When he regained his senses in hospital, he told a surgeon that ‘some thing – some horrible devil’ had appeared on Dawstone Road and he had tried to brake in time but the entity had been as immovable as a tree and seemed to push the car sideways into the wall.
There was not a drop of alcohol in the crash victim’s blood, but the same old stock explanations were trotted out in an effort to dismiss the man’s strange claims: it had been a trick of the light, he’d hit a fox, he’d momentarily dozed off and dreamed the “devil” and so on.
The man was discharged from hospital a few days later – but there were other incidents on Dawstone Road later that year.
In March, 23-year-old Rory, a Wallasey man on a motorbike was travelling down a moonlit Baskervyle Road at around 11:20pm and upon reaching the junction at Dawstone Road saw a towering shadowy figure stride out from some bushes and stop directly in front of him.
Rory could not stop in time.
The suicidal jaywalker must have been about seven feet in height, and he seized the handlebars of the motorcycle – which was travelling at about 35 mph – and with immense strength he swung the heavy bike onto the pavement.
Rory was thrown against the sandstone wall, and only for the crash helmet the young man wore, the Wallasey man’s head would have smashed like an egg against that wall. He was left out cold, and recalled something very strange when he was later treated for severe concussion at hospital.
Rory had briefly regained consciousness and had seen the terrifying face of a horned man with pointed ears looking at him with luminous eyes.
The apparition said something about Rory escaping the pit, and then he blacked out again.
This was the second modern encounter with a devil-like entity on Dawstone Road. Further back in time, in November 1934, a posse of locals had hunted a demonic entity which had been seen prowling Dawstone Road and was believed to have come from a mansion off the road with tall iron gates.
The locals called there, accusing a well-to-do man of sorcery, and he laughingly told the mob that the so-called “monster” they had seen was nothing more than his broad, white-chested bulldog which was always escaping from the gardens of the mansion.
The story was even reported in The Sunday Mirror and the article portrayed the locals of the Heswall neighbourhood as superstitious fools, but a policeman who had seen the demon asked how a ‘broad’ bulldog could slip through the bars of the gates of the mansion.
The demonic being, described by some as a tall horned creature of immense strength, vanished into obscurity for a few years, but was seen again during the war around 1941.
Some were of the opinion that the devil was pure folklore, whilst others, including a respected doctor, believed the thing existed, but a priest who was asked to tackle the unearthly being refused to get involved and seemed to suggest that the only thing demonic about the so-called devil was the demon drink that had probably produced it.
A demon is a catch-all term applied to a non-human spirit which has malicious intentions and tries to control or harm humans by physically attacking them or possessing their bodies and minds.
The thing that seemed hellbent (no pun intended) on causing crashes on Dawstone Road still has a question mark hanging over its nature and origin.
In 1969, Patrick and Brian, two Heswall men in their thirties, left a party on Delavor Road and Patrick decided to drive home to South Drive, where his friend Brian also lived.
Brian advised his friend to stay overnight at the house on Delavor Road because they were both drunk, but Patrick insisted he was more than capable of making a five-minute trip in his Hillman Imp.
A few minutes into the journey, as the car turned onto Dawstone Road, the engine of the Hillman Imp sputtered and the vehicle stalled.
Patrick got out the car and walked unsteadily to the bonnet, and Brian shouted after him, ‘The engine’s in the back! I knew you were sloshed.’
‘Simple mistake, mush,’ replied Patrick, and he stopped, steadied himself by leaning on the roof of the vehicle, then turned and went to the back of the, car, but then he realised he’d left the key to the trunk in the Hillman – the key was still in the ignition.
‘Brian, can you bring me the keys out?’ Patrick shouted, but there was no reply.
Patrick heard Brian swear and yell something, and then the Hillman Imp went backwards as if it had been hit by a car.
Patrick was hit by the rear of the vehicle and went flying into the road.
He got up, disoriented, and saw his car on the pavement with the passenger door open, and Brian was running off into the distance.
As Patrick picked himself up off the cold tar macadam he saw a car’s headlights approach and prayed it was not the police.
It was a Jaguar driven by Bernie, a friend of Patrick who had been at the same party.
Bernie saw the Hillman Imp on the pavement and asked what was going on, and Patrick said: ‘That idiot Brian must have started the car and put it in reverse as I was behind it! The car hit me as it went backwards.’
Bernie checked the car and saw the engine was still dead and it was in neutral – not reverse. Bernie knew a little about cars but said a loose wire on the solenoid had caused the problem and got the Hillman Imp running again.
The following day at 2pm Brian called around to Patrick and said that a terrifying thing – a tall man in black with horns and red glowing eyes had appeared in front of the Hillman Imp last night and as Patrick had been asking for the keys to the trunk, the creature had pushed the car backwards with terrific strength.
Patrick could not accept the story and accused Brian of causing what could have been a fatal accident by meddling with the gear stick, but Brian said he would be prepared to swear on “a stack of Bibles” to prove he was telling the truth.
In 2010 a nurse called me on a radio programme to say how, one morning around 5:30am in May 1978, after a gruelling night shift, she had been driving home via Dawstone Road and had seen a man who looked as if he was wearing a black leathery one piece suit and a pair of horns, standing in the road.
Nearby in the road there was a hole, about ten feet across, and reddish light was shining from it.
The nurse thought there was a fire in the hole and gave it a wide berth as she drove around it.
The window in the car was down a few inches, and as the nurse passed the bizarrely-dressed man and that hole with the fire in it, she heard a ghastly cacophony of what sounded like people screaming and wailing, and the sound seemed to come from that hole.
The incident stuck in the nurse’s mind for years.
An occultist once told me that there are places on this earth where demons have portals that lead to Hell and these portals open now and then and people – mostly bad individuals – are cast down into them, where they live a tormented existence in what is called a “Pit of Damned Souls”.
These unfortunate people then join that group of individuals who are often reported in the newspapers as having vanished without a trace.
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.