Vicar Gets Knickers in a Twist over Prestbury Ghost Tours Oct 10, 2019 18:51:10 GMT -5
Post by JoannaB on Oct 10, 2019 18:51:10 GMT -5
Vicar Gets Knickers in a Twist over Prestbury Ghost Tours
Ghost tours in what claims to be one of England’s most haunted villages have been stopped amid claims of “harassment” by the local vicar. A spokesperson for Cotswold Ghost Tours said the company would cease operating tours in Prestbury, Gloucestershire, following numerous complaints by the Reverend Nick Bromfield.
The vicar admitted he had concerns the tours were “un-Christian” and “bordering on the occult,” but denied harassment and said it was the company’s decision to stop them.
Mike James, who has operated the tours since 2015, claimed he was forced to end them after the vicar repeatedly “left voice messages and sent emails ... to the point of harassment.” In one email, Bromfield, the rector of north Cheltenham, said he “no longer wished to have St Mary’s Church (above) associated with the promotion of ghost tours.” According to James, there was “no reasoning with him.”
Bromfield (above), who admitted he was spooked by some of the stories, said, “Several people spoke to me about their concern that they [the tours] are unchristian and bordering on the occult. I agree with those concerns. ... We don’t want people’s stories about ghosts, specters, poltergeists” at St. Mary’s Church, which was one of the stops on the ghost tour. He continued, saying he also had to deal with thrill-seekers who came on their own in search of ghosts and many of these visitors were disrespectful to his parish. Crowds would gather near new graves without regard for the grieving family of the deceased, and on one occasion, he claimed he found a bachelorette party taking place in the churchyard. In addition, he told the BBC, James had not sought permission to use “numerous photographs” of the church on his website and he was concerned tour guides might not have the required documentation to work with patrons under age 16.
James asserted Bromfield’s claims were “unsubstantiated” and the vicar had “obviously not looked at our website.” He said images of the church formed only a “small part” of the site and “we make it clear we don’t take unaccompanied minors.” James advised he had lodged a complaint with the diocese of Gloucester concerning the vicar’s behavior.
The last organized tour will take place November 30, James said, because he wanted to honor current bookings.
Bromfield denied harassing James and declared James had failed to respond to various emails and several phone messages.
Prestbury is said to be one of the most haunted villages in England – some say it is the most haunted – with the Black Abbot, phantom horsemen and the spirit of a young girl among the many specters supposedly stalking the location.
Photographer Derek Stafford, who was taking pictures in the floodlit churchyard of St. Mary’s in November 1990, discovered a hooded figure on his last slide (above). The Black Abbot is seen most often around Christmas, Easter and All Saints’ Day.
While a road was being repaired some years ago, workmen found a skeleton with an arrow between its ribs. Several spectral horsemen have been heard and seen along Shaw Green Lane and The Burgage, one of which was reputedly a medieval rider heading to Edward IV’s camp at Tewkesbury during the War of the Roses when he was killed by an archer. A phantom cavalier from the Civil War was said to have been killed by a rope stretched across the road, and another has been described as a knight in armor.
Sources: BBC News, October 10, 2019, and Brian Niemietz, The New York Daily News, October 10, 2019..