Posted in Blogtober

Blogtober Day 12: Top 5 Cryptids

Stepping outside of the realm of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and werewolves for a second, let’s talk about some monsters today. I’m sharing five of the best-known cryptids with you. If you don’t know what that means, allow me to borrow a definition from my copy of Cryptozoology A to Z (yes, I do really own a copy of this tome). Cryptozoology is formed of three Greek words: “kryptos” meaning “hidden”, “zoon” meaning “animal” and “logia” meaning “study”. So, essentially this means that cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unconfirmed animals, these are called cryptids and here are a few examples.

1. Bigfoot and Yeti

Bigfoot or Sasquatch seems to be North America’s favourite cryptid. The name comes from a plaster cast of one… well… big foot found in the 1950s, this was eventually discovered to be a hoax but the name stuck. Similarities have been drawn between Bigfoot and snow-dwelling but equally hairy Yeti. There hasn’t been any conclusive evidence for the existence of either of these creatures but that doesn’t stop Bigfoot and Yeti enthusiasts from searching.

2. Loch Ness Monster

On the more aquatic side of cryptozoology, we find the Loch Ness Monster, named after one of the largest and deepest lochs in Scotland where it has been allegedly spotted. There have been countless photos of the monster, nearly all of which have been hoaxes. However, something surprising about this story is that the ever mention of a monster in the Ness River goes back to 565 AD as The Life of Saint Columba includes the tale of a swimmer who was dragged below the water’s surface by a sea monster. Could it be Nessie?

3. ABCs

Who’d have thought that the town of Bodmin would get two shout-outs in Blogtober but here we go again. Alien Big Cats, or ABCs, are big cats that have been spotted in places they don’t usually belong. One of the best-known ABCs is the Beast of Bodmin Moor, often thought to be a leopard or puma and believed to have been prowling around in Cornwall in the 1990s. The story became so big that the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food stepped in and investigated the possibility of a big cat being the cause of recently killed livestock. Ultimately, the Ministry concluded that the deaths could have been caused by animals native to the UK but that they couldn’t absolutely rule out the existence of the Beast either… so there.

4. Mothman

We’re heading back to the USA to discuss one of the weirdest cryptids on this list, the Mothman. There were multiple reported sightings of this winged humanoid with glowing red eyes in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966-7. Scientists, however, have come up with various explanations for the creature, from large birds known in the region to car headlights reflected on eyes causing the glowing red effect. This hasn’t stopped speculation about the validity of the Mothman though and there’s even 2002 a movie about the creature starring Richard Gere.

5. Kraken

Lastly we have the Kraken, the gigantic sea monster of Nordic folklore. The Kraken was thought to be an octopus or squid-type creature that would attack ships. In the 1800s, a friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin, the Danish zoologist Japetus Steenstrup, seemed to finally put the mystery surrounding this mythological figure to (sea)bed after formally identifying the giant squid species. However, after the discovery of colossal squids in 1925, it well may be that the Kraken is part of a family of squids that can reach up to 14m in length and 700kg in weight.

Aside from the Kraken just being a really big squid, I don’t hold much faith in any of these creatures being real but it’s still fascinating to read about them. Bye for now!

Posted in Blogtober, History

Blogtober Day 11: It’s All in the Origins: Vampires

This is the second in my It’s All in the Origins series where I examine the history and origins of a famous being associated with Halloween. First up was werewolves and now we’re sinking our teeth into vampire lore.

What is a Vampire?

Here’s the problem with exploring the origins of vampire lore, defining what a vampire is can be surprisingly complicated. Vampire characteristics vary greatly depending on who you ask. A lot of traits we see repeated in vampire fiction today e.g. having an aversion to sunlight, not having a reflection, needing to be invited into a property, turning into bats, not liking garlic and so on come from various pieces of modern fiction. Most notably of all for several of these would be Bram Stoker’s Dracula which we’ll revisit a bit later on.

In European folklore, the general consensus is that a vampire is a usually undead being that preys on the living by consuming their blood (or some other type of life force). That’s a very simple definition though, let’s venture into the history of vampire folklore and fiction.

Folklore and Famous Cases

Perhaps because of the vague and ever-changing definition of what a vampire is, it’s not surprising there is some kind of vampiric creature in nearly every culture around the world. And, much like werewolves, vampire lore dates way back to the ancient times.

In some strands of Judaism there is a possible interpretation that Lilith, the first wife of Adam, is the original vampire. She is often depicted in art as the snake that tempts Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and is sometimes thought to be a kind of demon. There is even one strand of belief that she would steal children and suck their blood, however this is a story that is more commonly attributed to Lamia of ancient Greek mythology.

It could be these figures of religion and mythology that bled into hysteria over vampire attacks. Archaeologists have discovered skeletons of individuals given a vampire’s burial (i.e. with a stake through the heart or a stone in the mouth) across Europe and from several different centuries. But, there are two particular bouts of vampire mass hysteria that I want to mention here:

  • The 18th Century Vampire Controversy

Despite the dawn of the Age of the Enlightenment, mass hysteria gripped Europe after reports began in Prussia of a string of vampire attacks in the early 1720s. Bodies were dug up across the continent and stakes were driven through the hearts of these supposed vampires to ensure the dead would never leave their final resting places.

  • The New England Vampire Panic

In the 1700s and 1800s, tuberculosis, known then as “consumption”, was spreading quickly amongst families in New England. Making sense of the illness and how it was infecting whole families in the days before science had a full understanding of TB led to the sufferers looking to folklore for answers. Some believed that consumption was spread by one infected family member draining the life forms of those around them, even beyond the grave. In order to cure consumption, families would dig up their dead relatives and examine them for decomposition. If the bodies looked fresh and were found to have still blood in their hearts, they would remove and burn several organs and the ashes would be fed to any remaining living sick relatives. Of the multiple New England “vampire” cases, Mercy Brown is the best-known. She died in January 1892 and her body was exhumed two months later after her father suspected she was causing her brother’s consumption. He died not long after drinking a tonic of her ashes. This case is thought be one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published just five years later.

From Dracula to Lestat

Although Dracula is thought to be the definitive work of vampire fiction, it wasn’t the first. There are several precursors to Stoker’s classic novel. These include Varney the Vampire (1840s), a long-standing penny dreadful, Carmilla (1872), Sheridan Le Fou’s novella which began the lesbian vampire trope and The Vampyre (1819), a short story by John William Polidori which features vampire Lord Ruthven, often thought to be inspired by Polidori’s friend Lord Byron and the closest of these three in similarity to Dracula himself.

This brings us to Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897. The antagonist is thought to be inspired by Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracula, the ruler of Wallachia in the 1400s. He has become a historical figure both feared for his cruelty and revered for his status as a national hero in Romania. What he has to do with vampirism is, on the surface, very little. Modern scholars now believe that Stoker didn’t actually know a whole lot about Vlad the Impaler and what he did know came from one biased history book. However, one key aspect of the former ruler’s life has become synonymous with our contemporary understanding of what a vampire is.

Nowadays, there is a belief that Vlad Dracula might have had a condition call porphyria, this causes the body to not produce enough haem, a substance found in haemoglobin. Porphyria can cause paleness, an aversion to sunlight, pronounced fangs and even avoidance of garlic as it can worsen the symptoms. All of these vampiric qualities are found in Dracula and reoccur countless times in vampire fiction, from Lestat to Edward Cullen.

There are various theories as to why Dracula made such a mark on literature and how vampire myth has managed to endure for so long. One thing is for certain though, interest in these bloodsuckers is truly immortal.

Posted in Blogtober

Blogtober Day 10: Top Ten Haunted Locations in the UK

The UK is filled to brim with spooky spectres and tales of haunted houses, castles, pubs and more. Here are my top ten haunted locations in the UK, some of these I’ve been to already and some I’ve got on my bucket list of places to visit.

1. Hampton Court Palace, London

This is one of my all-time favourite haunts. This is because it’s a beautiful building with an extensive history… and a thriving ghost population. There’s a Grey Lady who’s been spotted on a staircase, phantom screaming along the Haunted Gallery and who can forget the chilling CCTV footage of a hooded spectre opening and closing two huge fire doors?!

2. The City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city bubbling over with history and hauntings so I decided to wrap the whole city up as one spooky location. At Edinburgh Castle, there are reports going of a headless drummer boy. In Mary King’s Close, there is a whole stack of toys left for Annie, the ghost of a little girl said to be just one of the ghosts that haunt the abandoned streets beneath the city. And, most sinister of all might just be the spirit George Mackenzie, a persecutor of Covenanters, who has been known to attack those who venture to his “Black Mausoleum” in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

3. 30 East Drive, West Yorkshire

Unlike most of the other spooky sites on this list, 30 East Drive looks just like your average family home. It’s the terrifying reports of the Black Monk that put this house on the map. Some of the activity seemed quite innocent, from puddles of water appearing in random places and odd things being moved around. At his worst though, the Black Monk was said to have slashed photographs and even dragged a young girl who lived in the house up the stairs by just her hair. Despite exorcism attempts, spooky goings on are still reported to this day.

4. Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

Considered England’s most haunted castle, Chillingham has quite a few stories to tell. One of the most famous comes from a spirit known as the Blue Boy. This particular ghost was said to been seen as orbs and even full-body apparitions until renovation work on the castle uncovered the body of a little boy in a blue outfit concealed in a wall. After this discovery the Blue Boy’s spirit seemed to have found peace. However, more recent reports suggest he’s back to his old ghostly ways once again.

5. The Village of Pluckley, Kent

With at least 12 ghost cases alone, Pluckley was given the title “most haunted village in Britain” by the Guinness Book of Records in 1989. There’s a Red Lady who haunts the local graveyard, a highwayman who hides in the trees and phantom horses are sometimes seen riding by.

6. Tower of London

This brutal site of imprisonment and execution spanning centuries of British history undoubtably has a spooky aura. Two of the most compelling ghost sightings are the Princes in the Tower, likely murdered by their ambitious uncle Richard III in 1483, who have been seen to walk through the walls and former queen of England, Anne Boleyn. Anne has been spotted in multiple places by various witnesses walking headless in the grounds.

7. Pendle Hill, Lancashire

Pendle Hill has been considered a creepy location ever since it became the epicentre of one of England’s most infamous witch trails way back in 1612. The testimony of nine-year-old Jennet Device led to the guilty verdicts of ten people accused of consorting with the Devil. This included her own mother, sister and brother. After her entire family were executed, Jennet’s name pops up in the record books once more. She herself was tried and executed in 1634 on the grounds of witchcraft.

8. Aston Hall, Birmingham

The ghosts of Aston Hall date back to its first ever owner, Sir Thomas Holte in the seventeenth century. Holte was a cruel man who locked his daughter in her room for 16 years for wanting to marry a man he thought below their social standing. Her soul is said to still be trapped in the house to this day, along with that of Holte’s housekeeper and houseboy.

9. Bodmin Jail, Cornwall

This is an incredibly spooky building with a gruesome history. A formerly overcrowded prison and public hanging site, Bodmin Jail is a place of sadness and fury. Not all who were locked up here where thought to be guilty though. After Charlotte Dymond was murdered on Bodmin Moor, local boy Matthew Weeks was found guilty for the crime despite no evidence. Charlotte is believed to still roam the moors, possibly because her true murderer was never convicted.

10. The Town of Tenby, Wales

Tenby in Wales is a beautiful seaside town but it does have quite restless history of paranormal stories. From witches to fairies, a ghost walk in Tenby is truly fascinating. One of the most frightening stories might just be the ghost ship that was stopped by Tenby residents one spooky evening.

Thanks for reading! Have I missed any great ones? After all this talk of haunted houses, I think I’m in the mood for a good Halloween movie so bye for now!

Posted in Blogtober, TV

Blogtober Day 9: Halloween TV Shows

In honour of The Haunting of Bly Manor dropping on Netflix today, I thought I’d revisit some spooky TV shows I’ve enjoyed and share some from my to watch list.

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House

The OG (Original Ghost) show when it comes to The Haunting series. This show spooked me well and good. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped so much at a TV show and though I’m terrified to start Bly Manor, I’m also so excited because Hill House is that good. Part of the joy of this show is finding out the deeper meanings and things you missed in the background. As soon as you know there are loads of extra ghosts in the hidden in certain shots it gets to the point where you’re not even scared when you seen them, you’re proud you managed to finally spot one. And, I’m not talking about the Break-Neck Lady here, she’s definitely an in-yer-face kind of spirit.

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

This is one of my all-time favourite shows despite not having a clue what’s happening half the time. Look, the science goes beyond me but Stranger Things is such a smart show and it’s filled with fun 80s references. It also has just the right blend of edge-of-your-seat scary scenes and heartwarming and hilarious moments. I love the whole show except for season 2, episode 7. Let’s just pretend there isn’t a season 2, episode 7, ok?

Being Human (UK version)

Being Human

Another one of my long-time faves. Being Human is a horror, comedy and drama all at once and it is glorious. The story follows a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who all co-habit in a houseshare. There’s a little more to it than that, of course, there’s a group of vampires intent on world domination and Annie has to learn to face the man who murdered her. There’s a lot going on and it’s so addictively watchable.

Scream Queens

Scream Queens

To be honest, this is one of those shows where the first season was brilliant but it really should have ended there. If we’re just focusing on the first season though, it’s filled with horror movie references as this slasher sees a college campus deal with the murder spree of the Red Devil. It’s a show that will keep you guessing and constantly changing your mind about the identity of the killer until the final reveal and the way to the end is filled with dark humour and tense moments. It’s a must-see if you need a Halloween binge.



This BBC comedy is the perfect anti-horror Halloween watch. It’s about a couple, Alison and Mike, who inherit a stately home only for the Alison to develop the ability to see ghosts. After years of history, the house is home to several spooks from across the centuries who all have quite a lot to say about Alison and Mike’s plans for their new home.

Shows On My To Watch List (and where I’ll be watching them):

Ratched (Netflix)

Always A Witch (Netflix)

American Horror Story (Netflix)

Truth Seekers (Amazon Prime)

La Révolution (Netflix)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Amazon Prime)

What Halloween shows would you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Blogtober, History

Blogtober Day 8 : The Spooky Mystery of Shakespeare’s Missing Skull

For today’s Halloween-themed Blogtober post I thought I’d share one of my favourite spooky mysteries with you. This is the story of Shakespeare’s missing skull.

William Shakespeare’s body is buried in Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon. However, an archaeologist investigation for a 2016 Channel 4 documentary using ground-penetrating radar suggests that his skull is not.

Rumours started circulating that the grave was missing a head after an 1879 magazine report claimed his skull had been removed by trophy hunters nearly a full century beforehand. But, other than some obvious disturbance and repair work on the stone itself, there was no clear evidence to back this report up.

That was until the documentary, however. The archaeologists discovered that beneath the ledger stones of the Shakespeare family were several shallow graves and at the head-end of the Bard himself’s resting place, it seems as though the grave had been filled in to support the weight of the stone. This suggested the grave really is missing the head after all and the team concluded that the grave had indeed been disturbed.

One of the most unnerving details about this whole situation is that, despite having died nearly 180 years before the magazine article claims the skull was taken, his epitaph seems to have seen the grave robbing coming:

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,

To dig the dust enclosed here.

Blessed be the man that spares these stones,

And cursed be he that moves my bones.

There have been attempts to reunite the skull with the grave but the problem is that the location of the skull is still a mystery to this day. There are multiple theories are to where the skull might be but these have all led nowhere so far. The biggest dead end came from a mystery skull in St Leonard’s Church in Beoley. Allegedly another old magazine article claimed the Bard’s skull had ended up in Beoley after the grave robbers who stole it were unable to sell it. When this lead was followed up by the documentary, it turned out the skull was that of a 70-year old woman and not Shakespeare at all.

One much more wild theory was that the skull was stolen by Dr Frank Chambers and sold to Whig politician and Gothic author, Horace Walpole. Walpole is perhaps best-known now for Strawberry Hill, a “Gothic castle” he designed to house his collections of art, miniatures, ceramics and more. Could it be that Shakespeare’s skull was another one of his collector’s pieces, the phrenological answer to literary genius? It’s probably just a far-fetched story but it is a compelling one.

Considering how far science has come, it would now be possible to get a DNA match on Shakespeare’s real skull so maybe it will turn up one day. As for the identities of those who stole it in the first place, I don’t think we’ll ever discover who they were. It would be fascinating to know if the curse England’s most renowned writer placed upon them ever came back to haunt them though… after all, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dream of in our unique philosophy.

Bye for now!

Posted in Blogtober, Theatre

Blogtober Day 7: Musicals to Stream This Halloween

It’s no secret on this blog that I enjoy a good musical. The diverse range of shows we’ve been blessed with in recent years means there are a good selection of spooky shows that are the perfect shows to listen to this Halloween. All the shows on this list are available to stream on Spotify now. Saying that, I want to give The Addams Family some recognition. It would have earned a place on this list if only there was a cast recording was on Spotify (why isn’t there an album on Spotify?!).

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors

Florist Seymour tackles a mysterious, wish-granting, blood-guzzling Venus flytrap in this hilarious Halloween classic. It’s got that campy take on horror that musicals do so well and the film version is an absolute Halloween classic. I nearly put it on my list of Halloween movies but I wanted to put this musical on here instead.

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds

Ok, this isn’t really a traditional musical, it’s more like a concept album that was turned into an arena spectacle but I’m counting it as a Halloween musical because it’s got aliens in it. Martians, to be exact. Also the sound effects of the Martians communicating in the 2012 recording really do make me shudder.


Despite an exceptionally short initial Broadway run, horrific reviews and… ergh I hate to type this… a Riverdale episode themed around it, Carrie has risen up from the ashes and is now considered to be a surprisingly good musical. Parts of it are genuinely quite creepy. I wonder if Carrie’s more recent success will introduce more Stephen King stories to the stage… It: The Musical maybe?!

Sweeney Todd

The Tim Burton film is a decent take on Stephen Sondheim’s show but, for me, listening to the original Broadway cast recording is way more sinister, especially as the film cuts out The Ballad of Sweeney Todd, arguably one of the creepiest songs in the whole show. The film’s good but the stage version is better!

Bat Out of Hell

The story itself isn’t massively Halloween-y and the songs existed before they were given the stage show treatment but there’s something about Bat Out of Hell that I just love and the title alone gives it a reason to be here. The story is a loose retelling of Peter Pan but set in a post-apocalyptic society and features songs written by Jim Steinman for the Bat Out of Hell albums.


I’ve got to be honest, I’ve not yet listened to Beetlejuice all the way through but I’ve heard enough to know I like it. Also, this show is incredibly popular right now and definitely has strong Halloween vibes so it deserved a mention. Since it’s been so big on Broadway (pre-Music Man situation anyway!) I’m hoping it might come to London soon.

The Rocky Horror Show

Speaking of shows I haven’t properly listened to but deserved a place on the list, let me also throw in this one. Look, I’ve seen the Glee episode and have heard the Time Warp plenty of times, I think that’s enough to put it here. I am determined to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show soon because it’s been on my list of films to watch for far too long. Strong Halloween vibes though, am I right?


This is a show about two people who meet speed dating and fall in love. The twist is that they’re both serial killers. There really aren’t enough shows out there that truly capture dark British humour and this show does just that. There’s also folk-sy sounding music in this one that’s different from the other shows on this list.

Bat Boy (TW: sexual assault reference)

This is one of those shows where the origin story of the show is nearly as weird as the plot itself. Bat Boy is a character created for a fake news tabloid and now he has his own spin-off musical. Bat Boy, or Edgar as he’s called in the show, goes on a quest of love, self-discovery and… well… blood in this darkly comedic musical.

Zombie Prom (TW: suicide theme)

I only just listened to this show and honestly, I’m not totally sure what I make of it yet but it’s definitely Halloween-y enough to be here and it pretty funny in places. After Toffee’s boyfriend comes back from the dead she must decide whether or not she still wants to be with him after he vows to clean up his bad boy ways in the afterlife.

Heathers (TW: suicide theme)

This is another show that is so popular it needs a mention even though I don’t think there are many musical fans that haven’t listened to this show yet. Based on the cult classic movie, this satiric musical features Veronica trying to put a stop to her boyfriend’s killing spree whilst turning her high school’s hierarchy upside down.

Honourable mentions: Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera

Both of these shows are musical theatre classics and have been running in the West End and on Broadway for ways (although whether or not Phantom is actually going to continue to run after the West End reopens is still a bit of an unanswered question right now!) but they both have some spooky themes so I wanted to include them too.

I hope you’ve now got some spooky tunes to carry you through the month. Let me know if I’ve missed any great Halloween musicals in the comments. Bye for now!

Posted in Blogtober

Blogtober Day 6: Thoughts on Ouija Boards

If you type “Ouija Board” into YouTube, you’ll find countless clickbaity videos of groups of friends who claim to have summoned a demon or had a spooky experience with a spirit board. Although I highly doubt the validity of most of these videos, Ouija Boards have managed to capture the minds of horror fans and ghost hunters for well over a century. Blogtober got me wondering where Ouija Boards came from and how they came to be so big so here’s what I found out.

The Origins

Ouija Boards as we know them today are a direct product of the rise of spiritualism and the growing interest in mediumship in the nineteenth century. A Baltimorean businessman called Elijah Bond got the patent for Ouija Boards way back in 1891, though talking boards were already popular at this time. There isn’t really much more to say about Elijah other than this fairly creepy detail, his gravestone has an Ouija Board engraved onto the back of it.

William Fuld is the next person of note in the mass-production of Ouija Boards as he oversaw the manufacture for Elijah. Eventually he became so invested in the product that he and his brother leased the Ouija Board name and set up a business together making them to supply the increasing demand. A feud drew the brothers apart though and resulted in William suing his brother for selling talking boards that were near replicas of the official Ouija Boards. William was making so much on Ouija Boards he even started creating Ouija-themed jewellery!

These days, the rights to Ouija Boards are owned by Hasbro, a toy and board game company.

The Scientific View

Aside from the whole, it can easily be faked explanation, scientists think there is another, more psychological theory as it how Ouija Boards work. This is the ideomotor phenomenon. Now, I’m no scientist but the basic gist is that the ideomotor phenomenon can explain how our unconscious mind can make our bodies move without our conscious mind recognising it. An example of our unconscious taking the reigns would be reacting when something is thrown at you without having to consciously think about it.

Our brains are so complicated and most psychologists and neurologists agree that there is so much we don’t know about them. What is known is that the power of suggestion is mighty. Most of the time, if someone attempts an Ouija Board session they are a believer in the paranormal and they probably want the planchette to move. This means their unconscious mind could respond by telling their hand to move it without them even being consciously aware of their movement.

My Verdict

All this brings me back to the start of this post, Ouija Boards make a great YouTube video. Watching that planchette move and spell out some message allegedly from the other side is undeniably spooky. But, for me, at least most of the time, a faked video is possibly all it is. Here’s the thing. I believe in ghosts and in cases of poltergeist activity, I do think it’s possible for ghosts to move things. Therefore, I think it’s plausible that a ghost could be moving that planchette but as for unlocking some portal to a ghost realm or this inanimate object being a hub of demonic activity, I don’t really buy it.

Slightly weird disclaimer before I go but I just want to say that although I don’t think Ouija Boards are demonic, just in case are, I wouldn’t recommend trying one because… well, you never know.

What do you make of Ouija Boards? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be back tomorrow for Blogtober Day 7.

Posted in Blogtober, Movies

Blogtober Day 5: Top 10 Non-Scary Halloween Movies

Although I do enjoy a good horror movie every now and then, I mostly stick to the less bone-chilling Halloween flicks. So, if you’re anything like me, you love watching a mix of Halloween films that will get you in the mood for the season without keeping you up at night. Here are my top 10 Halloween movies for the faint of heart…

1. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus

You cannot go wrong with this movie. Parts of it are a bit cringy but ultimately I can’t watch this movie without grinning. My highlight is definitely the Sanderson Sisters’ take on I Put A Spell On You, it’s an iconic moment in cinema history.


2. Coco (2017)

This isn’t a Halloween movie exactly but it’s still a great film for this time of year and Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival shares some similarities with the history, traditions and beliefs of Halloween and Samhain. What I love most about this film is how utterly stunning it is. The whole thing is filled with colour and gorgeous animation. Don’t forget a box of tissues though!

Corpse Bride

3. Corpse Bride (2005)

I mean, it has to be here, doesn’t it? It’s the first Tim Burton film on this list but it’s definitely not the last. This is a wonderfully spooky film features a rather uncomfortable haunting, well, uncomfortable for Victor anyway. See, the one thing you don’t do before your wedding day is accidentally propose to a zombie…

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

4. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

There’s nothing like a bit of classic British comedy to while away the darker evenings and Wallace and Gromit are national treasures. Fun fact: Corpse Bride lost out on the Oscar for best animation because this little treat took the gold… a bit ironic really, if you’ve seen the film.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

What I love about this movie is you can watch it all the way from 1st October to the 25th December, it’s the ultimate seasonal hybrid. The animation here really is an artform and who doesn’t love to see Jack Skelleton’s joy at discovering Christmas Town… what a sweet and spooky man he is.

The Addams Family

6. The Addams Family (1991)

I haven’t seen the most recent Addams Family movie so I’m just going to keep it to the beloved nineties live action. It’s a fun film following the most Halloween-y family in fiction so it’s definitely earned it’s place on this list.


7. Casper (1995)

From one cartoon-based classic starring a young Christina Ricci to another, the Casper movie is the perfect blend of Halloween feels, a bit of spookiness and some laughs. To be honest, there are a few shaky moments in this one but it’s one of the movies on this list I’ve watched the most in my life so it deserves recognition.

Edward Scissorhands

8. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Back to Tim Burton yet again because, although this movie has a creepyish style, it’s far from the scariest film ever so it’s on the list. Trying to explain this movie is an odd task but the title kind of says it all. It’s about a guy called Edward who has scissors for hands and it’s weirdly good. You’ve got to see it to get it with this one.


9. Ghost (1990)

I’ve got to be honest, I typically don’t like romantic movies and this one makes me cringe like I do with most of them but, well, it’s still a classic. This film isn’t scary in the slightest but the storyline makes it the perfect Halloween watch. Plus, Whoopi Goldberg is in it so what’s not to like?


10. Gremlins (1984)

This is probably the scariest of the non-scary films on this list so if you don’t like any frights at all in your Halloween movie list you might want to skip this one. Saying that, I really don’t think this film is particularly scary, it’s certainly not gruesome though maybe a bit violent. It’s another one of those rare films that acts as that beautiful Halloween/Christmas seasonal hybrid that aren’t made often enough. It’s also a great advert both for and for not keeping pets… again, bit of a weird one to explain, just watch.

So, there’s my list of non-scary Halloween movies. Have I missed out any great ones? What will you be watching this Halloween?

Posted in Blogtober, History

Blogtober Day 4: It’s All in the Origins: Werewolves

It’s a series within a series. Throughout Blogtober, I’m going to be sharing the origin stories of some of the spookiest supernatural figures. Today, I’m kicking this off with werewolves.

From An American Werewolf in London to a bare-chested Taylor Lautner, werewolves have really ranged in their ferocity. Sometimes, they’re terrifying creatures of nightmare and other times, they’re cuddly-looking pups. Where then did the idea of these iconic shapeshifters come from and why have they stood the test of time?

The First Mentions

The very first potential reference to werewolves is found in one of the oldest texts in the world. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, a poem dating possibly as far back as the eighteenth century BC, there is a woman who transformed an ex-lover into a wolf.

Wolves have also played a huge part in myths and legends. From the formidable Fenrir of Norse mythology to the ancient Scythian Neuri tribe who were said to turn themselves into wolves for a portion of the year, there are countless references to wolves and werewolves to be found. One particularly well-known story in the development of werewolf lore comes from ancient Greece and concerns Lycaon of Arcadia. As the myth goes, Lycaon wanted to test whether Zeus truly was all-knowing so he invited the great god for dinner and roasted one of his sons for the feast. Zeus saw through this test and turned Lycaon into a wolf as punishment for his infanticide and cannibalism.

As Western Christianity spread across Europe, stories of humans transforming into wolves continued to terrify believers in the occult. Stories and beliefs about werewolves vary across Europe through the Middle Ages, sometimes werewolfery was even thought to be caused by witches or having some relation to vampire legends circulating at the same time.

Why Wolves?

There are a lot of possible reasons as to why there was a widespread fear of werewolves across Medieval Europe. The main theory as to why it was wolves people were the most scared of simply comes from the fact that wolves were the biggest predators. Wolves were much more common in Europe then than they are now and considering most people wouldn’t ever travel much further than their home village, the threat of a wolf attacks on livestock (one of their few sources of food and income!) was just as scary as an attack on a human.

People believed in the strange and the mystical a lot more back then and most people didn’t have the means to fact-check anything they were told. If a priest told his congregation they were to obey the teachings of the Bible and avoid witches otherwise they might cross paths with a werewolf, the fear is then placed in the heads’ of all the people in that church.

There’s also the idea that any crime that seems too horrific for a human to have committed could be given a supernatural explanation to make it easier to swallow. Or, perhaps that as it wasn’t always easy to capture and punish wild animals for the havoc wrought upon a village, it was preferable to blame someone. This led to a lot of mass hysteria and wild accusations. An infamous example of this would the case of alleged serial killer, cannibal and werewolf, Peter Stumpp. Under torture, Stumpp confessed to a variety of hideous crimes that he claimed he could carry out by wearing a magical belt, gifted to him by the Devil, which transformed him a wolf. I’m going to spare you the details but Stumpp, his daughter and mistress were tortured and executed in particularly brutal fashion.

More Recent Beasts

Moving on from horrible facts to fiction, let’s look at how we got from then to now. As I’ve said already, werewolves have been popping up in literature and mythology for a long long time but it’s 1933’s The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore that is considered to be the seminal work of modern werewolf fiction. This book came along as Hollywood movies were really starting to take off and it’s on the silver screen (silver… lol) that werewolves really howled their way into the hearts and nightmares of contemporary horror fans.

Are you a werewolf fan? Are you just as surprised as I was to discover how far back werewolf legends go? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Blogtober, Books

Blogtober Day 3: Books to Read This Halloween

Hey fellow book nerds! For Blogtober Day Three I thought I would share my favourite spooky reads with you and let you know what is currently sitting on my Halloween TBR.

The Classics

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula might not have been the first ever literary vampire but he’s certainly the most well-known. There’s no better time to sink your teeth into this classic and transport your mind to nineteenth century Transylvania (for the first few chapters anyway!).  

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

When it comes to Halloween classics, you can’t miss out one of the first ever works in the horror genre! The Creature is the original zombie and one with a heart, not that it will stop him from going on a rampage for vengeance. It’s creepy and a total must-read for any horror or Halloween fan.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Jane Austen might not be known as a spooky writer but she did indeed dabble in the Gothic. Inspired by the most popular creepy reads of her time, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey parodies classic Gothic stories. The book features heroine, Catherine, as she finds herself in a creepy old house with a few chilling secrets to reveal… unless, of course, Catherine has just been reading one too many Ann Radcliffes.

Recent Recommends

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

This is a work of historical fiction that I fell in love with last year. The story follows young Fleetwood Shuttleworth as she becomes determined to defy her doctor’s estimations and make both her and her unborn baby survive her latest pregnancy. She enlists the help of a mysterious midwife with unusual remedies but as the Pendle Witch Trials grip the county, Fleetwood realises her new friend might need saving too.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’m not usually a thriller reader but something about the title of this book sucked me in and I am glad it did. When Korede gets a call from her sister, Ayoola, asking her to help clean up a murder Ayoola committed in self-defense, Korede runs to her sister’s side. That was the first time anyway. Now Ayoola is three murdered boyfriends down and Korede is getting suspicious. It’s when Ayoola starts dating Korede’s colleague that the bond of sisterhood is truly put to the test. If you like your thrillers with a slice of dark comedy, this is definitely the read for you this October.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This book is basically a masterless in how to write a modern Gothic story. After Daniel is taken to the Cemetery of Lost Books and told he may choose only one to cherish forever, he picks up a copy of The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. After finishing the book, he aims to discover what happened to the elusive author but nothing is as it seems and when a figure with a sinister resemblance to the villain of the book starts following him, Daniel realises he might be in too deep.


The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

All I know about this book is that it’s a YA reimagining of the Weird Sisters or Brides of Dracula from Bram Stoker’s original novel. That’s all I need to know, I’m sold!

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

Ok, I know, it’s another Draucla-themed book but this one sounds great too! Dracul is a Gothic retelling of the life of Bram Stoker and if you clocked the authors’ names, you might be interested to know that Dacre Stoker is a descendent of Bram himself!

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

All I know about this is that the cover is beautiful and it’s about a haunted house. Quite frankly, I don’t need to know anything more, it’s secured its place on the list.

What are you reading this Halloween? Let me know in the comments.