Liverpool writer Tom Slemen is known foremostly as the author of the best-selling Haunted Liverpool series of books which document paranormal incidents and often unsolved or unusual crimes in his home town of Liverpool, past and present.
How it all began:
Tom's interest in the paranormal began in early childhood, when he lived with his family on Melville Place, near Myrtle Street, Liverpool. Tom learned from his mother that she had witnessed a ghostly apparition of a Victorian maid carrying a large serving plate along with the eerie sound of children laughing. None of the family thought to investigate any possible causes for the spectre, but Tom took it upon himself to try to uncover the mystery behind the spirit maid. Off he went to the local library and discovered that their home was actually built on the same spot where an orphanage once stood and also, Tom later realised, that a nearby street was called Orphan Street.
“This little discovery set a child upon a quest to seek ghosts. I would go to the library and look for anything on the subject of the supernatural, but could never find any books on local hauntings and Liverpool mysteries. The Haunted Liverpool books were my attempt at writing the type of books I had looked for as a kid. I am older now, but not jaded. At heart I am still that kid who lived on Myrtle Street, and have never lost that beautiful sense of wonder at the mysteries of time and space. I know that what we see is only a small part of an amazing universe that is mostly hidden from our limited senses, and if some of us could try to get back to the open-mindedness we once had as children, this world would be such a better place and we would discover so much about the cosmos and our own inner nature.”
The majority of tales in Tom's books (Bluecoat Press 1996-2011) come to him from local people who relate their own experiences. Tom, however does not just retell the story verbatim, he undertakes his own research and documents the events related to him by various locals in order to attempt to verify the facts unearthing along the way many original historical cases from true crime as well as the paranormal, such as the Old Swan Mass Graves Mystery, the Lizzie Peers Murder Case (1905), the Madge Kirby Murder (1908), and the Penny Lane Poltergeist case (1930-1997).
“My research process is pretty straightforward; a reader may get in touch with me with a story, say, about a past haunting in a particular house. I will visit the Liverpool Record Office at the Central Library on William Brown street and scour censuses, street directories, and even enlist the help of my chief researcher Kevin Roach, to delve into the old microfilmed editions of the ECHO, Liverpool Mercury and so on, to see if any reference to the haunting can be found. If that fails I often mention the haunting in my ECHO column, on my website, or on radio shows such as the Billy Butler Show. A reader or listener will then get in touch and provide me with more details, and I sometimes find out the identity of a ghost that way.
Hauntings of the present are a different matter. If I receive a report of paranormal activity, I usually check the address against my vast register of hauntings (which now fill seven box files in my study) to see if I already have information. If possible, I go along to the scene of the alleged activity and use a minimum of equipment. Sometimes I use mediums (but not 'stage' mediums). So many strange things have happened to me over the years I could fill several books telling you about them.”
Tom's most successful work is the top-selling Haunted Liverpool series. As well as writing his books, Tom contributes very popular weekly columns about paranormal activities and unsolved crimes linked to Liverpool in The Liverpool Echo.
All of Tom's books which are the most widely read works amongst schoolchildren on Merseyside, deal with various paranormal and supernatural events linked to the city of Liverpool, such as ghosts, UFO's, time travel, aliens and instances of ESP. With the unprecedented success of the Haunted Liverpool series, Tom also wrote and published two more books in the same vein as his Liverpool books, but these books investigated the paranormal activities in Wirral and Cheshire. Tom has also published books which focus on famous mysteries from around the globe, reported instances of telepathy, astral projection, bilocation, teleportation and the Akashic Records.
Tom Slemen was the first person to hold a ghost walk in Liverpool. The idea was originated by the Liverpool Daily Post and the walk took place in 2003. In March 2003, Tom gave a morning and afternoon talk to 3,000 people at St George's Hall and received a standing ovation. In Arabella McIntyre-Brown's Liverpool: The First 1000 Years Tom Slemen is credited with solving the 1931 Julia Wallace murder. Tom proved that Julia was not murdered by her husband William Herbert Wallace, but John Sharp Johnston, a next-door neighbour. Tom is currently writing a book on the case.
In February 2008 Tom granted the right to run ghost walks based on his material to Freshfields Animal Rescue, the local animal rescue and re-homing charity which he has supported since 1997.
"We attended the walk last night (Halloween). Myself and the five 13 year olds all thoroughly enjoyed the walk. The 'tour guide' (Elisa, I think) delivered the talks in a very professional manner and had us all scared out of our wits! She made the stories sound very authentic and we felt like we were transported back into time when the incidents occurred.
The Marshals did a great job of keeping 'the real life ghouls' away from our group, causing minimum disruption and distraction.
Thank you to all concerned, and keep up the good work for Freshfield Animal Rescue."