Underwood travels to Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire
to meet the Duke of Bedford.
“The Duke told me of an annoyingly persistent manifestation.”
“The phenomenon, which happened times without number, was unexplained door-opening.”
“Time after time this door would open,
followed by another
at the opposite end of the room…”
“…just as though someone had walked through and left the doors open.”
“New locks were fitted;
the doors were kept locked.”
“But still they opened by themselves…”
“Now there is an open passage where the doors used to be…”
“In the end the wing of the house was reconstructed.”
“‘But now the ghost has turned his attention to other doors!’
the Duke went on,
and I heard how his son his wife, the servants - and various visitors - had all told him of their bedroom doors opening mysteriously by themselves.”
“I was shown the beautifully-proportioned bedroom and the Duke and Duchess told me of curious incidents which they had experienced here.”
“There does seem to be an indefinable atmosphere in this portion of the house,
a kind of restlessness.”
“The same feeling is prevalent in the Wood Library Woburn and in the nearby office.”
“There is an isolated little summer house not far from the house which the Duke feels is haunted by an unhappy ghost; perhaps it is his grandmother, ‘the flying Duchess’…”
“‘I feel her presence very strongly, every time I come here’
the Duke told me.” She loved the isolation of this summer house, especially towards the end of her increasingly unhappy life…”
“...and took off in her Gypsy aeroplane from Woburn,
on the flight from which she never returned...”
The de Havilland Gipsy is a British air-cooled four-cylinder in-line aircraft engine designed by Frank Halford in 1927.
After leaving Woburn Abbey, the Duchess crashed into the North Sea. Her body was never recovered.
Underwood’s account of 'Woburn Abbey, Woburn, Bedfordshire’ can be found in his Gazetteer of British Ghosts (1971).