3 Haunted Places in Bedford
Stewart | On 19, Jul 2017
AMBERLY CASTLE: A Haunted Castle You Can Actually Stay the Night In!
The Grade I listed 12th century Amberley Castle Hotel is located in the picturesque village of Amberley.
Today, the castle has been transferred into an amazing luxury hotel.
It's said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl called Emily who committed suicide at the castle.
Her ghostly apparition has been seen by terrified witnesses in and around the Herstmonceux Room!
The Aspects Leisure Centre
If you head along Newnham Avenue, just as you get near the bridge over the River Great Ouse you’ll pass Aspects Leisure Centre…
The modern cinema at the centre has a reputation for being haunted!
Both Screen 4 and the ladies toilets are said to have had weird events happening within them.
Film lovers often complain of hearing a strange scratching noise coming from above their heads whilst their watching the latest movie.
Some spooked customers have even reported feeling phantom hands touching their legs during a film!
It seems like Seat 8 in row ‘A’ has a mind of its own as its cushion refuses to stay upright when empty…
It always returns to the down position as though somebody invisible is sitting in it!
The exit door also has the habit of flinging itself open on its own accord.
Witnesses have reported seeing the door’s crash bar moving downwards and then the door opening violently as though an invisible person has just opened it.
On one occasion a theatre manager actually heard the eerie sound of chains being rattled!
The poor cleaners at the theatre have been scared witless in the past by having apples and sweets thrown at them by something unseen.
One cleaner was fuming on day as she had just totally cleaned the theatre and when she returned it was full of litter even though nobody had been in it!
Another occasion the theatre was cleaned from top to bottom and when the cleaners returned to it they found that a fresh apple with a bite out of it had been left in the middle of an aisle…
Nobody had been in the theatre since they cleaned it!
One night the security guard was left shaken after he witnessed a ghostly apparition walk across the foyer through locked doors and out into the car park.
Customers have been scared half to death after seeing a ghostly figure of a man in the mirror of the ladies toilet.
One frightened lady locked herself in one of the cubicles after seeing the apparition and when she looked down at the cubicle door she could see a pair of ghostly men’s feet!
One witness has described the man as wearing a monk’s outfit.
On one occasion a young girl was heard screaming her lungs out in the ladies toilets after she saw the ghostly man in the mirror.
The spooky thing is…
The ladies toilets are situated right next to Screen 4!
The cinema actually sits on the site of the old Newnham Swimming Pool…
The swimming pool also had a reputation for being haunted.
One witness said that every night about half past eleven the doors of the lockers would start to violently open and shut on their own accord.
This would go on sporadically all night and would eventually end in the early morning!
There are a couple of theories of who exactly haunts the cinema…
It may actually be a monk as the whole area was once part of the 12th century Augustinian Newnham Priory.
Another theory is it may the ghost of a former usherette nephew who sadly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the old priory grounds where Screen 4 now stands!
The hauntings may even be linked to the remains of skeletons which were uncovered by an ancient wall when the centre was being built.
In the autumn of 1972 a terrified trainee nurse who was sorting out the night medicines for Russell Ward witnessed a ghostly young girl come up the stairs and enter the corridor.
Apparently the young girl was tall, slender and very pretty with short brown hair.
She was wearing a long dress with a long white coat over the top of it.
A staff nurse who was unlocking the medicine trolley also saw the ghostly girl.
Both stunned nurses then witnessed the apparition glide into the toilet.
They waited for her to come out but she never did…
Eventually the trainee nurse summoned up enough courage to investigate the toilets.
She found nobody in there but did find the room to be very cold!
Twenty eight years later scared members of staff reported seeing a ghostly apparition of a young woman in a long dress disappear through the wall of a store room.
Terrified witnesses have also reported the eerie sound of phantom footsteps shuffling around the Shand Ward.
Hospital legend states that a young twenty three year old girl who had worked in the pathology department had tragically committed suicide at the hospital in the late 1960s!
Two miles to the north of the main site situated along Kimbolton Road in the town you’ll find the Bedford Health Village which is also referred to as the North Wing.
Back in 1796 the site started life out as the Bedford House of Industry.
In 1835 it was transformed into the Bedford Union Workhouse.
And then in 1929 it became St Peter’s Hospital and was used as a general hospital and then later as a tuberculosis isolation hospital.
In 1948 it was taken over by the NHS and used as a geriatric and maternity hospital.
A lot of the old buildings were demolished in 2007 and the site was transformed into the Bedford Health Village.
Before the redevelopment of the site a local paranormal group investigated Shires House which was once the old Bedford Workhouse.
One of the members of the group took a tour with a security guard of the old maternity unit as he was born there.
In the 1950s part of the building they both were shocked to hear two people having a conversation in the upstairs part of the stairwell.
They went to investigate but as they entered the corridor at the top of the stairs the talking suddenly stopped…
Upon further investigation they discover that the corridor was totally empty!
The Higgins Art Gallery and Museum
In 1998 members of staff at the museum came into work one morning to discover that a picture that was once hanging on the shop wall had fallen down and landed face up with smashed glass…
At first they didn’t think that it was too strange until they found that the nail which the picture had been hanging from in the wall had been moved down and nailed into the wall just above the skirting board!
In the same year another member of staff walked past the bottom of the stairs on her way to the kitchen when she saw a man dressed in a dark suit standing there.
Not taking too much notice of him and thinking that he was one of her male colleagues she just nodded at him and continued to the kitchen.
When she entered the kitchen she was flabbergasted to find both of her male colleagues already in the kitchen…
So who was the man in the man in the dark suit by the stairs?
In 2000 another member of staff saw a dark figure walk around the bottom of the stairs but when she reached the area the figure had totally disappeared into thin air!
In 2001 when the museum was closed to the public the security were walking through the shop and were stunned to see the chair behind the counter moving as though someone had just vacated it…
You see, there shouldn’t have been any staff or public in the shop at the time as the museum was closed!
So who had caused the chair to move?
Sudden temperature drops and strange mist have also been reported by spooked members of staff who’ve been standing near the shop counter at the time.
Strange events also happen on the stairs…
Members of staff have heard a phantom person walk up the stairs as well as the eerie sound of invisible people mumbling and chatting amongst themselves.
Some staff members feel as though they are being watched by something unseen from the landing on the top flight of stairs when they ascend them!
One witness was spooked one day when she saw a figure standing by the bed in the Burges Room.
When she returned to the room she discovered that it was totally empty.
Witnesses in or near the Drawing Room have often reported being touched or tapped on the shoulder by something unseen!
In 2004 a security guard got the shock of his life when he entered the Drawing Room…
You see, he witnessed an open book which had been left on the shelve lift up in the air, close itself and then place itself back on the shelf!
The Library is said to be haunted by the ghostly apparition of a man…
His been seen sitting at a table and as a reflection in a cabinet mirror.
A startled member of the public reported seeing the glass front of the clock in the Library open by itself.
And a female member of staff reported being grabbed by the ankle one day by an icy cold hand!
One member of staff was terrified when she saw the heavy sliding door of the toilet shut on its own accord.
The Nursery is also said to be haunted…
One poor witness felt an invisible blow to her stomach as she entered the room.
And just after the spooky assault took place a member of staff who followed her into the room felt something rush straight through her!
As you can imagine, members of staff don’t like being alone in this room.
Spooked visitors to the museum have reported seeing the Nursery cupboard doors close on their own accord.
The ghostly apparition of a young woman in a blue dress with white lace trim has been seen by witnesses in the Guest Bedroom too.
In 1994 a member of staff got the shock of their life in the Conservation Room when the photocopier lid lifted by itself and the paper storage drawers shot out!
Phantom footsteps have been reported hurrying along the stone back steps even though that area has been blocked off.
The Kitchen is another room which is said to be haunted…
A witness was terrified one day when the kettle suddenly switched itself on and started to boil some water!
Members of staff have heard eerie whispering and whistling coming from the back lobby even though it was empty at the time.
Another member of staff saw a dark figure exit the back lobby and enter the locker room.
She followed the figure and checked the locker room but nobody was there.
Just at that moment the back doorbell rang twice so she went towards the door to open it.
As she did so she heard somebody behind her mimic the double ring of the doorbell…
She opened the door and found that nobody was there!
Terrified witnesses in the General Office saw the electric typewriter start typing by itself.
And in 2004 a ghostly apparition of a stocky man was seen walking pass the door by the stunned curator…
Apparently he was wearing a white shirt and grey trousers!
His not the only ghostly apparition to have been seen at the Higgins…
The apparition of a stable boy has been seen in the Library and witnesses have also seen a ghostly figure of a 1930s man wearing a bowler hat!
One of the museum curators arrive first thing in the morning one day to discover that the ladder which she had been using the night before had been moved from its original position and was now blocking the fire exit.
And spookily, a set of manikins were now displayed in a straight line down the gallery.
You can now see why the Higgins Art Gallery & Museum has got a reputation for being the most haunted venue in Bedford!
William H King (2012) Haunted Bedford. The History Press