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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:58 am

The Letter from Beyond the Grave

In December 1923, the body of 67-year-old Mrs Heath lay in an open coffin in the front parlour of her home in Nevill Street, Southport. Wreaths of evergreens gemmed with roses lay in the hall, and upstairs in the bedroom, Moira, the forty-year-old daughter of the late Mrs Heath, was being comforted by her close lifelong friend Anthony. Moira was so beside herself with sorrow, she couldn't attend the funeral, so Anthony had told the mourners he would stay behind with the grief-stricken lady. When the hearse took the coffin away, Moira and Anthony stood at the bedroom window, watching it turn the corner, past the Coliseum Cinema, and into the depths of a fog, followed by the entourage of cars.

The house was empty, now that the mourners had left, and so Anthony and Moira sat before the blazing coals of a fire in the drawing room, each sipping a sherry as they reflected on the life and personality of the deceased woman. Moira told Anthony that if it hadn't been for her mother's constant interfering, she'd still be married to Douglas, and would have had children around her now to comfort her in her hour of need. Alas, Mrs Heath had put such a strain on her daughter's relationship with Douglas, he had divorced her fifteen years ago. Now she was left on the shelf, condemned to live alone for the rest of her life.

Moira was wallowing in self-pity when Anthony suddenly said, 'Look, Moira, that's all water under the bridge now dear. You have to get on with what's left of your life and make an effort to build a future.'

'How can I with so many awful memories? Mother has ruined my life!' Moira started to sniffle.

'Look, I know this might sound a little bizarre, but, I was reading a book on psychology the other day, and the author mentioned this very interesting case -' Anthony was saying, when he was interrupted.

'Not now Anthony,' interposed Moira.

'Wait, please hear me out,' Anthony went on. 'A man blamed his mother for giving him some psychological complex which blighted his life. I think she dressed him in girl's clothes when he was a lad. Anyhow, the psychiatrist told the man to write a letter to his mother asking him why she had given him a complex with her bizarre antics - even though the man's mother was dead.'

Moira seemed puzzled.

'You see, just the act of writing the letter had some sort of therapeutic value to the man, and his complex gradually disappeared.' Anthony explained.

'So, you are suggesting that I should write a letter to my mother?' Moira asked her friend.

Anthony took some time to persuade his bereaved friend to write the letter, but in the end she succumbed, and that evening, she sat at her late mother's Davenport writing desk, pouring her heart out onto the paper. Anthony sealed the letter and 'posted' it inside the Davenport's drawer. He advised Moira to now forget about the letter and to accompany him on a winter break to Scotland. Moira took up the offer. At Guthrie Castle, a week later, Anthony produced a ring and on his bended knee, shocked Moira by proposing. He admitted he had loved her for so many years, and Moira accepted the proposal.

The newly-engaged couple arrived back at the house on Nevill Street, and sometime later, Moira noticed an envelope on the Davenport writing desk in her mother's room. Inscribed upon it in a familiar script, were the words: 'To Moira'.

Moira opened the letter, and almost fainted as she scanned the words. It was a reply to the letter she had written to her late mother. The handwriting was that of her mother's, and so was the acidic, scathing prose. The author of the letter said that Moira was a trollop, and that Anthony had taken advantage of her during a time of crisis so he could marry into her wealth. 'But not over my dead grave!' the letter ended. Then a faint chuckling sound was heard nearby.

Moira ran screaming downstairs and fled to Anthony's house. At first, Moira's fiancé thought the letter from beyond the grave was a joke, but soon saw how deadly serious his fiancée was about the matter. Whenever Anthony visited the house on Nevill Street, supernatural incidents would occur. A glass was hurled at him by something invisible, and on one occasion, when he fell asleep embracing Moira on a sofa, he was awakened by ice-cold hands throttling him. Moira also saw fleeting glimpses of a woman in a long black dress at night in her bedroom, and could even detect the distinct perfume her mother was accustomed to wear. Shattered nerves got the better of Moira and Anthony, and they ended up moving to Birkdale. When the wedding finally took place, not only did a substitute ring had to be used because the wedding band vanished from the best man's pocket, but the interfering ghost of Mrs Heath even put in an appearance. This happened as the priest intoned part of the marriage service that asks: 'If any of you can show just cause why the couple may not lawfully be married, speak now; or else forever hold your peace.'

A loud shriek that seemed to originate in the transept echoed throughout the church. Some of those gathered later said they briefly saw a woman in black, shaking her fist at the couple, seemingly in protest. Fearing repercussions from the interfering ghost, Moira and Anthony subsequently moved to Ormskirk, and were troubled no more.

©Tom Slemen 2004.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:01 pm

When Anthony told his mates at the local pub that his dead mother-in-law was an unholy bitch he was not exaggerating. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:53 am

Here are two more true, and creepy, ghost stories - as we approach Halloween!


The comb lady

GLOBE paranormal investigator Tom Slemen recounts the tale of a living nightmare which terrorised a Wirral man in the 1930s. Crane driver John Negus made the deadly error of taking home an evil artefact unearthed from Storeton Quarry. Despite warnings from his psychic wife that the object could cause untold harm, Negus decided to keep it in his Rock Ferry home. It was a mistake that would cost him his life...

The comb lady
In the 1930s, a 45-year-old man named John Negus was employed as a crane operator at Storeton Quarry in Bebington.

The stones hewn from the quarry were not only used locally to build the magnificent villas around Birkenhead Park, Storeton stone was also exported to New York to clad the world-famous Empire State building.

During the continual excavations and chiselling at Storeton quarry in 1935, it is said that a strange artefact was found.

It was a black comb, made of some marble-like stone, and it had nine teeth.

Instead of handing the apparently stone-aged comb to archaeologists, John Negus took the comb home to his house in Rock Ferry.

Negus showed his wife Teresa the comb, and she told him to throw it away.

Teresa was psychic, and she thought the black comb gave off eerie impressions of death and evil.

John Negus thought his wife's alleged psychical skills, or 'sikey mumbo jumbo' - as he called it -were just the result of Teresa being brought up by an eccentric superstitious mother and fanat-ically religious father.

That night though, John Negus had a strange dream about the comb. In the dream he could see a woman with long blonde hair sitting on a stool in some old dark room. The woman was leaning forward, with her hair covering her face, and she was combing her locks with the very comb John had brought home from the quarry.

As John looked on, he somehow knew that the woman would kill him as soon as she stopped combing her hair.

Sure enough, the woman in black combed slower and slower, and suddenly she raised the comb above her head, and it turned into a long-bladed knife.

As she got ready to throw the knife at John, he yelled out and woke up in a sweat.

That same terrifying nightmare repeated itself three times that night in the dreaming mind of the crane operator.

In the end, John refused to go back to sleep, because he knew that if the woman threw the knife at him, he would die from the shock.

John's wife Teresa pleaded with her husband to throw away the accursed comb, and John agreed - but he couldn't find the ancient relic.

It transpired that his nine-year-old son had been playing with the comb somewhere in the house and had mislaid it.

John and Teresa looked every-where, but were unable to find the haunted object.

John sat up in bed, trembling as sleep crept over him. He told his wife how he had seen the comb turn into a knife in the woman's hand, and how she had hurled it at him.

The knife had been in mid-air as he awakened just in time. Teresa begged her husband to sleep at her mother's, but John would hear none of it, and he wondered if the dreams were just some sign that he was losing his mind.

At three in the morning, Teresa dozed off for a while, and when she awoke, she felt the empty space beside her.

She assumed her husband had either left the house to sleep at her mother's, or had gone downstairs to sit up until morning.

Then she saw him lying motionless on the floor besides the bed, and she became hysterical. John Negus was lying on his back, his eyes staring in terror at the ceiling, and his hands clutching at his chest. He was dead.

It is said that the black comb was found not long afterwards at the Negus household, and that it has changed hands and claimed lives many times.

Over and over again I have heard the uncanny tale of the terrifying dream that features the lady combing her hair with a comb that becomes a knife.

If you can wake yourself up before she stops combing you're safe - otherwise, the comb turns into a knife and she throws it at your chest, impaling the heart in one expert throw - and you die in your sleep.

Besides the Comb Lady, there are reports of another heart-stopping apparition that is currently doing the rounds in the bedrooms of Wirral - a sinister apparition known as the Old Hag.

I'll tell you all about her nocturnal visits in the Wirral Globe very soon - then again you might meet her in person before then.

Don't have nightmares.


The evil assailant

Tom is a renowned expert on ghostly phenomena and is well-known locally, having written a best-selling series of books about Merseyside hauntings. To launch his Globe debut, Tom tells the chilling tale of a Bidston family’s terrifying ordeal at the hands of a ghoul - and of a coffin secretly buried on Bidston Hill!

IN 1919, a Wirral shipping magnate named George Webster died, leaving his fortune to his daughters, 24-year-old Victoria, and 19-year-old Margaret.

Their mother had died in 1901 while giving birth to Margaret. The sisters bought a beautiful house in Bidston, and soon settled into their new home.

One night, in December 1920, Victoria went out on the town with her boyfriend William, leaving young Margaret at home. By midnight, Victoria still hadn't returned, so Margaret went to bed and read a book by candlelight.

Shortly afterwards, the teenager thought she heard a noise downstairs, and she went to look. As she walked through the hall, sherealised that she'd forgotten to put the safety guard around the fire in the parlour.

However, just before Margaret entered the parlour, she saw something moving in the shadows of the hallway. It was a strange-looking man, wearing a long white curly wig, similar to the one's worn by a judge.

His long silvery-blue embroidered jacket hung down past his knees, and instead of trousers, the man wore breeches and stockings that came up almost to his knees.

The black shiny square-toed shoes with buckles that the man wore were equally out of date, but what alarmed Margaret most was the stranger's face, because it was plastered in white-make up.

That face looked partly decomposed, and it smiled as Margaret looked on in shock.

The girl dashed into the parlour and slammed the door behind her and leaned against it with her heart pounding.

The eerie intruder charged at the door from the other side and sent her flying across the room.

With unearthly agility the weird figure chased Margaret around a table, screaming with laughter.

'Now my pretty one,' he said in a chilling voice, 'stay still for I must have you!'

He finally leapt across the table and landed on Margaret, before assaulting her. All of this time, the girl was too scared to scream, but as he tore at her clothes, she reached for the poker in the fire, and she pushed its glowing orange tip into the attacker's face.

The evil assailant screamed and retaliated by clawing at Margaret's face. Margaret let out a scream at last, and the archaic-looking attacker fled the parlour and ran down to the cellar.

Margaret Webster ran out of the house and into the rainy street. Victoria and William were coming down the road, and when they saw Margaret with her clothes torn and her neck discoloured with love bites, they asked her what had been going on.

Margaret tremblingly gave an account of what had happened, and she was disbelieved at first. William inspected the cellar and found nothing.

However, weeks later, Victoria and William briefly caught a glimpse of the sinister man in the powdered wig peering out at them through a window in the house one Sunday morning as the couple returned from church.

The neighbours also told the sisters how their own daughters had seen the white-wigged stranger standing over their bed in the dead of night. In 1922, workmen were digging up the cellar of the Webster's home to repair a burst water pipe, when they unearthed a strange coffin with an inversed pentagram carved into it's lid.

When the coffin was opened by the authorities, they saw that the skeleton not only wore a long white curly wig, but also a tattered silvery-blue coat.

Local historians and an occultist later contacted the Websters and told them that in 1730, the body of a wicked Satanist named Richard Tilly had been secretly buried on the very site of their home.

The coffin could not be buried in the hallowed grounds of a Christian cemetery - so it was buried on Bidston Hill at a secret location. Tilly's ghost is still said to roam the area where he was buried for the second time.

This is just one story of the many strange things lurking about on the haunted peninsula of Wirral.

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