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

In this latest tale, Tom explores the mysterious tale of the witch over Mersey Park...

The anti-witch mania began in the middle of March 1993 when a fire broke out in the high-rise block of forty flats known as Norbury Gardens, off Birkenhead’s Sidney Road in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

Seventy adults and children – still in their nightclothes - fled for their lives as fire swept through the 11-storey council block and two residents had to be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews battled the blaze for over an hour while volunteers from the Salvation Army treated the displaced residents to food and drink.

Before fire investigators could probe the cause of the blaze, a woman we shall call Mrs Smith (not her real name), who lived on Downham Road in the vicinity of Norbury Gardens, told her neighbours a certain real-life witch living on Old Chester Road was to blame for starting the fire.

Mrs Smith claimed she knew the woman – named Mary – who had just moved into the neighbourhood – because she had lived by her sister over in Upton and was greatly feared because of her ‘powers’.

Mrs Smith claimed that a certain woman in Norbury Gardens had started dating a man Mary the witch had fancied and had been the target of her almost lethal spell.

Some of the neighbours of Mrs Smith laughed at her far-fetched claims of witchcraft, but one neighbour – a Mrs Ravenscroft – who was well-known as a very level-headed woman in her fifties – overheard the gaggle of janglers on Downham Road – and she backed Mrs Smith’s claims up with a very strange story.

Mrs Ravenscroft said that ten years previously, she had lived in Upton and had known the woman accused of being a witch.

"Mary was a very strange person who lived next door but one to me.

"She read tea leaves and palms, and she could lay curses against people.

"I remember it was December in 1983 when I joined a group of people demonstrating at a bypass at that busy junction at Salacre Lane in Upton because there had been so many accidents there and there was just one pelican crossing – anyway we all held up traffic to do our bit of protesting, and that lady – Mary – was among them.

"A motorist drove over the foot of Mary’s friend, accidentally, and the driver got out and started calling the injured woman an idiot when Mary suddenly pointed at him and screamed, ‘Cease to be!’

"The motorist clutched at his chest and literally fell down dead of what I assume was a heart attack," said Mrs Ravenscroft, and she added, "I do not think it was a coincidence. I don’t like all this talk of the occult – I think it’s unlucky – and I’d advise you all to steer well clear of the subject."

As the months went on, some strange things were witnessed by Mrs Smith and her friends and neighbours.

Mirrors cracked in their homes for no apparent reason, mysterious rashes simultaneously covered the women and fires of unknown origin even broke out in some houses.

By Halloween of that year, Mrs Smith and her friends were sleeping with crucifixes and bibles in their bedrooms and some even attended church regularly.

On Guy Fawkes Night, Mrs Smith’s 13-year-old son Malcolm was letting off fireworks near a bonfire with his friends on Mersey Park when they all noticed something in the sky that stunned – then frightened them. It looked like a girl riding a broomstick – just like the archetypal witch.

The girl was lost for a moment in the dark sky, but then she circled around and passed overhead again.

A few of the boys present seemed scared, but Malcolm suddenly said, "Let’s fire the rockets at her!"

Empty milk bottles were angled between bricks and clods of uprooted grass, and seven rockets were fired - one after the other - out of the bottles at the witch.

The last rocket exploded near to her, and they all heard a scream as the girl fell head-first.

Malcolm went cold as he saw the body fall somewhere over the railway track outside the park.

Had he killed her?

He ran home in shock and told his mother – and she almost fainted because she imagined her son had injured Mary the witch, and would soon incur her terrible supernatural wrath.

"Will I go to jail, mum?" asked a sobbing Malcolm.

There was a heavy knock at the front door, and Mrs Smith answered it.

It was Malcolm’s friends.

They said the 'witch' was flying about again.

Malcolm went with his gang to the park, and this time they saw the girl land. She looked just like a normal girl, and was dressed in a tee shirt, pink trousers and red trainers.

She told the boys not to be afraid, that her name was Cassandra and that she and her mother hadn’t lived in the area long. Cassandra said she was trying to make friends in the area.

Malcolm apologised to Cassandra for shooting her down and he slowly developed a crush on her – as did most of the gang members. "Are you a witch?" Malcolm asked the girl, and she said, "Yes, I am, but can you not tell anyone? People are prejudiced you see."

When Malcolm told his mother about the girl, and how he’d like to become her boyfriend, Mrs Smith took him to her sister’s house in Upton and she begged her sister to look after him until she could find a house over in Liverpool.

Malcolm told his mum he’d report her to the social services and kept coming back to Birkenhead, but weeks later, Mary and her daughter moved out of the area and have not been heard from since.

Haunted Liverpool 32 is out now on Amazon.