Batty Britain - Island home to Vampires, Ghosts and Werewolves according to new study

The Strain

WEDNESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2014

• New study reveals over 200 vampire sightings recorded in the UK over the last 100 years

• More reported Vampire sightings in Britain than Transylvania

• Expert finds over 11,000 reports of paranormal phenomena in the British Isles over the last century

• ‘Horror hotspots’ around the UK identified with Yorkshire, London and Lancashire all ranking highly

The nation is awash with vampires, ghosts, monsters and a host of other spooky, unexplained supernatural phenomena - that’s the verdict of a new study released today.

‘The Strain Report’ focuses on paranormal occurrences reported to the police and leading paranormal organisations in the UK over the last century. The extensive research, conducted by the UK’s leading authority on the unexplained, Lionel Fanthorpe, included studying extensive archives, police reports, eye-witness accounts and over 50 years of professional investigative records.

The study was specially commissioned to celebrate the premiere of director Guillermo del Toro’s hotly anticipated new vampire-horror TV series The Strain, where an ancient form of vampirism is unleashed on New York, set to launch on entertainment channel Watch, on September 17th.

Over 11,204 reports of paranormal activity were filed over the last century with sightings of general ghosts and phantoms being the most commonly reported in the UK. Yorkshire was found to have the most reported cases of spooky goings-on with 615 sightings of the unexplained, followed closely by London (567), Lancashire (511), Essex (475) and Sussex (417).

Official reports of paranormal sightings in the UK in the past 100 years:

  1. Human form ghosts 4149

  2. Road phantoms / river phantoms 2411

  3. Strange sounds 1384

  4. Animal ghosts 900

  5. Poltergeists 852

  6. Crisis phenomena such as spirits and banshees 533

  7. Vampires 206

  8. Big cats 97

  9. Werewolves 68

  10. Monsters and other mythical creatures 37

In Scotland 1,154 sightings of supernatural occurrences have been recorded with the most situated in the Highlands (187) followed by Lothian (172). While in Wales only 559 reports have been noted with most cases in Dyfed (112) and Clwyd (103). Northern Ireland recorded the fewest overall sightings with only 169 reports filed.

In comparison to Transylvania, the home of Dracula, with only eight accounts of reported sightings over the last 100 years, there have been 211 reported cases of vampire encounters in the UK, equating to two vampire sightings a year. One of the most well known sightings occurred in January of 2005 with reports of a vampire appearing in Glen Park Road, Saltley and Small Heath, attacking a pedestrian. Neighbours came to his aid and drove it off (see Notes to Editors for details). The most sightings of vampires have occurred in Yorkshire (11) and Lancashire (11), followed closely by Essex (10) and Devon (9).

Paranormal expert Lionel Fanthorpe said,

These research statistics are based on well over fifty years of our own professional investigative experience, extensive archives, police reports and widely accessible external data. These reported sightings and other types of witnesses’ experiences go back for a century.

"Our research and investigation has suggested that the UK harbours more vampires than Transylvania and that certain areas of Britain may be referred to as ‘horror hotspots’ not solely because of their vampire reports but also because of the number of reports of general paranormal phenomena emanating from them

"One really interesting element of the research shows that our visions of vampires and ghosts are evolving over the times. For example recent sightings are less likely to be the cloaked figures of old Hollywood films and far more likely to be a modern interpretation like the type of creature shown in The Strain.

The study reveals that some areas are much more prone to supernatural activity than others, with Yorkshire being the most likely place you will come in contact with paranormal beings such as ghosts and phantoms, poltergeists, werewolves and vampires.

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Steve North, Watch General Manager, said

This research suggests our island is home to a whole host of supernatural beings with at least 20 vampire sightings every decade over the last 100 years. Vampires have long been a subject for books, film and TV providing a source of cultural entertainment; however it seems that perhaps they aren’t so fictional after all.

“The on screen depiction of vampires has changed dramatically over the years from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the modern day vampires, who even become hearthrobs, to the downright scary and frightful, like those in The Strain.”

Based on the best-selling vampire novels, The Strain follows the lethal outbreak of a virus in New York which has all the hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.

The Strain, premiering tonight, is a new and exclusive series on Watch, Wednesdays at 10pm from 17th September

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Justine Bower, Group Publicity Manager, UKTV

Notes to Editors

Vampire sighting in Glen Park Road, Saltley and Small Heath: Reported to West Midlands Police and recorded in The Guardian and Birmingham Evening Mail on Monday 17th January.

Further vampire eye-witness reports: 1. Bedale in Yorkshire has accounts of a strange, evil vampire-like figure that dissolves into a curious mist when approached. It has been seen on the A684 leading to Leyburn and in the nearby woods. 2. At Thornton Heath in Surrey, a woman was attacked on three occasions by what she described as a flying vampire that bit her neck. 3. In the 1990s investigator Tom Robertson was working in the woods in the vicinity of Lochmaben Castle near Dumfries, where numerous animal corpses had been found drained of blood. He described his encounter with a tall, hooded figure dressed in sacking with black eyes and a grey face. On a later search, it was reported that he had been able to photograph it. 4. During the 1950s numerous witnesses in Glasgow (Lanarkshire) claimed that a vampire with iron teeth was lurking in the local cemetery.

Further detail on the top ten paranormal sightings: The most widely reported types of paranormal activity are general phantoms (also defined as ghosts or apparitions) with 4,149 reports across the UK over the last 100 years including ghost of policemen, phantom monks as well as a number of ghostly human shapes.

Road phantoms and river phantoms are the second most reported about paranormal beings and there have been 2,411 cases over the years. One of the most documented is that of a motorcyclist not far from Maidenhead in the 1930s. Witnesses driving along that stretch have reported seeing him apparently riding dangerously close to their cars and then disappearing.

About Watch

Watch is an entertainment channel that promises to surprise with out of the ordinary programming. Premiering hit fantasy and science-fiction dramas such as Grimm, Resurrection and Beauty and the Beast, it also showcases a selection of distinctive series like Doctor Who, David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Masterchef Australia and The Happenings. Watch is the exclusive home of Dynamo: Magician Impossible, an award winning original commission from UKTV.

Where to find Watch: Sky 109 (HD)/155 and Virgin 125 (HD)/124. www.justwatch.co.uk@Watch_Channel