Friday, February 24, 2017

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The Beast of Croglin Grange

Among the great plagues of vampirism which spread across Eastern Europe during the seventeenth century, perhaps the most famous account is that of Arnold Paole, a Serbian soldier who became known as the Vampire of Meduegna.
The phantom of Croglin Grange is one of the best known vampire stories in Britain. It is as famous in the annals of vampire lore as Whitby and its Dracula associations. The actual story bears the marks of fiction and first appeared in a book called 'In My Solitary life' by Augustus Hare related to him by a certain Captain Fisher. What follows is an adapted and shortened version of his story.


The area around Croglin in Cumbria has long been linked with strange beasts. Back in 1733, in the nearby village of Renwick, as workmen were pulling down the old church, they said they disturbed a sleeping Cockatrice (a medieval monster), which flew up and attacked them. Others laughed and said it was just a bat, and bats were harmless, weren't they! However, it was only a century later when another beast brought terror to Croglin Grange.

Croglin Grange is a low granite-brick farmhouse, standing on a hill overlooking a valley. Nearby is an ancient churchyard. In the 1800's the Fisher family, who owned the farmhouse, moved to a larger place and rented out Croglin Grange.

The house stood empty all winter who knows what ancient stirrings were aroused in its period of dereliction.As the winter passed into spring new tenants moved in. They were two brothers and a sister namely Edward, Michael and Amelia Cranswell; three young Australians who were visiting England and had fallen in love with the Cumbrian countryside and the isolated but beautiful house. The siblings were very friendly and soon became popular with the locals.On their part, the tenants were greatly delighted with their new residence. The arrangement of the house, which would have been a trial to many, was not so to them. In every respect Croglin Grange was exactly suited to them.

About a year later, one summer's night in 1875, feeling 'a little under the weather', after eating an early dinner and enjoying some fresh air on the veranda, the three siblings retired to their own rooms. Moonlight bathed Croglin Grange. It had been very hot. It was such a beautiful night that Amelia left open the shutters of her ground floor bedroom.

The old farm yard was filled with shadows. Among the shadows there seemed to be two flashing lights away near the churchyard. As they moved closer, Amelia could see they were eyes, but of what animal she could not make out. Making sure that the window was shut fast and the door locked, she went to bed to try and sleep.

An Artist's Depiction

Some moments later, she heard a rustling sound and looked up to see the eyes staring at her through the glass of the window. Around the eyes, the poor girl glimpsed a shrivelled brown face. Then she heard the horrid sound of nails scratching at the window pane. Amelia leapt from her bed and ran to the door, her heart thumping as she tugged at the handle. It would not open! Remembering she had locked the door, she groped for the key.

Her hands were shaking so badly that she fumbled and could not work the key. Another sound made her made her blood run cold. The creature was pulling away the lead strips which held the window panes in place. A pane rattled, then fell out. A bony arm came through the broken pane and began to open the window. Amelia desperately rattled the key.

Seconds later, she was aware of something in the room. She tried to scream but no sound would come. The hideous thing moved toward her. It twisted its long bony fingers in her hair. Finally, as it drags her across the bed and sinks its teeth into her neck, the paralysis is broken and she utters a piercing scream which both alerts her brothers to the danger and also seemingly drives the vampire away. Blood curdling screams brought the brothers running to her door. They forced it open with a poker and rushed in to see Amelia collapsed on the floor with blood oozing from bites in her neck.

Michael looked after his sister while Edward rushed to the window and could just make out a strange figure vanishing through the arch in the farmyard wall.Then he rejoined his brother by the sister's bedside. The doctor was called and he gave Amelia a sleeping draft. He would not believe that she could bear so terrible a shock so easily, and insisted that she should take a long holiday to get over the shock. As for the intruder, well, he could only think it was a madman or a monkey escaped from a travelling show.When she came to herself she said, 'What has happened is most extraordinary and I am very much hurt. It seems inexplicable, but of course, there is an explanation, and we must wait for it. It will turn out that a lunatic has escaped from some asylum and found his way here.' 

As soon as Amelia was a little better, they left for a holiday in the Swiss Mountains. But, such was Amelia's fondness for the old house, that at her insistence they returned to the grange the following year where all appears to be normal. The Swiss air had dimmed the horror to a misty memory.The sister occupied the same room, but it is unnecessary to say she always closed the shutters, which, however, as in many old houses, always left one top pane of the window uncovered. The brothers moved, and occupied a room together, exactly opposite that of their sister, and they always kept loaded pistols in their room.

While she was away there had been other reports in the area of girls being attacked by a strange bony creature. And a wave of sheep killings had also begun. Edward heard of these things and his worry grew.All was well through the autumn and winter. Then, one night in March 1876, Amelia again heard the same horrid sound of fingernails on the glass. The creature broke open the shutter and was trying to enter, when her cries brought the brothers to her room.The well-armed brothers charged out the front door, shooting at the creature as it ran away.Edward ran to the yard and in the wintry moonlight caught sight of a tall, cloaked, shadowy shape.He fired his pistol and the monster staggered and gave a howl before stumbling over the frosted fields towards the churchyard.

He returned to his brother and sister. The next day, at dawn, the brothers gathered together the Gamekeeper and some men from the village and went to the misty graveyard. At first nothing looked wrong,then they saw that the mossy top of the Fisher Family vault had been moved and lay partly out of place.

Inside, the tomb was in a terrible mess, except for one stone coffin. The villagers drew back, as the brothers tore off the lid of the coffin. Inside, lay a hideous brown and mummified figure.Features could still be seen on the wrinkled skin, now walnut coloured through age. In the thin, yellowed skin of one leg was a fresh shotgun wound!
One of the villagers stepped forward. He told the brothers he had seen this same creature of the night attacking and killing livestock. He said the only way to destroy it was with fire. The shocked villagers all agreed that the hideous corpse should be burnt immediately.
Sped on by terror, the men hurried away to find wood and, in the far corner of the graveyard, they built a huge bonfire. With trembling hands, they lifted the mummified creature from the coffin. Desperate to get rid of this horrible burden, they stumbled across the ground and cast it into the fire. As the sun rose the beast howled and crumbled to ashes in the flames. Since that day, the terror of Croglin Hall has never been seen again.
Croglin Low Hall
Nobody seemed to know where this strange creature came from, or why it had remained dormant in the centuries of peace when the Fishers lived in the property. One can only surmise that during the period of dereliction, an age-old horror was reawakened and would not return to rest after the house was reoccupied.
Hare’s account of the Croglin Grange story has been a victim by many critics who said that it was pure fantasy. Recent research by Lionel Fanthorpe suggests that the story is much older than reported. A chapel and vault closer to the house were demolished in Cromwell's day, and a second storey was added to the house after this date. So the description from the story matches much better in the 17th century.The spot where the story is said to take place is probably the very real Croglin Low Hall.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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Canberra Ghosts

Canberra's Scariest Ghost Tours and Haunted Houses

Canberra is famous for being home to politicians, Yet there's another side to the city, one filled with strange stories of underground bunkers, secret listening towers, ghosts, haunted cottages, UFOs and hairy beast.Take to the nation's capital at night and you're sure to experience hair-raising paranormal activity unlike any other.Mysterious tales first told by early Aboriginal Australians have re-emerged time and again, from 18th century European settlers all the way to present-day witnesses.Perhaps there are natural, or man-made, rational explanations for the eerie events right at the seat of government, but whatever the truth behind the myriad conspiracy theories, one thing is for sure: something weird is going on in Canberra:


Blundells Cottage

There's nothing like a scary story to get your bones rattling and Blundells Cottage is home to one of the scariest stories in town! Enter the door of the cottage where you'll be greeted by the ghost of a young teenager who died in the cottage in 1892 at the age of just 16, as a result of burns sustained following an ironing accident. Bringing the sights, sounds and smells of the unfortunate disaster, the ghost wanders the building day and night. Entry is free but you'll only be able to visit during daylight.

2.Duntroon House:

Duntroon House – the haunt of Canberra's best-known ghost.Built in 1833 by merchant shipper Robert Campbell, Duntroon House is the oldest building in Canberra.These days it is primarily used as the Officer's Mess for the Royal Military College but it's not just our top brass that wander its stately corridors and around its dark corners. 

 During the 1970s, residents of the Royal Military College started to report glimpses of a glowing ghost of a young woman in 19th century period costume.Soon after, some residents also complained a bed, freshly made in the morning, would be found as if it had been slept in later in the day, with pillows hurled around the room.

This room, on the first floor, once belonged to Sophia Susanna Campbell (Robert's granddaughter), who, on May 31, 1885, aged just 28, died after falling from the room's window.  In recent months the vision of a lady in a white dress has been seen wandering aimlessly through the wanders the building day and night.

3.Air Disaster Memorial:

On August 13, 1940, a Lockheed Hudson bomber plummeted into a hill between Canberra Airport and Queanbeyan, burst into flames, sadly killing all 10 people on board.What has long been the final resting place of the people killed in Canberra’s air crash disaster is now one of the most haunted attractions in town. Located near Canberra Airport, the memorial is said to be haunted by those who lost their lives at the site on that fatal day, back in 1940.Tales abound like the one about the teenager who fled the forest screaming, claiming she was being followed by images of an airman on fire and young couples (prior to the access road being closed to the public, it was once a popular "parking" spot) catching fleeting glimpses of a ghostly figure as it darts across the road.There are also stories of people claiming to hear a phantom plane crashing, and also strange and unexplained flashing lights in the old dirt car park adjacent to the memorial.  Located within the forest, it is said that many visitors run away after sighting ghosts. Do you think you have what it takes to face these demons?

4.The Jingera Yahoo (Yowie):

The legend of a wild, hairy man has been told since Australia was colonized. Formerly known as a “yahoo”, now the “yowie”, this Bigfoot-like creature has been seen around NSW. Queensland and the Northern Territory.
In Bredbo, near Canberra, locals tried to catch such a monster, according to an account from The Queanbeyan Age in August 1886: “Whilst a young man named Flynn was looking after stock at the back of the Bredbo station one afternoon last week, he was surprised to observe a hairy human form, about seven feet in height, walking in the bush. The wild man walked with an unsteady, swinging, and fast step, his arms being bent forward and nearly reaching the ground, whilst the colour was described as ‘bay’, between a red and chestnut.
 Flynn did not take a second look at the uncanny creature but rode as fast as he could to the homestead of Mr. Crimmings, nearly two miles away, to whom he reported the strange, mysterious affair. Since then, Mr. Crimmings himself has encountered the monster, and his account tallies exactly with that given by Mr. Flynn. But Mr. Crimmings heard the animal make a cry that sounded very like ‘Yahoo’. We hear that Mr. Joseph Hart, of Jingera, also saw the Yahoo as he was returning home one afternoon. The strange being is, no doubt, the ‘Wildman’ that has been so often talked of about Jingera for so many years past. It is the intention of Bredbo and Jingera residents to scour the bush in a strong body and capture the monster alive or dead.

5.National Film and Sound Archive of Australia:

This art deco building once housed the somewhat gory Institute of Anatomy from 1931 to 1984 and is home to a bevy of "paranormal" activity. The downstairs corridor is apparently one of the major hot-spots for poltergeist activity, and it's little wonder, given it was once lined with hundreds of human skulls.
Other paranormal phenomena reported here includes a poltergeist that hurls the circular metal containers of the old-fashioned film strips, a petri dish throwing poltergeist in an upstairs darkroom, and the ghostly vision of a child looking up through a grill in the old cinema. There have been over 100 sightings of ghosts here alone so prepare to be afraid.


There’s no need to take on the paranormal on your own! Tim the Yowie Man is your go-to guy when you’re in the mood for a scare. Explore the haunted side of Canberra on tours designed to have you shaking in your boots. Choose from a number of tours which take you to the most haunted sites in town, including the famous air crash disaster and the hotel where a former prime minister lurks. No matter what kind of scare you’re after, professional ghost hunter Tim has you covered! A collection of Tim the Yowie Man's columns is now available in a book. In the Spirit of Banjo is available at Book Passion or at

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Monday, February 13, 2017

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5 Mysterious Prehistoric Animals Spotted Alive Today (Dark5)

Top 5 mysterious cryptid sightings and unexplained photos with links to lost dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

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Giant Isopod

Giant Isopod

The giant isopod, known scientifically as Bathynomus Gigantes, is the largest known member of the isopod family. They are abundant in cold, deep waters of Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.The giant isopod is also related to the small pillbugs that you can find in the garden.

The enormous size of giant isopods is the result of a phenomenon known as deep-sea gigantism This is the tendency of deep sea crustaceans and other animals to grow to a much larger size than similar species in shallower waters. Other examples of this would be the giant squid and the giant tube worm.They can grow between 7.5 and 14.2 inches in length, but they can get much bigger: One specimen pulled up with an ROV in 2010 was 2.5 feet long. Scientists aren't quite sure why these isopods get so enormous but believe that their huge size might be an adaptation that helps them survive the extreme pressure of the deep ocean.Their shells come in two colors: brown and pale lilac.

The giant isopod is a carnivorous crustacean that spends its time scavenging the deep sea floor. Food is extremely scarce at these great depths, so the isopod has adapted to eat whatever happens to fall from above.Some evidence also suggests that they might also eat slow-moving live animals like sponges.Giant isopods also attack trawl catches.When threatened, they curl up like pillbugs.The isopod can go for long periods of time without eating and has been known to survive over eight weeks without food in when kept in captivity.

Giant Isopods reproduce by laying eggs.These eggs are thought to be the largest of all the marine invertebrates.Females don’t eat when they’re brooding; instead, they bury themselves in sediment to reduce energy use and to protect the eggs.

 Giant isopods are found in most oceans of the world. Their habitat ranges in depth from the dimly lit sublittoral zone at 550 ft (170 m) to the pitch darkness of the bathypelagic zone at 7,020 ft (2,140 m). They prefer mud or clay ocean bottom areas where they prefer to live solitary lives.
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Friday, February 10, 2017

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Strange Creature found in Malaysia

A strange sea creature resembling a centipede was found washed up on the shoreline at Pulau Pangkor in Malaysia.

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