Tag Archives: vampires

Eden Valley Villages ~ A Vampire & A Cockatrice.

Forget Whitby’s Count Dracula connections. Cumbria’s own Eden Valley has had its share of batty experiences. Two villages in particular have suffered attacks by supernatural beings……..

First let’s visit Croglin , a pretty fell side settlement, about ten miles south of Carlisle. Here the houses are rosy stoned and few. There is a pub called The Robin Hood and a little church.

The Vampie Of Croglin Grange is a retelling of a story told at a dinner party to a collector of horror stories, a Victorian writer called ‘Dr Augustus Hare’.

The story goes that two brothers and a sister rented the property called Croglin Grange in the village. One hot summers night the siblings retired to bed. Unable to sleep, the sister Amelia watched the moonlit night from her bedroom window, noticing a couple of moving lights heading from the nearby church yard, towards the house.

Suddenly Amelia found herself frozen to the spot. A wizened gnarled figure with long boney fingers was scratching at the lead around the window. Before long the glass window fell through and the terrifying figure flung itself onto Amelia, biting her neck. Her petrified screams awoke her brothers who came to her aid, one of whom chased the creature , losing sight of it in the church grounds.

Amelia’s brothers took her to Switzerland to recover. Being a non superstitious trio the three returned to the grange ( I think I would have stayed away πŸ™„) to carry on with their tenancy. Unfortunately Amelia was not to be left in peace. Her persistent attacker returned!

This time the brothers managed to shoot the figure , tracking it down to a vault in the cemetery. They waited until daylight to surprise the ‘vampire’ who they found resting in a coffin, a fresh bullet wound in its leg. They then dragged the creature outdoors into the churchyard and burned it. πŸ¦‡

Cottages in Croglin.
Somebody’s watching me…
Somebody else is watching me….
St John’s Church, Croglin.

So is The Vampire Of Croglin Grange a true story? There does not appear to be a building called Croglin Grange in Croglin. However is it coincidence that another Eden valley village, not to far from Croglin, has a peculiar legend too…..

Renwick is a red sandstone built small settlement, formerly known as Ravenwick, there is a Raven Beck running through the village.

In the early 1600s residents of Renwick suffered the appearance of the Renwick Cockatrice. The extraordinary tale is mentioned in William Hutchinson’s ‘ The History Of The County Of Cumberland’ , published many years later in 1794.

Workmen were dismantling the old village church in order to build a new one on the site we see today. Suddenly a vicious winged creature flew up from the vaults and started attacking the villagers. It apparently resembled half cockerel/half lizard, known in legend as a ‘ cockatrice’. As a bite or even a glare from a cockatrice was said to be deadly, people ran for cover.

Only one villager was brave enough to fight off the beast. John Tallantire of nearby Scale houses slayed it with a Rowan branch. His reward was that he and his family were let off paying rents for years and years after.

The cockatrice has also become known as ‘The Renwick Bat’ …and apparently last made an appearance in the 1950s!

All Saints Church, Renwick.
Rowan trees are found locally, known for fending off evil.
Twisty tree.
Sun dial bird.
John Tallantire’s headstone.
A Renwick cottage.

Is it possible that the Renwick Cockatrice was simply an oversized bat disturbed by the demolition of the church? We shall never know, as like the Croglin Vampire, the villagers burned the evidence..

πŸ¦‡

13 Vampire Films.

October nights are drawing in. Why not cuddle down in crushed velvet and sink your teeth into one of the following…

Interview With The Vampire ( 1994). A centuries old vampire recounts his epic life story. Louis’s  tale starts in 18th century New Orleans , where he is turned by the selfish, violent and pleasure seeking Lestat. A tortured soul , reluctant to kill, yet instilled with a terrible lust for blood, Louis plots to escape his evil maker. Things are made more complicated however, when the couple turn a child. A sumptuous  adaptation of Anne Rice’s gothic horror. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst star.


Vamps ( 2012). On a lighter note, Amy Heckerling’s  ‘ Vamps’ is all fun and fangs. Reunited with her Clueless Star Alicia Silverstone, Heckerling directs a  romcom about two vampire flat mates. Negotiating a dating life in modern day NY is pretty dicey when your a blood sucking babe ! Krysten Ritter( of Jessica Jones fame) also stars.

The Lost Boys ( 1987).  Think sunkissed Santa Cruz in the 80’s and it seems an unlikely haven for the undead. But then this movie has quirky characters, a killer soundtrack and some badass leatherclad teen vampires. Two brothers move to a new town and whilst the older boy gets in with the wrong crowd, the younger brother begins to suspect their Mother may be dating a vampire.  Luckily he finds friendship in the form of a couple of garlic clove wielding comic store geeks, and the threesome go all out, to out the towns blood sucking fiends. Horror comedy with a stellar cast that includes Kiefer Sutherland and Diane Wiest.

Byzantium ( 2012). Gemma Arteton and Saoirse   Ronan   play Mother and Daughter vampires,  seeking refuge in a washed out British seaside resort, in this Neil Jordan ( Interview with the Vampire) directed horror thriller. On the run from kindred vampires,  the duo try to etch out a life by the sea, the mother ( a lap dancing prostitute ) and daughter ( enrolling as a student in high school) , but danger always lurks around the corner, for themselves….and their victims. 

Fright Night ( 2011).  Anton Yelchin plays Charley , a fairly normal college kid , who finds life is on the up when he starts dating the hottest girl on campus. He grows a bit tired of his geeky mate , who is convinced that there is a vampire serial killer on the loose, after a spree of killings in the area. But then Charley begins to suspect his and his  Mums new neighbor ( a rather dishy Colin Farrell) of deadly goings on. It all gets rather silly when Charley enlists the help of vampire expert Peter Vincent ( David Tennant) , though plenty of humour and gore makes, for a fun and thrilling ride.

Cirque du Freak : The Vampire’s Assistant (2009). Based on the Darren Shan books , this supernatural tale follows a typical teenage boy, who ends up being turned into a vampire and uses  his new powers in a travelling circus, full of wierd and wonderful performers.  Its a while since I’ve watched The Vampire’s Assistant , but I remember it having a Night Circus Vibe. Watch out for Salma Hayek as Madam Truska, the Bearded Lady. 

Let the right one in (2008). A tale as much about friendship as a gruesome vampire killing spree, this Swedish horror is a favourite of mine, despite me spending any gory parts behind a cushion ! Bullied 12 year old Oskar becomes friends with his neighbour Eli, but it seems she is no ordinary girl next door. ….. If your not a fan of subtitles, this movie  got the Hollywood treatment a few years later and was remade as Let Me In. But I prefer the more atmospheric Scandinavian version. 

I am Legend ( 2007).  Existing in a desolate New York City , after a virus has exterminated nearly all mankind and turned survivors into bloodsucking darkseekers , scientist Robert Neville ( Wil Smith) works on a cure, not knowing whether there are any other unaffected humans out there.   This for me is  a hard film to watch ( as I got to emotionally attached to Robert’s loyal dog Sam 😦  ) , but it is a gripping movie , with Smith exceptional in the role of a tormented lonely man, trying to outwit the darkseekers and keep a hold of his  humanity. 

Bramstoker’s Dracula ( 1992 ).  Bramstoker’s gothic horror is brought to the big screen in Francis Ford Coppula’s  lavish production. Dracula ( Gary Oldman) discover’s the reincarnation of his long lost love and sets out to pursue her, slaying and seducing everything in his wake. Mina Harker’s ( Winona Ryder) fiance and friends enlist the help of Vampire killer ‘ Van Helsing’ ( Anthony Hopkins) to destroy the count,  before Dracula claims Mina as his own. 

The Only Lovers Left Alive ( 2014).  Stylish undead duo Adam and Eve are centuries old vampires living in the present day. Whilst Eve still finds the world a fascinating place and resides mostly in romantic Tangiers, Adam is becoming disillusioned with humanity, mostly confined to his apartment in a run down area of Detroit. Eve returns to Adam to find him contemplating the end ,but manages to persuade him otherwise. Their reunion is disturbed by a visit from Eve’s sister Ava, who does not play by the Vampire rules.  Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star in this cool ( and almost collected) tale of the undead ,existing amongst the living. 

Hotel Transylvania (  2012  ).   Where do Monsters go to get away from it all? They go to Count Dracula’s lavish holiday resort ‘ Hotel Transylvania’ of course. πŸ™‚ To celebrate his daughter Mavis’s 118th Birthday, Dracula invites all their Monster Mates for a special weekend. But when a human crashes the party monster mayhem is sure to follow.  Fangs and fun with Adam Sandler and pals. There’s a fangtastic sequel too. 

Buffy the vampire slayer ( 1992).  Before Joss Whedon created the legendary TV show, Buffy was played by another blonde bombshell , not Sarah Michelle Gellar, but actress Kristy Swanson.  In the movie Buffy is trained to be a Slayer by Merrick (Donald Sutherland) and is constantly rescuing her class mate Oliver ( Luke Perry) from bloodthirsty vampires. Thank goodness then,  she has more than her cheer leading skills to fall back on when her most evil nemesis turns up in town. Silly stuff, but theres a hint of why the television series became so successful.

Twilight ( 2008).  I’ll end on every teenage girls favourite vampire movie ( maybe) , as  17 year old Bella Swan ( Kristen Stewart) moves to a new area and new school and meets the strangely mysterious Edward Cullen. He and his equally mysterious family go on frequent hunting trips , avoid the other students and stay out of the sun. Is it possible they are vampires??  Twilight is the first of several movies based on the popular Stephanie Meyer books. Robert Pattinson plays  Bella’s toothy soul-mate Edward Cullen. 

So what do you think of my list ? Is it fangtastic? Or does it Suck??

Enjoy………

February Things. :)

Just a quick catch up post of all the lovely things that I have enjoyed in February. I must say this month has really flown by. Sometimes it has felt like Spring really is just round the corner. And at other times I’m very glad to be snuggled by the roaring fire in the local pub. πŸ™‚

Books. This year I have decided to try and read at least one book a month. And in February I happily did. I am falling back in love with reading again. πŸ™‚ I completed Gone Girl ( I am now tempted to call any Amys I know ‘Amazing Amy’ πŸ˜› ) and I also enjoyed Eva Rice’s charming 1950s tale The Lost Art of keeping secrets with its ditsy characters, crumbling mansion, duck suppers and afternoon teas.

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Eve & Adam.

Films. The romance of Valentines day did not really reflect in the movies I watched this month. My fave by far is an original and captivating vampire story The Only Lovers Left Alive which is actually a love story of sorts.Adam and Eve are years old vampires and the epitome of cool.They are married but live apart.Eve in Tangier.Adam in Detroit ~ his present reincarnation being that of a reclusive rock star, hiding away from his fans.Both have evolved over the years, preferring not to kill humans , sourcing their diet by other means. Eve is reunited with her lover when she senses he is growing jaded of life.The Older by maybe a few thousand years Eve still sees beauty in the world that humanity created. Their reunion is thrown into chaos when Eves younger sister ( who is quite fond of the odd midnight snack) pays them a visit. I loved this film and Tilda Swinton and Tom Huddleston are just right in their roles. Swinton especially brings a wisdom and ethereal quality to Eve. Divine.

Of course I had to watch Gone Girl after reading the book. I thought it was a pretty faithful adaptation. Although if you read the novel you do get a better insight into why the characters behave as they do. If you liked Gone Girl then you will probably also like Before I go to Sleep , a thriller starring Nicole kidman as a woman who wakes up every morning with no memory of anything from her life before. Colin Firth is her long suffering husband and Mark Strong a doctor who claims to be helping her. But whom can she trust…….
So February has been full of thrills and chills film wise. And no Fifty Shades of Grey , as yet. πŸ˜‰

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Paloma. πŸ™‚

Music. Currently listening to ‘A Perfect Contradiction’ Paloma Faith in the car. Oh yes this girl has style and strength and has just won a Brit Award for Best British Female.

Tea Room Treasures. February has seen me eating out at the Garden Kitchen near Sawley with the other half and also my friend Lisa and I discovered the perfectly pretty shabby chic tea room Mellingsin Whalley. I do love a good tea room.:)

Mellings in Whalley.
Mellings in Whalley.

What have you enjoyed in February?

Vampire Reads.


I was looking in my bookshelf over the weekend as I need to reaquaint myself with Breaking Dawn before part two of the film comes out next month–Whoop Cannot wait!) and I realised that I do own quite a few Vampire novels.There is definantly something addictively attractive about the vampire myth and now the nights are drawing in and Halloween looms, getting cozy by the fire with Edward Cullen or Vampire Bill or Casper Varn sounds like a spookily good plan. : )

One of my favourite classic gothic stories is of course Dracula by Bram Stoker.It is written in the form of letters and journal entries and concerns a young solicitor ( Jonathan Harker) who is summoned by the mysterious Count Dracula to his castle in Transylvania to finalize a property deal. Little does he know that the count is a blood sucking vampire who will travel to England and unleash a terrible evil on his fellow countrymen including his true love Mina. Can the renowned Dr Van Helsing and his band of slayers help them…..

I love to read Charlaine Harris’s ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ series which you may have heard of as it is the inspiration for the HBO tv show True Blood. Sookie is a waitress who can read minds ( though she tries to keep this particular talent to herself as people don’t like her for it) and one night she meets Bill who is tall, dark and handsome and the only person ever that she can’t hear thinking.So far, so good! But it turns out Bill is a vampire and Big Trouble. Sookie’s life is changed forever. Dead until Dark is the first book in the series.

‘Let the Right One In’ by John Ajvide Lindqvist is a vampire novel I have to recommend.It tells the story of a twelve year old boy Oskar who befriends the mysterious
Eli only to find she has a dark secret-she is a 200-year old vampire,forever frozen in childhood, and condemmed to live on a diet of fresh blood. This is essentially a story about friendship and acceptance and the Swedish subtitled film version is absolutely brilliant too.


Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’ is a real treat to read. Ok it is really for children but I loved it. It is the story of ‘Bod’ who is really quite normal….except his home is a graveyard, he is being raise
d and educated by ghosts and has a guardian who definatly looks and acts like a vampire.Bod has plenty of adventures in the graveyard but the real danger lies outside in the real world….for that is where the man called Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.A spooky yet charming read.

Of course I must include ‘Twilight’ in my list.Stephanie Meyers bestselling saga is a classic romance between a mortal and a vampire.Twilight is the first book in the series and is written from the perspective of Bella Swan who has just moved to a gloomy rainy town called Forks.At school she meets Edward Cullen who has porcelain skin and is incredibly handsome and there is an instant attraction. But Edward is a vampire who has managed to keep his identity a secret and never fallen in love….until now.But the closer Bella gets to Edward the more she puts herself and her family in danger. Ooooh I can’t wait for the next film installment!

I am currently reading ‘The Dark Heroine’ by Abbigail Gibbs. I have only read a couple of chapters so far but it is holding my interest and looks to be another mortal meets sexy vampire romance. πŸ™‚

I would love to know your favorite Vampire Vampire Stories??