Nicola Kirk: Author and Collector of Paranormal Stories and Other Strange Encounters

Posts tagged ‘Milton Keynes’

Forgotten By Time – Remembered By Satanists

St Mary’s Church, Clophill, Milton Keynes

St Marys Church (sometimes referred to as Clophill church) can be found lurking just outside the small village of Clophill which lies between Bedford and Luton, just off the A6.  The church is small but it seems to have acquired a rather large reputation over the years.  The building is estimated to be about 400 years old and was left to rot after another church was built in the village centre.  At one time, St Marys used to contain some interesting bits and pieces such as memorial tablets dedicated to the various Reverends who served the church, and the register apparently dated back to 1568.

These days St Marys is no longer considered consecrated ground and the responsibility for the old church now lies with Central Bedfordshire Council, who I am sure are quite horrified with the fact that the church has become a magnet for the paranormally curious, some of whom employ nothing but the very best ghost hunting techniques:

The churchyard contains graves that go back to the 1700s but some headstones have been worn smooth by the elements and are indecipherable.

Local folklore has some ideas to offer as to why the old church was abandoned.  Some say the church was built the wrong way around, facing away from God (how do they know which way God is looking?) thus making the church more suited to the devil instead.  Another rumour is the church was built on top of a leper hospital.  In reality, it would be more sensible to assume that the new church in Clophill was built because the villagers fancied a more convenient place of worship, what with the old church being a fair trot from the village and on top of a hill.  Sod that on a Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, St Marys hasn’t been left to enjoy the peace and quiet that such a historical building deserves.  In 1963 vandals decided it would be fun to desecrate some of the old tombs in the churchyard, one of which belonged to Jenny Humberstone, a 22 year old apothecary’s wife who died in 1770.  Jenny’s bones are said to have been found inside the church, ritualistically laid out in a circle and cockerel feathers were also found close by.  Jenny’s bones were reinterred but sadly the graveyard was raided again in 1969 and also in 1975.  Whether these raids were just mindless vandalism or attempts at necromancy is unclear.

People have reported an oppressive atmosphere at St Marys and the air inside the ruin feels chilly, even on a warm day.  Visitors have seen a faint light travelling up the hill towards the old church but the light then disappears without a trace.  Locals also say that the site is haunted by a ghost called ‘Sophie’ and a she may even have been caught on camera.  A visitor and his wife managed to photograph a figure in white looking down from one of the church windows but the strange thing was the window was nearly two meters above the floor of the nave.

Interestingly, there are stories of paranormal investigators using projections of a ghostly monk to put thrill seekers off visiting the ruins.  Creating fake ghosts seems a strange thing for serious paranormal investigators to do but hey ho…


©Nicola Kirk and 2010

The Farmhouse – Lathbury, Milton Keynes

Simon King from Bletchley, Milton Keynes, is one of my poor, unsuspecting contractors from work whom I annoy on a regular basis.  He sent me the following story.  I initially read the information he sent and thought, what a cool story.  I went home.  All was fine.  Until 2am in the morning when I heard a pair of cats screeching at each other outside my bedroom window like a pair of banshees.  The sound was something akin to a baby wailing and, I kid ye not, I thought I was reliving part of Simon’s rather eerie tale.  Cheers for that, King.  Took me ages to get back to sleep.

Anyway, I’m afraid the compulsion to illustrate the facts overtook me somewhat (I’m a writer, it’s what I do), and although the dialogue is fictional, the events described are factual.  I hope you enjoy today’s post:

Somewhere just outside Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes, in a small and very old village called Lathbury, there is an old farmhouse.  For a while, the farmhouse was rented by a man who lived on his own.  He had no time for people, preferring the company of his two hunting dogs and his birds of prey instead.  He avoided the people of the village and they avoided him because he was a bit too different for their tastes.  The man rented the farmhouse for a while but then, for some reason, no one saw him anymore.  It was assumed that he had moved on or, as the village gossips liked to tell anyone who would listen, had fallen behind on his rent and had been thrown out.

The house was a big, five bedroom affair, about two hundred years old with a dank, badly lit cellar, a stuffy, cobweb-strewn loft and two staircases, one at either end of the house.  In 2001, Simon and one of his colleagues, Jay, were hired to give the house a lick of paint in readiness for it to be let once more.  The house was cold and unwelcoming at best and, if he was honest, Simon found it an eerie and unsettling place to work.

Halfway through the day, Simon found they were short on paint and nipped out to get some more.  When he returned, he found Jay waiting for him and he didn’t look too happy.

“Yeah, you’re not funny, you know,” Jay told him sullenly.

“What are you on about?” Simon asked as he put the newly acquired paint down on the floor.

“You.  Messing about with the radio.”

“I haven’t touched the radio, mate.  I’ve been out buying paint.”

“Yeah, okay, so who was it that turned off the radio twice when I left the room?  Christmas fairy, perhaps?”

“Must have been, because I’m telling you, it wasn’t me, I was out buying paint,” Simon protested pointing at the tins by his feet.  Jay didn’t look convinced but dropped the subject anyway.  The atmosphere in the old house seemed to weigh heavily on Jay and Simon’s shoulders as they rushed to get the work done so they could finally get out of there.

A few weeks later in November, two women from the local letting agency dropped by to take some photos of the freshly painted house.   Val got out of the car and gazed up at the front of the old building.  It was getting dark and it was threatening rain but they only needed a few internal photos so that didn’t matter too much.

“Doesn’t look too inviting, does it?” Frances muttered as she fumbled in her bag for the keys.  “I wouldn’t want to live here.”

“Let’s just get these photos and go,” Val said, pulling her collar up around her ears.  “It’s freezing out here and I hate driving in the rain.”

The two women let themselves in and set about taking pictures as quickly as they could.  For some reason neither of them could quite put a finger on, they didn’t want to spend a moment longer in the house than absolutely necessary.  Fifteen minutes later, and with a feeling of great relief, they locked the front door behind them and climbed into the car.  Just as they were about to pull away, a light shining from a window at the top of the house caught Val’s attention.  She sighed.

“Fran, you’ve left a light on upstairs.”

“No, I didn’t,” Frances squeaked.  “You were the last one up there.”  They stared at each other for a few seconds before Frances gave in and unbuckled her seatbelt.  “Okay, fine, I’ll go turn it off then, shall I?” she grumbled as she climbed out of the car.  “But just so you know, if I don’t make it out alive…”

“God, you make such a fuss,” Val sniffed.  “Look, I’ll come with you if it makes you feel better.”  The two women went back inside and Val loitered on the stairs while Frances went up to turn the light off.  When Frances reappeared she found Val looking rather pale and listening intently to something.  Frances said nothing but rushed past Val and headed straight for the door.  Neither of them spoke a word as they locked the house up again, got into the car and drove off.  After a mile or so, Val finally spoke.

“Did you hear anything while we were at the house?”  She didn’t take her eyes of the road and her hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly that her knuckles stood out proud and white.  Frances remained silent.  “Frances?  Did you…”

“I heard you,” Frances said softly.  “I heard a baby crying somewhere in the house when I turned that light off.  I thought I was hearing things.”  Val swore under her breath and slowed the car to a stop.  “What are you doing?” Frances asked.

“I heard the same thing but I thought I was imagining things, too.  If we both heard the same thing we’ve got to go back and take another look.  What if someone’s dumped a child there or something?”

“That’s ridiculous,” Frances snapped.

“Yeah, maybe it is ridiculous, but are you going to get any sleep tonight if we don’t go back and look?”  Reluctantly, Val turned the car around and headed back to the farmhouse.

The two women stuck together this time as they trawled through the house looking under the pathetic bits of furniture littered around the house, but they found nothing.

“I’ve had enough of this place,” Val said as they made their way down the opposite stairway to the one they had gone up.  “There’s nothing here.  It must have been a noise from outside or someth…” she stopped mid sentence as they entered the kitchen.  “Where did that come from?” she asked quietly.   Frances looked over her friend’s shoulder and felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand to attention.

“Oh… no way,” Frances whispered.  Lying on the floor in the middle of the kitchen was a baby doll, the kind that has a pull string on its back.  “That was not there before.”  Val picked the toy up and, with her eyes fixed on her colleague, pulled the string.  The toy emitted a loud wail that seemed to echo around the rest of the farmhouse.  Val dropped the toy without a second thought and, catching her friend by the sleeve, dragged her to the door.  She didn’t bother to lock up this time and neither of them stopped until they were both in the car with the doors locked and on the way back to the office.

“Someone else had to have been in that house with us,” Val said shakily.  “Someone was messing with us.  Heaven only knows what they could have done to us. Call the police, Fran.  Tell them they have to go straight away because someone’s broken in and they might still be there.”

“There was no one else there, Val…”

“Just call them!”

The police arrived, made a thorough search of the house, found nothing and left.  No one could explain who might have left the doll on the floor of the house, or why.   The strange events that happened at the farmhouse in Lathbury still remain a mystery.


©Nicola Kirk and 2010

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