Tag Archives: cumbria

In which the author gets a cracking review by Tom Ruffles of the Society for Psychical Research…


The estimable Tom Ruffles of the Society for Psychical Research has just given Paranormal Cumbria a very positive review. The full review can be found here but I’ve extracted a few highlights:


“The contents, conveyed in his usual humorously perceptive style, are arranged thematically … He supplies references for all his stories, the result of which is a three-page bibliography of books, journals and newspapers that allows readers to double-check for themselves. This rigorous analytical approach is rare in the field, and all the more welcome for it.”

“The Croglin Grange vampire… Holder delves into the various accounts as they evolved from the first reference in print by Augustus Hare, showing what a complex narrative it actually is.”


[Comparing the book with another, similar publication] “To sum up, the resident of Cumbria may well want both (plus Holder’s The Guide to the Mysterious Lake District book) in order to ensure that they have maximum coverage of the county. But the visitor who does not want to purchase both will be better off with Holder’s book. And it’s three quid cheaper. I therefore declare Paranormal Cumbria the winner.”


The review can be found on Tom Ruffles’ blog,  http://tomruffles.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/supernatural-cumbria-by-h-c-ivison-and.html


In which the Author launches another video book trailer…


There’s another video book trailer cannonading around cyberspace. The video for Paranormal Cumbria can be found on this website here, on youtube and at bookreel.tv.


The trailer was put together by Jamie Cook, webmaster of this parish, and the book itself is due out on March 31st.



In which the author goes back to prison with some vampires…

I’ve just been booked for another author’s visit to one of Her Majesty’s Prisons. This will be my fourth talk behind bars – and this time, by request, I’m doing it on vampires, which is a popular subject with the inmates of this particular prison.


So the Vampire with Iron Teeth (from Paranormal Glasgow) will be featuring, as well as the Vampire of Croglin Grange (from Paranormal Cumbria, which will be out in 2012) and an alleged vampiric attack in Highland Perthshire, which I covered in The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire.


I’ll also be dealing a little bit with the early history of vampires in English literature, noting how the vampire of East European folklore – basically a stupid, smelly peasant – became the suave, sophisticated aristocrat familiar from Dracula and similar fictions. I blame John Polidori (and if you say who? I would in normal circumstances suggest that you attend the talk; but as this would involve committing a serious crime and then getting banged up in the Big House, perhaps this is not a recommended course of action).


As you might imagine, you can’t just waltz into a prison. Checks are made, paperwork is processed, and the prisoners themselves have to be available on the day and time specified. Then you find yourself leaving your mobile with a reception guard and being escorted through a labyrinth of doors and corridors to a room in which sit 25 prisoners, many of whom are avid readers. Usually the prison librarian has circulated my books before the visit, and so as soon as I say “Any questions?” at the end there is a forest of raised hands.


I’ve enjoyed every prison talk I’ve given, one of which brought up one of the strangest personal encounters I’ve ever been told by an audience member.  Usually people describe their experiences of seeing a UFO or a ghost – but this particular prisoner told me that, driving fast on a road in Fife one night, he passed a figure complete with scythe, black cloak and skull face – Death himself…

In which the author visits a village of fairy houses….

As part of the research for Paranormal Cumbria I sought out a group of ‘fairy houses’ that have mysteriously appeared near Gelt Wood in East Cumbria.


The ceramic dwellings first appeared among the boles and tree roots in the summer of 2009, only to vanish in September – as the fairies explained when they emailed the local paper, it was just getting too cold for them.


The fairies have returned each subsequent summer, and in 2011 there were more than ever, with around 20 or so houses scattered over a two-mile area.



Several of the houses have evidence of their inhabitants’ lives, such as tiny wellington boots, wheelbarrows, letter-boxes, and rope ladders to reach front doors set high up in a drystone wall. One house close to the river even has a canoe.

This year, several people have left gifts for the fairies, in the shape of cards, letters, hand-made textiles, and chocolates.




The beautifully-fashioned dwellings and accessories are utterly enchanting, and seeking them out was a delightful task. Whoever made them deserves a big thank you for bringing wonder into our lives.

Paranormal Cumbria will be published in 2012 and has a full history of fairy sightings in the county, including a plethora of twentieth-century reports of nature spirits, devas, gnomes and other denizens of the fairy otherworld.
















In which the author actually writes a book…

There have been no posts recently because I’ve been sequestered away writing Paranormal Cumbria (deadlines are a wonderful thing). The text of the book is now complete so normal service (such as it is) should be resumed as soon as possible. As a sneak preview, I can promise witchcraft, monsters of sea and lake (oh yes, Bownessie gets a look in), twentieth-century fairy sightings, ‘scareship’ UFOS, the Cursing Stone of Carlisle, the Cumberland Spaceman and the Croglin Vampire. Crikey.


Just a reminder that the event at Ladywell in Glasgow, originally booked for Wednesday 24th August, has been rescheduled for 19 October. Same venue, same time, same vampire with iron teeth – just a different date.

In which the author seeks paranormal stories from Cumbria…

Paranormal Cumbria, the next book, is under way, and as part of the research I’m looking for personal stories of the supernatural and strange within the county.


So if you’ve encountered a big cat, a Black Dog, something odd in the sky, or a bogle or spirit – or anything else bizarre – please get in touch using the contact form located at the bottom of the ‘Events and Booking’ or ‘Media Room’ pages. Family traditions and stories passed down from previous generations are also welcome.

Please include as many details as possible – such as date, time of day, location, what happened, names of witnesses and so on – and indicate whether you are happy for the story to appear in the book, and for me to use your name in Paranomal Cumbria.


It doesn’t matter whether you are a visitor or a resident – all that is important is that the event or sighting took place in Cumbria. And of course Cumbria is much larger than just the Lake District.


I look forward to receiving despatches from the frontline of Forteana…