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Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 11:58 UK
Uncovering a weird Norfolk world
James Corden (left) and Mathew Horne

Lesbian Vampire Killers, a British comedy horror, has highlighted that the weird and wonderful is quite 'normal for Norfolk'.

The film, starring Mathew Horne and James Corden as two lads on a hiking trip, shows the locals of a Norfolk village aren't quite what they seem.

But is it fair to tag the county as a home for the strange and bizarre?

Local author D.J. Taylor said: "The image of Norfolk persists because we are at the end of the line out here."

From demon dogs to crop circles and raining fish, the county has enjoyed its fair share of weird and bizarre occurrences, but the fictional lesbian vampires of Corden and Horne's film comedy are a new twist to local folklore.

Lesbian Vampire Killers

The plot sees a community of Norfolk villagers as not just a group of lovely ladies, but as lesbian vampires with a taste for something more bloody than a traditional Norfolk dumpling.

But this 2009 big screen addition to Norfolk's creepy connections isn't the only portrayal of odd things happening in the county - tales of the unexpected have roamed its rolling landscape for centuries:

Boat party seeks phantoms

A team of experts carried out scientific experiments on the Norfolk Broads in the hope of tracking down ghosts in 2002.

The Ghostlab team spent five nights on the Broads on a boat laden with devices such as infrared lighting, cameras and thermal scanners.

One night was spent moored at the remains of Burgh Castle, near Great Yarmouth, where legend tells of it being haunted by the ghosts of people thrown from its battlements.

Also on the itinerary was 11th Century St Benet's Abbey, near Ludham, where a gruesome hanging was said to be replayed at night.

Mysterious powers locate a leak

Dawn Smith, a Norfolk Psychic
Dawn Smith's psychic powers came to one Norfolk family's rescue

Who would you call to find the leaky pipe that caused your central heating to break down?

A psychic might not be the obvious answer, but one phone call was all it took to convince a Norfolk family that special powers could succeed where conventional methods had failed.

The Banham family had enough of shivering through winter, having already called on a plumber, the water company and a water diviner for help.

Dawn Smith, a Norfolk psychic, came to the rescue.

"I get messages on a psychic level when I hear different things. I know I can help," she said.

Within seconds of a telephone conversation with the Banhams, Dawn had used her mysterious hearing powers to locate the leak, which was coming from a pipe in the kitchen floor.

Scary dogs and Sherlock Holmes

Cromer Hall in Norfolk is said to have inspired the location of the Sherlock Holmes tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

The fearsome hound in the story is believed by many to be based on the legend of Black Shuck - a huge hound with terrifying eyes, who is said to prowl the coastline of North Norfolk.

Anyone who looks into his fearsome eyes is said to have only a year to live... The name 'Shuck' may be a derivation of the Old English word Scucca, meaning demon.

East Anglia appears to be something of a haven for these creatures of the night - the Black Dog of Bungay is another local legend.

Phantom airships

In 1909, Britain found itself in the grip of an early UFO panic - the great phantom airship scare.

All over the country and particularly in East Anglia, people reported seeing huge airships flying overhead, despite the fact that no such airships existed that could reach Britain.

On 19 May, a phantom airship was sighted from Wroxham Bridge at 11.30pm. Shortly afterwards, Mrs Turner of New Catton, Norwich, was attracted by a flash of light "which made the street look like day" and heard a sound like the whirring of wheels.

"I looked up and saw a big star of light in front and a searchlight behind. It was coming from the direction of Angel Road School in Norwich and flying very low - so low it would have touched the pinnacle of the building had it passed directly over it," said Mrs Turner.

Later, a similar object was seen from Tharston, and later still, over Framlingham in Suffolk.

Baffled by blue light

A scary face
Who knows what may be happening in Norfolk this very night?

In 1897, a gamekeeper at West Bilney Hall, near King's Lynn, was out late at night stopping up fox-earths when he saw a very bright blue light fly close to his face startling him.

Other people in Norfolk at the time also encountered glowing owls, but nowhere else, and they have not been seen since.

In addition, during the 1980s, the swans on the River Wensum baffled experts by all turning bright blue - RSPCA inspectors tried to catch the birds to solve the mystery.

It turned out to be related to a nutritional deficiency - they were living entirely off bread thrown in by passers-by and not eating a balanced diet - they turned blue as a result.

Weird weather

Norfolk has certainly had its fair share of weird weather.

It frequently rains 'cats and dogs', but in Great Yarmouth it has actually rained fish!

On Sunday, 6 August, 2000, the skies opened and down fell a shower of dead sprats.

A mini-tornado swept up the tiny silver fish from the North Sea and carried them two miles before depositing them on the seaside resort.

Residents of the Norfolk Fenlands have also been known to find their washing and windows covered in a thick black dust.

It's the result of a weather phenomenon known as the 'Fen Blows'.

If we have a lot of rain followed by very dry conditions, the ground becomes cracked and dusty. If it is then whipped up by a keen wind it can result in a soil storm.

Unusual and rather messy, it's the equivalent of a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert.

Your stories

Scary woods
Many paranormal activities have occurred in Norfolk for centuries

Listeners to BBC Radio Norfolk shared their 'weird stories' about the county:

"Norfolk must be the only county with a place called Nowhere (part of Acle)," said Texter 519.

"Norfolk people have been the butt of unkind and ignorant jokes for years. We take them on the chin... How weird is that?!" said Txter 590.

"I think the weirdest thing is the spelling e.g. Happisburgh, Wymondham etc. What's that all about?" said Steve in Beccles.

"When I was in a clothes shop in London, the shop assistant overheard I came from Norfolk and said 'Oh, whatever do you do all day?'" said Penny.

"Road signs saying dual carriageway one mile ahead freak us out!" said Mike and Sue in Gorleston.

"The hubby was walking our dog on the old railway line. He saw an old man and a dog walking in a field. He passed a few hedges... no sign of old man or dog. Nowhere for them 2 go!" said Sue in Stalham.

"I moved to Norfolk 20 years ago and it's totally changed my life. I don't think Norfolk people are weird, I think they're friendly and I object to them being portrayed as strange," said David in Horsford.




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