The timeslip capital of Britain…or is it? Could Liverpool’s claims be more Bull than Bold?
Updated: Mar 14
Stories of time slips have captivated us for centuries. Like a good ghost story, we are intrigued by the details of a supernatural event and try to imagine the experience for ourselves. Frustrated by the lack of action taken, you may shout: “why didn’t you ask them what date it was?!”, “Could you touch them?” or “Why didn’t you bring something back!?”, “I would have taken a photo!”
Many time slip stories are fascinating and accounts such as the Moberly-Jourdain incident or Robert Victor Goddard’s story from 1939, are worth reading (and we will cover these at a later date). But it is very unusual for multiple time slips to occur in the same area, so when reports surfaced of heightened activity in Liverpool, it gained immediate attention in the paranormal community.
The Liverpool stories are very easy to find on the internet (thanks to the Liverpool Echo and reposting by bloggers), so the chances are you’ve already read one of the following:
The Bold Street Time Slip (previously covered on our website)
Lord Street - Mothercare incident
The Futuristic Car
Brooks Alley - Shoplifter fleeing from security
Charing Cross, Birkenhead - The Tank incident
If you have read one of the above, something you will immediately notice are the hazy details. The date, day and time of the occurrence is always missing and even the year is rarely mentioned. We get the first names of those involved and occasionally their profession but that’s where the key information ends. The number of policemen that seem to have timeslips is supernatural in itself - do they amplify hidden energy…or are they just a convenient way to add credibility to a story? I’m yet to hear of a time slip account that starts with “Jamie, a smackhead from Barrow…” or even “Sarah from carphone warehouse…” but we will overlook this and just put it down to coincidence.
The next thing you’ll notice in these stories is the detail padding. We aren’t given dates or last names, but we have lots of irrelevant information to make up for it –
“His wife went to purchase a copy of Irvine Welsh's book, Trainspotting” Thank God you told us, I wondered what the wife (who is barely in the story) had on her shopping list.
“He saw a girl in hipsters and a lime-coloured sleeveless top carrying a Miss Selfridge bag” Nice to hear, I’ll trade you the colour of her top for the year it happened please…
Mothercare story: “She picked out a variety of items, including some polka-dot bibs and a pink cardigan” Great, I’m sure the baby will look lovely in them, but what do we gain from this info?
Leighton Court Disco: “At this time, Sandra had quite a crush on a TV presenter named Mike Smith, who presented a DIY programme called Jobs Around the House and a guy bopping about on the dance floor was the spitting image of him.” This is a paragraph devoted to a guy who’s barely in the story. We are even told some of the songs that the girls dance to but again, are these important details?
Finally, there is one connection to all of these stories. The source – paranormal expert and master of the macabre (his words) Tom Slemen.
As a local paranormal researcher, Slemen knows the Liverpool area very well and has documented a vast amount of ghost stories from the region (enough to fill over 30 books so far) but in order to separate an event from a mere story or urban legend, we need witnesses to corroborate the account or at least hear from the main witness who experienced it.
Slemen is a well-known figure in the paranormal and a great writer, but before you all rush to Liverpool looking for a time portal, just consider the following:
None of the main witnesses from these stories have ever come forward (except privately to Slemen). We are told by Slemen that they are either scared of public ridicule (which is surprising, as newspapers or paranormal television would pay for the privilege), or told that they are unable to come forward because they are now dead. Tom stated in 2007, “I have received over thirty reports from people who have experienced timeslips” that’s a lot of people scared to come forward to the newspapers & TV and these reports have no doubt increased since then, as new ones have surfaced in his recent books…Suspicious?
New accounts tend to be reported near or just after the release of Slemen’s new book. It may be that a fresh account is simply uncovered by new research for the book, or that Tom has more accounts than he lets on and chooses to drip feed us over time…It’s a possibility...
Many of these stories have found fame through their coverage in the local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo. Tom Slemen is a regular contributor and writer for the Echo.
Story padding in accounts tends to happen when there is little information to go on or as a method to engage the reader by using familiar details. Name dropping shops or local landmarks in the vicinity of the experience is one way to do this, “…he stopped near a branch of H Samuel”, “he ran past McDonalds”.
Slemen is a seasoned investigator and fully aware of the 5 W’s when interviewing a witness (Who, What, Where, When and Why), so the fact that he doesn’t provide the Who or When and remains hazy at best with the remaining, leads me to conclude that Slemen never interviewed or met the witnesses of these stories.
That doesn't necessarily mean that he made the stories up, they could be based on urban legends or experiences (in some form) from someone out there. However, at some point Slemen directly linked himself and possibly embellished these stories to the point that he is now unable to walk away from the claims.
What are your views?
Have you ever experienced your own time slip?
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