The sound of dripping water greeted the paranormal team and their guests as they all descended into the darkness of the tunnels. Spots of light from their torches showed the deep stone steps, hand carved walls and Victorian brick arched roofs. An icy cold that would long afterwards keep their bones chilled made itself felt as they reached the first open chamber.
Harper, bundled in her winter gear, tried not to shiver and focused her torch light on the artifices which sat on ledges around the room. All the items had been found down here, lost by the men who had dug The Williamson Tunnels for seemingly no reason other then to earn a wage.
She looked at the nearest display of white and green glass bottles, pill boxes, cracked plates, pipes, and china cups. It was as if the men had actually lived down here. Perhaps, they had? The two volunteer guides with the group had said that not much was known about the history of the tunnels which ran underneath most of Liverpool.
‘There are some chairs in the next room. We shall sit down there for a bit and see what we pick up,’ Earl the leader of the paranormal team spoke.
The group moved off and Harper trailed behind, feeling unsure about being down here. It had seemed like a fun idea when she had stumbled across this ‘ghost hunting’ event online and decided to book tickets for herself, fiance, Andy, and her parents, Luke and Louise. Now, she was thinking it had been a mistake.
There were seventeen chairs set out along a narrow passageway; eight chairs on one side, eight on the other and one chair at the end. Behind which the brickwork had been removed to expose a large dark hole. The group filled the seats and Harper tried to remember all the people.
There was Earl who took the ‘head seat,’ he seemed to be in his early sixties, he had white hair and a short beard. The woman medium, Margo, with short brown hair and black leather pants. A male medium whom Harper couldn’t remember his name. Dale who had long brown hair, was the photographer and Rose, the last member of the paranormal team, who was using a recorder to catch ghost voices.
Then came the ‘guests,’ people who had brought tickets to this event. Beside from Harper and her family, there were eight others. A man who had come by himself though he had claimed he was meant to be meeting friends here but guessed they had pulled out.
A married couple in their mid-forties who had spoken little but hung on to every word the mediums had spoken. Three twenty-something girls and two men who were clearly from Liverpool and seemed more like they were on a night out then down in some dirty tunnels but they were taking things seriously.
Everyone settled into the grey plastic chairs and started turning their torches off. Harper was one of the last. Total pitch darkness filled the tunnels. Harper reached to her right for Andy’s hand. She felt his warm skin and reassuring squeeze of fingers.
Harper couldn’t remember ever experiencing a black colour like what was around her now. She was blind to everything and all her other senses had become heightened to superhero like levels. She could hear her breathing, loud in her ears as well as the sound of water dripping somewhere into a puddle.
‘Are there any spirits here?’ Earl’s voice rang out.
His words faded and everyone stayed still and silent listening for anything that could be taken for a reply.
‘Make a noise if you are here,’ Earl spoke, ‘we are not here to harm you. We come in love and peace, we just want to know if you are down here or not. Please let us know by joining us. Touch someone. Use your voice and tell us your name, please.’
Drip, drop, drip went the water, the only sound to be heard.
Someone shifted and there was a rustling of clothes. Someone else moved their feet as the photographer began clicking a few photos.
Harper sniffed and smelt something odd in the air, ‘what’s burning?’ she whispered.
‘What’s that?’ Earl called down to her.
‘I smell smoke,’ Harper repeated.
‘Does anyone else?’
‘I’m picking up tobacco,’ Margo the medium replied.
‘No, this is wood burning,’ Harper explained.
There was a mumble of no one else smelling anything then the group fell silent once more.
Harper turned her head about feeling her neck began to ache. She couldn’t really see anything but her eyes had gotten use to the darkness and she could pick out a few shapes. She stopped moving and guessed that she was looking back through the archway to the passage and into the chamber they had entered by. Behind that was a small space with a metal ladder leading upwards to an emergency exit.
A shadow seemed to be moving there. It was going back and forth, like it was ducking in and out, not wanting to be seen by anyone but wanting to look at the group.
It’s a trick of the light, Harper thought, wait, what light? There is none…
‘Can anyone else see that moving shadow?’ one of the Liverpool girls whispered.
‘Over there by that ladder?’ someone else added.
A few people agreed.
Harper bite her lip but kept quiet. The feeling that they weren’t alone climbed up her.
‘If that’s you over there, please come and join us,’ Earl shouted.
‘I’m picking up on the name William,’ the male medium cut in.
‘William? Let us know you are here, William!’
‘Was that footsteps?’ a man’s voice questioned.
‘Could have been,’ Earl muttered.
The shadow was still bobbing but that was no longer Harper’s focus. There was something else standing in the middle of the first chamber. Harper felt dread and a sense of evil. Her grip tightened on Andy’s hand and desperately she tried not to cry out what she was now seeing.
Earl and the mediums took it in turn to speak, asking the spirits to do things and saying what they were picking up on.
Finally, Harper couldn’t take it anymore and burst out with, ‘there’s something evil down here!’
Everyone stopped then the male medium spoke to her, ‘what is it?’
‘It’s got long arms, it’s dragging itself across the floor and it’s got a like skull head,’ Harper answered.
‘Where is it?’ her mum’s voice whispered.
‘It’s all around us. It’s not human.’
‘Does it have a name?’ Margo asked.
‘What does it want?’ Earl demand at the same time.
‘It’s watching us. It wants you to get angry, that’s what it feeds off. It wants to trick us and keep us down here….It won’t tell me it’s name. It’s not human…’ Harper trailed off.
‘I can get angry,’ Earl shouted, ‘come at me! Come and get us! Show me that you are here!’
Harper shivered and couldn’t take her eyes of the long white arms and skull head of the creature in the chamber. She knew it was real and not her imagination.
‘It’s okay,’ Andy muttered beside her, ‘it can’t get you.’
‘I know. My spirit guide is defending me,’ Harper replied confidently, ‘I don’t know about the rest of you.’
‘Can anyone feel that cold blast of air?’ someone cried out.
‘Here? Yes I can,’ Margo replied, ‘let yourself be known to us.’
There was a sound that sounded like tin scraping rock. The dripping of water paused, the continuous rhythm broken for a few seconds before the next drop fell.
‘The lady that can see this thing,’ Earl’s voice spoke, ‘what’s it doing now?’
Harper took a deep breath and answered, ‘nothing. It’s just watching us.’
‘I don’t like it,’ a woman’s voice uttered, ‘can we leave?’
‘In a few minutes,’ Earl responded, ‘who would like to sit in my chair against the hole?’
No one spoke up.
Earl turned on his torch and stood up. The light broke Harper’s concentration on the creature and she turned to look the other way. Earl was walking then stopping in front of one of the Liverpool girls.
‘I knew you were going to pick me,’ she said.
She got up and went to sit on Earl’s chair. He took her’s and once they were settled he turned out his torch.
Harper turned back to the chamber but the evil thing with long arms and skull head was gone.
‘It feels so cold here,’ the girl uttered.
‘The evil thing comes from that hole,’ Margo spoke, ‘other people have felt the evil down here. No one has described it before though.’
‘Well, I wished she hadn’t told us about!’
‘And this is why I don’t open my mouth about such things,’ Harper whispered but everyone still heard her.
Andy squeezed her hand and Harper hoped he wasn’t thinking anything bad about her. She imagined the break up conversation going something like; ‘you can see ghosts. You didn’t tell me that. I don’t want anything to do with you anymore, that’s too much to handle.’
Harper shut her eyes and tried not to think about anything. Coming to this event had been a mistake and now she had seen a demon! What if it followed her home? She didn’t want an attachment.
‘Right, let’s move to the lower levels now,’ Earl spoke.
The group moved and went down into the belly of the tunnels. They saw and heard nothing else which Harper was grateful for.
As the clock hands moved to one AM, they walked back up the stone steps and left the tunnels.
Harper breathed the cold, wet air deeply. Puddles on the road glowed in the streetlamps and lights from windows. Voices and music drifted around, reminding them of life going on.
‘Did you really see something?’ Andy asked in a low voice.
They were standing away from everyone else, near a bench with a remembrance plaque on it.
‘Would you think any different of me if I did?’ Harper spoke.
‘No,’ Andy replied, ‘I love you no matter what.’
‘Then I did see that creature.’
Andy nodded and drew Harper into a hug.
‘Everyone accounted for? Good. Let’s go back. The ghost hunt is now over,’ Earl called out over the chattering of the group.
People set off heading back to their cars. Harper walked holding hands with Andy, too tried to talk about her experience anymore.
(Note; this story is based on a real experience I had on Sunday 27th October between 12am and 1am in the Paddington section of the Williamson Tunnels in Liverpool. I took my family on a ‘ghost hunt night,’ we and some other people were with a paranormal group seeing if we could pick up on any ghost activity within two different tunnel sections.
I have always been a sensitive -someone who can sense ghosts- but I don’t like to talk about it. I’m weird all ready and can do without adding to it! Sometimes though, things like this just happen to me and I know it was real and not my imagination.
To me this is a piece of non-fiction but make of it what you will. I’m not asking anyone to believe me or try to disapprove what happened to me. I just wanted to share my experience in story form with you all.
For further information or maybe a visit to the tunnels yourself, check out their website; http://www.williamsontunnels.co.uk/)