A Ghost of the Living
by Tom Slemen

Church Road, Wavertree

The four-bedroomed house on Church Road (above), in Wavertree, just a stone’s throw from Penny Lane, had no history of hauntings. When the Davis family moved into the property around 1985, they all found the house to be a pleasant place, and Mrs Davis, who considered herself to be a little bit psychic, had felt no bad vibes in any of the rooms, nor had she experienced so much as a cold spot, but weeks after the Davis family moved into the semi-detached house, some very strange and alarming things began to happen. One sunny September afternoon, the solid-looking phantom of a woman in her late fifties came walking down the stairs. Mrs and Mrs Davis saw it, and so did their children, and the family dog Cecil, a huge black Labrador, who was so terrified, he crashed headlong through the bottom pane of glass in the kitchen door during his cowardly retreat out of the house. Luckily, Cecil didn’t suffer a scratch, but the children burst into tears at the sight of their beloved dog smashing through the glass.

Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, the ectoplasmic woman seemed to break up into millions of spots before disappearing completely, and Mr Davis described how this dematerialisation had reminded her of the special effect used in the original Star Trek television series when Captain Kirk was beamed up by Scotty. The woman’s image broke up into a myriad of luminous specks and the next moment she was gone.
The ghost of the woman was seen many more times, mostly during the daytime. It strolled across the front garden lawn on one occasion and was seen by the postman, who initially took it to be a real person until she performed her uncanny dissolving act.
Just under a year later, Mr Davis had an opportunity to work in Hoylake in a very stable well-paid occupation. It really was the opening he had dreamt of for years, and so, after some discussion with his wife, the couple decided to put the house on the market and make the move across the water to Wirral. Imagine the couple’s surprise when they met the first person to view the property – a woman who was identical to the now-familiar phantom lady who had been paying her shock visits to the house and its garden. The visitor’s face, hairstyle and build were the same as that of the ghost. The woman gave her name as Mary O’Rourke. She claimed that she had been born in the Davis’s house in the 1930s and had lived there until her teens. Mrs Davis was flabbergasted, but Mr Davis didn’t know what to think. He was a born sceptic, yet even he could see something decidedly strange was going on here, but he couldn’t rationalise it at all.
Mrs O’Rourke said that she often visited her former home in her mind and imagined walking through the interior – and the garden she had loved so much in her youth. When she had seen the For Sale sign outside, she simply had to take the opportunity to stop and call in unannounced. ‘I’m sorry for calling like this without an appointment, and there’s probably no way I could even afford to move back here,’ Mary told Mr and Mrs Davis, ‘but I’m very nostalgic and just had to see the place where I was happy all those years ago.’
Mrs Davis told Mary about the ghost that had been haunting the house for almost a year, and told the visitor it had looked just like her. ‘Did your mother pass away here?’ Mrs Davis queried.
Mary O’Rourke gave a lopsided grin and gave a curious, unsettling reply. ‘Oh no, that wasn’t my mum. It was probably me.’
Mr Davis shot a puzzled look at his wife, then listened to the rest of the visitor’s incredible claim.
Mary continued: ‘You may think I’m mad but I think I somehow projected my image here during my nostalgic ramblings. People have told me about this type of thing before. When I couldn’t make it to Oxford Maternity hospital when my daughter was giving birth because I had the flu, two nurses swore they saw me large as life in the ward where my daughter was.’
Mr Davis introduced Mrs O’Rourke to the rest of his family and they were amazed at the likeness between their guest and the resident ghost. When Cecil the dog set eyes on Mrs O’Rourke, he fled for cover beneath the stairs and howled. His behaviour seemed to prove that something strange was definitely going on. Sadly, three months later, Mrs O’Rourke died after a short illness and the Davis family sold their house and moved away. AS far as I know, the latest owners of the house on Church Road have not had any encounters with the phantom lady.

Copyright Tom Slemen 2010. All rights reserved. Originally published in Haunted Liverpool 2