated. A second coincidence is that four members independently reported tightness of the throat or chest or a pain in the chest. It should be said that similar coincidences to these have not occurred in the past during the investigation of over 800 sites by LPS. Occasionally we may get two people reporting a similar occurrence or feeling but certainly not as many as occurred during this investigation.
The Investigation site of the Grand Union Canal has no paranormal history. There are no recorded sightings of hauntings and no one as far as it is known only LPS has ever investigated this location which is located in the middle of nowhere.
In August of 1751 Thomas Colley was hung at Gubblecote Cross for his part in the murder of Ruth Osborne. John Butterfield had been a dairyman and Ruth had come to him asking for buttermilk. John had to refuse her request as he needed all the milk he had for his pigs but Ruth did not take the refusal very well. Shortly after this John fell ill with what appears to have been a form of epilepsy, then his calves started to fall ill. John believed that Ruth had cursed him over the buttermilk and he even consulted a wise woman from Northamptonshire who gave him charms but they had little effect. From that day on John bore a grudge against Ruth. John incited the locals against Ruth and it was announced that there would be a public ducking on a Monday in April which would take place at Tring.
Mr Burton the overseer of the poor at Tring heard the announcement being made and found that the accused were two innocent people he knew well. For their own safety he took Ruth and her husband John Osborne into the workhouse for protection. On April 22nd a huge riotous mob arrived who began smashing the workhouse windows and battering the walls. The Osbornes were smuggled out and locked in the church for safety. The rioters, led by Thomas Colley, a chimney sweep, stormed into the workhouse and ransacked it in their search. When they could not find the Osbornes they threatened to burn the workhouse down. Eventually they forced the master of the workhouse to reveal where John and Ruth were.
The Osbornes were dragged off to the pond at Long Marston where they were stripped naked and had their thumbs and big toes tied together. They were then wrapped in sheets and thrown three times into the water to see if they would sink or swim. Swimming a witch was a recognised test as it was believed that a witch could not sink. The death penalty for witchcraft may have been abolished in 1735 but in country areas old beliefs die hard.
When Ruth was thrown in she appeared to float so Thomas Colley kept pushing her under the water with a stick every time she struggled up for air. Ruth was left on the bank of the pond in her wet sheet while the mob ducked her husband then they dragged her across the pond again with a rope. All this was too much for a couple in their seventies and Ruth died. A doctor who examined her said she had died partly by being suffocated by mud and water and partly through exposure. Her husband was taken to a nearby house but he too died soon afterwards.
Thomas Colley was very pleased with his days’ work and even took a collection from the crowd but justice soon caught up with him. As the self-styled ring leader he was arrested, tried at Hertford assizes and sentenced to be hanged. On August 23rd 1751 Colley left Hertford escorted by one hundred and eight men of the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards. On the 24th he reached Gubblecote Cross where he was duly hung and his body left in chains for many years afterwards as a warning. Many people believed that Ruth was a witch and that the justice meted out to Thomas Colley was hard on a man who had rid the community of a witch.
Afterwards no one would linger near Thomas Colley’s gibbet after dark so the site developed a sinister reputation. Some people said that it was haunted by a large black dog with burning eyes. This was a huge dog, black as a sweep, which was Thomas’ profession. One night a local schoolmaster was returning home in a gig with another person when he encountered the dog. ‘When we came near the spot where a portion of the gibbet had lately stood, we saw on the bank of the roadside a flame of fire as large as a man’s hat. “What’s that?” I exclaimed. “Hush!” said my companion and suddenly pulling in his horse, made a dead stop. I then saw an immense black dog just in front of our horse, the strangest looking creature I ever beheld. He was as big as a Newfoundland, but very gaunt, shaggy with long ears and tail, eyes like balls of fire and large, long teeth for he opened his mouth and seemed to grin at us. In a few minutes the dog disappeared seeming to vanish like a shadow or to sink into the earth and we drove over the spot where he had lain.
Members investigating found one female spirit under the bridge who wanted to communicate and more along the canal itself. LPS therefore followed up on a haunch that this location could be hiding something worthy of a full investigation and last night this was proved to be correct and the team conducted investigations at three different locks in order to compare results and under the canal bridge which was the area picked up on in the previous investigation. Other teams investigated others areas at the same time
On the west side of the Bridge one member of the team sensed a woman’s spirit present called Victoria or Vicky. She was very cautious and wary of us being there, she seemed upset and at one stage this member who is sensitive could hear this woman sobbing.
On the east side of bridge there was a male spirit who was in his early 40’s about 41 – 42 years old, it was believed he was connected to Victoria and the team member sensed and felt they were married, but he had an affair and Victoria was distraught hence the sobbing.
This team member felt there was a lot of tension between the two of them, which may indicate why one of them is on one side of the clan bridge and the other one is on the other side. As the team investigated under the bridge itself this team member felt Victoria disappear.
This location forms just one of many thousands of non-paranormal locations across the UK that you can access yourself for free and at no cost so if this is for you get out there and investigate your local areas.
Hertfordshire’s Last Witch Hunt.
The Hunt Over the last 240 years many accounts have been written of the strange events that occurred in Tring, Gubblecote and Wilstone during April of the year 1751. The angry mob that gathered around the workhouse and church in Tring followed by the dragging of Ruth, the so called witch, and John Osborne her husband, from the vestry, and the tragic sequel – the drowning- of Ruth in a pond at Wilstone Green, stated in the records as “Wilstone Were or Wear”. Those accounts, some written at the time and many a number of years afterwards, all give different locations and details and none, not even the authentic records from the County Office, pinpoint the pond where poor Ruth was ducked and met her death or where the gibbet was erected on Wilstone Green and Thomas Colley, the man convicted of the crime was hung in chains. This tragic affair started, according to some writers with the two old people begging for food at a farm in Gubblecote and when refused and turned away tempers became a little frayed and Ruth’s mutterings were taken by the farmer as a curse on himself, his farm and cattle. Unfortunately not long was to elapse before serious troubles befell this gentleman and his stock and with word quickly getting round of the old couple’s visit it was generally believed that they were witch and wizard and they were avoided by many local inhabitants. It is quite possible they were habitual beggars, a strange couple no doubt, and probably a nuisance. Or again, was it because they were paupers, (some accounts do mention this) unable to work and dependent upon the community for their existence and not too well thought of by the farmers and middle class families, who paid a parish rate for the upkeep of the poor. As to the extent of the Farmer’s troubles, we have no record, but one can imagine the affair was well discussed in the Ale Houses of the district and this eventually led to a person whose name is not known employing Daniel Nickols of Long Marston, recorded as a serving man, to take the following text to William Dell the Town Crier of Hemel Hempstead, who for the sum of four pence cried this notice on Monday April 14th 1751, Hemel Hempstead Market Day. This same notice was also cried at Winslow and Leighton Buzzard on their respective market days around this date. “This is to give notice that on Munay next there is to be at Long Marcon in the Parish of Tring two hill desposed persons to be ducked by the neighbours consent. During the days that followed the whole area was kept well informed of the wicked deeds these two poor people were supposed to have committed and grew more hostile towards them. So much so, that as the day of the ducking grew nearer Matthew Barton, the overseer of the poor in Tring, sensing some real mischief was afoot made an to avert the impending trouble, and as we shall read, upon their request took them into the workhouse for their safety. But upon Sunday evening 21st April it became clear from reports of the large crowds gathering that this action would not be sufficient. And so, in the early hours of Monday April 22nd, they were taken from the Workhouse and as an extra safety precaution, lodged in the Vestry of Tring Church The events which then followed and which led to the death of Ruth Osborne are perhaps best recounted by going through the details of the subsequent inquest. John Tomkins (Master of the Workhouse) was called to give evidence at the inquest, upon Ruth Osborne held at the Half Moon Ale House, on Wilstone Green, on April 25th 1751 before His Majesty’s Coroner, Samuel Atkinson, and also at the enquiry at Tring held on May 21st before the Justices of the Peace, Squire Gilbert Williams of Tring, Reverend Roland Johnson of Hemel Hempstead and George Carpenter of Redbourn with the High Sheriff. John Tomkins, paints a vivid picture of the happenings in and around the Workhouse on Monday 22nd April. He stated that:
“On Saturday last the 20th instant, John Osborne and Ruth his Wife, sent to the Workhouse by the order of Mathew Barton, one of the Overseers of the poor,.for their being provided for as poor people, and on Monday following being the 22nd between the hours of eleven and twelve in the morning a great mob came to the Workhouse and demanded the old witch and wizard that came from Long Marston, meaning the said John Osborne and his wife, upon which he told them that they were not there, but the mob insisted that they were and if he did not let them in they would force in by violence “ Tomkins, finding the mob increasing every minute, was forced to open the yard gate and allow them to search the house and grounds but……. “Not finding the persons they wanted several of them went into the garden, whilst some still remained in the house and then came a fresh mob, one of whom (a stranger to the examinant, as were all the others of them) said that if he did not deliver up the witch and wizard to the mob in order to be ducked, they would pull the house flat to the ground, and soon after a stone was flung at the window and all more till they broke, every window in the house and most of the lower windows and frames were entirely demolished, one brick end of the house was pulled down and a garden fence which was of pales. They also destroyed and pulled down a brick wall belonging to the garden. One of the mob said “it’s a strong house” and believed that they would not get it down, another replied, yonder is straw enough we will get some and burn it down and when we have done that we will pull your town down, and threatened the examinant’s life and the examinant being fearful of the ill consequences if he did not deliver them, told the ringleaders if they would go with him he would deliver them up and immediately went to the vestry in the Church at Tring and opening the door the mob rushed in and look them from there by violence and carried them away.” Tomkins continuing, stated that he did not know where they were taking them and did not see them afterwards, but he did give the name of one Richard Symonds of Aldbury, Labourer, who was among the rioters and greatly assisting in the pulling down and demolishing the said workhouse and fence. The same tale of destruction was also given by many of the onlookers which included a Wilstone Baker, William Puttnam. (The Puttnams were evidently well established as village bakers by 1751 and their names can be traced as bakers throughout the 19th century. The Baker’s shop was in New Road and this family only moved away when the old cottages were demolished to make way for the present Rothschild Houses built in 1907). William Puttnam stood with William Watkins, Shoemaker, Thomas Harding, Carpenter and Thomas Stanbridge, Maltster, all of Tring. They saw a mob in Tring and the damage done but did not know any who were taking part. Thomas Chappel a labourer and an inmate of the house, was set to watch and take notice of the people committing the offence, but he only saw one John of Flaunden or Flamstead break a gate down at the entrance of the Workhouse and saw another person, the son of a blacksmith of Leighton Buzzard, of whose person he knew, but did not know his name, doing great damage to the Workhouse, to the great terror of the people therein belonging to the house. One might ask, where were the people in authority? The whole affair had been well advertised, yet no hand was raised to halt the destruction in progress. Sebastian Grace, Blacksmith and Tring Constable, eventually came upon the scene summoned by the Overseers of the poor. He was ordered to keep the peace and taking his staff of office, he demanded that the peace should be kept, but the mob replied. “He is only the Constable, don’t mind him“, and some of them threatened his life. He saw bricks and stones flung at the windows by the populace at the same time demanding the witch and wizard. He, however knew only one person in the crowd, this being Benjamin Price of Chesham, pattern drawer, who the examinant saw throw a particle of brick at the said windows. Sebastian Grace, obviously stood very little chance against such a riot, the number of the mob had risen by this time to an estimated 4000, and the constable’s plight was well summed up by William Watkins,
the Tring shoemaker, from remarks he overheard. These remarks he stated on oath at the enquiry at Tring. Standing outside the workhouse he saw….. “A great mob of people assembled together and they began to pull down the wainscot and part of the workhouse and one, East, as he called himself from Leighton Buzzard, who said he was a piece of a gardener, came to Sebastian Grace who was watching with his constable’s staff to keep the peace, and told him he was a fool staying there and bid him go home and about his business, and East also said he had served the office Of constable and several other offices and would himself pull the house down for a farthing, which he repeated several times. Watkins also saw John Waters the elder of Pightlesthorne (Pitstone) also a shoemaker heading part of the mob and called them to the back of the Workhouse and encouraged them with many oaths and by a large cudgel in his hand to come after him for that the old bitch, meaning Ruth Osborne would come out on that side and escape, and later at Wilstone Green he also saw Thomas Colley and one Umbles, busy in ducking the woman but knew no other person acting there in the murder or in the riot”
The Murder Such was the fear of the onlookers, that the words “not known to the examinant” occurs over and over again, as will be seen in the evidence submitted at Wilstone. Harry Archer also observed all that took place. He saw a large crowd assembled in Tring and witnessed all that was taking place. He was present when the mob seized John Osborne and his wife, under the pretence to duck them for witches and…… “Saw a person of Leighton Buzzard, commonly known by the name of Red Beard, who followed the occupation of selling brooms and bottoming chairs, take Ruth Osborne upon his back near the Church in Tring in a close called Pond Close and several of the mob beat them with sticks and she called out ‘for God’s sake don’t murder me’“ Archer was also present at Wilstone Green near the water called ‘Ware’ or ‘Wire’’ , where he saw the same person called Red Beard, with others, bring the woman to be ducked, and he saw Red Beard tie the rope about her and another person on the other side, draw her across by the rope, but the examinant did not know him and soon after, one Umbles or De Umbles, and another person, again unknown to the examinant, take her in his arms and carry her into the middle of the pond and laid her down in the water till it was thought she might be drowned and they then carried her out and set on the bank out of the water for half an hour, when she was carried into the water again, and then turned about by one Colley and soon after taken out of the water and laid upon the bank, the examinant was informed and believed that she was dead. John Worster also saw the naked body of Ruth Osborne by the waterside and being left for dead. John Osborne, husband of the deceased, described as a labourer of Long Marston, came forward and gave the following evidence. He was with some difficulty spared his wife’s fate and gave a very detailed account of events before and after leaving the church in Tring, as follows:…… “On Saturday the 20th day of April last he was told by his neighbours that he and his wife were to be ducked on the Monday following, as wizard and witch, and advised them to remove from their house to some other place in order to prevent any mischief which might ensure and accordingly they came to Tring Workhouse, where they both rested on Saturday night and that on the morning following, being the 22nd of April, at three in the morning, they were both locked in the church to secure them from the mob, which was apprehended would be on that day, and that about noon, the vestry door was opened and a great number of people rushed in and laid hold of the examinant and some of them took hold of his wife and dragged them away to a place, called Gubblecot, in she Parish of Tring and put them into a house belonging to one John Bullerfield, at the sign of the Black Horse there and tied them up in a room and told them they would take them to Wilstone, but they would not harm them but try them for witch and wizard and accordingly carried them to Wilstone where they were both stript and put into a pond of water, being tied both hand and feet together, and he said he knew only two persons who were concerned in the riot and ducking them, who were Thomas Colley who is since committed to Hertford Jail and Francis Hopton of Ivinghoe in the County of Bucks, Plumber and Glazier who seized them in the Vestry in order to ducked “. So much for the evidence of John Osborne at the enquiry held in Tring on the 21st of May 1751.
But many queries arise from this statement, some accounts, written at the time state that the farmer who was bewitched was a Mr. Butterfield, but the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1751 reports that a publican was the victim and he started the witch hunt. John Osborne said that he was taken to a house of a Mr Bullerfield at the sign of the Black Horse. No records have so far come to light of such a house in Gubblecote. The one Black Horse Ale House, being Paddock Cottage, Wilstone. But to return to the enquiry in Tring and the very interesting statement by a Mr Nott Gregory, Yeoman Farmer. The examinant on his oath says that he ….. “Lives at Wilstone Green in the Parish of Tring aforesaid and about 2 or 3 of the clock in the afternoon of Monday 22nd day of April last, some of his children came into the house and said “they have got them”, and he understood them to be John Osborne and Ruth his wife, whom he had heard were to be ducked on that day as wizard and witch, upon that he went into one of his fields, called Days Field, to find out whether the alarm was true or not and there he saw a great number of people going towards some water in a meadow called Ten Acres, where he imagined they were going to duck the said poor people. That the said water being running water, some people had stopt the current in order to pen a head for ducking them, but the examinant broke down the…….. and told the mob that there was no water there whereupon, some of them offered to strike him with sticks and he believes they would, had he not gone away from them and he further says that the number of people assembled might be near 4000 but he says he does not know any one of them and that they were all strangers to him” And so the sorry story continues with evidence given by John Worster, victualler of Tring, with Harry Archer, who stood by the pond. It was, they said, between 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock in the evening of Monday last they were near a pond of water on Wilstone Green and saw a great mob of people with a woman in a sheet and a rope tied about her and fastened in such a manner that a man on the opposite side dragged her through the pond (which was about 5 feet deep) and laid her on the bank.
At this point Harry Archer moved to the rear of the mob, sickened by the proceedings, but about half an hour afterwards, most of the mob had left her and he saw her laying on the bank and dead. He did not know any who were involved, and was told by some onlookers, that it was Ruth Osborne of Long Marston who had been ducked for a witch. Edward Chapman of Wingrave also witnessed the ducking and saw two men take her in their arms and carry her to the centre of the pond and when they had finished with her, her husband John was dragged across also. He goes on: “One of the men dragged her across the pond to the bank where her husband lay and dragging her across the sheet came off and she was quite naked and when they had got her to the other side three or four of the mob took her up and carried her to a public house on Wilstone Green and the examinant also says he then saw her and believes she was dead, drowned in the manner aforesaid and does not know any of the persons concerned in the murder.” John Holmes, farmer, of Tring followed. He saw the Chimney Sweep, Colley, turning and prodding her with a stick, and at one time she managed to get her head above the water, she cried and grabbed the stick, but he wrenched it from her and left her lying in the water. But again Holmes did not know any other person concerned in the murder, and much the same evidence was given by John Stanbridge, Maltster, John Humphrey, Wheelwright, William Rolf, Apothacary, and John Grace, Farmer, of Tring.
Colley they saw come round the mob after the ducking and asked for money for the pleasure he had given them. Bolos Molongs, Landlord of the Half Moon and John Foster of Tring, Surgeon, must add the final statements which differ to some extent from John Osborne. “Bolos Molongs. Victualler, on his oath says that about three in the afternoon of Monday last, the said Ruth Osborne was; brought to his house aforesaid by a very great mob of people, in a riotous manner and carried her upstairs, where she was kept for near three quarters of an hour, afterwards she was brought in again by some of the mob but she was: then dead, as the examinant believes, and he further says that they put her into a bed and left her, that as soon as: the mob was dispersed, he went to see her and she was; then dead which was about a quarter of an hour after she was brought into his house and he also says he does not know any of the persons concerned in the said mob”;. And in conclusion, John Foster, Surgeon, stated that he had searched the body of Ruth Osborne, lying dead at Wilstone Green and did not find any wounds or bruises that might occasion her death, but says that he “ verily believes she came to her death by being suffocated with water and mud and suffering to be on the cold ground for a considerable time Once again emphasis must be placed on the reluctance of witnesses to name any of the troublemakers, even Colley the chimney Sweep, who must have been a well known figure in Tring, and the villages around. But Colley’s name is not mentioned before the ducking and from the letters in the following chapter that passed between the Rev. Roland Johnson and Lord Cowper, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, it does seem that Colley was one the worse for drink and encouraged by others to take part in the final episode. The witnesses could well have been in fear of vengeance that could follow if certain names were mentioned. The mob violence however, had certainly shaken up the county authorities as can also be shown from the letters and the subsequent steps that were taken to ensure that these uprisings should not occur again.
The Trial William Colley, the Tring Chimney Sweep, obviously the worse for drink was soon taken into custody, first to Tring and then to the County Jail at Hertford, charged with the murder of Ruth Osborne, but as regards the instigation of the Tring riots, a month was to elapse before the enquiry was held before the Justices in Tring, which gave those concerned ample time to make good their escape. The Reverend Johnson, in his letter dated May 23rd 1751, to Earl Cowper, gives the names of those implicated, as stated in the enquiry. “Last week within a month, limited by statute for the enquiry, the Rev. Spencer Gilbert Williams, George Carpenter Esq. and myself awarded a receipt to the High Sherriff of the County to come before us twenty five persons to enquire for His Majesty of the riot lately committed in Tring. Accordingly, last Tuesday we held a session at Tring and the sherriff and his deputy answered and upon evidence there produced upon oaths it did answer that Benjamin Price of Chesham, Pattern Drawer, Francis Hopton of Ivinghoe, Glazier, Henry Worster of Pitstone, labourer and Richard Symonds of Aldbury, labourer, did commit several riotous and unlawful acts at Tring aforesaid …”; With no time left, the enquiry was then adjourned, the Justices would meet again on the Saturday following when the Reverend Johnson was sure … “More aggravating circumstances relating to the riot will be discussed”.
Samuel Atkinson, the Coroner, who had conducted the inquest at the Half Moon Alehouse in Wilstone, on the 25th April, had however, written to Earl Cowper, concerning Nickols of Long Marston on the 19th May as follows, after receiving information from Hemel Hempstead: “In answer to a letter I wrote to a person in Hempstead, in relation to the affairs of Tring….. he sent me the names of two persons concerned in that wicked action, viz- Daniel Nickols of Long Marston, who brought the notice in writing and ordered it to be cried, and William Dell of Hempstead was the person who proclaimed it.”. Unfortunately Earl Cowper’s letter to the three Justices, did not reach the Rev. Johnson until after the enquiry. The Rev. gentleman lost no time in writing to explain the admission of Nickols at the enquiry and the reasons for not apprehending him in the following letter to the Earl on May 30th. “The reason for not inserting Daniel Nickols in the list I sent your Lordship, was that he had not been before us and the hope I had of getting him apprehended thereby, to come to come to a very useful discovery of the person or- persons who had employed him to cause an unlawful assembly to be proclaimed (for being a servant and certainly set on by some villain, who was at the bottom of this flagitious scheme) immediately I directed a warrant and enclosed it as a letter. to Robert Gregory, the High Constable, for that division and ordered him to execute same with speed and secrecy, but I am incredibly informed that he published about the village openly, that he was to apprehend Daniel Nickols .and required the inhabitants to aid assist him, which was immediately carried to the fellow who took to his heels and has not (as been suggested) been since heard of.” However, he described William Dell, the Crier, as an inoffensive honest fellow, and no blame could be attached to him.
The Rev. Johnson continues: “Your Lordship will. find in perusing the affidavit that a man named Redbeard and another named De Umbles, both of Leighton Buzzard, were as much concerned as Colley (who is now in prison) in exercising cruelty on the body of Ruth Osborne at the ducking place. There are two men in the Parish of Pitstone, one Price, of Chesham and Hopton of Ivinghoe, who are notoriously guilty of the riot, but how they are to be come at, we submit to your Lordships judgement, for I presume they are all marched off at present. I hope your Lordship’s good offices, will excuse this troublesome long epistle – The two, Just mentioned and Richard Symonds of Aldbury are all the persons concerned within our jurisdiction – the publishers may be looked upon as exciting, and Symonds for carrying on the riot. There was a warrant out last Saturday to take Symonds but he had already absconded.” This state of affairs had altered little when Colley was tried, and condemned at a great trial at Hertford on July 30th 1751, and again, we must turn to the Rev. Johnson for his account of these happenings, which he submitted to Lord Cowper the day after. “My very good Lord, I returned late last night from the assizes at Hertford, and I beg leave by the first post, to give your Lordship a brief account of what took place there, regarding the prosecution of the Tring rioters. The Grand Jury, of which Mr. Fagin Slale, was foreman, found verdicts against Colley, Redbeard and Umbles, as Set forth in the accusation for the murder of Ruth Osborne, but acquitted all the rest of the rioters of the murder.
Whereupon, the Council for the King moved for a bill of indictment against the rioters upon the Statute of the first of King George, viz for demolishing, or beginning to demolish any dwelling house, which being brought in the Grand Jury accordingly, found against six of them, whose names I have set down on the other side. My Lord Chief Justice’s Warrant, which he penned forthwith for apprehending five of them, Henry Worster of Pitstone, in the county of Bucks; being taken and sent to Hertford the day before the assizes, by virtue of a warrant I had sent to Bucks persuant to the Authority granted last session of Parliament to Justices of one County to apprehend offenders in another County. Colley was arraigned and tried before Lord Justice Lee, who brought guilty by verdict and accordingly received his sentence Of condemnation and was told by his Lordship not to buoy himself up with any expectation of a pardon. – his body to he hung in chains, on Wilstone Green – but this to be kept secret, that the Sheriff may not be interrupted with too great a mob at the erecting of the Gibbet, or suspending of the body thereon. Henry Worster will be kept in prison until more of his comrades are, taken in order to be tried at the next assizes – and now, my good lord by your Lordships care and concern for preserving the peace of your County, I hope there will be a stop to this sort of dangerous riotous assemblies for one half century at least, absolutely necessary are such punishments for the common people knowing little, or nothing of history in the records of times past are strongly instigated to commit disorders of this kind, unless restrained by examples of punishment inflicted on such offenders, within their own memories which serve as marks. to deter them spitting on the same rocks.
Your Lordships most humble and obedient Servant Rev. Johnson Hemel Hempstead August 1st 1751
The Aftermath The indictment for the murder of Ruth Osborne, was found against: William Umbles Charles Young or Redbeard Thomas Colley The indictment for pulling down the Workhouse was found against. Richard Symonds John Eastoffe John Waters John Mayos Henry Worster or Worcester Benjamin Price The Buckinghamshire local records say, “that on August 22nd was executed at Gubblecot, William Colley, for the murder of Ruth Osborne” (actually he left Hertford on the 24th not the 22nd for his last statement after taking the Sacrament in Hertford Gaol, was on the 23rd). He was brought from Hertford on the first day to St Albans then to Tring and then to the place of his execution, guarded by 108 men and 7 officers of the Horse Guards (Blues). A force of this size to guard one felon was unusual, and was obviously a show of force to deter would be future offenders, who might take part in riots, and an effort to stamp out the belief in witches, which was still prevalent in this part of the country, especially as 16 years earlier Witchcraft had ceased to be a statutory or ecclesiastical offence. People flocked for miles to see the sight and The Everyday Book of 1751, reports that “Thousands stood at a distance, muttering that it was a hard case to hang a man for destroying a wicked old witch.”
This account differs from the Letter to Earl Cowper by the Reverend Roland Johnson, who was at the trial and only mentions Colley’s body being hung in chains, the gibbet to be erected on Wilstone Green, but this was written on the 1st of August and owing to public feeling the arrangements may have been changed by the 22nd. Johnson’s letter stated … “The circumstances to be kept secret so that the Sheriff may not be interrupted by too great a mob at the erecting of the gibbet and suspending the body thereon.” One wonders how an affair of that nature could be kept secret, even in 1751 and maybe the Sheriff and his assistant thought along these lines, for there is no record of anyone being hanged on Wilstone Green, even though in those days, the name Green covered the whole area of the village. A Mr Reeves, a local Farmer, whose family have always farmed at Marsworth related a story handed down in the family that the body was hung in chains on the boundary of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, in Lukes Lane. A gate near the boundary is known as Gallow’s Gate and as a number of those charged came from Buckinghamshire, this could have served two purposes, well away from Wilstone where trouble could arise, and near enough to Buckinghamshire, to be a warning to would be future offenders. Lukes Lane was until the last war, a very narrow lane with hardly enough room for two carts to pass. Many tales of strange happenings have been told about this spot. Mr Reeves father warned him about coming that way home at night, for Luke was supposed, on occasions, to rattle his chains. One quoted by Doris Jones Baker, in her book “The Folklore of Hertfordshire” (1977) “Where the Gibbet stood and long after it had fallen into decay and disappeared, the clanking of Colley’s chains could be heard, as his skeleton (no longer there) swung in the wind.
The spot has been haunted ever since moreover, by the spirit of a great ‘Black Dog’. The village Schoolmaster was one of many who saw this ghost.” So much for the tragic events of 1751 as taken from the official records and of Wilstone’s involvement in the recorded witch hunt in Hertfordshire. But the account would not be complete without handed down scraps of local history passed on from family to family of old village residents, many whose ancestors had lived in and around the village for centuries. Ruth and her husband were living in Long Marston at the time this event happened but from Puttenham Church records we know that during the early seventeen hundreds, they occupied one of two old cottages situated in Puttenham Church Yard (demolished around 1890) and that their children were baptised by the Rev’d Robert Merrick, Rector. From old records kept by the Chapman family, who for centuries had farmed at Folly Farm, Ruth was referred to as ‘Dinah’. During the inquest it was stated that after the obstruction was removed from the stream in Lukes Lane by a Mr. Nott Gregory, a ‘yeoman farmer’ of Wilstone, the old couple were kept for a time in the Half Moon Alehouse until a suitable pond could be found. So could ‘Dinah’s Pond’ in Astrope Lane be the spot Ruth and her husband were ‘swum’ and where Ruth met her death?
During November 1971, the owner of College Farm, much to the consternation of many villagers filled in this pond and felled the trees which for years had overhung the lane. This was always a very dark and dismal spot and many villagers recalled their parents warning them against playing near where ‘a lady had been drowned.’ Today with the dry summers of recent years, the pond is difficult to locate, but during the winter months a few large puddles often appear in the lane. Maybe the ghost of poor Dinah still haunts this spot.
Most of the villains who caused the affray, those who took part in the riot in Tring and in the episode by the pond were never caught, having crossed the county boundary, making it difficult for the Parish Constables to apprehend them. Colley, the one man convicted and hanged, according to the local Justice of the Peace, had very little to do with this sorry affair, his name was not mentioned in the Tring riot or the dragging of the old couple to the ducking place. He was in fact the local chimney sweep and as was his normal custom, he had spent quite a time in the local Ale Houses. Encouraged by the mob, he went into the pond and turned her over a number of times, which probably caused her death. But to make matters worse, he went round afterwards, collecting a few coppers from the onlookers for the pleasure he had given them. Ruth’s husband survived the ordeal. Never able to work again, he was for many years an inmate of Tring workhouse
Black Dog Afterwards no one would linger near Thomas Colley’s gibbet after dark so the site developed a sinister reputation. Until the wartime airfield was built at Marsworth, which necessitated the widening of Lukes Lane, many tales were told of strange happenings in the area. In one tale Old Luke was supposed to rattle his chains at late night revellers. Some people said that the area of the gibbet was haunted by a large black dog with burning eyes. A huge dog, black as a sweep, Thomas’s profession. One night a local schoolmaster was returning home in a gig with another person when he encountered the dog. ‘When we came near the spot where a portion of the gibbet had lately stood, we saw on the bank of the roadside a flame of fire as large as a man’s hat. “What’s that?” I exclaimed. “Hush!” said my companion and suddenly pulling in his horse, made a dead stop. I then saw an immense black dog just in front of our horse, the strangest looking creature I ever beheld. He was as big as a Newfoundland, but very gaunt, shaggy with long ears and tail, eyes like balls of fire and large, long teeth for he opened his mouth and seemed to grin at us. In a few minutes the dog disappeared seeming to vanish like a shadow or to sink into the earth and we drove over the spot where he had lain.’
Another Ghost It is said that the top of Vicarage Lane in Marsworth is haunted by the ghost of Tom Pratt. Tom came from Great Farm (now called Moat Farm) and was killed in a car crash. Since then the headlights of his car have been seen as he drives up to the farm on dark nights.
LPS Investigators arrived at around 21:30 the skies were clear with a slight breeze. We walked through the gate along the side of the fields and came to a largish clearing surrounded in cut down trees, we thought this could have been the location of the pond and so we stayed for about 20 minutes in silence. Two of the group felt slightly unnerved at this area but maybe because it was dark and extremely quiet. One member felt breathing in her ear at this site. We moved back towards the gate after about half an hour and spent some time in the lane. Running was heard in the bushes but this may have been the breeze through the trees. As we walked down the lane one member heard a breathing type noise in her ear which was quite startling. At our second site of the evening (by the Gibbet), this was quite uneventful although it was noticeably colder here. We all heard a bang on the bridge and one member felt as though someone rushed by her side and at the same time a member saw a flash of light reflecting on another team member’s face. Two members found a particular cold spot by the gibbet; this was felt on the lower part of the legs.
At the supposed gibbet site at Gubblecote in the hope of finding the site of any paranormal activity in the area of where the gibbet, may have stood. 22:05 there is a small stream running under a concrete bridge. A member chose to stand on this bridge using an EMF meter. He noticed a number of short spikes at this location which he at first chose to make a mental note of, however as this spikes became larger and the activity longer he called another member over to witness the spikes. This was at 22:05 and it was noted that the EMF spikes on meter 20+mG, not shown on the second members meter even on 0 to 10mG range. The spikes disappeared once the investigators had come off the bridge. During an investigation of the nearby stream the team experienced loss of battery power in his camera equipment. 22:20 The team continued to investigate the area and at 22:20 feeling chills standing in the area of the middle of road. The Temperature reading was +4.5 to +6deg.C and around this time a cyclist and two people dressed in totally in black making them next to impossible to see came past the team greeting them as they did so. 22:30 A member was scanning a triangle area next to the road with his EMF meter. This showed 10mG on south edge of road, occurred 3 times on this meter again nothing on another members meter. Temp in area +3 to +3.5deg.C. Surroundings +5 to +5.5deg.C. Area about one metre wide, +5.5deg.C at edges. A few minutes later +3.5 to +4deg.C in area now around three metres wide still +5 to +5.5deg.C elsewhere.
LPS were called in to help with a tenant experiencing paranormal activity in his property
Paranormal events experienced include smells – both foul and florally; orbs/rods – seen both through camera and with naked eye in broad daylight; icy cold spots; adult size ‘pixelated’ area in dining room; small pets being let out of cages and being found in wardrobes in early hours; name calling; hearing someone come in back door; rattling cutlery in drawer, footsteps up the stairs, shadow under closed door; x-box disc living in machine for playing, found balanced on bracket behind TV, full length body weight on bed and scratching; Tenant being shaken awake when dozing on sofa; a friend being pushed through doorways; hearing name being called; being poked in back when sleeping; hearing short ‘zip-zip’ bee-like buzzing sound in ear when trying to sleep at night; vibration down centre of mattress
Upon entering the house a few members of the team felt that there was a feeling of depression in the house, while setting up equipment members of the team found a cold spot up at the top of the stairs. Paranormal investigators entering the living room someone sat in the chair behind the living room door, other members felt someone sat in the arm chair next to the window.
At this time one investigator could see fog at the bottom of the stairs, While the rest of the team felt experienced feeling dizzy at the top of the stairs. Then a K2 meter (which measures Electromagnetic fields) was flashing in the main bedroom and another K2 meter was flashing in the hallway which was evidence of an Electromagnetic field being present.
In addition to this another device that is used to allegedly pick up spiritual energy and is called a REM Pod was also flashing. The team encountered a temperature drop at the top of the stairs and one of the team felt hot breathing on her face.
Later one investigator saw an Orb go straight across her eyes. Another experienced her throat feeling tight and her chest; also, the team experienced the front room getting very cold. Members of the team had a feeling that spirit had needed an emergency tracheotomy when alive. Members of the team heard a lady’s voice when the question was asked if in life, they had struggled up the stairs.
The team conducted a séance in the dining room, one investigator saw a lady standing house, the team also got an elderly couple …. They were not in agreement with what the team were doing. At one point during the seance, the team feels movement under the table and the séance
was ended as the level of risk to the team rose from actual physical harm
For the purpose of the second part of investigation the team used a different approach in going back to basics and not using technology and using old fashioned methods.
Upon entering the front room again, Investigators saw the spirit of a man sat on the sofa next to the door, also again the silence of the house was unusual. Shadow person was seen in the dining area when the team were talking where he then came forth wagging his finger at the team saying “Shut up” repeatedly and then vanished. Another investigator jumps out of her skin when she sees a fleeting dark shadow go across her legs and feels a definite rush of movement go past.
Various sound recorders were used over two evenings of investigations with the following results captured on audio. The spirit responses are voices heard on the audio recordings that are not team members or the property owners and there is no explanation for these voices on the recordings.
Question – Can you make the different coloured lights flash for us please?
• Spirit Response – No
• Question – Are you just visiting here?
• Unknown source of response – I’ve been seen
• One team members states Barnet and another team member respond “oh Barnet”
• Spirit interaction is heard saying what sounds like Barnet conqueror
During filming a number of orbs and light anomalies and one illuminated spider were caught on film. A number of these orbs could be put down to dust or other pieces of debris floating on the air currents. However, some light anomalies and orbs could not be explained and no cause has been found for what they were.
Is the house haunted?
There is definitely something in the house, but it is very hard to pin point what. The team members are all agreed that whatever has taken place within the house over the past few years has in some way imprinted itself onto the property in much the same way as an audio recording would (please read stone tape theory) and can be picked up by people who are more sensitive.
Whilst some form of paranormal activity was experienced and recorded it is the conclusion of LPS that the house itself is not haunted by residual activity.
At the top of the stairs there was an energy build where it felt unsafe to stand at due to feeling of may being pushed or falling down? A natural human fear or spirit and that remain part of the question?
However, it is acknowledged that some spirits do pass through the property from time to time for reasons unknown at this time and this includes the two possible spirits of a man and a woman who the team believe to be possibly former residents of this property. But these do not appear to pose any risk to people who may live at the property.
Galaxy Cinema Luton
Former Employee was at work that day and was standing on a drop box (where the tickets are taken) outside screens 1-4. Two staff members A and B went to clean screen 4. They held the doors open for people and then A went in to see if there was anyone left to come out. He came back and told us that there was a lady still watching the credits. A few minutes passed and she never came out so A went to see if she was ok. He came back out saying there was no one there. There is only two ways out of a screen, the doors where A and B was standing and I was watching, or the fire exit which sets of our alarms when opened. I asked him to write down what he saw and he agreed the LPS could have his story. I’ve known A for a while now and I don’t believe he would make this up, he seemed slightly shaken.
Here’s what he wrote for me straight after: Time: approx 2:20 pm 14/5/05 Place: luton galaxy cinema, screen 4 mid/rear right hand side Visibility: Poor/ok, dim lighting. (Its always light enough to see when the credits are rolling) Appearance: Lady, mid to late 30’s, shortish curly hair, eating – maybe popcorn. Other: Lady was 100% there on first view. 2-3 minutes later had disappeared. Checked screen fully, only exit blocked by myself and one other. Fire exit was not set off. I can’t believe I was so close to a sighting and missed it!
Crescent Road Luton
According to Mandy things have happened in the flat when she herself, her husband or a neighbour, Tony, have been there. Strange things have been happening for quite a while and her husband says they started just after Mandy moved in.
The first thing that happened involved a pastry dish in the cupboard in the kitchen. The dish had been there for some time when, for no apparent reason, the dish fell out as the door was closed. Sometimes Mandy feels cold for no apparent reason and has a feeling as if she is not on her own.
At first husband thought she was imagining it. Once they were both sitting in the living room when bottles of perfume at the back of the bathroom cabinet fell out and smashed, even though they were behind other things that had not moved. For some time, nothing had happened then Mandy started having bad feelings.
Eventually she started to get angry and would suddenly turn, once she even attacked her husband as she felt threatened. In addition, things started disappearing. Mandy would make a point of noting where she left things, but they would still disappear and appear later elsewhere. Once she even found her keys in the oven. Things became so bad that Mandy became depressed.
This was not helped by events such as the time she was doing something in the kitchen when she felt that something was behind her. Things went from bad to worse when she started having bad dreams. Once she woke up and saw a dark shape across the room and she had the taste of flesh in her mouth. In the morning she found that she had handprints on her arm as if she had been held down, the marks literally looked like fingerprints.
Another dream involved a man who was cutting up a woman on a table, he was smiling, and she was screaming. She began to hate the fact she was in the flat and had to leave the lights on all of the time. On another occasion she woke up to see someone sitting in the chair. Her most painful experience was when she was sitting in front of the fire having breakfast and the surround fell forwards and struck her on the head with a great deal of force. The surround was not fixed to the wall, but it had been in place without falling over for about a month whilst they were decorating. She has told her husband that she can’t live there anymore and has now started hearing voices, whispering and humming sounds but has been unable to identify the source.
Her husband became a believer when he was in the bathroom and heard three loud knocks on the door which were repeated but there was no one there. Up to that point it had not really bothered him, but the knocking has changed his mind.
Recently Mandy placed her lighter on the table, where they both saw it, but the next instant it had gone only to reappear on the day of the interview on the arm of the chair. Now the feelings she was having have returned and they are very bad, she is worried about being on her own and spends most of her time in bed or she goes out.
One day she came out of the bathroom and saw something walk across the room from the computer stop and turn to look at her then carry on into the kitchen. She fled back into the bathroom. When she plucked up enough courage to return the dog was growling and the cats were in a panicked state. A neighbour, Tony was on his own in the flat when he saw a pot fly off some shelves into the middle of the room about 2.5 metres away. She has now resorted to yelling at ‘it’ and telling it to get on with it and do whatever it wants to do so as to get it over with. She can’t deal with it anymore, but she doesn’t care as long as it leaves her alone. She is not too worried if the appearances are all it can do.
Mandy says that there is a distinct cold spot in the corner by the computer and she feels as if she is being watched. This is despite the fact that the flat is very warm and was when LPS were there, even though the top light of the window was open. Another thing that has happened is that taps will turn themselves on, full force. Tony originally moved into the flat some years ago and nothing happened during the time he was on his own. Mandy has been there for a couple of years and things became so bad she was self-harming and contemplated taking an over-dose, but they managed to work through it.
Before the vigils started LPS Investigators set up various sound recorders and video cameras to monitor the room. This included a camera facing from the window towards the kitchen and another camera up by the door facing the corner of the room where the computer was (where the figure had been seen by Mandy and where the cats stare). Another camera again facing from the door towards the shelf on the wall from where a neighbour had seen an object fly. In addition there was a emf meter on the mantelpiece over the fire and left it on for the whole investigation and another to the right of the computer monitor. During the investigation the owner’s two cats were present
During the investigation one team member observes two small blue flashes of light to the right of Mandy’s head. Another team member picked up the name Geoffrey/Jeffrey Marshall and fishmonger. Another member senses a woman waving goodbye to a man who is on a large ship. There are lots of people they are waving goodbye.
Strangely unlike paranormal TV on the night of the investigation not a lot happened and as a majority of paranormal investigators will know, on some 90% of paranormal investigations.
Primrose Close Luton
LPS were called in by a couple, in their early to mid-twenties, living in Primrose Close who had been having strange things happening in their house. The clients reported that things happened mainly in the living room, kitchen and the top of the stairs.
With the latter the feeling is that something is watching them. In the living room there is a toy box full of their son’s toys, these have been found to have been removed from the box in the morning, despite having been tidied away at night and their child is too young to have come downstairs during the night to have done it.
Things are so bad downstairs that they have even affected their dog so that it remains upstairs and refuses to come down even though it used to enjoy lying on the settee. One night the couple heard the table in the kitchen being dragged across the floor. They rushed downstairs with the dog, but it only stayed for a second before rushing back upstairs. The dog now sleeps in the bedroom with his adult owners.
Things also go on in the room of their son and once the boy’s mother saw a shadow across the landing and felt as if she was being pinned to the bed, she couldn’t move her legs.
In the kitchen there is an iPod dock which has an alarm in it. This has been heard to go off by itself. The couple go downstairs, turn it off and return upstairs only to find that it goes off again. Things started the night they moved in when they felt as if they were being watched. It seems that the previous residents left unexpectedly. Banging noises are regularly heard which seem to have been getting louder since there son had to go into hospital with stomach problems. It almost seems as if the occurrences are centred round their son.
General The site is a quiet one being a cul-de-sac and away from the main roads. Only occasional cars went past. Like most urban houses the house was partially lit by lights in the street.On entering the property, which is a relatively new the team’s immediate attention is drawn to the staircase. She cannot ascertain why she is drawn there, however. One investigator is overcome with a very oppressive and uneasy feeling while standing by the bottom of the stairs and feels like she is somehow ‘in the way’.
Another team member is suddenly racked with a tremendous back pain like someone is digging both of their elbows hard into the areas either side of her spine between her shoulder blades. It is so painful that it momentarily takes the investigators breath away and she has to move away from the staircase to the opposite side of the room. The pain begins to fade almost immediately and is completely gone after approximately five minutes. The investigation team investigate around the house with different responses, but no one is harmed by some paranormal activity. A further investigation is planned but before that happens the family move away from the property.
A few years ago, I was working for a company that made hairdressing furniture and we were based in Watford.The building was turn of the century and had been converted into units, we had a ground floor warehouse a second floor where I worked and a mezzanine above me where the office was. I would finish work at 4 pm but our secretary worked till 5 pm and she often told us that when she was on her own she heard strange noises and she felt uneasy being on her own but we just told her she was imagining it.
When I was at my workbench the entrance to the stairs was to my left and quite often I could see a figure standing in the doorway but as soon as I look directly at it there was no one there, I remember telling colleagues who worked in the warehouse about this and one person told me that he would see a dark figure in the warehouse but like me when he looked straight at it no one was there.
On a Friday afternoon my boss came to see me he said that he had taken an order, so I came in to work over the weekend. I arrived at work Sunday morning just after 7 am, behind me were two rows of industrial shelving and as I was working I could hear what sounded like people whispering as I walked alongside the shelving, but of course no one was there.
So I carried on but I could still hear voices. A little time later there were three loud bangs on the shutter doors in the warehouse my first thought was who the hell can that be so I went to the window opened it and looked down but there was no one there so I went back to my workbench and again another three bangs on the shutter doors, this time I went downstairs and outside but could not see anyone.
I then went into the warehouse and looked around but there was no one around. So now I was feeling nervous because I could not understand what was happening. I decided that if it happened again I would run down the stairs as quick as possible and try to catch who was doing this and sure enough three loud bangs, I was outside in a matter of seconds but again no one there, I remember thinking that I did not want to be here I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up and I had goose bumps on my arms but I decided that if I could do a bit more I could finish my work.
All of a sudden there was a loud bang behind me, and when I looked between the shelving a box was on the floor, I had put the box there a couple of weeks before, it was full of wooden chair arms and weighed about thirty pounds, the shelves were flat and there was a lip at the front of the shelving so if you wanted to take something off the shelve you had to lift it first before pulling it forward so nothing could just fall off.
At that point I had had enough and went home, on Monday I told my boss what had happened and he of course found it hard to believe. But some time later when we had moved to a new building in Berkhampstead, he told me that when he was working late in the old building he had come down the stairs from the office to the floor I worked on and something grabbed him from behind he said he felt cold breath on the back of his neck and he was pushed towards the stairs, he said he felt he was
going to be pushed down the stairs but he managed to grab the door frame and wriggle loose and run down the stairs. I still think about what happened it felt like a game where someone was testing me to see how far they could push me before I had had enough and would leave, and I have thought about talking to the people who are in the unit now to see if they have witnessed anything but they would think that I am mad, regards member of the public.
Marsh Farm Luton
This is a letter we received from a member of public and LPS investigated.
Member of public – I live in a flat in marsh farm.So about a month after I moved in, I woke up to see a black figure of a man standing next to my bed. it was a warm night the curtains and window were open to let air in.so it wasn’t pitch dark as there’s a street light fairly close outside. I reached out to flick the light on and the man vanished. He was dressed in all black fairly modern clothes.
Another time we heard the swishing of material and running footsteps. My dog turned to the hallway and started barking as I turned to the noise. I saw a pair of legs run past my sons open door and my dog ran very quickly after the legs and obviously there was nobody there. I stepped into the hallway and my dog was looking at my bedroom door puzzled. nobody could have got into my flat. Some of my sons’ friends stayed a few months later, at about 1am they woke up after being disturbed by what they thought was me walking up and down the hallway. They both caught a glimpse of a man passing by the open bedroom door.
Another time one of my friends used to stay over quite often, but after being poked in the side in bed one night while having the lights dim on her with the feeling of being watched she no longer stays.
I have been slapped on the head while laying in my bed, heard my name and ‘mum’ being called when I’m home alone.my dogs that I have now, the female I had passed away about 5 years ago. Sometimes leap up and start barking crazily or run into the hallway growling.
I have lived here long enough to know the neighbour’s noises, doors, washing machines, walking around etc. I’ve heard a sneeze in the empty kitchen, tapping, knocking, humming. things disappearing and then turning up exactly where you thought they were.
An ex, who knew nothing of what had been going on, stayed on his own for about 15 minutes while I popped out with all the dogs. I got a terrified phone call saying he felt someone had been standing behind him while sitting on the sofa. He was a 16 stone body builder afraid of very little. But never came and stayed as he was too scared.
Sometimes I just get a feeling of not being alone or being spied on. Also, my neighbour below and the lady opposite her, both on the ground floor, have had their flats blessed as they heard footsteps and felt uneasy. This was long before I moved in.
Recently I brought an iPad and downloaded an app’ that switches itself on when it catches a noise. I put it in the far bedroom and shut myself and dogs far away as possible. I played the recordings and there’s a loud distinct knock, among other noises, right next to the iPad. Thanks for reading this, Member of the public.
Wardown Museum haunting 1955 Eye witness Account by LPS member Anthony R Roberts
I left school at the age of fifteen and joined a heating and plumbing company called EG.Baker in Park Street Luton. I was put to work with a man called Hugh Upton… now he had been through the first world war and fought on the Somme battlefield. It is important to know this because that generation was different to mine. He would never be bested and he had a singular attitude to life. He was a proud and a brave man.
But I saw that man rooted to the spot with fear that day in Wardown Museum cellar. To get to the point we were changing a section in the boiler which had cracked. I was in the boiler and Hugh was standing outside by the boiler door. The only other person in the museum at that time was the curator who was upstairs in his office. The museum was closed to the public.
We knew that we three were alone, When we heard footsteps coming towards us we knew something was wrong as there was the sound of a light tap tap and then we heard the sound of a dress swishing as the person walked nearer. There were no lights in the cellar in 1955 at all. The only lighting came from a 100 watt head lamp on a long lead which was plugged in upstairs which threw out a limited light around the boiler.
As we waited a woman appeared out of the gloom about ten feet from where Hugh was standing. She continued to walk towards us then turned the corner and was gone from my sight as I was in the boiler. But Hugh saw her for longer as I could see his head turn as he watched her until she was no longer to be seen.
Now that would have been something to talk about between us, but no old Hugh was old Hugh and he was saying nothing. I could not believe it, and after I got over the shock of what I had seen I begged him to talk about it. But he would not. But he stood there in front of the boiler frozen. It took a while for him to move and when he did he turned to me and said something like “load of rubbish” or words to that effect and that was the last word he ever spoke of the subject.
Now let me try to describe what she looked like. She was tall and wearing a dark possibly blue surge dress. White ruffs at her wrists and a white front or vee down to her waist. I don’t know if she was wearing a bonnet of not and her face has faded from my memory as indeed old Hugh’s has….. When you get to my age you will know what mean anyway that’s about that.
But as a footnote I though she was a nurse, could be wrong and one more thing. She was not holding a lamp of any sort. That means there was light in the cellar at that time possibly gas. I have just found LPS online and read about the other heating engineers in 1971. This caused me to put pen to paper and get this on record. I have now joined LPS Best regards Anthony R Roberts (Since deceased).
Jansell House Roundabout Ghost
A Luton Resident reported seeing an old man in his would say 60s/70s and wearing a long green coat with a del boy hat (also grey hair) and it’s the roundabout next to Jansel house. He was seen him about 6/8 times sometimes sitting sometimes standing he has even waved at the resident.
Subsequent Research by LPS revealed
The spirit might be that of a man called John. He wore a long coat and hat, he had grey hair and he was roughly early 70’s he either sat or stood at the Jansel house roundabout just starting at nothing confused. He would just suddenly walk off the roundabout to Tesco to buy maltesers all the time! He had loads hidden in his house on Hitchin road but would stand on the roundabout or sit just staring at nothing.
One of our members cared for him and the police were called quite a few times as they were worried about his safety. John missed his wife who passed away a few years back (John passed away in 2009). John was a spiritual man and always would say he could see his wife as a ghost.
Year: 1953 Location: Denbigh High School Luton Type: Doppelganger
Jan was due to start at Denbigh High school and was invited to visit the school prior to starting. On the day of the visit she was in the girls toilets with the other girls who soon left. Jan was cleaning up and looking into the mirror. She could see her own face but noticed in the corner of the mirror another girl standing in the corner of the room. To her horror she saw the girl was exactly like her and thought the girl was her doppelganger. The girl disappeared an Jan ran out of the room looking for her even going outside and although scared Jan expected to see the girl in school when she started. However despite looking for the other girl she was never seen again.
Location: LMS building next to George 2nd LUTON
Type: manifestation of Victorian policeman or soldier
Witness Jan reports her and her husband to be came out of George public house in 1959. The pub was then opposite the LMS building which had stood empty for some years previously. Next to the George was a red telephone box where Jan and her partner went for a snog as Jan puts it. While snogging Mick her partner she saw a mans face in the window opposite staring at them. She told Mick that a policeman was watching them and to turn around slowly. They could both make out that the man was wearing a helmet that had a spike on top of it and looked Victorian. They both decided to approach the man who appeared as a solid person to them. He continued to stare out of the window dead ahead his eyes did not move. They tried to speak to him with no response and then tried to wave in front of his face again this had no response. The couple became frightened and ran away and the figure was never seen again.
© [Luton Paranormal Society ]