The mystery of Clatter Brook Meadows

A very intriguing incident took place in the spring of 1970. It was experienced by Peter Jones, a venerable carpenter who had started to appreciate the simpler things in life as he got older.

He was native of Bromborough, England, who, at 64, was being pressured by his wife and brother into retiring from his job but Peter genuinely felt he was still eighteen in his mind.

He liked to get away from the overcrowded rabbit warren of his extended family home and take his Cortina on the road to explore the quiet lanes and countryside of his beloved Wirral, sometimes indulging in a spot of bird-watching with a pair of low-powered binoculars.

On this sunny late afternoon in early April 1970, Peter was driving homewards along the narrow lane of Poulton Hall Road, which was usually bordered by hedgerows but now the carpenter saw something that both baffled and annoyed him: the verdant hedgerows that had ensconced the country lane had gone and some awful-looking modernistic dwellings had been erected to the north of the road.

They were an utter eyesore; a jumble of mismatched domed structures that clashed in a cacophony of windows tinted in garish colours and bizarre geometric styles.

Peter slowly drove past a sign that read, ‘Clatter Brook Meadows’ and underneath this sign were the words, ‘Built by the Gemini Party’ next to a circular logo resembling a type of mandala.

Then the Bromborough man received quite a shock. In the distance he could see a group of people in the grounds of that blight on the landscape, and they were all standing or sitting around with no clothes on.

What on earth was going on?

Not only had the local authorities given the go ahead to build those ugly soulless modern monstrosities on farmland and woodland, they had also permitted naturists to live in them. Peter decided he’d be getting in touch with his MP about this.

Peter told his wife Mary about the outrageous ‘development’ on the land north of Poulton Hall Road by the so-called ‘Gemini Party’ and Mary said she was sure there was no housing estate of the type he had described at that location; she had been driven down Poulton Hall Road a fortnight ago by the neighbour when she had visited her cousin and she had seen the usual hedgerows lining the lane and the farmland to the north.

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‘Well I didn’t bloody imagine this, love,’ said Peter, ‘so they must be jerry built; they must have thrown them up.’

‘And there were people walking around starkers?’ asked Peter’s Liverpudlian son-in-law, Jack, sitting in Peter’s armchair.

‘Yeah,’ replied Peter, noting Jack’s irritating grin, ‘go and have a look yourself if you don’t believe me.’

‘I think I will if you’ll drive me there,’ said Jack, but his wife – Peter’s daughter – shook her head and said to her husband, ‘Hey, behave.’

‘Well I’ve certainly heard nothing about any new houses and a nudist colony living in them,’ said a smirking Mary, and she returned to the kitchen to make the tea.

Half an hour later, Peter sat at the head of the table and Mary and Peter’s brother and seven other members of the family sat discussing Peter’s story in a mocking manner, almost as if Peter wasn’t there, and he snapped and said: ‘Alright, enough of all the stupid jokes; we’ll all go down to Poulton Hall Road after we’ve had our tea and you’ll all be laughing on the other side of your faces.’

Sure enough, about half an hour after the tea had settled, Peter drove his disbelieving brother and son-in-law and daughter down to Poulton Hall Road, and the Cortina was followed by an old Morris Minor with five other members of the family.

Peter was left with egg on his face because there was no sign of any strange houses off the lane, only farmland, and the hedgerows were plainly still there. ‘I can’t understand this,’ said Peter, driving the car along at around 5 mph as his anxious eyes scanned the surroundings.

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‘You sure you hadn’t had a few before you got behind the wheel, dad?’ asked his son-in-law Jack, and Peter ignored the impertinent question.

The cars turned around at the end of the road and headed for home – when something bizarre happened. The Cortina collided with a white artificial-looking figure resembling a shop window dummy – only it moved.

The Cortina was left with a scrape along its body where it had grazed the strange figure. Peter’s son-in-law Jack thought the figure was a robot of some sort although it moved naturally and not in a robotic, mechanical fashion. In the brief moments this humanoid had been seen, several witnesses said it had appeared to be carrying gardening tools such as a rake and a green watering can.

The figure was there one moment then gone.

Then Peter noticed that the Morris Minor behind him had halted, and so he stopped his car to see what was going on. Peter’s daughter in the back seat of the Cortina said there were ‘funny looking houses’ in a field off Poulton Hall Road and the people in the second car also saw the futuristic houses, the Clatter Brook Meadows sign as well as the naturists, who appeared to be playing golf.

As all of the curious observers looked on, the scene appeared to shimmer and melt away like a mirage. No more strange visions were seen by anyone in the fields north of Poulton Hall Road as far as I am aware, and one wonders what the ‘Gemini Party’ is that was mentioned on the baffling billboard; is it some future political group?

I talked to a person who is knowledgeable in urban planning and he said that the farmland and woodland north of Poulton Hall Road is unlikely to be built upon as it seems to be protected and conserved land. Time will tell, I guess.

Another case of a phantom dwelling came to mind whilst writing of the previous case, and that was an incident in 1969 when two young musicians named Mal and Ambrose were driving across Thurstaston through torrential rain when their car shuddered to a halt as the petrol ran out.

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They noticed a huge mansion with lit-up windows and the sounds of jazz music emanating from it, and so they called at the house, hoping someone could perhaps loan them a can of petrol for the car.

Instead, a giggling lady and a butler in a hammer tail coat came to the door and the butler told the two young hippies to leave the estate immediately but the tipsy, chuckling woman grabbed the hands of Mal and Ambrose and dragged them into the hallway.

There was a wild party in full swing and as well as bubbling champagne, the guests were indulging in narcotics.

An old gramophone with a horn was playing the jazz music the musicians had heard and the young men were treated to drinks and all manner of canapés and hors d’oeuvres, fancy salads and desserts and chilled seafoods.

Mal thought the whole thing was a fancy dress party with a 1920s theme, but Ambrose felt uneasy about the situation.

Mal fetched his guitar from the car and he accompanied himself in a growling rendition of the 1968 Arthur Brown song Fire – which stopped the party dead. ‘Well that went down well,’ said Ambrose, to which Mal added, ‘Yeah – like the Titanic.’

The mention of the tragic liner caused gasps of shock from the guests at the party, and the girl who had invited the two youths in told them to leave, and the butler and another man seized Mal and Ambrose and threw them out.

The men had to walk for miles to find a petrol station and when they returned to their car the mansion had vanished.

The lads discovered the ghostly mansion had been Dawpool Hall, demolished in 1927.

It had been the home of shipowner Thomas Henry Ismay – founder of the White Star Line – the shipping company the Titanic had belonged to…

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