Tragedies and Catastrophies
Alaric Romaine and the Tranmere Terror
Another adventure of the Rodney Street Occultist
Alaric Romaine was a mysterious Hungarian who offered his services as a private Psychic Detective from 1912 to 1946. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Romaine had his consulting room at 16 Rodney Street in Liverpool, and he worked on lots of mundane and strange cases locally and nationally including many in Cheshire. Romaine allegedly had many paranormal powers that helped him in his work, including occasional telepathy, and psychometry, which is the ability to pick up psychic information on a person from objects that he or she has owned.
Romaine seemed to excel as a psychic bloodhound by picking up subtle etheric impressions from keys, clothing, and so on. These leads would usually provide clues to the whereabouts of the objects missing owner. Romaine had other amazing talents too. Today, government agencies such as the CIA have admitted to using remote viewers people who can project their mind out of their physical body to go and spy on Russian missile installations that spy satellites cant probe. Romaine of Rodney Street professed to be able to project his astral body out of his physical body so he could go on surveillance missions to gather information for his investigations. Also, at a time when the Internet was still undreamt of, Romaine talked rather esoterically about accessing the Lattice and the Akashic Records - vast invisible libraries of archived knowledge that contained every piece of information in the Universe from the dawn of time to the present. In the fourth volume of my Haunted Liverpool series, you can read about the early cases of Romaine, but what follows has never been in print before. It is about Romaine's investigation of a demonic entity that terrified the people of eastern Wirral.
In March 1937, a newspaper journalist named John Everett received a number of reports about a frightening apparition that had been seen on Bebington Road, near Victoria Park. An elderly couple returning from an evening visit to a friend in Devonshire Park had ended up running into a police station at 10 pm in a very nervous state. They told a bemused desk sergeant that they had seen a ghastly glowing face near Victoria Park. Moments later, a constable came into the station, and the desk sergeant told him about the cuckoo couple and their funny tale. As the sergeant made himself a mug of cocoa, the constable stuttered out his own description of the glowing head. Hed just seen it floating up Church Road by St Catherines Hospital. The journalist Everett received a tip off, and interviewed two nurses from the hospital, a milkman from Argyle Street, and a night watchman on Whetstone Lane. All described a terrifying radiant face that appeared in a blaze of light. The earliest encounter with the fearsome dazzling head had taken place one evening weeks earlier on Agnes Road, near the cricket ground in the park. Workmen tackling a gas-leak thought a spark had caused an explosion at first when they saw the road light up with a flash, but they soon saw that the cause was much more sinister. A luminous face was peering into the hole in the road - and it had no body attached. The gruesome-looking face flitted away into the night, leaving the men shaking with fear.
It was 1937, and John Everett's editor declined to publish the strange reports in the newspaper. Everett passed on the accounts to a man he had written about in the past: Alaric Romaine. Romaine and his assistant, Grace, visited the Tranmere area and interviewed the witnesses who had been unlucky enough to encounter the eerie vision. Romaine scoured books about the history of Tranmere at Birkenhead Library, and made a fascinating discovery. On Agnes Road, in the 17th century, an evil male witch had been buried after being decapitated. A five-pointed iron star had been laid on the grave generations afterwards, because the spirit of the witch kept causing the horses that pull carts and carriages to bolt in fear.
The grave became a notorious black spot for all sorts of accidents. Romaine quizzed the men who had dug up part of Agnes Road to mend a gas pipe and discovered that one of them had found a rusty old star-shaped piece of metal that he discarded. Romaine had a new iron star pentagram made, and when he went to place it in the hole in the road, he and Grace saw the disembodied head of a man with an agonised expression materialise in mid air. It was surrounded by a feathery electric blue halo of light. The head screamed, then vanished, and Romaine placed the star in the hole, which was soon filled in. Perhaps that star was removed decades later, because an apparition called the Tranmere Terror - a glowing grimacing face was seen in the very same area in the 1950s.
This story reproduced with permission from Tom Slemen
© Copyright 2004 by Tom Slemen. All Rights Reserved.
Last modification: November 9, 2007