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

In this latest tale, Tom ponders the New Brighton UFO mystery.

IN 1981, a trawler named Celerity vanished without a trace in the Irish Sea.

The disappearance was in broad daylight and no wreckage of the trawler was ever found.

Then in the April of the following year, an Irish merchant vessel named Sheralga was sunk in the same area of the Irish Sea, and the official explanation was that the ship had been accidently rammed by the nuclear sub HMS Porpoise after getting her nets snagged on the sub.

Witnesses said this didn't seem to be the case at all, and several horrified fishermen watched the doomed ship being pulled backwards by something in the water for an incredible distance of 10 nautical miles.

Sheralga then capsized but the crew were incredibly lucky, as they jumped overboard and were rescued by passing trawlers.

On the same day in the same area, another fishing vessel named Crimson Dawn was spreading her nets when some massive object became entangled in those nets.

Crimson Dawn was dragged along like a toy boat by the unidentified thing under the sea, and only escaped being dragged beneath the waves when the nets snapped.

Months later, in the same area, another fishing vessel named the Galvanor mysteriously disappeared beneath the waves with its crew of eight.

A year afterwards a ship named Cite D'Aleth literally sank in seconds off the Irish coast of Wexford, taking ten men with her, and months after that unexplained tragedy, two British trawlers, the Zanto and Exuberant shared the same mysterious fate.

A concerned pressure group called the Celtic League compiled a dossier containing a long catalogue of bizarre incidents that have occurred in a small area of the Irish Sea and presented it to the Government.

Nuclear sub activity was blamed, but there have been rumours and whispers that something much more unusual is behind all the sinkings of trawlers in the area.

One of the more way-out theories were that some large unidentified sea creature was causing the trawler sinkings, and another theory has it that there is a underwater UFO base in the Irish Sea, close to Liverpool Bay, and that the Ministry of Defence has been monitoring the USO (Unidentified Submersible Objects) with nuclear subs.

The underwater UFO base theory has its origins in Wirral.

From the 1950s to the present day, there have been reports of UFOs diving into the waters off the Wirral coast, from Liverpool Bay to the Mersey waterfront, and there have been just as many sightings of strange craft and lights emerging from the same waters. In July 1974, there was a UFO conference held at a grammar school

in Bebington that was attended by people from across the country and even Ufologists from the States.

A mass sighting of a UFO that emerged from Liverpool Bay and flew across New Brighton in 1961 was discussed at the conference, with many witnesses making statements, and there were also witnesses from a 1972 incident where tugmen on the Mersey observed a green glowing oval craft that had been seen by many passengers on the ferries gliding through the murky waters of the river before it emerged near Egremont and flew inland, passing over Manor Road and parts of Liscard.

The July 1961 New Brighton sighting was originally ‘explained away’ as a type of hot-weather mirage where hundreds of people at New Brighton saw a disc-shaped craft with a silvery hull gliding from the direction of Perch Rock.

I mentioned this incident on The Billy Butler Show many years ago and was contacted by numerous people who saw the UFO, which was estimated to be a few hundred feet in diameter.

They assured me it was no mirage, but a solid unknown craft which flew over their heads and was later seen hovering over Wallasey.

One witness was a woman named Audrey who was in her teens at the time.

She was enjoying her candy floss at the fairground at New Brighton when her father tapped her on the shoulder and excitedly said, "Look at that!" 

Audrey said she saw a huge silvery disc flying slowly over New Brighton Pier.

Its shadow was cast down onto the beach, and Audrey said she thought it was going to land on her and the rest of the crowds at the fairground for a moment, but it passed silently overhead, and she thought she could see windows in the craft.

She kept asking her father what it was and he shrugged and said: "A flying saucer." 

Another person contacted me and said he was employed to take photographs of people at the resort and he tried to snap the UFO but when three photographs were developed they they showed what looked like a fuzzy and blurred circular cloud – hence the possibility the UFO was just some sort of mirage with light playing its tricks, caused by layers of hot air acting as mirrors – rather like those phantom pools of water you see at the end of a highway on a summer’s day.

If the object was just a mirage, it’s odd how shortly after the giant silvery disc flew over New Brighton that summer’s day, two Army helicopters appeared in the airspace over the seaside resort and flew along the same flight path of the UFO.

Haunted Liverpool 34 is out now on Amazon.