CREAKY doors and the sound of footsteps may sound like horror-film effects but for some residents in Amersham such noises are proof that ghosts exist.

Sightings of cloaked ladies, freezing rooms in warm weather, and someone touching you, are just some of the spooky stories suggesting a supernatural presence in Amersham Old Town.

Bar staff at the 15th century Boot and Slipper pub in Rickmansworth Road, Amersham, are convinced a resident ghost brushes past them, mutters to itself and puts its hand on their shoulders.

Bar assistant Simon Kemp said: "Staff are too scared to go down to the cellar as there has been times when they feel something brush past and one guy felt a hand on his shoulder."

Such experiences appear to be happening on a regular basis in the Old Town.

Chris Hanscomb, the manager at the 500-year-old Chequers pub, in London Road West, Amersham, said he heard rumours about a ghost in his pub.

He said: "I haven't actually seen anything yet but I have woken up one evening when it was absolutely freezing in the room but warm outside. People have said they have seen it, I'm not sure what I would do. I'd probably order it a drink."

Landlady Sylvia Shippey is adamant the Elephant and Castle in Amersham Old Town is haunted. She said she had just moved to Amersham after living at the Queens Head in Chesham for 21 years, where she used to hear footsteps.

She said: "We had a sighting of the ghost before Christmas, my son saw it. He saw someone upstairs in the flat. The neighbour has seen it in her kitchen twice. The woman glides in top to toe in black, and must walk through the walls in to her kitchen."

Sylvia believes it's a saucy ex-publican as previous barmaids have complained of their bottoms being pinched down the cellar. She added: "We reckon it could be a lesbian ghost."

The barmaid at the pub, Michelle Rogers, said she was startled when she felt her bottom pinched but saw no-one around her.

She said: "I went down in to the cellar to get some drinks and then I felt my bottom being pinched. I had heard stories about it before I came to work here and I just dropped the bottles and ran out. I was a bit shocked."

Ghost expert Ciaran O'Keeffe, who was called in last year to search for the spirit of Henry VIII's fifth wife Catherine Howard at Hampton Court Palace, is well aware of Amersham's ghostly reputation.

He said: "The Chequers is reported to be haunted by a white hooded figure and there has been reports of cold spots and doors opening. A medium has investigated and said the ghost was called 'Auden' and he was around in the early 1500s before the pub was built.

"People used to be locked up there before they were taken to the Martyrs in Amersham to be burnt on the stake."

He added: "There are a lot of ghosts in Bucks. There are lots of villages and old houses, which still exist. A lot of ghost sightings occur, it could sometimes be that they think they have seen something because it is old and from the stories that surround it."

Housekeeper Margaret Wingrove, has worked at the Crown Hotel, Amersham, for three years. She said the hotel has five ghosts and gained another two when an extension was built.

She said: "I don't like all of them. One of the new ones shouts "Get out now" almost through the wall. The feeling is mutual, I just run.

"In room 16 we have an old Victorian housekeeper. She tucks young men into their beds.

"You get men at three in the morning running down the stairs. It is quite funny. She only appears around Eastertime, it is probably because most hotels are seasonal."

"I live in Penn Street and we have our own collection of ghosts and I can see and hear them. I have seen them since the age of five. Most children collected pets - I collected ghosts."

Mr O'Keeffe said that the Crown Hotel used to house the rich and famous like Dirk Bogarde and Oliver Cromwell, and people who stayed in the oldest bedrooms would wake up suddenly with an electric shock passing through them.