In this latest tale, world-famous psychic researcher, Tom Slemen explores the mystery behind ‘The Deadly Cultists of Thurstaston Common’…
Since the Globe published my story of local timeslips on November 7, I have received some amazing accounts from readers who seemed to have experienced slippages in time.
Two of the stories sent to me even dovetail with one another and together they seem to validate the baffling phenomenon of the timeslip.
The first possible timeslip account comes from Gareth, a 72-year-old man who was born and raised in Heswall until he went to live in Australia in his forties.
In June 1976, Gareth, who was then 31, was left a small fortune upon the death of an uncle, and he purchased a used Range Rover with three thousand pounds’ of the inherited money.
On a day off on Monday 21 June, 1976, Gareth drove just over two miles from his Heswall home in the Range Rover and stopped off at Thurstaston Common.
With him on this trip was his 22-year-old girlfriend Juliet.
The couple had had a row just before they set out, and a sulking Judith chose to sit in the car while Gareth went to have a look at the enigmatic landmark known as Thor’s Stone – a rectangular sandstone outcrop measuring fifty feet in length, thirty feet in width, and twenty-five feet in height.
With a pair of binoculars he usually used for bird-watching strung from his neck, Gareth crossed marshland baked bone dry by the fierce sun – for 1976 was the year of the Great Drought – and he threaded his way on the rough path between trees until he found the ancient geological curiosity.
What he saw instead stunned the Heswall man. In the distance was Thor’s Stone, but on top of it was a giant fearful-looking head with a huge cavernous mouth of fire.
This head was horned, and looked as if it was made of sheet metal from the way it reflected back the rays of the blistering sun.
Smoke was issuing from the horns, as if they were chimneys, and the elliptical black eye sockets of the giant effigy of a head had small flickering torches in them.
Gareth heard terrible screams coming from the direction of the weird gargantuan construct, and he quickly lifted the binoculars to his eyes and frantically thumbed the focus wheel.
There was a group of hooded figures in long robes on the plateau of the sandstone edifice, and they were thrusting spears into the fiery mouth of the unknown idol – and those spear tips were stabbing at a crowd of people – all naked – as the flames arose about them in that mouth.
Realising he was witnessing a modern-day sacrifice by some cult, Gareth’s stomach turned over, and he decided to get away from the common as quickly as possible, but as he took the binoculars from his eyes, he suddenly noticed about a dozen or more figures in long robes with hoods, and they were only fifty yards away – but they hadn’t seen him – yet.
Gareth backed away and hid behind a tree, and he saw one of these robed figures standing over a naked man and woman who were lying face down with their wrists tied behind their backs and their ankles bound together.
The robed figure knelt down between the couple and began to plunge a knife into the man’s back, repeatedly.
Gareth was gripped by a panic as he turned and fled. He knew the cultists would kill him if they noticed him observing their sadistic rites.
He ran to the road where he had left the Range Rover – and could not find the vehicle – and what’s more the road was no longer there.
He then noticed one of the cultists running in his direction, and Gareth ran off and hid behind bushes.
He heard people running past him, and expected to be found, but he ran off, and found an irate Juliet in his Range Rover.
She asked him where he’d been for the past half hour.
When Gareth told her what he’d seen she didn’t believe him, and he drove away from Thurstaston Common like the proverbial bat out of hell.
Gareth reported the ritual murders to the police but was not taken seriously.
He returned to the site a year later and saw nothing of that strange ‘head’ upon the Thor’s Stone.
Margaret Murray, a former resident of Irby, tells me that in the summer of 1933, her father George visited Thurstaston Common after it had been razed by a serious and widespread gorse fire (possibly cause by a discarded cigarette butt).
George and a friend went to look at the acres of incinerated fields – including several plantations – as well as the charred stalks of telegraph poles – when they both noticed a weird domed structure on the Thor’s Stone.
By now, twilight was gathering, yet the two men could see the distinctive silhouette of a giant head on top of the sandstone landmark.
Both men also had the intense feeling of being watched, and so they left the area.
Had the two men in 1933, and Gareth in 1976, somehow glimpsed some ancient human sacrifice ritual of long ago? Were the robed figures Druids?
Author: Tom Slemen, who is a Liverpool writer, known foremostly as the author of the best-selling Haunted Liverpool series of books which document paranormal incidents and unsolved or unusual crimes. Check his Books on Amazon here.