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

In this latest story, Tom explores the mystery of The Dolls of Albany Road.

On the Wednesday afternoon of 11 July 1973, 7-year-old Liverpool girl Michelle Meredith arrived at the semidetached home of her scatty Aunt Bridget on Tranmere’s Albany Road, and with her was Bluebell, an old vintage doll that bore some resemblance to the child actress Shirley Temple with its mohair head of golden curls and large twinkling hazel eyes.

Bluebell was an unusually large doll, and stood at almost four feet in height.

Michelle’s bin-man father had found it ‘looking all lonely in an entry off Scotland Road’, but Michelle’s mother thought her husband had found it before it had been lost (i.e. stolen).

Bluebell wore a short-sleeved powder-blue dress with a belt at the waist and a pair of white Mary Jane style shoes with press studs to fasten the straps.

For some reason, Aunt Bridget took an instant dislike to Bluebell; Michelle could plainly see this, and she said to her aunt: 'Don’t you like her? Her name’s Bluebell.’

‘Yeah, she’s nice,’ said Bridget, ‘but she’s a bit big isn’t she? She’s almost as tall as you.’

Michelle hugged the doll.

‘We go everywhere together, Auntie, and I know this sounds silly but I feel as if she’s a real girl sometimes – like she’s alive.’

‘Oh,’ said Aunt Bridget, with a suspicious look in her eyes, and she asked her niece: ‘Has your mum said anything about my dolls?’

Michelle went red.

On many occasions her mother had indeed mentioned her sister-in-law’s claims that her dolls were alive – and she hadn’t been a kid when she made the assertion – she had been saying it back in her thirties.

‘You’ve got guilt written all over your face, Michelle,’ said Bridget, and then she stooped down and brought her face close to the blushing niece and added, ‘and I bet your mum’s told you I’m loopy because I still collect dolls.’

‘No,’ murmured Michelle, ‘no, honest.’

‘Some dolls are very special – some of them have spirits in them, and they’re just like you, little one.

'See, when you were made in your mum’s belly, a spirit got into you – breathed life into the tiny baby that was that big,’ and Bridget pinched an inch of air.

‘Did your mum mention how many dolls I have?’

‘I just think she said you had a lot, Auntie Bridget,’ replied Michelle, and she looked at her auntie’s ankle-length boots, and her red stockings and pleated blue dress; she dressed oddly.

‘Well they’re all locked up in the shed in the back garden,’ said Bridget, ‘and if I pop my clogs I might leave them all to you!’ she said, and laughed.

Already, Michelle was regretting coming to her aunt’s; her older sister had warned her against it, saying she was nuts, and her mum had tried to talk her out of staying for a week, but Michelle’s dad – Bridget’s brother, had a row with his wife and said there was nothing wrong with his sister.

Bridget took Michelle – and Bluebell – out to the shops and when the returned the girl was treated to fish and chips, followed by apple pie and ice cream, and a big glass of Tizer.

That night, at around 10pm, Michelle retired to the spare bedroom which had a view of the back garden and the shed where the dolls were stockpiled.

Bluebell slept next to Michelle, and while it was still dark, the girl was awakened by what sounded like excited voices.

For a moment, Michelle thought she was back in her home – which faced a primary school – for that’s what the voices sounded like – excited children at playtime.

Those unruly voices were coming from the garden.

When Michelle went to the bedroom window, she looked out – and saw a dim light in the garden shed, and lots of silhouetted heads milling about.

The dolls!

The girl ran back to the bed and hid under the covers. The bedroom door opened, and Aunt Bridget came in dressed in an old long white nightie.

‘Listen precious,’ she said, ‘is it okay if I put Bluebell in the wardrobe? I think she’s making the dolls jealous.’

This really scared Michelle, and she clung to Bluebell and said, ‘I’m going home tomorrow – I’m scared of those dolls.’

Bridget sat on the bed.

‘Just put her in the wardrobe, love, and then go to sleep, and they won’t bother you. It’s her that’s bothering them.’

‘I want to go home; I want my mum,’ said Michelle, and she started to cry.

Bridget swore, and she seized Bluebell, threw her in the wardrobe, and then she locked it and returned to her bedroom shouting, ‘You ungrateful mare!’

As Michelle lay there, softly crying, she heard a bang downstairs, followed by the tumultuous sound of many childlike voices.

Then footfalls!

They were coming up the stairs.

Michelle hid under the blankets, gasping for breath as the door burst open and it sounded as if the room was being invaded by dozens of kids. Somehow they opened the wardrobe, and left, swearing like dockers.

Michelle saw her doll was gone, and she went down into the back garden and found a gate open.

In the moonlight she saw about thirty dolls pouring into Victoria Park, and she watched them lynch Bluebell with a clothes line – and then they went back to the house.

Michelle pulled down the line leading to the hanged doll, and saw her face had been smashed in.

She wandered the streets with Bluebell until a policeman spotted her, and eventually she went home to Liverpool.

She never visited Aunt Bridget again.

Haunted Liverpool 29 is available from Amazon.