Don’t look now, but Luton is seething with all sorts of spine-chilling apparitions, fearful phantoms and inexplicable cold spots.
That’s the conclusion of our intrepid news team after a hair-raising Hallowe’en walk round town in the company of ghost buster Paul Adams.
The prolific writer on the paranormal has just published a book called Haunted Luton & Dunstable.
And he invited four nervous reporters, plus a jittery photographic duo, to see some of the scary highlights.
Paul looks on the supernatural with a detached scientific interest but the rest of us weren’t so sanguine.
We started off in St George’s Square with reassuring lights beaming out from the library and Galaxy Centre.
But will ever of us ever watch anything on Screen 6 again? Not unless we’re there with someone else for security.
Apparently it has a reputation for being haunted, with staff members reporting black shadowy figures, unusual noises and sensations of extreme coldness.
Paul said: “Whether the Galaxy is a new building with the remnants of an old haunting or the activity is more recent remains to be seen . . the origins remain obscure.”
Suitably shaken we moved on to Cresta House, only to be told it’s said to suffer from a curse.
The Alma Theatre was built there in 1904, on the site of terraced houses and cottages which were sold over the heads of tenants, forcing them to find alternative accommodation.
Their anger and resentment led to talk of a curse and speculation increased when a workman was killed during its construction.
No-one is sure whether he was drunk when he fell from roof girders or was accidentally knocked off.
What is certain is that an old cap, heavily encrusted with what could have been blood, was found during demolition work in 1961.
There are claims that an unseen presence followed people up and down internal staircases and some experienced frightening sensations of being pushed from behind.
Next on the terrifying tour was Inkerman Street where we stopped at number 43 to see if we could feel the presence of Luton’s first dedicated ghost hunter, jazz drummer and cinema projectionist Tony Broughall and prominent spiritualist Jesse John Hunt, who both lived at the address.
Suddenly editor Lynn Hughes loomed out of the mist and we nearly jumped out of our skins. But she was simply on her way home.
Then a brisk trot to the BBC for more tales of the unexpected.
This unremarkable modern building on the corner of Regent and Hastings Streets was the setting for a number of unusual incidents in 2004, two of which involved a blonde woman in her early 40s wearing a dress and hat.
Paul explained: “When a BBC receptionist went to speak to her, the figure disappeared.
“Access was only via a buzzer through a locked door and no one had let her in or out.”
He added: “Interestingly, she had her head cast down, which is common with certain apparitions.
“The site could have been a pub in years gone by and there was a suggestion there may have been a murder in the cellar.”
Our final destination was Rothesay Road, former home of Luton spiritualist Jack Keitley and the setting of a notorious blackout seance in 1940 with medium Jack Webber.
He was tied into a chair and went into a deep trance.
Assembled sitters heard various spirit voices, then the medium’s spirit control announced he was being turned upside down so his feet were touching the ceiling.
When the light was turned on, those present saw the impression of a man’s shoe on the ceiling – subsequently found to match Jack Webber’s exactly.
Paul said: “For Jack Keitley it was astonishing proof of the power of the spiritual world and the ghostly footprint remained on the ceiling for the rest of his life.
“It may still be there for all we know.”
Have you ever experienced anything unusual? Our contact details are on page 2.
> Now watch Natalee Hazelwood’s video on www.lutontoday.co.uk
> Haunted Luton & Dunstable` by Paul Adams (The History Press) costs £9.99.