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

This week, Tom tells the tale of The wicked witch of Willaston.

The press called it 'White Friday' – February 7, 1969 - the day a blizzard raged across the North West and brought the region to a complete standstill.

Temperatures plummeted like guillotine blades far below freezing point and the Met Office stated that the weather had not been this glacial since the notorious winter of 1947.

Speke Airport was closed and Everton's FA Cup tie against Bristol Rovers, scheduled for the following day, had to be called off because Goodison's frozen pitch – which lay beneath a foot of snow - was as hard as iron.

The RAC issued a warning to motorists via the newspapers, radio and TV: "Road conditions are too treacherous for travel and will mostly likely worsen this evening.

"If your journey is absolutely necessary you should take the greatest possible care on the roads, otherwise please stay at home."

Wirral was a complete whiteout after the snowstorm and the trains between Rock Ferry and Birkenhead Central were the first to be cancelled.

By Saturday morning some motorists braved roads (that had not been gritted) with chains tied to their tyres and this was the case with two men in their twenties named Ray and Ian.

They were travelling at a snail's pace along the ski-slope surface of Willaston Road in Ray's Ford Corsair on their way to their respective homes in Port Sunlight after an all-night party at a house near Lydiate Lane.

The two men noticed a pretty blonde girl of about 20 throwing corn to some crows in a field.

Despite the subzero weather, the young lady had on shorts and a tee shirt.

Ray made a very lewd comment about the girl, halted the car and backed up.

"Lovely isn't she?" he asked Ian, who nodded with a lecherous look in his eyes.

"Very lovely," said Ian, "very lovely indeed."

"Shall we give her a ride?" Ray asked his friend as he rolled down the side window.

He put his fingers to his tongue and emitted an ear-piercing whistle that scared the crows.

The girl turned to face him, startled.

"Excuse me love," shouted Ray, "can you direct us to Thornton Hough?"

Ian giggled as the girl trudged through the snow in her white leather knee-length boots.

As she stood beside the car, pointing up the road and giving directions, Ray seized the girl's left wrist and she let out a yelp.

"Get in and direct us" he said and, as he held the young woman, Ian got out the car and ran around the vehicle to grab her.

Ray felt something strike his face hard as he sat in the driver's seat, and simultaneously, Ian felt as if he had run into an invisible wall.

When Ian opened his eyes he found himself being dragged backwards by his hair through the slush and snow of a road.

He glanced to his right and saw that Ray was also being dragged along by his hair.

Ian felt drained and stunned.

When he reached up to try and disengage the leather-gloved hand that gripped his hair, he saw it belonged to someone in a long black robe with a pointed hood.

A cat was walking along with this person and when Ian cried "Let go of my hair".

He heard a distinctly female laugh.

This woman – who must have been quite strong to haul the two men down the road – was headed towards what looked like a Tudor cottage.

She dragged the men into the dwelling and by now Ian had regained a little of his strength and Ray was opening his eyes but looked very groggy.

The woman in the black robe threw the men onto a stone-flagged floor and then Ian got the shock of his life because the woman in the strange black cowl was that teenaged blonde.

The interior of the cottage looked very old fashioned with nothing modern in it – no radio or TV or anything from the 20th century.

The girl took a birch – a bundle of long leafless twigs bound together - from the mantelpiece, and went over to Ray and whipped him across the face with it.

Ray screamed in agony and tried to get up, but fell to his knees.

He felt as if he had no energy.

Ian tried to crawl out of the room, but the girl came over and dragged him back and she started to strike him across his face with the birch.

"At open doors, dogs come in" she said, in a strange rural accent.

"You found me irresistible didn't you?" she said and laughed as Ian begged for her to stop striking him with the birch.

"I have a fair face and a foul heart" the girl said "and beauty draws more than oxen.

"You wanted your way with me, didn't you?"

"No, he did", Ian pointed to Ray, "so let me go, please."

Ray responded by panting as he tried to get his breath.

"Are you a witch?" he asked the girl, who gave a wicked smile and nodded.

Ray then gasped the words, "Out of the depths I have cried to thee O Lord ..."

"No!" the witch shrieked, turning her face away from Ray as he quoted Psalm 130 – traditionally the psalm to repel evil.

As he recited the ancient holy text, Ray crawled out of the room and Ian followed him.

They regained their strength in the hallway and were able to stand up by the time they reached the door.

They ran out into the snow with bloodied faces and eventually found the car, but when they looked back, the Tudor cottage was nowhere to be seen.

Long ago, a witch named Mary Langland had a cottage near Willaston and they say she would curse men because she was outraged by two farmers when she was a girl.

There is no record of Mary's death ...

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