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 Bidston's phantom suicidal blonde ...

ON Tuesday April 7, 2009 at around 7.30pm, Michael Epsom was driving along the M53 to his home in Woodchurch.

The 45-year-old had spent the last couple of hours at friend Barry's house in Wallasey and now, headed through the gathering gloom, passed Bidston Golf Course - to his right - and began to consider the possibility of taking up golf again.

Michael had been overworking at the office lately and a good game of golf always relaxed him.

He yawned and, for a moment, closed his eyes.

He then experienced a highly-dangerous temporary episode of drowsiness known to polysomnographists as a 'microsleep'.

Such brief lapses of consciousness, when they occur in the mind of a driver, are responsible for one in six crashes that result in life-changing injury or death on our roads and can last between a fraction of a second and half a minute.

The sound of loud screeching female laughter startled Michael out of his microsleep and when his eyes flew open he saw a very pale blonde lady, in what looked like a bikini, flitting across the motorway from right to left.

His car almost hit the incredibly agile figure, and as Michael passed her, he heard the Doppler Effect as the shrieks went down in pitch.

He reflexively checked the rear view mirror of his Ford Focus and saw no bikini-clad suicidal blonde in the road behind him, just another car's headlight.

Michael rolled down the side windows to get some cold evening air into his lungs to prevent him nodding off again.

Only for that 'hallucination' he would have crashed into the back of another vehicle, he thought.

When Michael got home, wife Jade asked if he was alright because he looked pale.

He said he was fine and said nothing about the woman who had leaped out of his dream into reality for a moment to save his life because Jade was forever telling him he should get more sleep and she'd nag him if he told her about the microsleep.

About a week later, Michael's friend Barry called one evening and as soon as he set foot in the door told Michael, "I saw a ghost before." 

Michael thought it was the beginning of some joke because Barry had a slight grin on his face, but his friend nodded and said something that sent a shudder down Michael's spine.

He said: "I was coming down the motorway by the golf course and this girl jumped out in front of me, and I just missed her by inches.

"You won't believe it Mike, but she had on a bikini." 

"What?" chortled Jade, waiting for the punchline to an imagined joke.

"Was she blonde?" Mike asked, sombre-faced, picturing the woman he’d seen a week ago.

"Hey, sexist pig," Jade chipped in and playfully slapped Michael's bottom.

"Yeah, she was," said an intrigued Barry, "have you seen her too." 

Michael glanced sideways at his wife and then he nodded.

"Yeah, a week ago. She jumped out from the right, straight into the path of the car, and then she disappeared." 

"You never said anything about it to me," Jade said to her husband, thinking he was just winding Barry up.

"I didn't want to scare you, love," was Michael’s excuse.

"I know talk of ghosts and those types of things always play on your mind." 

"Straight up Mike – did you really see her?" Barry probed his friend.

Later on when Jade was in the kitchen making a meal, Michael told his friend how the ghost had screamed with laughter which had awakened him from a microsleep and how he would have crashed if he'd remained asleep.

What both men didn't know was that the eerie phantom of a blonde in a bikini had been seen many times before on that stretch of the M53 and she is one of the most difficult of ghosts to explain.

Some think she was someone who died on the motorway in a crash, but most who have seen the ghost said she looks - from her hairstyle and scant clothes - as if she belongs to the 1950s or early 1960s, when the M53 was not even in existence.

I mentioned the ghost on a slot on The Billy Butler Show on BBC Radio Merseyside one afternoon and was subsequently inundated with calls, and later on, many emails and letters from listeners who knew of the ghost. 

Many of them had actually encountered her on that stretch of motorway near the golf course.

A policeman named Greg rang me on air to tell of the time he was cruising along the M53 with a colleague at 3am in April 2000 when they saw the luminous figure of a woman with platinum blonde hair jump out of the darkness into the path of the patrol car.

The leaping woman's silvery sandal caught the top left of the car windshield as she almost jumped clear and there was a loud clatter – but when the patrol car slowed and Greg and his associate looked back, the motorway was clear.

The two policemen later compared notes and it was clear they had seen the same thing – a blonde lady in a bikini.

She had no colour to her at all; her bikini was greyish, her sandals silvery, her hair was white and her flesh looked almost chalk-white.

I hear the unidentified ghost is still occasionally seen ...

* Tom Slemen's books and audiobooks are available from Amazon.