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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 11:58 am
 


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The following story is a particularly strange one. It concerns three men who used to visit the Cavern in Mathew Street, way back in the days before Merseybeat when the Cavern was a jazz club. The story is told all over Liverpool and has been in circulation since the early 1960s at least, but no one knows whether there's a grain of truth behind the tale or if it is just a so-called 'urban myth'. Strangely enough, in every version of the story, the names of the characters are always the same. Furthermore, regarding the tale's reference to a ghost in the Cavern Club; according to an article in the Liverpool Echo in the late 1950s, the manager of the Cavern claimed that there was a ghost that haunted the ladies toilets in the club...



Around 1957, a man named Alan Sytner opened the Cavern Club in Liverpool to provide a venue for the then thriving jazz scene. As most people the world over know, the Cavern was basically just a collection of arched warehouse cellars in the heart of downtown Liverpool where the Beatles first came to prominence.

In the late 1950s, three men went to the club one evening with their girlfriends, and had a great time listening to the jazz bands well into the early hours. The men were Johnny, Tony and Peter, and at 4 a.m., when most of the clubgoers had gone home, the three men and their girls sat at a table, smoking and chatting away. The conversation turned from sport to politics then to religion, and then to the meaning of life, and they finally ended up arguing about the occult. At this point, one of the men's girlfriends, a girl named Rita, said that one of the toilets in the Cavern were said to be haunted, but Peter, who was a hard-boiled sceptic, said the ghost story was probably just a publicity gimmick invented by the Cavern's owner, Alan Sytner. But one of the management overheard Peter's remark, and said there was a ghost of a man in black that had been seen in the club by the one of the bouncers quite recently.

At this point, Johnny suggested that everyone present should gather round the table and join hands to summon the ghost up, and he claimed that he knew the actual words to evoke a spirit. The girlfriends thought it would be exciting and they urged their boyfriends and the bouncers to join in. Everyone thought it was a joke, except a young man named Tony, who was not exactly religious, but said the occult should not be regarded in such a jokey manner, and he sat at another table and lit up a cigarette. He watched the proceedings and seemed very nervous.

Everyone but Tony gathered about the table, and Johnny said, "Right, turn the lights off. Get a candle or something."

A candle couldn't be found, but someone brought a small electric torch to the circle, and switched it on, then placed it in the centre of the table. Then the lights were switched off, and all the people round the table joined hands.

There was a scream. One of the bouncers had put his hand up one of the girl's dresses for a laugh. Johnny said, "Stop messing about. We need absolute silence."

There were a few sniggers, then a strange silence descended into the cellars. About a minute later, Johnny said, "O Lord of darkness, I invite you into the Cavern. Give us a sign so we may believe."

One of the girls said, "And get a move on cos I wanna go to the toilet."

Then a shadow walked across the darkened room. It was a tall man. He wore a black suit and a black polo-neck sweater, which was hardly out-of-vogue in those times. His black fringe was combed back into the style of the so-called 'DA cut' popularised by the film star Tony Curtis. All the girls looked at him, but none of them were scared. They thought the stranger was just a clubgoer who had been part of the stay-behind. All the girls later said that the man was very attractive and had magnetic dark eyes.

Tony, who was seated at the other table on his own, thought the man was evil from the moment he set eyes upon him, and he noticed that the stranger seemed to come from the direction of the toilets.

"I am Lucifer." said the man, in a rich deep voice. He then smirked and studied the shocked expressions of the people at the table.

"Stop messing about, " said Johnny, "we're trying to hold a seance here."

"You idiot," said the stranger, "I am Lucifer. You didn't expect me to have horns did you?"

"Oh, you're the Devil like?" said one of the bouncers in a cocky tone. he was trying to impress one of the girls.

The stranger nodded, and said, "I haven't got hoofed feet either."

"Johnny I'm scared. Turn the lights on." said Rita, and started to shake. She was about to turn hysterical.

"Relax dear, " said the stranger, "I'm not as bad as I'm painted."

The sceptical one, Peter said, "There's no such thing as the Devil."

"If you believe in God you must believe in me too." said the man in black, then he said, "Unless you are an atheist of course."

"Yes I am, actually." said Peter, in a matter-of-fact way.

"Then if you don't believe in me can I have your soul?" said the stranger.

Peter laughed nervously, "But I don't believe - "

THEN GIVE ME YOUR SOUL, THEN!", shouted the stranger.

"Give him your soul mate!" joked the bouncer, and he said, "Soulmate gerrit?" But no one was laughing. The atmosphere was tense with a mounting sense of terror.

"Okay, take it then." said Peter, and he grinned, but seemed to be very uneasy.

"No! Don't Peter! Don't!" shouted Tony from the other table, and he stood up but was afraid to come over.

"Thankyou." said the stranger, and he reached out in the direction of Peter with his hand and seemed to clutch at something in the air.

Then the torch started to fade. Within seconds it was just a dim orange filament, then the Cavern was in complete blackness.

"That was one amatuerish set-up." said one of the bouncers, almost falling over the table in the dark. He went to switch on the lights, but they didn't go on. "Oh, don't tell me the fuses have gone again." said the bouncer groping in the darkness.

During this time, a voice whispered in Tony's ear, "I'll be back for you one day, and your god won't be able to save you."

Tony said, "In the name of our saviour Jesus Christ I tell you to leave."

Then the lights suddenly went on, and the rest of the people rose from the table. But Peter didn't. He slumped forwards, hitting his face on the table-top. He seemed drunk, but when his mates took him home to his flat in Smithdown Lane, Peter didn't seem to be breathing. He was taken by a taxi to the Royal Hospital in Pembroke Place - and was certified dead on arrival. The coroner who performed the post-mortem examination later said that Peter - who was 27 - had the body of an 18-year-old, and seemed to have been in perfect health. A verdict of death by natural causes was recorded, but all the people who attended the frightening seance believed that Peter had died because he had foolishly given permission to the Devil to wrench the soul from his body.

slemen.tk


For more strange tales from Tom Slemen, go to these sites:
www.ghostcity19.freeserve.co.uk


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:06 pm
 


Fascinating!

But I don't think it was Lucifer. Probably just Cliff Richard.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:23 pm
 


Streaker wrote:
Fascinating!

But I don't think it was Lucifer. Probably just Cliff Richard.


Naw, it was just some ambitious bloke from the Inland Revenue collecting souls instead of just the usual arm and a leg. 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:45 am
 


The Cavern Club reminded me of another strange but true story -



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The ancient megalithic Calder stones of Calderstones Park in Liverpool feature strange carvings of occult symbols and engraved maps of star constellations and spiral galaxies. The stones are thought to belong to the late Neolithic period, but no one is sure, and the entire area now occupied by the park the stones now stand in has long been regarded as a mystical site. Could the mysterious background of the park have some bearing on the following tale, which I have pieced together over the years from the memories of the older denizens of Wavertree and Woolton.

Around 1953, three 13-year-old Liverpool schoolboys - Kenny, Johnny and Bobby - rendezvoused in Calderstones one morning to play in the summer sunshine. Kenny brought a cricket bat, and Johnny had brought an old scuffed tennis ball. Bobby's rolled-up jumper would be the wicket. During play, Kenny bowled and Johnny hit the ball for a six - towards a 700-year-old tree called the Allerton Oak The ball was caught by an old white-bearded vagrant who was sitting on a nearby bench. The boys yelled at him to throw the ball back, but the old man just sat there, oblivious to them. The three teenagers ran over and Johhny said, 'Give us the ball back!'
The man smiled, and patted the bench besides him. 'Sit down a minute, I have a few tales to tell you.'

The boys noticed that the old man's eyes were covered with a pale blue film, as if he had a cataract problem. They gingerly sat down next to the tramp, and he told them many strange and fabulous tales that enthralled the schoolboys. Halfway through the storytelling he pointed to the boating lake and said, 'The Devil's Swan rides on the water there now and then, and if you see him, someone will die in your family.'

The boys shuddered and glanced nervously at the geese on the lake. The man then aid something monumental which excited the three boys. He said, 'Do you know that one of you three will be the most famous man in the world one day?'

They boys naturally wanted to know which of them would be the most famous man on the planet, but the old silvery-haired storyteller took out the tennis ball and he held it before them and said, 'This will decide!'
'Watch him he's potty,' the park warden advised the three boys, as they followed after the old man eagerly.

The old man led the children out of the park, and onto a bridge overlooking a railway track on Rose Lane. The enchanting drop-out said: 'Now boys, when the train comes, I will throw this ball down the funnel, and the steam will shoot the ball way up into the air by the time it emerges from the other side of this bridge. If you catch the ball, you will be the most famous man in the world one day.'

To an adult, the stipulation would be nonsensical, but to Bobby, Kenny and Johnny it was a magical challenge. The train came thundering down the track from the horizon, puffing a white plume of steam. The man leaned over the bridge so the rail was pressed to his navel, and his left arm was holding the tennis ball aloft. As the train arrived below the old man vanished into a cloud of steam vapour as he cried 'Bull's eye!'

The locomotive shook the bridge and the boys watched the steam erupt from the other side of the bridge. The tennis ball flitted skywards from the cloud, and it slowed and then came falling back to earth, pushed on a curved trajectory by the summer breeze. Kenny pushed his friends to the ground, and focused hard as he tried to gauge where the ball would land, but it slipped through his hand - and Johnny caught it. Johnny got off the floor and went to show the old man, but the old man had inexplicably vanished. 'It's stupid anyway.' Bobby told John, 'you won't be the most famous man in the world.' Sour-faced Kenny agreed.

And Bobby Smith, Kenny Greene and Johnny Lennon left the bridge.




©Tom Slemen 2002.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:51 am
 


GreatBriton wrote:
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The following story is a particularly strange one....



I thought the story was going to end with "'Peter' was Paul McCartney's real first name."


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