Vampires: The Return of Blood Sucking Fiends

devil vampire portrait

A Vampiric Introduction

Did you know that statistically there is a one hundred percent chance that you’re going to die? I hate to break it to you but it’s true, and there is nothing you can do to stop the march of time leading to the great, black abyss of the grave. Oh sure, you can attempt to prolong the inevitable by staying in shape, eating right, and filling your body with every vitamin and mineral you can get your hands on. But the fact remains, you will never cheat death. 

Or can you?

Throughout history, going beyond the mists of time, there have reportedly been creatures who did just that: cheat death. Vile beings, who rise from the dead and maintain their vitality by feeding on the blood of their fellow man. These monstrous entities have been known by many names throughout the centuries, but one seems to always apply, vampire.

Ever since the publication of Stoker’s dark fantasy, Dracula, the vampire has been a major part of pop culture. Countless books, movies and songs such as Suspended in Dusk by goth metal band Type O Negative (a personal favorite), present the vampire as a cursed soul constantly at odds with its humanity and its desire to kill for that most precious of human bodily fluids. Human imagination and its desire for romance have turned this vicious killer into an anti-hero of sorts.

Of course, all these books, movies and dark songs have gotten it wrong concerning the vampire. Although it’s fun to think of these creatures as dark romantic heroes forced to endure an eternity of endless night. The true vampire is nothing more than an animated corpse with a desire to spread disease and kill. There is nothing even remotely beautiful about these monstrous beings. But rather, they are horrific to behold and terrifying to encounter. 

I ask you this, do you believe such creatures exist and have found a way to keep death at bay? 

“No,” you say? 

Well, my friend, you may just change your mind as we return to the tomb for more Blood Sucking Fiends and we’ll start in merry old England.

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Vampires From England

When you think of England and the supernatural, a couple different things may come to mind. Perhaps your mind conjures up the apparition of a lonely lady in gray forever wandering the stone corridors of an ancient castle, pining over a love that will never be. Or perhaps you summon images of war weary English civil war soldiers manifesting in a remote field ready to do battle for king and country. 

These are but two examples of the phantoms that haunt the ancient landscape of Britain. 

However, you can add the undead to that list. Because although the word “vampire” may not appear in the English vocabulary until the 19th century, the history of England is crawling with tales of blood sucking fiends.

The Revenant Of Berwick

Centuries before Stoker wrote of Dracula coming to England and taking up residence in Carfax Abbey, vampires were already haunting the nightmares of England. Vampires, or to use an historical description, revenants, were already known in the darkest corners of English history.

From what historians have gathered, the earliest known record of a vampire dates to 1196 CE. William of Newburgh, an historian, writes in his Historia Rerum Anglicarum of a hideous walking corpse terrorizing the god-fearing people of Berwick in Northumbria. A monstrous being, that by the laws of nature should not exist.

According to William, the nightmare began when a wealthy man unexpectedly died. Not long after his burial, the man was seen by the villagers stalking the shadows of the town and causing the dogs to sound unearthly howls of torment. Fearing this undead revenant would cause a plague, the villagers exhumed the man’s body, dismembered it and burned it till it was ash. Several noted historians of vampiric lore find it curious that this account sounds very much like ones from eastern Europe. The deed of saving the town was done…or so they thought 

Despite the vile creature being sent to the great unknown, a killer disease broke out. The illness swept through Berwick, leaving horror and death in its wake. Of course, it was believed the revenant had brought this upon the town despite being dealt with. William ends his account there and doesn’t detail if the dead were treated the same as the revenant.

Vampire Of Croglin Grange 

Perhaps, my favorite story of blood suckers in Britain allegedly occurred at Croglin Grange in the Cumberland region. I say allegedly because the historicity of the story has been challenged. The story first appeared in Story Of My Life by author Augustus Hare; skeptics regard it as nothing more than folklore. However, noted priest, exorcist and vampirologist Montague Summers attests to its authenticity. I, of course, leave you to decide for yourself.

According to Hare, Amelia Cranswell and her two brothers rented a house in Croglin Grange in 1875. They sought to get away from the city and enjoy the peace of country living. During the daylight hours, the house and surrounding area were exactly what they were looking for. The nighttime hours were an altogether different story.

One night as Amelia slept, she was awakened from her slumber by a strange noise at her window. When her eyes finally focused, she could see what was causing the sound. Standing at her window, was a grotesque figure with withered skin and eyes that burned with the fires of Hades reaching its hand through the window. Amelia, stricken by horror, was helpless as the creature entered her room and sunk its gnarled teeth into her neck. When Amelia finally found her voice, she let out a shriek. When her brothers burst through the door, one stayed with her and the other chased the creature into a graveyard and lost it.  After the harrowing encounter the siblings decided to take a trip to Switzerland. They hoped the trip would heal their terrified sister. 

The night the Cranswells returned, the creature showed up once again but this time the brothers were ready. When the creature entered the room, one of the brothers shot the creature in the leg. The vampire let out a scream and fled the house. When the brothers caught up with him, they found it laying in a tomb with a wound in its leg and fresh blood upon its lips. The brothers set the vampire on fire, thus ending the vile predator’s reign of terror.

Looking back on this horrifying story, skeptics don’t believe this was anything supernatural at all. Rather they believe the vampire was an escaped lunatic who had a history of violently attacking and biting people. Whatever the truth of the vampire’s nature may have been, the attacks in Croglin Grange came to an end.

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About Rick Hale 79 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, Spookyisles.com and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at YouTube.com.

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