WELCOME to Haunted Wirral, a feature film series written by world renowned psychic researcher, Tom Slemen for The Globe.
Wirral, being a three-sided peninsula towards the sea, is destined to have its fair share of puzzling brackish maritime mysteries…
Nautical puzzles range from the so-called Mermaid of Leasowe supposedly encountered by a sailor named John Robinson in the 18th century, to the bizarre case of the “ship in the sky” which sailed through the clouds as it crossed the sky of Wirral in 1733, bound for Snowden.
The impossible gravity-defying ship was later seen by several farmers and numerous other witnesses in Peibio, a small town near Holyhead, Anglesey.
Witnesses swore that they saw not a mirage, but a solid, inexplicable ship with sails, and amazed people could even see the keel of the ship in flight, and moreover, flocks of flying seagulls avoided the ship while it was floating.
Explanations ranging from UFOs to abnormal weather conditions have since been offered to rationalize the ship in the clouds.
Then we come to some weird creatures that have been in the waters around Wirral, ranging from sea serpents to a giant octopus.
In September 1933, a ten inch long baby octopus was found at Marine Lake in New Brighton.
It had been swept away by the high tide and later died before it could be washed back to sea – but there have been much larger octopuses reported from the Wirral shoreline over the years, and some accounts initially seem greatly exaggerated or pulled by the hair. , until we dig a little deeper.
A case in point is the strange incident that allegedly happened on Stanley Road in Hoylake in 2009.
In August of that year, several early risers walking along the sand dunes and reedbeds west of Hoylake saw a strange creature “walk around” on three consecutive mornings.
The creature looked like an octopus but it had a large birdlike beak and moved with a peculiar gait.
It appeared to be coming from the direction of Hilbre Island, and an ornithologist observed the unearthly-looking cephalopod through his binoculars and tried to take a photo of it, but the creature appeared to burrow into the sand.
It was seen on the Red Rocks the following morning just before sunrise, and I received numerous reports of the octopus on BBC Radio Merseyside, and some reports claimed the unknown animal was around 18ft tall.
I mentioned the reports on the Billy Butler Show, expecting someone familiar with the aquatic life of the River Dee to shed some light on the sightings, but instead we received a plethora of calls, emails and letters from Wirral that had stories about the oversized octopus. decades back.
The most dramatic call we received on air was from a 39-year-old woman named Laura.
On Friday morning August 7, 2009 at 8:30 a.m., Laura was walking her Yorkshire terrier Suki.
Laura took the dog to Stanley Road, Hoylake and walked along the beach for 15 minutes. Suki didn’t look like her usual, and kept whining and staring at something Laura couldn’t see.
Laura decided to leave the beach earlier than usual because she was worried her dog might be sick from his behavior.
The dog ran towards the beach as Laura reached the end of Stanley Road, and the animal managed to rip the leash out of Laura’s hand.
When Laura turned around, intending to chase after the Yorkshire terrier, she found herself faced with a living nightmare that left the woman with a nervous twitch.
Standing just beyond the barrier at the end of the road was a terrifying 18-foot-tall creature standing on six legs – all tentacles straightened, and it was waving two twisting tentacles and hissing through a huge, deadly pointed beak which was lined with sharp teeth.
The gigantic octopus’ skin looked greenish, and its huge pale domed eyes were fixed on little Suki, who was barking and snapping at the unfamiliar creature.
Laura’s natural instinct was to run for her life, but her love for Suki conflicted with that instinct and she ran to the little dog, picked it up – and heard the click of the monstrosity’s beak at eight members right behind her.
Laura ran to her home on Valentia Road, near King’s Gap, and on seeing her sister outside her house, she collapsed and sobbed.
Her sister feared for Laura’s sanity when she heard the story of the ‘giant octopus’, but a neighbor of Laura’s later said he also saw something that looked like a ‘Martian’ staring at him over the sandstone wall of a garden adjoining Stanley Road.
Laura has never walked her dog near Hoylake Beach after that morning, and she still wonders what she encountered.
It’s probably pointless to speculate, but the creature could belong to the Upper Cambrian period, over 500 million years ago, when oversized prehistoric octopuses roamed our shores, but of course that theory would have to involve time shifts. and time travel – the creature Laura and her encountered dog could also be a surviving creature from prehistoric times (and that may be what the Loch Ness “monster” is) – or maybe the weird life form is something extraterrestrial.
A man who called me on air when I talked about the strange creature was a bird watcher named Ben.
He said he saw a very strange octopus-like animal walking towards the island of Hilbre one morning just before sunrise, and he and a friend went after the thing armed only with flashlights.
Something detached from the creature’s form as it fled out to sea, and when Ben reached it he saw that it was an old, rusty anchor. A marine surveyor said the anchor was of the “Rodgers” variety – an anchor used in the late 1840s.
Had the creature picked up the ancient anchor from the seabed, or had the anchor been stuck in the animal for some time?
Like so much surrounding giant octopus reports, we’ll probably never know.
• All Tom Slemen books and audiobooks are on Amazon.