WELCOME to Haunted Wirral, a feature series written by world famous psychic researcher, Tom Slemen for the Globe on the run up to Halloween.

Tom is a renowned expert on ghostly phenomena and is well-known locally, having written a best-selling series of books about Merseyside hauntings.

This week Tom tells the chilling tale of a ghostly ritual that came to haunt a Wirral woman while staying overnight at a remote cottage in deepest Cheshire.

Around half-past two in the morning, the woman awoke to a loud racket outside. She went to the window and peered out, and what she saw sent her running for the telephone...

In the summer of 1974, a 35-year-old woman from Prenton named

Jacqueline met a 42-year-old property dealer named Simon at a Liverpool nightclub.

When the club was closing, Simon escorted Jacqueline to his car - a Triumph Dolomite Sprint - just one of his many cars.

Simon drove down to the waterfront, and put his arm around Jacqueline. 

He kissed her and they looked out at the Mersey and the lights of Wirral.

A song called “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Roberta Flack was on the car radio, and the moment was just right. Simon asked Jacqueline if she would spend the night with him, and she dropped a bombshell.

She told him she was married.

She had married her husband Mike three years ago.

Simon seemed shattered. 

He drove Jacqueline home, but when they got to Prenton, their feelings got the better of them that hot summer morning, and they ended up in field near Prenton Dell.

Jacqueline had never been so in love in her life.

The next morning, Jacqueline was in bed, and her husband Mike came upstairs. 

He sat on the bed, and he said, ‘There’s grass on the back of your blouse.’

Jacqueline’s stomach turned over. She said she’d fallen over drunk, but Mike just got up and went downstairs without saying a word and went to work.

When he got home he found a note from Jacqueline, addressed to him and the two children.

She was staying with a friend for a week. 

She’d be in touch soon. 

She said she still loved Mike and her children a lot, but she needed to get away for a while.

Jacqueline and Simon moved into an ancient thatched cottage in the Cheshire countryside. 

It was called the old pottery cottage, and it dated back to the 17th century.

It was approached by a long dirt track from a wooden gate, and it overlooked a small village about a quarter of a mile away.

The cottage had just been renovated and Simon had never stayed in the place before. 

He told Jacqueline that if she could make the break from her husband, the cottage could be their new home.

Jacqueline thought of Mike, and her two children, so she wasn’t sure.

She couldn’t decide yet. That was okay, Simon thought. 

He’d give her more time.

Three days after the couple moved into the cottage, Simon said he would have to travel up to Coniston to take a look at a property that was on the market. 

He’d only be gone for a day.

Jacqueline therefore spent a night alone at the cottage. 

She watched the TV until the programmes came to a close about one in the morning, then she went to bed.

Around half-past two, the Wirral woman awoke to a loud racket outside. 

She went to the window and peered out, and what she saw sent her running for the telephone.

A group of men wearing old-fashioned clothes were banging pots and pans together, pokers and tongs, kettles and so on, and they were shouting and jeering at the cottage.

One of the men wore a three-pointed hat, and he lifted an old-fashioned blunderbuss and fired it into the air. 

Another quaintly-dressed man came forward and started beating a drum. Then someone started pounding on the door of the cottage.

Jacqueline bolted to the telephone and called the police - and they asked where she was, but Jacqueline didn’t know. 

She hadn’t paid much attention to the signposts when Simon had driven her there.

The policeman on the telephone said, ‘God, love I can hear that racket.’ 

Jacqueline suddenly remembered the name of the village near by and she told police the name. 

By the time a police car arrived at the pottery cottage, the noisy mob had vanished.

When Jacqueline told the two policemen what had happened, the older officer jokingly said people hundreds of years ago used to shame adulterers by standing outside their house and banging pots and pans and making an almighty racket.

It was a shaming ritual called ‘Skimmington’ directed against wives who had been unfaithful to their husband.

‘Might have been ghosts,’ joked the policeman. This put the wind up Jacqueline, and the next day, she got Simon to drive her back to Prenton, and she told him she’d decided to stay with her husband after all.

Over the forthcoming weeks Tom will tell you more tales of the mysterious and the uncanny in the Globe.

His latest novel, Haunted Liverpool 28 is another dazzling collection of supernatural stories by Tom Slemen, arguably England’s greatest writer on the paranormal.