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No ghosts but the Holy one as vicar exorcises spooky tour from UK's most haunted village

Plus: Dumb hipsters spaff $3,000 on 'Jesus Shoes'

A vicar has said there's no room for ghosts in the UK's "most haunted village" of Prestbury, Gloucestershire – unless it's one of the Holy variety.

Spooky tales of the "Black Abbot" and a "spectral horseman" have made the locale ripe for macabre attractions, and Mark James had run one under the name Cotswold Ghost Tours for four years.

Unfortunately, the Black Abbot, to quote Haunted Britain, "seldom deviates from a particular route" beginning in St Mary's Church, which "crosses the churchyard and, having kept a straight trajectory through the grounds of the old Priory, vanishes into the wall of a cottage on the High Street, where he announces his arrival by noisily moving things about in the attic."

That means James's guided walks would regularly pass through the churchyard – and we can't have anyone meddling with the occult in God-fearing Middle England, can we?

That the satanic-Nazi cult Order of the Nine Angles is also rumoured to be plotting its galactic Fourth Reich from its West Midlands lair is quite enough already, thank you. It's proper Wicker Man out there.

The tours irked the Reverend Nick Bromfield, parish vicar, who earlier this week left James a voicemail announcing his intention to join an upcoming tour "with a veiled threat of disrupting it", he claimed to GloucestershireLive. "It has felt like a personal vendetta," James added.

Bromfield, however, refuted this. He told the paper: "There are parts in the Bible that say to leave this stuff alone. This is a Christian church – frankly we don't want people's stories about ghosts, spectres, poltergeists."

The Register would take this opportunity to point out that the word "ghost" appears in the book 108 times, though in the context of "to give up the ghost", which means "to die", and as the title of "the Holy Ghost", the third part of the Holy Trinity.

The vicar continued: "It is not good for families, nor is it good for the many children we are blessed to welcome every week."

He added that he "was saddened to see our church used as a backdrop to promote ghost tours to children" – in reference to an under-16s flavour of the guided walk.

Bromfield first became concerned in summer 2018, when he reckoned that maybe spinning yarns about apparitions in a graveyard while people visited their loved ones' resting places was a bit insensitive, though God knows why they would be doing that in the dead of night. He also said he once "found a hen party on a tour on his driveway".

It was agreed that though tours could continue to pass through the churchyard, talks would not be held there. The under-16s version, however, seemed to be the last straw.

Bromfield left another message threatening that staff would "have to be on site supervising and making sure our concerns are addressed fully and correctly". He also did not want images of the church used on the tour's website.

James pulled the tour, grumbling: "I simply did not have the time to deal with this man's claims or respond to him – it was easier for me to leave. He won't admit it but I think he wanted us to leave."

At least that gives him time to focus on what he described as the "more profitable" aspects of his biz. Let's hope the decision doesn't come back to haunt him.

Holy profit margins, Batman!

In other biblically incorrect news, pairs of $3,000 "Jesus Shoes" sold out "in minutes" after their launch on Tuesday, The Independent reports.

There's nothing special about the Nike Air Max 97s, which are being flogged for an already steep ‎£144.95 on the sportswear giant's website, except that the soles "contain holy water" drawn from the River Jordan.

The repurposed sweatshop kicks were blessed by a priest and a crucifix featuring your boy Jesus H has been placed over the laces of the right trainer.

The ex-newspaper noted: "A verse from the Bible is also referenced on the side of the shoe, Matthew 14:25, while a drop of red ink that symbolises the blood of Christ is visible on the tongue of the trainer."

Brooklyn-based hipster label MSCHF is responsible for this blasphemy against taste, claiming the trainers allow wearers to "walk on water". But maybe don't try that one at home, folks.

The project is apparently a take on the absurdity of "collab culture", with MSCHF's head of commerce Daniel Greenberg pointing to "that Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas collab, where they were selling shoes that [advertised] a beverage company that sells iced tea at bodegas" as inspiration.

"We were wondering, what would a collab with Jesus Christ look like?" he added. "As a Jew myself, the only thing I knew was that he walked on water."

So there you go. The religious fun police were predictably unhappy.

Nike, perhaps wisely, is having nothing to do with them. ®

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