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 Medieval Giant of Bebington.
I HAVE changed a few names in this story for legal reasons.
One pleasantly warm evening around 7pm in May 1974, Mary and Nellie, two women in their 50s, were paying respects at the grave of a friend when they saw something very strange.
A tall, bizarrely-dressed man who must have been over seven feet in height, was walking through the forest of gravestones with a young lady across his shoulder.
He wore a black pointed hood, had a pale face that looked as if it was plastered in makeup and his garments were pied – of two colours, possibly red and yellow.
He used the fireman's lift technique to transport the woman, who seemed to be unconscious.
Mary wanted to go after the giant and ask what he was doing, but Nellie persuaded her to leave the cemetery and call the police from a public telephone box.
As chance would have it, the ladies bumped into a policeman on nearby Juliet Avenue and informed him of the man they had seen carrying the young woman.
The policeman rushed to the cemetery and saw nothing out of the ordinary, but an old man walking his dog in the cemetery gestured to the policeman and told him he had seen: "some barmpot dressed like something from the days of Robin Hood with a girl of about eighteen over his shoulder."
She had looked drunk, the old man added, and he said the strange man had been walking to the western side of Bebington Cemetery.
The policeman checked every square yard of the cemetery and saw no trace of the outlandishly-dressed man or the girl he was said to be carrying.
The next day, local newspapers reported on a senseless act of desecration in Bebington Cemetery.
One headline ran: Graveyard Attack Mystery Deepens and the article described criminal damage to over 50 graves at the cemetery – mostly involving the toppling of stone crosses which were left shattered.
The papers reported that Wirral’s recreation officer had initially surmised that teenage vandals were to blame, but local residents said they had see strange figures in the cemetery the night before and an abnormally tall hooded man in peculiar colourful clothes.
A local stonemason working in the cemetery just before the attack cryptically remarked: "Had it just been vandals they would have destroyed flowers and urns, but this was a systematic attack on crosses and nothing else."
The police concurred with the stonemason’s angle – that Satanists were possibly the culprits.
In June 1996, Cheryl and Tony, a couple in their 20s from Birkenhead, went to look after Tony's uncle on Briardale Road, Bebington.
Tony’s uncle was taken into hospital shortly afterwards with a heart condition, and the couple continued to look after his house.
The fifty-yards-long garden of the house had an old shed at the bottom.
One evening as Tony had a look in the shed as he searched for his uncle's lawnmower, the floor of the roughly-built wooden shack gave way and Tony fell into some sort of chamber.
He climbed out and told his wife what happened. They returned to the chamber with torches and Tony went along a very narrow tunnel which, in his estimation, must have been under Bebington Cemetery, as Briardale Road backs onto the graveyard.
"Let's go back, Tony," said Cheryl, "I've got the feeling someone's watching us."
At that moment, the flames of lamps in the wall that were either fuelled by gas or oil, came on, startling the couple.
Cheryl noticed a man in a pointed black hood peeping at her from a hole in the wall of the chamber.
She screamed and ran back towards the tunnel leading to the shed, but found a giant of a man with a chalk-white face barring her way.
It was the man she'd seen looking through the hole. He was so tall, he had to crouch down.
He slapped Cheryl, almost knocking her out, and then Tony received a punch from the colossal fist of the uncanny goliath which left him on his back. His legs had gone and he could not get up.
The giant wore a red and yellow medieval-style tunic and laughed as he picked up Cheryl.
He tied her to a giant wooden wheel as she whimpered for Tony to help and spun the wheel with the girl bound to the rim.
Tony was picked up and strapped into a cast-iron chair. A leather gag was put on Tony and then the bulky, elephantine stranger put Tony's lower left arm into a type of brace.
He pushed a tube with a thick needle at the end into Tony's wrist and that went into some type of rusty old stirrup pump.
The ogre then started to operate a lever, and Tony felt his blood being siphoned out of his wrist.
The torturer left the chamber and was gone for a while. In his absence, Tony freed himself and untied an hysterical Cheryl.
The couple left the chamber, went down the passage leading to the pit under the shed, and they climbed out, both in shock.
They later had a look at the shed and said there was no tunnel under it, just some subsidence. Tony and Cheryl's story was not believed.
They say the weird giant is still occasionally seen in the cemetery.
The case remains a real puzzler.
* All Tom Slemen’s books are on Amazon.