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

In this latest tale, Tom tells the ghoulish tale of the Tranmere demon...

On the Tuesday afternoon of 14 October 1969, an 11-year-old boy named Billy and his three school friends, George, Tony and Pete, were walking down Tranmere’s Church Road on their usual long-winded meandering route to their respective homes.

A hyperactive George excitedly told his friends: "Hey, the headmaster Mr Bateman threw the blackboard duster at me but I saw it coming and ducked down dead fast and it hit Mr Royal in the face!"

"Liar!" said Billy, and George grabbed the lapels of Billy’s school blazer and held his index finger so close to his friend’s face, he crossed his eyes to look at it.

George said: "See this finger? See this thumb? See this fist? It’ll make you run!"

Billy pushed George away laughing and the latter went backwards over the low wall to the left of the gate to St Catherine’s Church.

He landed on the crown of his head then crumpled to the floor, got up, almost cried as his friends fell about laughing, then smiled and suggested: "Let’s play 'war'!" and he lifted an imaginary hand grenade to his mouth – pulled its pin out with his teeth - and threw it at the road, and his three companions dramatically jumped over the church wall to escape the explosion effected by Billy’s mouth.

"Hey, the Wacky Races are on the telly later," recalled Pete.

"And Magpie," said Tony, and then he blushed and said, "I like Susan Stranks."

Billy then started singing the theme tune to the Magpie telly programme: "One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy..."

A weird deep voice that seemed to be coming from the ground suddenly interposed, "No, no no! It’s one for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a funeral, four for a birth, five for heaven, six for the pit, and seven for the Devil who’s paying you a visit!"

A crack in the ground opened, and from it shone bright fiery light which dazzled the terrified children.

They found themselves partially paralysed and unable to run away.

A grotesque monster, similar to a gargoyle emerged from the chasm and the heat from the glowing creature scorched Billy’s face.

He saw Tony burst into tears, and when Billy managed to move his head a few inches to look down, he saw dozens of screaming faces of men and women in what looked like the glowing coals of a fire.

The sounds from these screeching people and the awful burning aroma made Billy feel sick.

The thing emerging from what seemed like Hell grew bigger and bigger, soon towering over the terrified kids.

George’s eyes rolled back and he foamed at the mouth and shook.

Pete looked up at the gargantuan devil and kept mouthing the words, "Mum."

Billy then blacked out.

He woke up in hospital, and although he repeatedly asked what had happened, he was not told for weeks.

When Billy and his friends met up they all recalled blacking out – and nothing more.

An old man bumped into Billy one day near his school and said, "Three nuns saved you and your pals that day."

"How do you mean?" asked Billy, trembling as he relived the unearthly nightmare of that visitation by perhaps the Devil himself.

"A demon tried to take you and your friends to Hell," said the elderly man, grinning, as if he enjoyed telling the boy what had happened.

"St Catherine’s was built on the site of an old church, and a very long time before that it was a place where bad folk sacrificed people to the fallen angel below, you see.

"You must have spouted something to conjure one of the devils up. Three brave nuns exorcised the thing, or you and your mates wouldn’t have been heard from ever again."

Billy recalled singing that centuries-old nursery rhyme – the words of which were now used in the Magpie TV show theme.

The old man smiled at Billy – as if he could read his mind and knew what was being recollected.

There was something in the intense silvery-blue eyes of the old man that suddenly scared Billy, and he backed away and ran off as the oldster laughed.

Billy never watched Magpie again and always avoided venturing near St Catherine’s Church after that weird encounter.

Tom Slemen's Haunted Liverpool 32 is out soon on Amazon.