This legend, perhaps, could be considered one of the most famous and sought after accounts of a real vampire. In Cumberland, England, the Legend begins at an old family estate, known as Croglin Grange. According to an account of the Croglin Grange vampire written between 1896 and 1900, by Augustus Hare in The Story of My Life,The estate belonged to the Fisher family. The Fisher family made a decision to move to a place with larger accommodations in Thorncombe, near Guildford, and rent out the ground level estate to three siblings, Amelia and her two brothers, Michael and Edward Cranswell. The Cranswell's loved living at Croglin Grange and became quite popular within the surrounding community.
Retiring on a hot summer evening, Amelia found herself unable to sleep due to the level of heat, instead, she laid and gazed out her window into the beautiful night. Suddenly, between the church yard and the house lawn, she seen two flickering lights moving in amongst the trees. Then as the lights glided closer towards the house, she became aware that the two flickering lights were that of some horrid creature. Fear stricken and unable to move, she watched as the creature came closer and closer into view. At first it appeared as though it was going to take another direction around the house, but then it seemed to change it's mind and turn back towards the direction of her bedroom window.
Upon this speculation, Amelia jumped from her bed and ran for her door, but as she was attempting to unlock her door, she heard scratch, scratch, scratch on the window. As she turned to observe what she was hearing, she seen a atrocious brown face with flaming eyes staring fiercely at her. She ran back in hid in her bed, she watched in helpless terror as the creature clawed it's way through, removing the pane, and then reaching in to unlock her window. Horrendously stricken with fear, she laid there frozen, as the creature grabbed her by her hair with it's long, bony fingers and sank it's teeth into her throat.
Finally able to vocalize her terror, she screams and her two brothers come running, but the creature fled before they got to her. One brother stayed to comfort his sister while the other pursued the creature, but he had lost track of the creature as it disappeared over the churchyard wall. Amelia was seen by a doctor and treated for her wounds, he also suggested that some time away from Croglin Grange would probably be in the best interest for Amelia. Taking the Doctor's advice, Amelia and her two brothers went on a extended visit to Switzerland. Not long after, Amelia insisted on returning to Croglin Grange and dismissed the incident as a case of an escaped lunatic. So, at Amelia's request, the three siblings returned to Croglin Grange.
For several months, things where fine and there was no sign of the creature, then, on one evening in March, Amelia was awakened to the same dreadful scratching sounds at her window that were all too familiar. Her windows were always shuddered since the last incident, so she was unable to have a clear view as to what was causing the sound. As she went to the window and looked out from the top window pane, she saw the same hideous face with the fiery eyes.
She immediately screamed and her brothers, well-armed, ran out the front door and opened fire on the creature as it ran across the lawn. They were certain that they had wounded it in it's leg, chasing after the creature, they traced it to the vaults of local cemetery. The very next day, the brothers, along with some towns-people went to the cemetery. The two brothers went into the vaults finding all but one of the coffins destroyed into pieces. When they opened the coffin, they described the corpse as a brown, mummified monster. Upon further examination, they found the fresh gunshot wound on it's leg. They removed the bullet from the creatures leg and then burned the corpse.
Augustus Hare's account of the Croglin Grange vampire has been under fire by many critics as a work of absolute imagination, the most outrageous of the many "tall tales" included in the memoirs. Amongst these critics, the most notable were that of Charles G. Harper, F. Clive Ross, and psychic researcher, Scott Rogo. In 1929, Charles G. Harper visited the area in which Croglin Grange was supposed to have existed, but could not find such a place.
However, there were two other buildings, Croglin High Hall and Croglin Low Hall, but neither of these buildings fit the description of Hare's Croglin Grange. The Church, which was supposed to be nearby, was not. The closest one was over a mile away, and no cemetery vault was found as described in the writings as well. Later on, F.Clive Ross discredited Charles G. Harpers report after his visit to the same area. By speaking to many of the local residents, he ascertained the Croglin Low Hall was the house referenced in Hare's writings, and that a church had indeed existed near Croglin Low Hall for many years, in fact, during the 1930's, the findings of a foundation was still there.
Then in 1968, Psychic researcher, Scott Rogo brought attention to a very good likeness of the Croglin Grange story with that of the first chapter in the popular Varney the Vampyre story which was originally published in 1847. Another story, which was published in 1929 by Montague Summers, shared in some of the same likeness of the vampire of Croglin Grange. Rogo believed that it was very well possible that one story is based upon another, and possibly no more than a simple hoax.
Some time later, F. Clive Ross returned to the area and spoke with locals in the area, and they told him that there was substantial misconstrued information in Hare's original account. He was informed that the story did not take place in the 1870's, but in the 1680's nearly two centuries before. This would place the events prior to the publication of Varney the Vampyre, and also places the tale so far back into time to correctly verify the authenticity this legend.
The Vampire of Croglin Grange was originally written by Augustus Hare in his book, The Story of My Life. The accounts of vampirism was passed to him by Captain Fisher. This is my reaccount of that event based on the story and some excerpts are used from Hare's record.