The following weird tale took place in the early 1990s, and it has never been explained. It all started in one foggy December evening in 1991.
On the evening of Friday, December 20th, 1991, at 7 pm, the Edwards family of Dovecot decided to go and do a bit of late Christmas shopping in Liverpool city centre. Mr Edwards drove his wife and four kids to town in his old Volvo estate, and as usual, finding a place to park proved to be a real pain. Mr Edwards drove about, searching desperately for a parking space as his three sons and daughter gazed at the spectacular Christmas lights and decorations lining the streets. The youngest of the Edwards children was Abbey, who was only six years old. She loved Christmas, and for days she had been pestering her mum and dad to take her to see the big fir tree covered with coloured lights in Church Street.
As Abbey's dad was grumbling about finding a place to park the Volvo, her Mum suddenly pointed to a secluded side-street called Bold Place, which runs from Berry Street, past the back of St Luke's Church, up to Roscoe Street.
Bold Place, behind St Luke's Church
"You're a genius." Mr Edwards complimented his wife and he turned left and drove up the poorly-lit cobbled road, which was on a bit of an incline. As soon as the car was parked up, the kids eagerly jumped out the vehicle and all four of them started asking their parents what they were getting for Christmas. Meanwhile, an icy fog rolled down the street.
. Mr Edwards checked the doors of the car were locked then had a quick discussion with his wife about where they were going to first. He wanted to go to a shop in Bold Street to buy his father a cardigan, but Mrs Edwards insisted upon going to Dixons first to buy a CD player for her sister. Then the children started arguing too; they wanted to go to various toy stores first. Mr Edwards shouted, "Awright, will you all just shut up!"
The family were about to walk off when Mr Edwards suddenly noticed something - and his heart skipped a beat. With a look of dread he glanced about Bold Place and muttered, "Where's Abbey?"
Everyone looked around. Mr Edwards anxiously looked through the windows of the car, but his little daughter wasn't there. "Where's she gone?" Mrs Edwards asked with a tremble in her voice. The three boys looked about, but the street was empty.
Then they all heard a faint voice scream out in the distance. "Daddy!" The voice sounded like Abbey, and it came from the top of Bold Place, towards Roscoe Street. The Edwards family rushed up the cobbled road with the father leading the way. "Abbey!" Mr Edwards shouted, "Where are you?"
The gates at the back of St Lukes were open, and Mr Edwards surmised that his daughter had wandered into the precincts of the old church. He hurried into the grounds followed closely by his wife and their sons, and once again they all heard Abbey cry out for her father. But the little girl was nowhere to be seen, and the fog was getting thicker by the minute.
Mr Edwards didn't want to alarm his wife and kids, but he wondered if some perverted lunatic had grabbed his daughter and taken her into the ruins of the old church. He handed his wife the car keys and told her to go and bring the torch from the vehicle. She did this and Mr Edwards climbed up onto the ledge of a church window and shone the flashlight into the deserted church ruins. The interior was deserted with nothing but rubble scattered about. Mr Edwards knew that the church of St Luke had been gutted by an incendiary bomb in World War Two during the Blitz. Only the shell of the building survived, and the church had been left that way as a reminder of the war. And yet it sounded as if Abbey's voice had come from inside the church.
As Mrs Edwards helped her husband down from the window, she said, "Listen!"
It was the faint eerie sounds of a church organ, and it seemed to be emanating from the church.
Mr Edwards said, "Sound can play funny tricks at night. Come on, let's go to the police."
Mrs Edwards started to cry, but her husband said, "It'll be all right. We'll find her love. She can't have gone far."
The family went to the police station in Hope Street and told the desk sergeant about their lost daughter. The sergeant alerted all the patrol cars in the area, and told officers on the city centre beat to be on the lookout for the girl. The Edwards family then rushed back to Bold Place to resume their search for the girl. They searched the grounds of St Lukes once again, and after twenty minutes, they were about to return to their car, when something happened which continues to puzzle the Edwards family to this day. A tall man wearing a top hat and a long black coat came out of the grounds of St Lukes and walking with him was little Abbey, holding his hand.
When Abbey saw her mum and dad she ran to them and started to cry as her father picked her up. The sinister man in black looked like something out of the Victorian age. He had long bushy sideburns, a pallid face, and staring ink-black eyes. He stood outside the gates of the church, and in a creepy low voice, the outdated-looking stranger said, "Please accept my sincere apology for any distress caused."
He then turned and walked silently back towards the rear of the church ruins.
Mrs Edwards grabbed Abbey from her husband and said, "Are you all right? Where have you been?"
Abbey just said, "I'm fine mummy."
Mr Edwards was furious, and he shouted after the man, "Oi! Who are you? What's your game eh?"
Then a police patrol car came tearing down the road, and Mr Edwards told the officers in the vehicle about the stranger who had returned his daughter. Three police officers bolted from the car and rushed into the grounds of the church wielding their batons.
But the police found no one. The grounds were empty. More police turned up and the grounds were searched again with powerful torches, but the place was deserted. However, several police officers also heard the faint strains of a church organ playing nearby somewhere, but they never determined just where the strange music was coming from.
One of the policemen asked little Abbey where she had been, and the child gave a strange account. She said an old woman in a shawl had grabbed her hand and dragged her into the church, where a mass was being held. In the church, there were many people dressed in old-fashioned clothes. The women wore big hats, and the men were all dressed in black. Abbey had screamed for her father, but the old woman had put her hand over the girl's mouth to silence her. Sometime later, a tall man came into the church and pulled Abbey from the old woman's clutches. He had been the man who had taken Abbey back to her parents.
The intrigued policeman continued to interrogate the child, and he asked her if the man had spoken to her about the strange incident. Abbey shook her head, then said, "The man said he had been a long time dead, that's all."
A cold shudder ran up everyone's spine when they heard the child's reply. Since that strange incident, the Edwards family refuse to go anywhere near St Luke's Church, especially during the Christmas period...
Inside St Luke's Church before it was bombed
Copyright Tom Slemen 2010. All rights reserved