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HAUNTED MERSEYSIDE with Tom Slemen

We are all, in a way, walking through life with our heads twisted backwards, only able to see what has gone as most cannot see the future. 

Sometimes an intriguing phenomenon known as a timeslip occurs and gives a glimpse of the future, but a majority of these slippages in time seem to show us bygone days, and when someone from the past intrudes into the present, we tend to assume they are a ghost, and perhaps when we see some UFOs we are merely seeing gravity-defying vehicles from our own future.  

I suspect the following is a case of a visitor from bygone days. 

On 21 December 2010, at half-past midnight; a 21-year-old Huyton girl named Olivia and her three friends were on Mathew Street, outside the Rubber Soul pub, taking selfies, when they were joined by a tall man in a top hat and cape who couldn't take his eyes off Olivia. She thought he was just someone in fancy dress.

The stranger said his name was Richard and Olivia asked: “Where you from?” to which Richard replied, “I stepped into a mist of black nothingness; I have become a lost shadow.” Olivia returned a blank look and then, a young pickpocket was caught feeling for a wallet in Richard's jacket, and in a split second the eccentric-looking man in the topper threw a punch that left the criminal out cold on his back. 

“He that steals honey should expect to be stung!” Richard yelled, and two bouncers from a pub rushed forward upon seeing Richard draw a rapier-like sword from his cane. Richard ran off, and was seen to vanish into thin air. 

Only then did Olivia assume she'd talked to a ghost, and the experience really shook her up. 

Some thought the man in the topper had just been someone who had attended a Christmas fancy dress party and that he had merely escaped into the crowds of Mathew Street, but others were convinced the man had been some Victorian shade. 

When Olivia checked the selfies she had taken, she could see a shadowy, indistinct figure standing behind her on one of the shots. The identity of ‘Richard’ is unknown, but there have been many timeslip incidents in that part of the Cavern Quarter over the years, and I have a feeling that Richard was some Victorian who unwittingly walked through an opening in time. 

Olivia told me she’d love to meet Richard again, and said there had been something charismatic about him which she finds lacking in modern 21st Century men! 

In July 2018 I received another report of what seems to have been some slippage in time. 

A woman named Neely was in a fish  and chip shop on Dovecot Avenue (which I assume to be Harry's Fish Bar), when her 10-year-old son Alfie went outside the chippy with his new football despite his mum telling him to stay put. As Neely was paying for the meals, Alfie came running back into the chippy and said he’d kicked his ball against a wall around the corner and it had vanished. 

His mother had just paid thirty-odd quid for the Adidas football and was livid. She went to look at the place where the ball had disappeared - Back Dovecot Place, and saw that the whole alleyway was shimmering as if she was looking at it through flawed glass, and then she heard a low humming sound that got steadily louder. 

Alfie went to walk into the alleyway but his mother, sensing there was something unearthly and dangerous about the situation grabbed her son by the arm and dragged him away. When she looked back, the sound stopped and the distorted scene she witnessed had reverted to normal. I've heard of this phenomenon many times and it seems to be the beginning or end of a certain type of timeslip. Alfie’s football was never found. 

On the afternoon of Friday 11 February 2022, an Halewood taxi driver named Phil was flagged down by a man on Hall Lane, Kensington who wanted to be taken to Rodney Street. “What end of Rodney (Street), mate?” Phil asked the man, and was told: “Delta Travel, facing Maryland Street, by Puschka.” 

“All these travel restrictions with Covid are a pain,” Phil remarked to the man, but was met with a blank look – as if the passenger didn’t know what he was talking about, so Phil talked about sport, but again, the fare didn’t respond; he just looked out the window – so Phil gave up trying to strike up a conversation. 

The man was duly dropped off outside of Delta Travel at 20-22 Rodney Street, and the customer seemed in quite a hurry to get out of the cab. He slapped a £20 note in the cabbie’s hand and ran to the travel agent. Phil drove off, but as he waited at the traffic lights at Hardman Street, he thought, “Wait a mo - I thought Delta Travel packed in years ago” - and out of curiosity the taxi driver did a circuit which brought him back to Rodney Street, and he could not believe his eyes. Delta Travel was not there - not a trace of it. That travel agency closed at that address about 12 years ago. 

Slowly, the taxi driver realised he had experienced some type of timeslip. He looked at the £20 the man had paid his fare with; it was not the new polymer £20 but the old paper one, which expires later this year. 

Phil checked the dash cam; the passenger was there; he wasn’t a ghost. Phil told his best friend Callum, and he had a look at the dash cam – but the man from Kensington was now missing from the footage, and Phil also realised the paper £20 note had also vanished. 

I interviewed Phil and told him to calm down and to try and recall just what he had seen. 

He recalled Delta Travel with its model plane in the window, and he also recalled seeing the restaurant Puschka – which closed down years ago. I told Phil it looked as if he had somehow ‘retrograded’ - crossed several years into the past in his cab for a short period, and then he and his hackney had smoothly returned to 2022. 

These subtle timeslips are fairly common, and who knows, you might experience one yourself; it’s just a matter of time... 

All Tom’s books and audiobooks are on Amazon. 

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on March 7th, 2022



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