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

In this latest tale, Tom examines the mystery of the eerie Wirral plague memorial

GHOSTS, by their very nature, are frightening to most, but ghosts of the future – often glimpsed in what we term as "timeslips" – can be just as scary, for some of these phantoms seem to give ominous warnings of tragedies that are coming our way down the corridors of time.

Take, for example, the incident which occurred one sultry afternoon in August 1917, when a Mr Gerald Wynne of New Brighton ventured up to Bidston Hill to have a picnic all by himself.

He used a spirit lamp to boil a kettle to make some tea, enjoyed his home-made damson jam on scones and read a book about beekeeping until he dozed off in the stifling summer heat.

When Wynne awoke, it was past 8pm and twilight was creeping across the sky.

A vagrant approached, clambering over the heatherclad slopes of the hill, and drew Mr Wynne’s attention to the 'terrible conflagration' across the river – and Wynne and the old tramp looked on in horror as Liverpool burned – from Bootle in the north to Garston docks in the south.

Every building of the port was aflame and a sinister-looking cumulus of black smoke stretching eight miles billowed above the inexplicable inferno.

As Wynne looked on, he saw curious beams of light break through the funereal cloud and rake the night sky.

"What happened?" Wynne asked the vagabond, and the down and out shrugged.

Wynne was a regular churchgoer and believed he was witnessing some religious vision.

Perhaps he thought about the terrifying apocalyptic visions of the mysterious unknown prophet named John who wrote The Book of Revelation.

Wynne ran pell-mell down Bidston Hill and told a policeman he met about the Great Fire of Liverpool – but when the officer of the law calmly surveyed the eastern horizon, he saw nothing but a sleepy waterfront scene of Liverpool through a summer haze.

The lawman intimated Wynne had been drinking and advised him to "go home and sleep it off".

Other people on Wirral saw the phantom burning of Liverpool that evening, along with the powerful beams of light shining forth from the Hellish scene – and of course, Wirral folk saw the exact same scenes when the city was devastated by Hitler’s Luftwaffe in the Blitzes of World War Two - two decades later – so were the 'visions' some phantasmagorical preview?

In 2002 I read out a letter from a Mr Barnes – a Wirral listener to my slot about the paranormal on the Billy Butler Show.

Mr Barnes told me how, in June 1995, he had been wheeling his disabled wife in her wheelchair through Hamilton Square, when he had what he could only describe as a "funny turn".

He felt a bit light-headed, and then he noticed all of the cars cruising through the square were very quiet and looked futuristic.

The clothes passersby wore also looked strange.

Mrs Barnes also noted the ultramodern cars, and it was she who noticed what looked like a "new cenotaph" to the left of the John Laird statue.

The 25-foot-tall structure was of black marble with golden letters upon it and Mr Barnes put on his glasses and saw that the text mentioned something along the lines of: "In memory of the thousands of Wirral people who died from the Great Pandemic".

Mrs Barnes recalled that one side of the grim memorial featured text that seemed to be Arabic.

As Mr Barnes moved closer to the monolithic monument, a motorbike roared through Hamilton Square, shattering the dreamlike tranquil atmosphere, and with the passing of the noisy motorcycle, Mr and Mrs Barnes saw the grand black-marbled marker vanish into thin air.

The square was now filled with the usual hubbub of birdsong and the incessant far-off din of traffic noise.

I read the letter out on air on the Billy Butler Show and it triggered a deluge of a response from listeners from Wirral and Liverpool who had also seen that worrying mirage-like memorial.

A man named Roger who worked in Hamilton Square had seen the ghostlike monument twice, in 1994 and 1995, and said it looked as if it was made of costly Ashford black marble.

Several other people who saw the 'plague memorial' also noticed a garden of remembrance behind the structure with borders of roses.

'Coming events cast their shadows before them', wrote Goethe, and the approaching shadows I have documented here may hopefully be nothing but incorporeal, tentative possibilities that have not yet been set in the stone of history's timeline.

The Blitz visions came to pass, but hopefully, despite the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic, we might be able to prevent that awful future monument to some major plague from becoming a reality.

It's a big "if" – but if the scientists of this earth can perhaps one day focus not on creating even more powerful weapons of mass destruction, but upon formulating weapons to fight the greatest foe of humankind – the growing ranks of deadly viruses that are waging a constant silent war against the people of every country – we might survive this coming century.

On top of all this, we have to tackle climate change; it's going to be a very eventful century.

* Tom Slemen audiobooks are now available on Amazon.