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

In this latest tale, Tom delves into the strange world of doppelgangers...

ONE of the most fascinating – and unnerving – entities in the world of the supernatural is the doppelgänger – a German loanword meaning 'double walker' – and it refers to exact doubles of people that have been seen in mysterious circumstances over the centuries.

A doppelgänger - also known as a fetch and a wraith - is not just an exact double of a person (although everyone has a lookalike somewhere in the world) – it is a sinister paranormal entity which seems to deliberately copy its flesh and blood counterpart for some eerie, ulterior motive.

A case in point is the doppelgänger of the actor Jon Pertwee that was seen by scores of people on a train leaving Birkenhead Central for Liverpool at noon on Wednesday 18 March 1992.

Many of those on the train were travelling over to Liverpool to see the real Jon Pertwee at WH Smith, where the former Doctor Who was signing copies of his video ‘The Pertwee Years’.

People on the train asked the double for an autograph, thinking he was the real actor, but the clone of Pertwee did not react nor speak.

Stranger still, the living replica of the actor turned up at WH Smith and disrupted the signing at one point, and when the real Jon Pertwee set eyes on his dead ringer he told several of the people present that this living replica of himself had stalked him on and off for several years and it had a habit of vanishing whenever he or anyone else confronted it – and to prove a point, the actor got up from the table where he’d been signing copies of the video and approached his duplicate – and the entity gave a creepy smile – before literally vanishing into thin air.

Some of those present who did not see the shocking vanishing act thought the whole thing was some publicity stunt, but I have interviewed many people who attended that signing and they all said Pertwee was haunted by some ghost of himself.

For reasons that will become obvious, I’ve changed the names in the following account of another doppelgänger – that of a young Wirral policewoman.

WPC Deborah Courcy – aged 22 - and a colleague were called out by residents on a certain housing estate in Birkenhead one night in April 1999 because a gang of youths had been throwing stones through windows and setting wheelie bins on fire.

The main agitator among the gang was a 22-year-old girl named Debbie, but whenever the police turned up she’d always go to ground in a flash and manage to make herself scarce.

The police who had chased Debbie noted that the girl bore a striking resemblance to WPC Deborah Courcy, and during a disturbance one night on the Birkenhead estate, WPC Courcy finally collared the delinquent Debbie – and got the shock of her life.

Debbie was an exact double of the policewoman.

She wore a hood when she was caught, but when Courcy told her to remove it, the WPC saw that Debbie even had the same shade of red hair as herself.

"What’s your second name, Debbie," asked WPC Courcy, and Debbie smiled and said, "Courcy."

The policewoman thought her double was just joking, but then she asked her where she lived, and the address Debbie came out with was the address of the house Deborah Courcy had been brought up in before she and her family had left three years ago.

"What’s your National Insurance Number?" a policeman asked Debbie, thinking he’d catch her out – but the number Debbie quoted was policewoman’s National Insurance Number.

One of the residents on the estate – a Mrs McKay - told the WPC that Debbie had broken into her home a few days ago, trying to find money to finance her heroin habit, and then Mrs McKay noticed how much the accused resembled the policewoman and she asked the latter, "Are you related to her?"

The only difference between the two women was the slight tan the policewoman had, whereas Debbie the offender looked rather pale.

"We’ll soon get to the bottom of this malarkey down at the station," said a colleague of WPC Courcy, and he turned and opened the door of his patrol car, ready to take the twin of his associate into custody – then looked back to see that she had vanished.

WPC Courcy stood there with her mouth slightly open and a look of shock in her eyes.

"She disappeared," said WPC Courcy.

It was impossible for the other Debbie Courcy to have run off, as the police officers were standing in the middle of a wide open green space.

Where then, had Debbie Courcy gone?

WPC Courcy drove to her old house, but an old widowed woman lived there, and knew of no one named Debbie.

No trace of the other Deborah Courcy was found, and WPC Courcy was left with the impression that she had somehow met a version of herself who had chosen crime and drugs.

"There but for the grace of God go I," she enigmatically remarked to her colleague with a faraway look.

After that day Debbie never saw her doppelgänger again.

Tom Slemen’s Haunted Liverpool 31 is out now on Amazon.