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

In this latest story, Tom tells the haunting tale of the Axeman...

IT all started in January 1977, when two bachelors – 23-year-old John Wildman, a Liverpool security guard, and Nigel Selby, a 27-year-old librarian from Birkenhead (and the former boyfriend of John’s sister Joanne) decided they needed to move into a decent bachelor flat.

Both young men were still living at home and felt they would stand a better chance of dating if they had their own place.

After much searching, Nigel spotted a ‘luxurious low-rent furnished attic flat’ advertised in the local newspaper.

The flat was in a rather Gothic-looking house on Park Road West, right on top of Birkenhead Park.

The two lads looked at the flat and agreed that although it was a glorified attic, £25 per week rent was reasonable. They paid the deposit and moved in.

John was a keep fit enthusiast and looked forward to jogging around the nearby park, and Nigel claimed the little side room off the open-plan lounge and kitchen as his study, where he could line the walls with bookshelves.

The only minor gripe John Wildman had was some of the old furniture the landlord had left behind; a rickety dining chair and a huge ornately framed mirror which measured six feet in height and three feet in width.

John had mistaken the tall mirror for a doorway at first, as it was mounted flush against the wall.

Nigel liked it but John said it was too big and with great difficulty he removed it from the wall – and found it had a loose mahogany panel on its reverse.

He took it off and saw a green-tinted mirror of the same dimensions as the one on the other side, and upon this looking glass, there were faint, greasy-looking words – possibly written in lipstick - in some foreign language: 'Regarde en moi à minuit.'

Nigel was an avid reader of Voltaire and spoke French fluently, so he knew that the mirror’s scrawled message was: 'Look at me at midnight.'

Nigel later asked an old female resident downstairs if the previous occupier of the flat had been French and he was told that it had been an old eccentric American from New Orleans named Richard Montfort.

He’d died nearly seven years back and the flat had been empty that long. Around this time, John Wildman’s grandfather passed away over in Liverpool and the old man left John a thousand pound in his will. John said he’d use some of the money to get the flat decorated and he’d also install a water-bed and build a cocktail bar in the kitchen. John and Nigel went to the nearest pub and met a couple of very attractive ladies in their early twenties named Judy and Holly.

The girls said they were art students and pretty soon Holly made it clear she liked John and Judy latched onto Nigel and the four of them sat in a corner chatting and drinking the evening away.

By 11.40pm, Nigel was discussing his love of abstract art with Judy while Holly embraced a drunken John as they slowly danced to Leo Sayer’s 'When I Need You' on the jukebox.

The landlord said there was a lock-in, and the girls said they were just going to powder their noses – but they were gone for quite some time.

A concerned John asked the barmaid if she could go into the toilet and see if the girls were there.

The toilet was found to be empty. The barman said he had never seen the two art students before.

Then John delved into his jean pockets and discovered that he could not find the keys to the flat – and Nigel discovered that his set of keys was also absent.

"When we were dancing – did they – no, surely?" muttered John.

"Yes, surely! They’ve taken them!" growled Nigel. The two men staggered out the pub, both in a livid state. "That’s you, talking about all that money you got off your uncle!" yelled Nigel.

They found 'Judy' out cold on the floor of the flat with a gash to her forehead.

When she came to, she said a weird-looking man in a hood with two eye-holes and a creepy smiling slit of a mouth had come out of the long mirror.

He had a hook where his right hand should have been, and he had hit her with it. Judy’s accomplice ran into the arms of two policemen on the beat in a hysterical state.

She said a hooded man brandishing an axe had tried to kill her, and she too mentioned the hook he had for a right hand. Holly said she thought the ‘monster’ had killed her friend when it had come out of a mirror.

The police thought Holly had been drinking at first, but then they wondered if some prankster was behind the weird attack.

The girls, the police discovered, had criminal records, and were con-artists.

They were charged, and John and Nigel later moved out of the flat when that long mirror started shaking violently one night.

What was haunting it? Well, I traced the owner of that mirror to a certain quarter in New Orleans, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he might have been one of the occultists who – back in 1918 - conjured up the demon known as 'The Axeman of New Orleans' – a mysterious murderer who killed six people and injured many more – and always vanished into the night, despite a massive police presence.

It was common knowledge in the occult community of New Orleans that a demonic being was the culprit.

That mirror’s whereabouts are unknown...

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