Feature

THE DRUID'S BONFIRE

One of the strangest stories I looked into some years ago was the one which concerned two young juveniles and a terrifying supernatural encounter they both experienced. Their testimony was also backed up by two police officers. 

I’ve had to change a few names for legal reasons. In the early 1960s a 17-year-old girl named Cathy escaped from Poplar Bank House, a remand home in Huyton for juvenile delinquents. 

Cathy made her escape on a foggy November night around 8pm, and she headed for a rendezvous point 150 yards away on the corner of Archway Road and Rupert Road. 

True to his word, Cathy’s 19-year-old boyfriend John was waiting there in his Uncle Frank’s Ford Anglia, and Cathy got into the car and kissed him. 

The plan was to drive to Page Moss, where John would ask his friend Billy for a loan, and then the couple could hopefully find a flat in Liverpool. 

However, a police car was coming out of the fog, crawling ominously along Rupert Road towards John, so he drove off, swung the Anglia left onto Archway Road and when he checked his rear view mirror, John saw the police car was following. 

After covering 300 yards, John turned left onto Blue Bell Lane, slowing down so he hopefully wouldn’t attract the attention of the cop car, and here the fog was so thick he could see nothing ahead through the windscreen except the beams of the car shining into a limbo of white vapour. 

To his right, John saw the sandstone wall of Huyton Parish Church slowly vanish, and then something uncanny happened – the car hit a bollard that was not supposed to be there. Luckily, John had been travelling slowly, but the impact still shook him and Cathy up. 

The two teens looked at the six-foot column of stone through the windscreen and the dented bonnet, and in shock, John muttered, “Uncle Frank will kill me – he’s only had the car a fortnight.”

The fog started to clear, and the couple saw a full moon appear in the sky. 

“John, where’s the church?” asked Cathy, looking at the hill on the right where St Michael’s was supposed to be. 

As the fog thinned out, the two teenagers gazed in shock at something they could not comprehend. In the moonlight there were seven gigantic statues of horned heads, and in the middle of these bizarre structures there was a circle of stones that looked just like Stonehenge. Then Cathy pointed to the white-robed figures that thronged the centre of the standing stones. 

“Who are they?” she asked, and John reversed the car, but then it stalled, as if the engine had been damaged by the impact with that stone. He noticed now that there was no Blue Bell Lane, no road at all – just a grassy slope – and then Cathy let out a scream. 

She had seen a group of about a dozen men in long white robes and pointed hoods with holes in, and these people were carrying flaming torches, spears and swords. 
The figure leading them did not wear a hood, but a weird mask made of leaves, and he shouted something that sounded Welsh to the couple. 

“Run!” John yelled, and bolted from the car with Cathy. He found himself running down a hill, and he heard his girlfriend scream, and so he looked back and saw that three sinister robed men had hold of her, but still John ran. 

He could see no buildings or roads, just a thick wood ahead, and he ran to it as the screams of Cathy became fainter. 

A few minutes later, John found himself on Longview Lane, where he bumped into his 22-year-old cousin Terry. John told him what had happened and Terry was intrigued – and concerned about Cathy – so he and John set off for Blue Bell Lane, and slowly the fog returned. 

The two young men found the damaged Ford Anglia near the church – and there was Cathy – dressed in a strange white robe with a hood. She was in shock, and couldn’t talk for a while. She said the men in the hoods had stripped her of her clothes and dressed her in the robes she was now in. 

These cultists then used spears and whips to drive dozens of men, women and children into those huge horned heads, and Cathy sobbed as she described how those people were burned alive in the giant effigies of the heads. 

She said the man with the mask made of leaves seemed to light up, and he was surrounded by an aura. He kissed Cathy, but she ran off into the fog, and everything faded away; the screams of the people who seemed to be sacrificial victims and the awful aroma of burning flesh – and then she saw the parish church slowly reappear. 

No one believed John and Cathy’s story, and the latter was duly returned to the remand home.

Thousands of years ago, a temple to an unknown religion stood on Huyton Hill – where St Michael’s Church currently stands. The worshippers at this temple may have been Druids, and they are said to have routinely burned their heretics and criminals as sacrifices to their nature god. 

The word bonfire is derived from bone fire, and harks back to the way sacrificial victims were burned en masse till just their charred bones remained...

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on March 31st, 2021



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