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 Thingwall's Lady in scarlet ...

I HAVE had to change a few names in this strange story, for reasons of confidentiality.

In the autumn of 1982, three beautiful cottages came up for sale in Wirral.

Shore Cottages at Thurstaston were sold by the council at an auction at Wallasey Town Hall.

These quaint old properties were a pair of fisherman's cottages approached by a steep path down the cliffs at the end of Station Road and they are the only dwellings on the Dee Estuary Shore between West Kirby and Heswall.

A third cottage on Barnston Road was like something out of a John Constable landscape painting.

Parts of the quaint-looking timber frame dwelling date from the 16th Century and it has two storeys and an unusual brick bread oven attached to the right gable end against the chimney stack.

When 40-year-old Rose Marquand set eyes on the cottage, she just had to have it. 

Being the daughter of a millionaire, she asked daddy if he could loan her the £70,000 to buy the place for use as a summer house.

Daddy acquiesced and Rose and her boyfriend – a 30-year-old struggling watercolour artist named Steven Dale – moved into the property.

The couple had only been at the cottage three days when Rose told Steven she had seen someone in red out the corner of her eye as she had been going up the stairs to bed.

Steven said it was just a trick of the light, but Rose was adamant that she had seen what appeared to have been the ghost of a woman in a long scarlet dress.

"She was there one moment, gone the next," said Rose.

"There's probably a rational explanation, Rose" said Steven and he embraced Rose as she got into bed.

When he turned the bedside lamp off, he added: "It's the atmosphere of this place, with it being so old." 

On the following day, which was a Sunday, Steven said he had to travel to a friend's flat in Birkenhead, but was in fact going to the house of a 20-year-old lady he had once worked with at a shop two years ago.

Her name was Lucy Brattigan, and she was alone at the house in Irby while her parents holidayed in Spain.

Steven drove to Lucy's home, which was just one-and-a-half miles from Rose's cottage, and was soon making love to his 'bit on the side' as he jokingly called Lucy.

Lucy asked him to leave Rose and live with her, but Steven said: "Rose is worth a few bob; her father's stinking rich, and if he ever pops his clogs, Rose gets the lot." 

"Don't you feel bad, cheating on her?" Lucy asked, laying across Steven in her parents' king-size bed.

"No, I feel like a kid in a sweet shop at eleven in the morning when he's supposed to be at school," Steven replied.

He later telephoned Rose from a public call box near Lucy's house and said he'd be staying over at his friend's place in Birkenhead because he had to sort out so many canvases.

Rose told Steven she loved him and he said: "And I love you, poppit. See you in the morning." 

That evening, Steven and Lucy drank a lot of wine and played records till three in the morning, when Lucy said it was time for bed.

The couple stripped and got into bed and were so drunk they both fell fast asleep in seconds.

Around 4am, Lucy yelped and shook Steven awake.

"What? What is it?" he groaned.

The room was slowly turning and there was a ringing in his ears.

"I saw a woman at the foot of the bed!" Lucy told him, and she clung onto Steven's left arm.

"Well there's no woman there now," Steven said, one eye stuck shut as he looked at the end of the bed.

"You've had a dream, Lucy, go back to sleep." 

"Steven, I was not dreaming!" Lucy insisted, "There's a woman in the house!" 

"Oh, for heaven's sake ..." Steven dragged himself from the bed in just his y-fronts and he went around the place, switching lights on and off as he inspected all the rooms.

"There's no one here Lucy," he said and yawned.

Then he noticed something which jarred him a little: his trousers and leather jacket had gone.

He asked Lucy if she'd put them somewhere – and she said she hadn't.

She said the jacket and coat had been on a chair in the corner; she recalled throwing her underwear on them before she got into bed.

Steven looked everywhere for his jacket and clothing, and came to the conclusion that Lucy really had seen a woman in the bedroom and that she’d been a burglar.

"I had ninety quid in that wallet, the robbing [expletive deleted]!" snarled Steven.

That morning at seven, Lucy came down to the breakfast table with one of her father’s jackets and a pair of his trousers from his wardrobe, but both items were miles too big for Steven as Lucy's dad was a very corpulent man.

All the same, Steven had to put them on, and then he drove home and hoped Rose would still be in bed, but when he got back and sneaked into the bedroom he found her sitting up, and the missing leather jacket and trousers were on the bed.

"That woman brought your jacket and trousers back," she said to Steven, with anger in her huge eyes.

"What woman? That's not my jacket," Steven said with a mock puzzled expression.

"Your wallet's in that jacket, and some condoms," said Rose, "Now get out of my life. I never want to see you again." 

Rose later told me that a woman in an old-fashioned scarlet dress had appeared in the wee small hours and placed the jacket and trousers on her bed.

Rose sensed that the lady had been wronged by a man long ago, and was now warning her about Steven.

*All Tom Slemen's books are on Amazon.