Time-Warp On The River Mersey
A Mystery Lands At The Iron Door Club
Original Tom Slemen © 2002 Story Published in the Merseymart
An Interpretation by Peter R. McCormack
German Junkers 88
"Oberleutnant Helmuth Bruckmann and Crew"
German Junkers 88 Warplane - October 1940"

A German Junkers 88 Shot Down - Or Was It?

Tom Slemen's article entitled "Ghostly Warplane" first appeared in the Merseymart on Thursday April 25, 2002. Slemen has written an interesting article which surely rekindled the memories of those who were present in south Liverpool during the bombings of 1940. "Time-Warp On The River Mersey" is a discussion of the orginal article by Slemen with an interpretation of the findings as it relates to Liverpool's Iron Door Club.

Briefly, from Slemen's original story, a Junkers 88 German bomber, piloted by a 26 year-old Squadron Leader Helmuth Bruckmann and his two-man crew, crashed into the banks of the River Mersey at Bromborough. Bruchmann and one of his crew-members survived, however, we are left wondering what became of them. Hurricanes from the 312 Squadron at Speke airport are credited with downing the German bomber. Further research reveals that Bruchmann was repatriated in 1944.

It would appear that there is something magical about this time or the event itself. From this night forward, there have been numerous reports from people living in the area that the Junkers 88 bomber has continued to be observed in the skies overhead. There is something about this moment in time that has destined the event to be repeated for decades. Today, the persisting circling route that the aircraft takes adds further to the notion that it is locked in flight repeating its orders of fifty years hence.

The curious nature of Tom Slemen was such that he joined forces with paranormal researcher John Kennedy for a period in October 2001. Poised and ready to capture evidence of the Bomber Slemen recalls the surprising moment in which the observers were able to validated claims made by local residents. He recalls

" I even managed to tape the phantom bomber near Speke Hall - when no planes were in the air. Perhaps the plane is caught in a timewarp, why, is a mystery."

While the perpetual flight path of the Junkers 88 remains to be explained, some have wondered if there is a region in south Liverpool that resembles the supernatural events associated with other mysteries such as the Bermuda triangle. Is there a corridor in which events become locked-in or are destined to repeat? A timewarp as suggested by Tom Slemen. More importantly, for the surveyors of paranormal activity, is there another example of a timewarp in Liverpool? Is there another Junkers? The answer is yes, and it involves a famous cellar club - The Iron Door.

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"Tom Slemen Listens For Himself"
Photo © 2002 Tom Slemen

Maureen's "All Night Session" - March 11, 1961

On March 11, 1961 Maureen, a 25-year-old woman from Grassendale, attended "Rock Around The Clock", an all-night music extravaganza at the Iron Door Club. The 12 band event beganat 8:00 pm on March 11th, ending at 8:00 am the next morning. Maureen met a man named Alan and spent the night with him at his flat on Parliament Street. She returned in the late afternoon on March 12th at 4:00 pm to a very worried husband, George, and her six-year-old son.

Shortly after this indiscretion Maureen left her family to be with Alan, first for a fortnnight and after a brief return she departed on a second occasion for a number of months. Her husband and son were deeply saddened by her irresponsible behavour and took up residence with George's mother in Litherland. Maureen eventually had a falling out with Alan, and returned home only to find her husband and son had vanished.

Shocked and in a quandry, Maureen wandered along the Otterspool promenade in an inebriated state. She entered a public washroom and, in her despair, took an overdose of sleeping medication. At some point she was awakened by a stranger who entered the toilet. At this point another J or timewarp was about to take place. A voice uttered

"I have to take you back in life."

The next thing Maureen knew she awakened on the floor of the Iron Door Club on Saturday March 11, 1961 at 4:00 pm. Another alleged "Junkers" had given Maureen at second chance at life and salvaging her family. We do not hear of her fate further, however, most Liverpudlians would have been rooting for her.

Both Oberleutnant Bruckmann and Maureen were caught in a timewarp that changed the course of their lives and others in the Liverpool community, the former for 60 years and the latter for several months.

Unless readily intrigued by the paranormal, neither of these stories appear credible upon first reading. At first blush, it might be fair to say that not all local residents would be too fussed on them. A few points do peak ones curiosity and add to the validity of each of these accounts.

To begin, it is to be remembered that Slemen heard the Junkers with his own ears and reputedly validated the experience through an audio recording in 2002. If a timewarp can last for 60 years, should we be surprised, in Maureen's case, that another may last several months. Maureen's experience was so traumatic that the date of the event was vividily etched in her memory as so many harrowing experiences tend to be. The fact that she was able to recall the date of the Iron Door's all-nighter, all these years later, adds to the credibility to her story.

A Liverpool Coincidence - Don't You Believe It!

So what is it then, that allows time to stand still in Liverpool? Is it the significance of the event in question, unique forces associated with a particular geographical region, an honest error in perception clouded by heightened stress, a deliberate hoax or sheer coincidence that offers the best explanation of a timewarp. As is typically the case, there are two polarized views that tend to emerge in such controversies. On the one hand there are those who seek to explain the mysterious through the assistance of science. On the other, less rigid thinkers hold the view that there is no such thing as a coincidence.

For those who are prepared to accept the validity of the accounts of October 1940 and March 1961 as reported by Slemen, the two most likely explanations are perhaps best explained as the "Significant Region" and "Significant Event" hypotheses.

There can be little argument but that the City of Liverpool is a "Significant Region." Throughout modern history there have been numerous examples of people being drawn to this region of the world. Not just "any port in a storm", Liverpool is renowned as a famous international shipping hub and as a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants at the time of the potato famine. These are but two examples that spring to mind. In the cosmic sense, what forces draw people to such places? Arguably there is an emotional or spiritual pull to this region that transcends the social and political. Perhaps the writing of this article is evidence for such "Mersey Magnetism." The vicinity in which these unexplained events have taken place is relatively small. Speke Airport is just around the corner from Otterspool. Likewise, Bromborough is virtually opposite Otterspool and Speke Airport. Why these areas have become paranormal magnets that allow time to stand still remains a mystery. Of all areas, why should the time-warp settle within this small region and not another?

What may be said of the "Significant Event" hypothesis? Many signficant events, whether they be positive or negative in nature have left a lasting impression in the minds of those who have witnessed them. There can be no doubt that the bombings of Liverpool in 1940 and 1941 left indelible marks on the memory of all those present. That tragedy challenges ones beliefs and forever affects the perception of humankind is self-evident and needs no elaboration. The night of October 8, 1940 is a case in point. During the month of October 1940 alone, as Bruckmann and his crews bombed the City, 106 residents were killed and 90 seriously injured. If the collective tragedies of these events did not permanently alter ones understanding of the universe, it is hard to imagine what would.

There is another event of significance that began as the German bomber was circling Liverpool for the first time on the night of October 8, 1940. The next day would bring the birth of a child in Liverpool that would have his own impact on music history - John Lennon. John Lennon would be born into this community that, was significant for its region and its events. In his own words he himself felt different from the earliest days of his childhood. He has been quoted as saying

"In one way, I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things people didn't see. I always saw things in a hallucinatory way."

It is ironic that Bruckmann would be born in Hamburg and become famous in Liverpool, while Lennon born in Liverpool would initially gain his notariety in Hamburg. Is it possible that the paths of these two personalities may have become entwined during the 8th of October 1940 in the early stages of World War II. Would a time-warp be responsible for their lives crossing again on future occasions. Bruckmann would crash near the landing-strip at Speke. Today the propellers of his bomber are still heard near what is now known as Liverpool John Lennon Airport with a slogan that reads "Above Us Only Sky." Finally, Lennon would eventually move to the United States and become scrutinized by government authorities in Washington, D.C. Bruckmann also had a United States connection, being promoted to Colonel in 1961 and transferred to the German Embassy in Washington D.C. as an air attaché.

Is it only coincidental that John Lennon was born near the time and place of Bruckmann's crash in Liverpool in October 1940? Is it only by chance that Lennon was playing the Iron Door Club the evening that Maureen describes being caught in time? Is it purely happenstance that Lennon's name would one day be chosen for an airport near the site of Bruckmann's crash. Is it purely coincidental that Lennon would get his musical beginnings at The Iron Door Club and then find fame in Bruckmann's birthplace of Hamburg? Don't you believe it. Perhaps John Lennon said it best, "You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Submitted on September 23, 2004 - Revised October 15, 2008
© 2001-2008 Peter McCormack. All rights reserved.

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