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Chilling tale of a ghostly clown; Sweet smell ofembalming fluid filled the bedroom.

Byline: Tom Slemen

Supernatural storyteller Tom Slemen has a new Haunted Liverpool book out full of his array of spooky tales. Here is one of his stories

Oghostly clowns I have written about must be Frederick Zozabe, a Czech clown and acrobat who went under the name Zozzaby when he performed in circuses of the Edwardian era.

Zozzaby's trademark was his naturally long and pointed nose, which he exaggerated with putty and red paint, and from the 1950s to the present day, the ghost of this clown has been seen in a certain area of Liverpool where Frederick Zozabe committed suicide.

He seems to have a penchant for waking children in the dead of night and blocking off their escape route by standing in the doorway of the bedroom as he roars with laughter and points at his petrified prey.

A sweet smell, which has been identified as embalming fluid, is always present when Zozzaby puts in an appearance, and sometimes a green aura has been seen around the creepy clown.

In December 2002, two boys - Thomas, aged 13, and his 10-year-old brother, Aaron were awakened in their bunk beds one morning at 3am, by the sounds of echoing laughter.

Thomas looked down from the top bunk bed and saw a strange partially-transparent man dressed as a clown in a maroon, one-piece suit sporting three large buttons on. On his head the spectral clown wore a cone-shaped hat, but what stood out most about this apparition was the grotesque and heavily painted face of the clown.

He had large black gaping holes for eye sockets and his nose was crooked, red and as pointed as a carrot. All around the ghost there was a shimmering curtain of green phosphorous light. The clown held his left, white-gloved hand on his pot belly, and the other hand pointed at the trembling boys as the clown rocked back and forth, his laughter echoing as if he was in a caver n. The boys couldn't make an immediate dash from the room because the ghost was standing in front of the door. Aaron screamed for his mother but his pleas for help just echoed back to him. Thomas slowly climbed down from his bunk and comforted his sobbing young brother, and at this point, the boys could both smell the . sickly sweet stifling aroma that was filling the room. Thomas tried shouting for his parents at the top of his voice but for some mysterious reason, his mother and father never heard the cries.

The pointy-nosed clown suddenly stopped laughing and wore a horrible, serious expression on his paint-plastered face. He pointed to the boys and then curled his index finger in a beckoning gesture, but Thomas and Aaron didn't fancy approaching the clown to see what he wanted. Instead, Thomas grabbed Aaron by the hand, then sprinted from the bed, dragging his hysterical brother with him - and they came within inches of the demonic clown, who roared out an unintelligible word as they brushed past, and he tried to grab the collars of the boys. Little Aaron felt the large pink furry button of the clown's outfit brush against his face as he lunged past.

The children escaped from the bedroom and burst into their parents' room, where Thomas stammered out his account of the scary and outlandish-looking intruder. The parents naturally believed a real flesh and blood burglar was at large in the house, but although they could find no physical evidence of any intruder, the mother and father both detected the sweet sharp smell in the boys' bedroom. This sweet smell was present when the phantom clown appeared. in the same house nearly 50 years before.

On that occasion, two boys - again brothers - awoke in their beds in the early hours of the morning to see a man with a skeletal face and long red pointed nose laughing in the doorway of their bedroom. He rocked back and forth laughing and pointing at the brothers just as he did in 2002, and on this occasion the two boys made a dash from the room, and their parents went in search of the clown but came upon nothing in the children's bedroom except a sweet smell that made them feel nauseous. Not long after this incident, the father of the boys died, and was laid in an open coffin. The same sweet smell which had hung around the ghostly clown was now evident in the vicinity of the coffin.

The smell was embalming fluid. Frederick Zozabe lived at the house which his ghost now haunts, but unlike most ghosts, the clown's supernatural presence is somehow able to get around, for Zozzaby has been seen in the houses of neighbouring streets. In October 2010, a 40-year-old woman named Kelly moved into a terraced house just three doors from the house where Zozzaby lived - and died - in Edwardian times. Kelly had no idea who Zozzaby was, and when she moved into her house she set about decorating the living room first. On the third night at the house, Kelly went to bed earlier than she normally did because she had been left exhausted after scraping the old wallpaper from the tall walls of the living room. Just as Kelly was about to drift off into the realms of sleep, she felt the mattress of her new king-sized bed start to shake.

She wondered what could cause that effect, and she slowly turned - and there in the semi-darkness she saw that a man was lying next to her on top of the duvet with his head on the pillow. He was facing away from her, towards the bedroom door. As she froze with fear, the woman saw that the man had on a cone-shaped hat with a rounded tip, and she could also see that the stranger was wearing a ruffled white silk collar and a purplish suit. The man was shaking, and Kelly got the strong impression that the oddly-dressed man was shaking with subdued laughter. Kelly rolled sideways out of the bed and fell onto the floor. She got to her feet and ran out of the bedroom and down the stairs, where she turned on the hall light, before taking the bolts off the front door. Kelly opened the front door and stood on the doorstep, barefooted in her pyjamas in the chilly October night, staring in horror to the top of the stairs. She thought she saw the shadow of the man who had lain menacingly on her bed, gliding along the landing for a moment. On the fourth night at the house, Kelly slept with a Bible on her bedside cabinet, but she awoke at around 4am to a sweet overpowering scent that made her feel quite ill, and she had to get up and open the windows to air the room. When Kelly told me about the sweet smell I immediately thought of the embalming fluid odour that is often associated with Zozzaby's appearances. To date, Kelly has had no further supernatural experiences at the house, and now has a Bible in every room - just in case. The latest volume of Haunted Liverpool, 17, the ever-popular series by Tom Slemen is out now price pounds 6.99, the ebook is available from amazon.

CAPTION(S):

GHOSTLY: Zozzaby the clown brought terror to children AUTHOR: Tom Slemen continues to scare us with his popular series Haunted Liverpool
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 12, 2012
Words:1237
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