This is reblogged from my Lurking Musings blog where it featured as part of my Vampire Month special event. On Thursday this week, Johnathon will be talking in more detail about the Vampire Killing kit that the museum has in its collection.
Today we have an interview with Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. He recently gave a talk entitled ‘How to kill a Vampire’ which I was lucky enough to attend and it was this talk which led me to approach him about a slot in Vampire month.
As someone born in the North East of England, I am no stranger to either coal mining or the need for Unions to protect the rights of workers. This story therefore has a lot of resonance with me, even if the coal mining in question took place over 130 years ago and several thousand miles away in Pennsylvania state.
The story goes that in the 1870s a group of Irish coal miners, all part of an Irish Pro-Union organisation called the Molly Maguires, were accused of murder. It is such a well known tale that there was even a movie about it starring Sean Connery. Accounts agree that the circumstances of their arrest and trial between 1876 and 1878 were somewhat shady with an investigation carried out by the Pinkerton Detective agency (a private concern) and arrests made by the Coal and Iron Police (a paid militia run by the companies that owned the mines). There were also suspicions of Jury tampering (the composition of the jury was composed of ethnic groups such as German and Welsh immigrants who had a distaste for the Irish) and the judge was reputed to have a heavy anti-Molly bias.
The Loch Ness Monster has been one of the most enduring myths of the last two centuries. In fact, the legend may be even older if you take into account the supposed sighting by St Columba in the 6th Century Ever since the first modern age sighting of a ‘log like’ object by D MacKenzie in 1871 speculations about what might be lurking in the depths of the 263 thousand million cubic feet of water that constitutes the largest body of water in the whole of the United Kingdom. Attempts to discover the truth of the matter have even extended so far as to an ambitious one million pound (~$1,524,674) project to scan the entire Loch using sonar called Operation Deepscan.
They say that in space no one can hear you scream… Well, the producers and marketing teams of the Alien franchise of Sci Fi films said that and it became one of the more well known movie taglines of all time. You may not be able to scream in space but it is certainly the most likely place where you might spot aliens.
Of all the supernatural creatures that are known about, I reckon that Vampires are quite possibly the most well known.
The literary creation of John William Polidari (one time physician to Lord Byron) and popularized by Bram Stoker, the Vampire has blazed a trail through books, movies, cartoons, comics and theater productions for much of the 20th century and is still going strong in the 21st. YA fiction in particular has adopted the vampire with gusto, turning them from blood sucking horrors that lurk in the night to sexy, angst ridden anti heroes. Needless to say, everyone knows all about Vampires.
Greetings and welcome to the month of October!
This month we hope to present articles on all the little things that make Halloween so great with our “31 Days of Halloween”!
We were fortunate enough to have some help in that regard, so we start out with a article by Doctor Jo Bath about one of the most iconic Halloween symbols…witches!
This is another relatively infamous ghost photo which was taken at Raynham Hall in Norfolk in 1936. It was taken by two photographers for Country Life magazine, which made its name highlighting the pleasures of living in the country and used photographs of various stately homes as evidence of this. According to the story, the two journalists were doing just such a photo shoot when they saw the ghost descending the stairs and quickly took this photograph.
By D.A. Lascelles
The photograph of the Newby Church Monk is often cited as one of the ‘best ghost photos ever’ and with good reason. It has particular resonance with me because it is one of the first photographs that ever really scared the hell out of me as a child.