Black Petals Issue #84 Summer, 2018

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Goodbye to Nowhere Land-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Just a Minute-Fiction by Mark Joseph Kevlock
Nobody Should Be in 1610 Maple-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Fiction by A.M. Stickel, Chapter 1
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Fiction by A.M. Stickel, Chapter 2
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Fiction by A.M. Stickel, Chapter 3
Prey-Poems by Michael Keshigian
Asunder-Poems by Mick Rose

Summer, 2018—Chris Friend


Hello again!

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 there.


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.



The Sentinel 


Like a sour apple left out after Halloween

I stand alone 

Holding my shroud 

In the ancient graveyard

A ghost made of frost and silence

Forever waiting.


Psalm of Mithra


The crescent moon is a sickle across the neck 

Of the sacred bull

Weeping blood on the dead earth

Resurrecting life and land.


Chris Friend,, 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 Doll 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 and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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