John Taylor: That’s the spirit

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It seems a local group has begun investigating paranormal activity in the district, equipped with all sorts of hi-tech gizmos to detect strange and unusual happenings.

Yep, there’s plenty of those in Milton Keynes. But back to the Afterlife, and since the area once compromised many old villages it’s hardly surprisingly that ghostly tales abound.

At Woburn Abbey the ghost of an abbot hanged on an oak tree supposedly haunts his earthly ways.

Then, during the Second World War, wrens billeted at the Abbey saw ghostly forms in the monks’ graveyard. On the subject of which, around the village of Milton Keynes a monk was often seen to walk in the local fields.

Of course, spectics might think it was the yokels having a skinful at the Swan, except that one of the witnesses was Sir Richard Gambier Parry, a resident of the village, he had been in command of Special Communications during the Second World War, and head of the Diplomatic Wireless Service.

The supernatural tales regarding Passenham have long been done to death, with those of Bobby Banastre oft repeated (and embellished). Also, of course, Nancy Lee, who drowned herself in the millpond.

But there’s a lesser known story of a 19-year-old servant girl who drowned herself by the bridge near the mill. Over the years ghostly goings-on have been reported in several local houses.

At 30, Bedford Street, Bletchley, a couple claimed to have seen the shadow of a man in the lounge and were apparently so alarmed that they moved out to stay with friends.

Mind you, they were on the council housing list and the property was for emergency housing. Nevertheless the couple had spent a lot of money in redecorating the premises.

Many houses hide a gruesome secret including 6 Oxford Street, Stony Stratford where, during the war, an evacuee committed suicide by hanging. A similar occurrence took place at a house in Grange Road, Bletchley.