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Bedford Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Knocking on the Door

Location: Bedford - 38 Mill Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Many times has the sharp rapping at office doors been heard in this building, only for the door to be opening and nothing found beyond. Invisible feet have also been heard padding along the corridors.

Gliding Girl

Location: Bedford - Bedford Hospital
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1972, 2010
Further Comments: In 1972 two nurses watched an attractive girl in a long dress and coat glide into a toilet on the south wing of the hospital. They followed, only to find the room empty. The same entity may have been observed 28 years later when three members of staff reported seeing a lady in a long dress walk through the wall of a storeroom. The Shand Ward is said to be haunted by shuffling footsteps.

Samuel Whitbread

Location: Bedford - Bedford School
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: The ghost of the 1903 headmaster Samuel Whitbread is reported to wander the corridors of the higher floors of the main building (which he commissioned) at night. On numerous occasions he has asked people who enter the building at night for directions out; one boy when leading him to the exit found he suddenly disappeared.


Location: Bedford - Bellairs Avenue and Dowty Avenue
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: June 1996
Further Comments: Walking down Bellairs Avenue with his brother, this witness could see a nun walking towards them in the middle of the road. He commented on the figure to his brother, who could not see her. As a car drove up the road, she vanished. The same witness said he spotted the same figure a few weeks later in Dowty Avenue.

Man in Bowler Hat

Location: Bedford - Cecil Higgins Art Gallery
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late twentieth century
Further Comments: This building is thought to be haunted by several entities, including a man wearing a bowler hat dressed in 1930s clothing, another man but this time wearing a dark suit, and a stable boy who walks around the library. Minor poltergeist activity is also reported.


Location: Bedford - Cineworld
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: Both Screen 4 and the toilet area are reputed to be haunted by a hooded figure. Cold spots and strange sounds have also been reported. The cinema stands on the former site of Newnham priory.

Black Tom

Location: Bedford - Junction of Tavistock Street, Union Street and Clapham Road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Around Christmas, 1990s
Further Comments: A nineteenth century highwayman, Black Tom was executed and buried at this junction with a stake driven through his heart to prevent his return. The ritual failed, and both he and another unknown ghost were seen countless times for years following his death. A 1960s sighting of Tom took place in broad daylight, with witnesses stating they saw a gruesome figure with a broken neck staggering down the road, vanishing into thin air seconds later. The witness who spotted Tom during the 1990s thought he was just a drunk man in fancy dress, until he suddenly disappeared.

Young Man

Location: Bedford - King's Arms public house
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late twentieth century
Further Comments: Built on the site of a morgue (!), there are any number of contenders who could be the source of this young looking spectre. An older looking man is reported to haunt the cellar.

Creeping Man

Location: Bedford - Methodist Church, along Newnham Avenue
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: Mid twentieth century
Further Comments: A witness reported seeing a well-dressed man creeping along the back of the church. This figure walked through a wall, leaving a thin veil of smoke in his wake. A few years prior to this, another entity had been seen around the same place, though the witness said the ghost had worn tweed clothing.


Location: Bedford - Park public house
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: The ghost of a Second World War soldier who died when this building was used as a hospital is said to occasionally appear to staff. The ghost also has been known to open doors.

Record Player

Location: Bedford - Private flat along Tavistock Street
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: Late twentieth century
Further Comments: A man using the flat came home after work to find a record playing on his music system. Furniture would also rearrange itself.


Location: Bedford - Private flat, Ram Yard
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: 30 September 1999
Further Comments: Awaking to see her grandmother sitting by her bed, this witness briefly forgot that her grandmother had died a couple of years previous. The witness then noticed an orange glow outside. The window - a car outside was on fire, blocking the exit and filling the building with smoke. The fire brigade soon had the blaze under control, although the witness was convinced that her grandmother had saved her from dying of smoke inhalation.

Black Tom?

Location: Bedford - Private residence along Gladstone Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late 1985 or early 1986
Further Comments: A man at this property awoke to find what he thought was an intruder in his bedroom. The man's shouts awoke his wife, and they both witnessed a dark shadowy figure in a black cloak and floppy hat move to the opposite side of the room and vanish. A few months later they heard the legend of Black Tom, the local horse rustler who was hanged close to their home.


Location: Bedford - Private residence, Chaucer Road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1972
Further Comments: A baby's screams awoke the mother, who spotted a shadowy hand cross the wall of the room and come to rest on the baby's face. The baby screamed again. The mother quickly grabbed the child, and from that day, they shared the same bed.


Location: Bedford - Private residence, George Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1968
Further Comments: A former occupant reported experiencing loud breathing, disembodied footsteps and items which would fall over unaided.

Brainy Dobbs

Location: Bedford - RAF Henlow
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1982
Further Comments: Returning to the barracks, one witness was hit by a cold wind which pushed him back. The witness found his room trashed, so called the police, who disbelieved his story. An officer later told him that the barracks was haunted by a parachute designer nicknamed Brainy Dobbs, and that there had been many other reports identical to that which the witness experienced.


Location: Bedford - Sister's House (former nunnery adjacent to St Luke's church), owned by Pilgrim's Housing Association
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1997
Further Comments: A male member of staff was woken as someone sat on the end of their bed. Raising their head to see who had entered the room, the man saw a nun sitting at the end of his bedcovers. The nun then stood up and walked through the bedroom wall.


Location: Bedford - The Square public house (was the Bullnosed Bat)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A member of staff once reported seeing a ghostly cat that appeared in his bedroom.

Ball of Light

Location: Bedford - Two private residence, Fenlake area
Type: Other
Date / Time: 2004
Further Comments: A mother and daughter watched a glowing ball of light move down the path towards their property. The mother later discovered that her niece and niece's boyfriend had also seen a glowing ball on the same day outside their home (once again, moving towards the front door), which was around half a mile away.


Location: Bedford - Union Workhouse (demolished 2007)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2006
Further Comments: After site security reported strange happenings, the Luton Paranormal Society investigated the site. They reported the sounds of whispering, a scream, and smells with unidentifiable sources.


Location: Bedford - Willington Manor
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: The sounds of footsteps and the soft ringing of a bell haunt this old building.

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