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

One humid July morning around 5am in 1972, a 21-year-old theology student named Philip Wicksteed left the YMCA on Birkenhead’s Whetstone Lane and walked to the house of his friend Gordon Scott on St Andrews’s Road.

From there the two young men took a five-minute stroll to a certain spot in Birkenhead Park close to Ashville Road, and here Gordon assembled his home-made metal detector in search of treasure.

His father had told him about “The Bonks” – two mysterious ancient burial mounds where the people of the Bronze Age had buried a Celtic king and queen a thousand years before the birth of Christ.

A Bronze Age axe and other ancient artifacts were unearthed at this spot when the land for the park was being excavated in 1842, but rumour had it that there was a veritable treasure trove around the site of the Bonks.

Philip took the spade out the long coal-sack and waited as his friend listened for any bleeping sounds from his metal detector’s headphones.

A quarter of an hour later the sweeping search-coil picked something metallic up, and Gordon heard the howl in the cans.

‘Here!’ he said, pointing to the spot with a beaming smile.

Philip, the more muscular one of the duo, began to dig immediately.

They looked about during the excavation, expecting a police car to come on the scene, but Philips dug to a depth of about four feet when he saw something metallic in the soil and clay.

It was a silvery thimble.

He handed it to Gordon and continued to dig as the rising sun peeped over the trees of the park.

‘What’s that? There!’ Philip pointed to something in the gleysol.

He knelt on the grass and thrust his arm into the hole.

He retrieved a silver ring with an obsidian crescent – a symbol of the moon perhaps – mounted in it.

The metalwork looked modern.

A few minutes after this, Philip’s spade uncovered what looked like a green snake with its tail in its mouth.

Gordon gasped.

He said it was a gold Torc – a type of ancient Celtic necklace. It had a green patina.

As Gordon babbled on about the find, Philip said, ‘Gordon, who in God’s name are they?’

And he nodded at something behind his friend to his right.

Gordon turned – and saw four hooded men in black; they looked like monks, and their faces were barely visible in the hoods.

They were about twenty yards away, and their sudden presence really spooked the amateur treasure hunters.

The four hooded figures suddenly dashed towards Gordon and Philip, and the two young men ran off.

Philip dropped the spade but Gordon held onto his metal detector and the torc.

The men were chased out of the park via Ashville Road, and when they reached Park Road West, the weirdly-attired pursuers seemed to vanish into thin air.

At noon the two young men returned to the dig – and found the spade broken in half, and two policemen were crouched near the hole, so Gordon and Philip left the park.

Gordon kept the gold torc and Philip kept the ring with the obsidian crescent moon feature.

He said he’d offer it to a certain beautiful girl he’d admired for some time as an eternity ring.

Her name was Tara, and she worked in a newsagents not far from the YMCA.

The ring was cleaned until it gleamed and then Philip dowsed himself in aftershave and in a highly nervous state he went to the shop to see Tara.

He showed her the ring and told her how ancient it was, and she seemed mesmerised by it.

‘It’s for you, Tara,’ Philip told her with a dried-up throat, ‘as an eternity ring if you like. I really like you, see –‘ ‘I’ve got a boyfriend,’ she said softly, but never took her eyes from the silver ring as she slipped it on the third finger of her left hand.

‘Oh,’ said a deflated Philip, but the personality of the attractive blonde seemed to undergo a drastic change.

She licked her lips and smiled lopsidedly at Philip, then in a low voice she asked, ‘But if you think you’re man enough to take me on, perhaps we could go out tonight?’ A stunned Philip nodded. He was to pick her up at her home on Raffles Road at eight, and then they were to go to a pub, then on to a discotheque.

Philip had no car so he borrowed a friend’s Riley Elf.

He picked Tara up, went to the pub, then on to the disco, but around midnight she pulled him out of the club and directed him to drive to the place where she wanted to make love to him: Birkenhead Priory.

It was a foggy night, and Priory Street was badly lit. Tara literally dragged Philip out of the car and said he was about to lose his virginity. ‘Someone might see us here!’ he protested, trying to wrench himself from her iron grip on his wrist.

And then suddenly, four hooded figures emerged from the fog, and Philip saw it was those four monks he’d seen at the park that morning.

Tara let go of him and swore and shouted at the figures, but one of them lunged forward and seized her hand.

He removed that ‘eternity ring’ – and the four monks vanished into thin air.

Tara let out a scream and seemed confused.

She had no recollection of agreeing to any date with Philip.

She felt as if something in that ring had possessed her, but continued to see Philip.

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