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

ON the evening of Sunday July 11, 1976 at around 10pm, a full moon hung low over Higher Tranmere and group of a dozen girls and boys, aged from ten to twelve, sat in a circle in the ruin of a half-demolished house near Church Terrace.

In the centre of the gathering of children there was a circle of bricks hemming in a burning collection of sticks and litter.

The yellow light from the fire flickered on the cherubic faces of the kids as the self-appointed leader of the gang, a lad known by the nickname of Lawns – lazy-speak for Lawrence – said: 'Let's tell ghost stories.'

'I know a dirty joke,' said a boy named Denny, but Lawns told him to shut up and said, 'I'm the boss of this gang and we're telling ghost stories. Anyone know any?'

'My Gran saw the Devil once when she was a little girl,' said a red-haired boy nicknamed Chaddy who was usually quite shy. 'She was looking in a mirror combing her hair before she went to bed and this man appeared with like a pointy nose and this funny black hat on, and he was looking over her shoulder in the mirror and when she turned around he wasn’t there but he was still in the mirror and he said “You’ll have thirteen kids” and she did and he vanished and me Mam said me Gran never ever told lies.'

'Can we talk about nice things?' said a little 10-year-old girl among the circle who was fidgeting with a lolly ice stick.

'No,' said Lawns, 'we’re talking about ghosts,' and he threw a little pebble at a boy he didn’t know and said, ‘hey you, you’re not in our gang – what’s your name?’

‘Edward,’ said the lad, who looked as if he was aged around ten or eleven.

‘Edward!’ said Lawns, trying to imitate the boy’s well-spoken voice. ‘Well, Edward, tell us a ghost story and you can join the gang and if it’s not scary we all spit at you.’

‘Well, this is a true ghost story and I know this because I was there,’ said Edward, and Lawns and the girl sitting next to him started to snigger at the posh way the lad talked.

Edward continued, oblivious to the mocking behaviour of his two peers. 'Well, a boy named Edward was playing on the steep footway running from Argyle Street South to Hinderton Road.

'It was quite dark at the time and Edward climbed the railings lining the footway and tried to jump but he didn’t see the other railings and he fell on them and three of them went through his chest. He died instantly and there was blood everywhere.'

‘Is that it?’ another member of the gang asked Edward.

'Well, not exactly,' said Edward, and Lawns burst out laughing and the girl next to him buried her face in her hands as she laughed. But Edward continued his ‘ghost story’. 'Anyway, Edward didn’t like being dead because he saw lots of horrible faces of people who had died, so he became a ghost – or should I say – I became a ghost. I am Edward.'

'You’re a ghost?' Lawns asked the lad, and most of the gang started giggling.

Edward nodded and said, 'Yes, I’m dead, I have no pulse or heartbeat – I lost all of my blood.'

The girl sitting next to the boy touched his knee, as Edward had on short trousers, and she said, 'You’re very cold.'

‘If you’re a ghost, get up and walk through that wall over there,’ said Lawns, and Edward stood up and there was more laughter.

He unbuttoned a waistcoat and opened it and lifted his dirty brown vest and showed Lawns and everyone present the three very deep holes in his chest and abdomen. 'Those railings did that,’ he said, and Lawns sat there in shock and all of the children of the circle got to their feet and they fled, some of them screaming as they went.

Lawns had nightmares for years about the ghost, and he later called me on air to tell me the story when I was on a local radio station.

I researched the case and discovered via the microfilmed newspaper archives in the library that on the Sunday evening of October 14, 1894, a 10-year-old boy named Edward Griffiths of Mill Street, Higher Tranmere, had been playing on the paved footway between Argyle Street South to Hinderton Road when he had climbed the railings lining the footway and had jumped off them, but because it was so dark he couldn’t see a second row of spiked railings – which he landed upon. The tragic impalement killed the boy instantly.

Here is another eerie case of a ghost among us being mistaken for one of the living. On the Thursday afternoon of 3 October 1963, an 18-year-old man named Terry parked his motorbike near to the Central Library on Borough Road, Birkenhead, then went inside the library to get a book about TV and radio repair as well as a hefty dictionary of electronics, as Terry had an ambition to become a TV repairman.

When he came back out of the library fifteen minutes later, he put his books in his satchel then went to put on a helmet when a policeman, aged about forty-something approached and said, 'Sir, you cannot drive that motorcycle.'

Terry frowned perplexedly. 'Eh? Why not?' He wondered what he had done wrong. He was insured and he’d paid his road tax.

'Someone was tampering with your bike while you were in the library,’ said the policeman, and he stooped slightly and pointed to the front wheel and explained, ‘and I believe he cut the brake lines. The gentleman was about five feet and three inches tall with a long sideburns and a black leather jacket.'

Terry inspected his machine. The brake lines had indeed been cut; had he driven the bike home he’d have been unable to stop it. He immediately realised who the saboteur was from the policeman’s description – his girlfriend’s former boyfriend, a man named Banks.

Terry thanked the policeman and then he saw he had gone; he had been standing there one moment and now he was gone. Terry was baffled at the disappearance but thought the policeman might have just popped down an alleyway to continue his beat.

The young man went to a public telephone box and called his older brother, who ran a garage, and he came and picked up the sabotaged motorbike. Terry’s brother suggested taking Banks the bike saboteur to court and said the policeman who had seen him cut the brakes would be an excellent witness.

Terry agreed and he recalled the policeman’s collar number. He went to the police station under the pretence of wanting to commend the actions of the police officer and he supplied the desk officer with the policeman’s collar number – only to be told that he could not have met the constable concerned - because he had died several years ago.

'You must be mistaken,' said Terry, and he described the officer’s age and his thick greying “walrus moustache” – but again he was told that the policeman in question was deceased.

I mentioned the ghostly policeman on my local radio slot about the supernatural and many listeners said they had either met the phantom in blue or heard about him.

One woman said he had accompanied her through the Woodlands neighbourhood one night in 1965 when she had been followed by a gang. As soon as the policeman took her to her front door he had vanished.

These are just a few cases of ghosts moving among us, taken to be one of the living, and for all you know, the next person who sits next to you on the bus, or the stranger passing by on the street, could be one of them, silently observing you with eyes that have seen the other side . . .

• All of Tom Slemen’s books and audiobooks are on Amazon.