Summer, 2018—Chris Friend
Since this is the summer issue I decided to write on the
allegedly true case of The Vampire of Croglin Grange. It reportedly happened
during the summer of 1875, ending in 1876.
According to the legend a family by the name of Fisher
owned a house in what is now Cumberland, England. The house was rented out to a
young family of two brothers and one sister. Amelia, Edward, and Michael
Cranswell were in need of a summer home and this seemed to be the place. During
this particular summer the area was intensely hot, making it
especially hard for the family to sleep. The girl slept near the window which
overlooked an ancient cemetery. Restless, Amelia Cranswell lay on her bed
looking out the window when she noticed a strange shadowy figure coming
out of the graveyard and moving closer and closer to her window. The figure
turned out to be a ghoulish monster that came through the window and grabbed
her by the neck. The monster was described as having a mummy-like visage with
glowing red eyes. He leapt on her and bit her on the throat.
Amelia managed to scream, alerting her two brothers and
scaring the vampire back to the cemetery. A local doctor was called to the
scene and bandaged the young lady’s wound. The doctor also suggested that they
take a holiday in Switzerland, advice they followed. But with little money the
three youths knew they would have to return to Croglin Grange.
During the spring of 1876 the three Cranswells returned to
England and the house where the previous attack had happened. This time they
remained on guard for the vampire. So, when the monster showed its ugly head, they
were ready for it and one of the brothers shot it in the leg. This sent the
vampire flying back to the old boneyard where they tracked it. Apparently this
vampire was also a ghoul who tore open and fed on the corpses buried with it.
The only coffin not so violently disturbed was the resting place of the guilty
ghoul, who had a fresh bullet wound from the previous night. They extracted the
bullet and burned the vampire to ashes, which they dumped in a local waterway.
No one was assaulted by the vampire from that point on.
The story was first recorded by August Hare in his
book, The Story of My Life. But
there is a degree of controversy over the exact location of Croglin Grange. It
may have been in an area known as Croglin Low House which had a churchyard like
the one described. Others have suggested that the whole story may have been an
elaborate hoax. There is also a footnote that the story took place in the 17th
century, nearly two hundred years before
the date of the account. I recounted this infamous vampire tale for the summer
issue because it makes a great spooky campfire story for all you campers out
My movie review this issue is of the Hammer Studio classic,
“The Revenge of Frankenstein” (1958). Directed by the great Terence Fisher,
this was a sequel to the enormously successful, “The Curse of Frankenstein”
(1957). Unlike Universal’s Frankenstein films, Hammer’s version of Mary Shelley’s
tale had Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) as the character who moved
from the first film to the next.
“The Revenge of Frankenstein” shows how the Baron managed
to do this. In this version Frankenstein has managed to escape the guillotine
with a little friendly help (in this case from his deformed protégé, Igor,
played by Michael Gwynn). The good doctor promises his helper a brand new body
as a reward. But, there’s trouble afoot with the creature shifting back into a
deformed being and also a cannibalistic killer.
The monster is revealed to be the work of Frankenstein
(going by the name of Dr. Stein), who
is attacked. Another of the dear Baron’s ghoulish sidekicks transplants Victor’s
brain into a brand new body and thus, goes on with his experiments in body
building. More than any of Hammer Studios’ other horror films I believe the
Frankenstein movies to be my favorites. I first saw this one as a kid one
Halloween night and have been a fan ever since.
Happy summer, Earthlings. And, as an added bonus, here are
two of my poems.
Like a sour apple
left out after Halloween
In the ancient
A ghost made of
frost and silence
The crescent moon
is a sickle across the neck
Of the sacred bull
Weeping blood on
the dead earth
Chris Friend, email@example.com,
of Parkersberg, W.Va, wrote the BP #84 poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of
Mithra” (+ the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft,” Beauty’s Sleep,” &
“Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The
Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP
#77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the
Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night
Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan
Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour
Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS
News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue,
and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his
column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at http://chris.michaelherring.net/ and was featured artist
Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].