Bad Girls

School’s out forever…

School Hall Slaughter

filming the trailer

This week, we ticked ‘star in a horror film’ off our coffin list. Ok, it wasn’t on our list, like ‘swim with sharks’, ‘learn to scuba dive’ and ‘world domination’ are, but it was a lot of fun. We’re not actors. We’ve never acted, never wanted to act. Drama in school used to fill us with a cold dread usually saved for facing the gallows. Our faces are more suited to radio. We’re far more comfortable in the crew roles but Huw Lloyd (you may remember him from guest hosting on our radio show and us guest hosting on his Undead Wookie podcast) wanted us to be in his film, School Hall Slaughter so we agreed. Who doesn’t want to slaughter a load of people in the name of art? Plus good things exist outside comfort zones. You can still donate to help the film in its post production phase,

School Hall Slaughter

Huw teaching Cat how to kill

The first day of shooting got straight into the death scenes. Always the best part of any horror film and the first death was no exception. Filming is a long process. It takes hours to do a single scene, even if it’s only thirty seconds. Eight hours of working resulted in what will be two minutes of footage. The lighting has to be perfect, camera angles have to be right, sometimes you shoot it from different angles or reverse shots. Add mirrors into the scene and it’s a new world of nightmares. We took our laptop and books with us so while lighting was being set up, we read our books and edited our gothic horror novella, The Curse of Ravenhall. Cat was in the first scene, which we started shooting at 5 p.m., while Lynx wasn’t needed ’til the final scene, which didn’t start shooting til 10:30 p.m. We’re glad we only had two lines each and that was at the end of the film. All we had to do was be creepy. That is as natural to us as our dark hair colour.

School Hall Slaughter

tormenting Boole during rehearsals

We warned Huw that we wouldn’t be able to stop ourselves from taking on crew roles. By halfway through the first scene, we were cleaning up blood, taking behind the scene photos and continuity photos, teaching people how to use the clapperboard and take notes about each board, which take was good and make notes on the bad takes. By the end of the first day, we were also operating lights and holding a strobe light up as it kept trying to kill the DOP, Will Bradshaw. We’d worked with Will on Clownface, where he was Assistant Director, so it was nice to get the chance to work with him again. It took FOREVER to clean up the blood from the girls’ toilets. It looked like a slaughter scene. Which it was. Getting blood out of white grouting is particularly hard. Those toilets have probably never been so clean.

School Hall Slaughter

Lamby ready for his close up

The first death of the day was the Assistant Head Teacher. The blood went everywhere! Why buildings insist on having magnolia walls is a mystery. It just shows all the blood. It was a fun death scene to shoot. People will never look at a pencil in the same way. Anthony Price’s SFX makeup looked so realistic. The last scene was the one in the girls’ toilets. It was a tight squeeze having four actresses; Will; the sound guy, Wayne Bassett; Lynx as the killer and Cat in a cubicle operating the lights. How Will managed to shoot it is an incredible feat of space usage. Full credit to him. We pointed out the toilets were too nice to pass as school toilets. There wasn’t a graffitied penis in sight! And nothing to keep us updated on who fancies who. The teenagers were all really good actors. They were about 15-20 years younger than us and all so much taller. We were old enough to be their mothers and yet there we were, in school uniform, butchering them.

School Hall Slaughter

cramped filming conditions

Day two started earlier, with copying footage over from the SD card to the hard drive. We took over that duty while Huw and Will set up scenes. We took our resistance bands and did glute exercises and flexibility work while the footage transferred then continued editing our novella. By the evening, we were having our hair and makeup done. This was a new experience for us. We cut our own hair rather than face the awkwardness of going to a hairdressers, and having someone close to our faces is incredibly uncomfortable for us. But Rhiannon (makeup) and Hollie (hair) were so lovely that they put us at ease and we were happy for them to do it. And we looked so different!School Hall Slaughter

School Hall Slaughter

Rhiannon doing makeup

We’ve had the same hairstyles for years now. In our younger days, we could age our photos by our hairstyles as they changed every year. Hollie combed it all back, pinned our fringes to the back of our heads then backcombed it. Rhiannon did beautiful dark eye makeup and was excited she finally got to use her red lip pallet. She successfully managed to make our 36 year old faces look 16. People have told Cat that she looks like Fairuza Balk (Nancy from The Craft). We’ve never seen the resemblance. But after the hair and makeup were done, she was almost the spitting image of her, even down to the wide demonic grin. So if Hollywood is reading this and you want to scrap The Craft remake and do a sequel with Nancy’s younger twin sisters, we are available. We also practise witchcraft, so y’know, we got this.

School Hall Slaughter

Hollie working her magic

Despite getting to set at two p.m, we didn’t start filming until 7:15 p.m. Our first scene of the day was the last scene of the film where we sit there looking all innocent after we’ve just slaughtered six people. There wasn’t a dolly on set so Will was bundled onto a trolley and wheeled back and forth to get the smooth zoom in shot. That scene took so long to light due to daylight coming in through the glass doors and windows as it was shot in the building’s foyer. It was probably the most awkward scene, lighting wise. It took hours to set up and about ten minutes to shoot the scene! Lynx’s eyes reacted to the smoke and watered the entire time. It’s so hard trying not to blink when your eyes are stinging and weeping. It was the only time they reacted to the smoke.

School Hall Slaughter

Cat tormenting Boole again

The final scene that day was one of our favourites to shoot as it involved action on our part. We’d actually rehearsed this scene a few weeks ago to make sure we got the timings right. Lynx stabs the victim in the back while Cat leaps on his back and savages him. The actor, Bool, is a lot taller than us, so she needed a run up. Cat had to have a blood-soaked sponge in her mouth to emulate blood seeping down her victim’s wound then smear it all over her face, psycho style. Sitting in blood wasn’t overly pleasant. It was sticky. Her fingers got stuck to her face every time she touched her cheeks on the drive home. When filming, you get used to scenes being cut, changed, added and you just wing it. That is how we like to work, so it suits us. And films never run on schedule. Two of the three days overran by an hour and a half, which isn’t bad. We didn’t get home each night til 1:30 a.m. and got to bed around 2 a.m after cleaning all the blood off and feeding our cats.

School Hall Slaughter

Lynx waiting to torment Boole

Day three was a 9 a.m. start. Full credit to Rhiannon for managing to hide the fact we’d been running on about three hours’ sleep each night. We were surprised when we found out it was the first time she’d done makeup on a film set, as she was so good and professional. Hollie tweaked our hair, which had managed to stay in place. That’s impressive. Our hair is wild and does what it wants but she managed to tame it.

School Hall Slaughter

deadly reflection

The first scenes of the day probably took the longest. They were classroom scenes and we were shooting in an actual school. Cat amused herself by reading dinosaur books in between takes. Pretty sure they drew the raptors wrong. This day, we were fully immersed in the crew roles. We were on clapperboard duty, note taking, holding reflector screens, cleaning up more blood and we provided fruit for the cast and crew. It was the longest shoot day – thirteen hours in total. During a break, Will found exercise equipment in the yard so we abandoned our squats and dashed out to do some pole poses on the high pull up bars. We weren’t in a lot of the scenes until the end, which is why we took on so many crew roles.

School Hall Slaughter

behind the scenes

One scene we’d rehearsed weeks ago, was an action scene involving a sledgehammer. Cat broke her finger when she accidentally slammed it against the wall. That was on the very first practise. She had to redo the action over and over. A month later, she can’t bend the top knuckle. On this day, we were meant to be shooting that scene, but due to previous scene changes, the sledgehammer scene got cut. But at least she has a memento of filming, even if it is a permanently misshapen finger.

School Hall SlaughterHuw wanted Lynx to twirl her machetes while walking down the corridor. Unfortunately, she completely failed at it, whereas Cat was really good, so we switched roles. Cat would twirl the machetes, Lynx would use the sledgehammer, but that scene was then cut due to timing.

School Hall SlaughterThe final scene was our fight scene with lead actress, Amber. Again, we’d rehearsed this one and it hadn’t gone too well. Cat got backhanded across the face for real when she didn’t duck in time. So for this one, she and Amber were very conscious about it. Cat felt her performance was awful in that scene, but hopefully it looks good on screen.

School Hall Slaughter

Anthony and Rhiannon doing Boole’s makeup

We finished on time on the final day then spent a while touring the school, scouring for any blood that needed to be cleaned up. We loved every moment of the shoot. The cast and crew were all lovely and we’d love to work with them again. We’re a lot more comfortable and confident being on a film set now. When we first joined Clownface, we had no idea what we were doing and spent our free time sitting far away from everyone. Now, we know what to do and just get on with it. Though admittedly, we do still spend our breaks on our own. Our first time in front of the camera went smoothly, though we’re glad we got to play creepy killers, as it was an easy role for us. Have we got the acting bug? No. We’d still much rather be crew but if needed to don the role of murderers again, we would say yes.

After all, we are the weirdos.

School Hall Slaughter

The makeup and hair team. Fiann, Anthony, Izzy, Hollie and Rhiannon

In Seine

River SeineIt’s a sour end to the trip when you end up naked by the Seine in an area that stinks of piss.

The others went to get breakfast while we finished packing. We were supposed to check out by 12 so they left their bags with us in case they weren’t back in time. So we just hung about the apartment catching up on our blog posts ‘til 12. We then wandered around the main street until we got to a gluten free place in an arcade. The others wanted to wander different shops picking up food as we were going to picnic by the Seine like the locals do. We couldn’t be arsed to traipse from shop to shop dragging our heavy case and carrying the heavy rucksack, so we made our own way to the Seine. There was a metro stop near us but we weren’t prepared to lug our case down all the steps so we walked instead, using Google maps and sticking to the shaded side of the road. We got there no problem.River Seine

River Seine

Don’t leave Goths in hot places

We originally sat under the bridge but it stank of river and piss so we moved to another shaded part near a decent looking guy while we waited for the others. The view was lovely and the Seine’s pretty too. By the time they came, we’d already drunk both Red Bulls and eaten, so while they guarded our stuff, we went looking for drinks and sorbet. We wanted another birthday present for our mum and spied an artist selling oil paintings on Pont Neuf. They were stunning so we bought a small canvas of the Eiffel Tower in grey and red. He’d been sheltering under an umbrella when we stopped so shaded us with it while we looked at his paintings.River Seine

River Seine

Lynx is in Seine

Then the day turned to shit. Lynx has no idea how it happened but one minute Dragonstone (her new phone) and her wallet were on the bag, the next, they were sliding down the concrete bank into the Seine. Dragonstone sank but the wallet floated. And floated away. Lynx slithered down, tossed her boots up to Cat and hurried along the small ledge after her wallet. She managed to scoop it out and returned to Cat and Neen. She got Cat to pass her the walking stick and used it to test the depth of the water. Waist deep. She prodded the rocks and found a large stable one. Against Neen and Cat’s wishes, she passed up her jewellery and carefully waded into the Seine in her lovely dress because she didn’t want to strip in public. She couldn’t see her phone and soon attracted a small audience on Pont Neuf, who thought she was crazy going into the river where people used to dump dead bodies. Not sure how they knew to shout in English – probably because the Parisians know better than to go in the Seine. But she’d had Dragonstone for less than a month and even though he would probably never work again, she could at least reuse the case. If you remember our American adventures, she left Stormborn, our other smartphone on the plane. We knew we’d be coming home without Dragonstone.

River Seine

the Seine at twilight

There was no way she was putting her face in the water so she carefully felt around the area with one foot, keeping hold of the ledge. After several minutes, Neen and Cat persuaded her to give up, as they were convinced she’d catch a disease. She hopped out onto the ledge and they grabbed an arm each, hauling her onto the bank with such force, her feet didn’t touch the bank. She discarded her fishnets and socks and used the last of our shower gel to have a quick wash. Cat got her a change of clothes and she went to hide under Pont Neuf between a van and a car to change, after making sure nobody was in the vehicles. Being kidnapped whilst half naked would put a real damper on things. The area reeked of piss so she made sure not to put her clothes in anything remotely wet. Ending up naked by the Seine was not how she wanted the holiday to end.

Conciergerie

in the women’s prison yard at the Conciergerie

It was time to go home. Our suitcase was almost half our body weight and the rucksack weighed at least a quarter of our weight so while the others went on ahead, we limped after them, not bothering to try to keep up. We went to go down into one train station and a guy offered to carry the case down. The others asked if it was the right station. He said we wanted the one across the street. So the poor guy ended up lugging the case back up. We then went to another metro station. This time, Neen carried the case down. Only for it to be another wasted journey. They eventually found the right station and we waited for the train to take us to the airport. The ticket entrances don’t hold the doors open long enough for you to struggle through with your case, so it shut on Lynx’s rucksack, jamming her. The doors only opened when a guy put his ticket in and helpfully pushed her free.

Paris Metro

riding the metro

The train was hot, sweaty and smelled of hot, sweaty people. And it was the same price as a taxi. So we could have saved ourselves a lot of walking. Disheartened at Dragonstone’s untimely death, and in pain, we made it to the airport without trouble. This time, baggage allowance was 23kg and they didn’t even weigh our hand luggage, making the fiasco of flying out even more unnecessary.

EIffel Tower lift

in the lift of the Eiffel Tower

But Paris was beautiful and we’d love to go back and see the sights we didn’t see, plus return to the catacombs. People often say the French are rude, but every person we spoke to was lovely.

flying home

flying home

They didn’t mind our terrible French and were all very helpful. If a waiter didn’t speak English, they found one who did. Almost every person we spoke to complimented us on our outfits and if they didn’t speak English, they’d gesture to us, smile and give us the thumbs up. Two people asked what our style was. They’d never heard of Goth and were pleased to learn something new. Security guards, instead of being annoyed at all our metal setting off their bleepers at tourist attractions, laughed and told us we looked amazing, while shaking their heads in despair. Paris obviously didn’t have many twins, as we’d get a lot of people pointing and saying “the same?” People would openly stare at us but not in a rude way, they’d obviously not encountered Goths before. We didn’t see anyone even remotely gothic during our stay. Paris certainly wasn’t expecting us but it embraced us.Conciergerie

Beyond the Grave

the Skirrid InnLast night we spent the night ghost hunting at the Skirrid Inn with Beyond the Grave Tours. It was a return to our roots episode as it was during the Beyond the Grave tour of Ruthin Gaol that kickstarted the abysmal show that is Calamityville Horror. We only nearly got lost a couple of times but made it there with plenty of time to spare. For the record, the blame lies entirely with AA route planner. It told us to take the first exit at one roundabout, sending us to police headquarters. Can’t help thinking this was planned. What it actually meant was second exit. At the final roundabout, it told us to take the fourth exit. But what it meant was third exit. What fools to misunderstand!

We arrived early then Cat embarrassed herself by being unable to open the door that led to the room where all the guests were gathered. So we stayed outside for a bit, sitting in the corner of the Inn like naughty children. We eventually walked in and the tour guides immediately recognised us from Ruthin Gaol. Guess showing up half an hour late in a cloud of rage sticks in people’s minds.

We started the night with a group vigil in bedroom one. There were 19 other guests and 4 tour guides. Some of the guests claimed to be sensitive and were doing the whole Derek Acorah thing of ‘I’m getting a…’ then giving a name. Where were they getting these names? Wikipedia? Lance was one. Lance? Really? We’re in WALES, love. They don’t name people Lance here. Strange how the ones who claimed to be sensitive were also the only ones getting ‘harassed’ by the spirits. Some girls beside us kept complaining their legs were cold, like someone was sitting on them. We were sitting perfectly still for an hour. Of course your legs were cold! The blood flow had  stopped and the room wasn’t heated! Someone else complained they were itchy. Buy a flea collar. We itch all the time. It’s not ghosts harassing us, it’s the cats letting us know we’ve forgotten their Frontline. Ryan said at one point he felt like crying. Guess we should lay off the teasing. One guest said she was feeling angry. We were annoyed but that was nothing to do with picking up on the spirits’ energy, it was just the other guests getting on our nerves. If there was a child spirit touching the girls beside us, why didn’t it come to us? If you look up  ‘child-friendly’ in the dictionary, you’d find our scowling faces with a speech bubble “tell your kids to shut up.”

Two guides were heading out to the cemetery. We went with them. So did everyone else, much to our annoyance. We were hoping the freezing temperatures and midnight hour would scare them off. We left them standing round a gravestone while we explored the graveyard, hunting for the grave of Fanny Price, who supposedly haunts the Inn. Fanny Price's graveThen some girls started screaming and legged it. What did we do? Rush the spot that frightened them. Most Haunted have nothing on us. They claimed they saw a shadow by a tree. Ummmm Lynx had her big external camera light on and was moving around. The likelihood is she projected Cat or Ryan’s shadow onto the tree as we were skulking around the graves like Goth versions of Burke and Hare. It wasn’t a ghost, ladies, it was simple shadow play.

We shook off the group and ventured around the other side of the church. Cat found herself standing on a grave, turned around- Fanny Price’s grave! We decided to do an EVP session there but spent most of the time making jokes at the expense of her name. For our American friends, ‘fanny’ is slang for ‘vagina’. Yes, we are professionals 😀 In the Most Haunted episode we watched Thursday night, friend of the show, Derek Acorah, claimed to have a vision of 4 Price graves and a blank one. There were 4 Price graves, but the ‘blank’ one belong to Charles Warren. Come on Derek, that was clearer than Catherine Price’s engravings. What you should’ve said was “I know there are 4 Price graves but the production crew didn’t gibe me the name on the headstone next to them.”

Anyhoo, during our EVP session, we noticed how quiet the graveyard was. It was midnight, 0 degrees and everyone else had buggered off back to the Inn. We were completely alone. FINALLY! At one point we asked Fanny to give us a sign she was there and a huge gust of wind buffeted us. We’re putting it down to the weather conditions. That or she was  really fed up with the ‘Is Willy in here?’ jokes.

We returned to the Inn to find ourselves locked out. Guess Fanny wasn’t the only one who was sick of us 😀 We took one of the guides, Darran, back to the cemetery to show him the grave. Yes, we dragged a stranger into a pitch black cemetery at midnight. Hell, on Monday we got into a stranger’s car in a secluded wooded lay-by. We flaunt the horror film rules here at Casa Raven. Then we locked ourselves in the storeroom where the condemned prisoners were apparently kept. Nothing paranormal, unless you find boxes of cups terrifying, though Lynx did headbutt a candleholder. Then we headed up to the attic where Lynx knocked over a sign that squashed her toe. By now everyone else was doing a vigil in the bar. So we headed to room 2, apparently the most haunted room. A planchette was set up so we wanted to test our theory that it’s always someone in the group responsible for moving it. We all lightly touched it. As predicted, it didn’t move once, despite us willing it to spell out ‘Ryan is a jerk’. He just doesn’t believe us so spirit confirmation would’ve been epic. C.A.T.S using a planchetteWe then ended our vigil in that room with an impromptu dance session before moving on to room 3. Despite there being 19 other guests, we managed to spend the entire night alone. It was amazing! Room 3, which is supposedly haunted by Fanny, wasn’t very interesting so we headed back down for Red Bull. One of the guests asked us if we’d been bouncing on the beds as they could hear banging when they were downstairs doing their vigil. Bouncing on the beds? Did he think C.A.T.S would be that unprofessional? Excuse us, but we were doing Calamityville Horror, Gangnam style. Forgot they had cameras set up.

After the refreshments, everyone was supposed to gather upstairs for a last group vigil. We went to the bar to our own, using Ryan’s iOvilus. We put the iOvilus inside the tankard apparently used to offer ale to the devil. Sadly it didn’t offer to make us rulers of Hell but came out with a bunch of random words, our favourites being ‘their blood’. We were joined by Jason, who was helping out and when we were telling him about Fanny’s grave, one of the K2 meters started reacting. So we tried having a conversation with her, even resorting to taunting her about standing on her grave. It did react but not very strongly.

We returned upstairs and Ryan dared Cat to walk through the pitch black room one  by herself and go down to the bathroom where a woman claimed a spirit tried to drown her. Like that was a challenge! Shrugging, Cat set off by herself. Seconds later there was a thud followed by a ‘crap!’ as she fell down the top step of the bathroom stairs, much to Lynx and Ryan’s delight. We left the Inn at 3:20 and in true Calamityville style, took the wrong road home and ended up on a road we couldn’t get off, heading for England. Luckily it turned off to Raglan. We arrived home at 4. Ryan went straight to bed. We were up feeding the cats and telling our mum about our adventures (the Raven family don’t sleep much) so didn’t get to bed til 4:35. Still awake at 5:15 then were up at 8 (rare  lie in) to feed and clean out our pets, our neighbour’s pets and our  sisters’ pets. Everyone’s gone away! Ryan surfaced at 11:30. Lightweight.

We had an amazing time and would love to do it again. Though if Beyond the Grave see our dance off, this might be the last time we’re allowed on a vigil. *swinging lassos* Calamityville Gangnam style.noose at the Skirrid Inn

Stone Age

Yesterday we arranged to meet up with someone we met online and a stranger, at Chippenham train station. We then followed them to a secluded lay-by hidden from the road by a line of trees, where lorries usually stop. We then abandoned Ryan’s car and got into the stranger’s car. No, this wasn’t the beginning of a horror film murder plot, but the next episode of Calamityville Horror.

StonehengeOur lovely American FB friend, Janette, is doing a tour of Europe and Stonehenge was one of the destinations she had planned. She kindly invited us along. We’ve never been to Stonehenge. Lynx thought it was north England, Cat thought it was east, Ryan thought it was London way. Turned out it was 2 hours from Cardiff in a straight line. However did we pass Geography? Mum warned us to leave well in advance as Janette’s train was reaching Chippenham at 10:45. We left at 9:15, not considering the M4 traffic. We reached the station at 10:45. Perfecto! We met Janette and our tour guide for the day, Peter Knight of Stone Seekers Tours http://www.stoneseeker.net/, outside the train station. Janette gave us this beautiful black sequin and skull choker necklace she’d made. She makes stunning jewellery under the name Alchemy Divine. http://www.etsy.com/shop/AlchemyDivineLook her up, people. We followed them to the above mentioned lay-by and left Helena among the lorries as we got into Peter’s car for the tour. We had perfect weather – heavy mist. It made Stonehenge really atmospheric and it meant not a lot of people were around, which is always good. Calamityville is a budget operation and we can’t afford extras 😀

Cat and Janette both had a go at using Peter’s dowsing rods on one of the laylines around Stonehenge. They didn’t react with Cat at all. Though we are about as spiritual and sensitive as wooden shoes. Maybe the gods sensed Cat was a higher power and were hiding. Or they were terrified of her neon tights. Unfortunately we were kept at bay from the monument by ropes over a hundred foot away, which was a shame. They obviously knew Ryan was going and thought he’d trip over and sent the whole thing flying like dominoes. Boy would the ancestors be pissed! StonehengeWe bought a cute cuddly raven in the shop. We’ve named him Allan. He now sits on our ancient typewriter in our summerhouse next to our crow with the light up eyes, Draven. The K2 didn’t react at all in Stonehenge, but maybe we weren’t close enough to it. There was a priestess there with a staff which apparently gives people visions. A lady was holding it, eyes shut. Then her phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing. Maybe it was the spirits communicating using modern technology, though we suspect it was her husband.

Next we moved onto Avebury and found a cafe that did vegan chocolate cake! We were brave and tried some, for the first time. It was lovely so we bought an extra two slices to bring home for our mum, who was babysitting the Animal Army. We moved on to the ancient stones in a field surrounded by sheep. They ignored us. According to our fancy new thermometer gun, the stones were exactly one degree colder than the ground. Interesting…if only we knew why. Probably the stones can’t retain heat. We crossed the road to more stones. AveburyThese ones had faces, which were cool, especially the skull stone. There were a lot of phallic shaped stones. Clearly the goddesses had a sense of humour. Then three people joined us. One guy moved far to our left, one stood in front of us and the woman stood right behind us. Cat and Ryan became convinced we were about to become the targets of a pickpocket gang. Cat protected her bags and turned so she could see the two people by us and Lynx, who was filming & completely oblivious. Cat was preparing herself for a superhero style take down with fancy moves and inventive use of the K2 and temperature gun should they move in and Ryan gripped his Steadicam to ready it as an anti-pickpocket weapon. Turned out they just wanted to join in our tour. Whoops.

Next was West Kennet Barrow – a burial chamber on top of a hill. Peter brought his drum with him – he does trance drumming evenings at these places with groups of people – and apparently the last time, 2 ladies brought a K2 and it reacted during the drumming. The burial chamber was really cool, with little chambers leading off it. West Kennet BarrowAt the far end, we put the K2 on the floor against the skull stone while Peter drummed. The K2 didn’t react. There were 2 couples there who joined us to listen to the drumming. Think they were meditating. We told them our K2 was professional because it had ‘The Ghost Meter’ written on it. Don’t think this convinced them. Clearly, once again, the spirits were avoiding us as no amount of drumming convinced them to come forwards. Then he stopped and stood in the corner with his back to us in complete silence. Think he might’ve been willing the spirits through. The K2 was still silent. It was the machine’s equivalent to a person folding their arms and saying ‘make me’. The whole chamber was in total silence for what felt like forever but might have been five minutes. It was…awkward. Painful, almost. Even we were willing the K2 to flash or bleep, just the once to break the heavy atmosphere. Did it come to our rescue? No it didn’t. It seemed to be enjoying the uncomfortable situation. Peter suggested maybe because the last time happened at night that there were different energies. Maybe. But our K2 does work in the dark. As we investigated the other chambers, we could hear some unearthly noises and thought maybe the spirits had made an appearance after all. Turned out one of the couples were chanting and playing some sort of instrument. The spirits were obviously out to lunch.

We learned so much – Peter was a great guide who certainly knew his stuff. Had we gone alone, it would’ve been an episode filled with us wandering around groping some stones. Actually, that did happen. One stone had carvings that represented a clitoris. We have photos of Ryan stroking it. Hell, we all touched it. First time for everything. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Janette – she is one of the nicest, kindest people we’ve met in real life and we’re so glad she invited us. We never thought we’d get to fulfil our ambition to meet some of our American FB friends but now we have 🙂 We returned to the lay-by to find Helena in one piece so us and Janette found a nice pub in Chippenham for a meal and a lively discussion about British and American politics. And you thought we were just idiots with a camera 😉

Calamityville Horror at Stonehenge

Jamaica Inn

 Jamaica InnDay three started early with a spooky trip to Tesco for more ice bags. Actually it wasn’t spooky but as our ghost hunting holiday hadn’t turned up anything paranormal, we were trying to crank up the creep factor. No, wait a minute, day three really started with us discovering if we jumped from the bed settee onto the settee mattress, it was springy enough to propel us onto the bed. Rumours of us turning 30 in Feb have been greatly exaggerated.

Then began our hunt for the Beast of Bodmin. Ryan refused to don a ridiculous costume for our hoax video, much to our disgust. He was almost kicked out of the team for that one. We assured him we would avenge his untimely demise should a local farmer shoot him but he wasn’t appeased by this. With the worst hoax in the history of hoaxes in tatters, we drove through the Moors, finding only some sheep, and they weren’t in the least bit panther shaped.Bodmin Moor

We found Jamaica Inn and drove into the car park only to drive straight back out again. No we weren’t chased out by pirates. We figured 10:30 was a bit early for a drink so we decided to do some more beast hunting. As we toured the Moors, we came across Dozmary Pool, where King Arthur’s sword was apparently thrown after his death. The sign pointed left so we went left. Only to end up driving down a potholed dirt track. There was a bit of a thunk from Mickey and we questioned whether we were supposed to be driving down there. But we’d gone too far to turn back. Also turning back would be like admitting we weren’t supposed to be driving down there. We parked by a gate in some mud and got out to look at the lake, Mickey’s fan loudly protesting. Mini Coopers clearly don’t like being forced to go off road.

We did a bit more beastie hunting before the lure of Jamaica Inn was too hard to resist. We considered driving to the coast, wrecking some ships and stashing the booty in Jamaica Inn so our mum could retire. (Who wouldn’t want a chest full of gold as a holiday souvenir?) But there was no way we’d get a treasure chest in Mickey with all our stuff inside so we returned to the Inn bootyless. Sorry mum. We were so excited at finally being at one of the most haunted places in Britain it was all we could do to stop ourselves borrowing some local horses and charging over the cobbles shouting ‘pieces of eight’ and ‘give us yer gold ye scurvy sons of biscuit eaters.’ But we suspected the elderly clientele wouldn’t engage in an energetic sword fight with us.Jamaica Inn

We first toured the Daphne du Maurier and smugglers museum, taking a photo of L K Jay’s copy of Jamaica Inn near du Maurier’s writing desk. Then we headed for the Inn itself, all hyped up on pirates, ghosts and treasure. Only for One Direction’s ‘Beautiful’ to be playing as we walked in. Mood. Killed. Even worse, the barman was singing to it, not reaching for his shotgun and threatening us with the hangman’s noose. We unashamedly explored the Inn, taking photos and posing behind the original bar, which was Joss’ bar in the book. Unfortunately the K2 was silent. We were desperate for it to be really spooky and haunted but had we not known the significance of the Inn, it was just like any other pub of that age. With added mannequins.

We absolutely loved it and wished we could’ve afforded to stay the night so we could experience how spooky it was on the lonely Moors after the sun had died. We were reluctant to leave, even after we’d been there a couple of hours but it was our last day and we had a beast to find. We got lost on the Moors and stopped for an impromptu interview. With a sheep. He stopped grazing but seemed reluctant to answer our questions. None of the others wanted to talk to us. In fact, every time Ryan called out “the beast is coming!” they all got up and ran off. We thought maybe the first sheep was a bit skittish but this happened every time he warned them. Clearly the beast is much more than a Cornish legend. The sheep’s behaviour hinted the beast is very real.

We got out to explore the Moors but didn’t find any sign of this beastie that had the sheep so worried. We finally convinced Ryan to do a bit of beastie dancing, only for a military looking Jeep to speed along the track. Had the beast been spotted? Did they believe our rumours that Ryan was in fact the beast and had come to take him to a secure unit for ‘examination’? Or were they just heading for the nearby military museum? We might never know. But for now, the beast remains just a legend.C L Raven at Jamaica Inn

Just when we thought we’d be lost on the Moors forever, with tales of a hot orange Mini Cooper haunting the locals, we found our way to Bude. We’d been looking forwards to chips and ice cream at a vegan friendly cafe. It was closed. Annoyed, we kicked some locals before buying pasties for our family. We left Bude at 5 to return home. Only to get lost. Well, not lost, we knew exactly where we were. Right along the coast at the top of Devon. Miles out of our way. We should’ve gone east but instead went north. Very north. We decided to stick with the coastal route and we’re so glad we did. It was stunning. We got to drive through country lanes, see the sun setting over cliffs and beaches and drive through the beautiful Exmoor forest. Not exactly ghost hunting scenery. There was a car parked at the top of one of the cliffs we’d stopped to photograph and a check confirmed it was empty. Where was the driver? There was nowhere to walk – we were on a cliff edge. Had the beast strayed into Devon and had a human sized snack? We’ll never know.

We were very reluctant to leave as Cornwall is stunning. Wish we could’ve stayed longer. In fact we’re planning a return trip. But when we hit the M5, we could smell Wales and suddenly we were desperate to get home. First thing we did when arriving back at 10pm was hunt down the cats for kisses. Warlock’s hunger strike lasted a day. Kyler, the iguana was more committed. His hunger strike lasted 2 days. Warlock has barely left our sides since we got back, so while we can’t wait to return to Cornwall, it’ll be a while before we venture off again. It’s nice to be missed.

And if anyone sees the beast, tell him we’re looking for him.Calamityville Horror at Jamaica Inn

Get out of Jail Free

Day two of Calamityville Horror Roadtrip started reasonably well. None of us got a great night’s sleep – our intermittent insomnia means we find it difficult sleeping anywhere other than our own beds. Ryan’s restlessness might have had something to do with the incontinence mattress he was sleeping on. We’re not kidding. It was covered in a plastic coating with towelling on top. Every time he moved, it crunched, earning him the nickname Crinkles. Perhaps Travelodge believe that whoever sleeps on the pull out bed has bladder problems. Maybe they should invest in a nappy dispenser.

St. Ives

As we were going to St. Ives

Our first port of call was St. Ives. We used to go to St. Ives and Mevagissy all the time when we were kids. And everytime we went, we always visited Fat Willy’s surf shack. Today was no exception. We had a bit of a nightmare trying to park and ended up driving all the way through the town before finding a car park above a beach. Cat got into another argument with the pay and display machine when she found out it didn’t give change. She couldn’t return to the car, because there was a queue forming behind her and she couldn’t signal to Lynx and Ryan in the car, because she was out of sight. She marched away from the machine, furious. And ten pence poorer.

We headed straight for the harbour and a postcard shop to get a postcard for our niece. She started nursery on Wednesday and has found it hard, so as she loves getting postcards, we figured it’d cheer her up. We didn’t get her a cute postcard, we got her one with smugglers. She loves pirates as much as we do. Though unfortunately we haven’t met any. We were hoping to get enough treasure for our mum to retire. Who wouldn’t want smugglers’ gold as a holiday souvenir?

We then made our way to Fat Willy’s. The shop has changed a bit from when we were kids, but the jukebox is still there. And although they now do their t-shirts in different colours, we bought our niece a black one, like the ones we had as kids. We even made Ryan take a photo of us holding the t-shirt outside the shop. Purely to make our sister jealous 😀

Ryan taunted us by having an ice cream as we wandered the streets. As Travelodge don’t have freezers in the rooms, or even fridges, we’ve been unable to bring our vegan ice cream. Those of you who follow us on Twitter or are friends with us on Facebook, will know how much we love ice cream. We eat a massive bowl of it every day. Even when it’s freezing outside. So him eating his in front of us was beyond cruel. As tempting as it was to trip him so he could watch the seagulls enjoy his tasty treat, we left him and his ice cream cone unmolested. Karma rewarded our self-control with an ice cream shop, Willy Wallers, which sold vegan sorbet. We ordered a chocolate one each. It was delicious! It’s been fifteen years since we’ve eaten ice cream out of a tub with a small spoon and we enjoyed every mouthful.

We decided to head for Bodmin, but first made a detour to Penzance to buy some ice from Tesco’s. We brought a cool box that we packed with two bags of ice to keep our many Red Bulls and soya milk ice cold. It works wonderfully, but unfortunately, it turns to water by morning and will therefore make a great wake up alarm if Ryan tries to have a lie in. We also had an ulterior motive for going to Penzance – the route between Penzance and Hayle has a village called Cockwells. We missed our photo opportunity when we went on the ghost walk and we couldn’t let the sign go unphotographed. Ryan refused to get out and stand by it in his Fat Willy’s t-shirt. Some people have no appreciation for the arts.

Bodmin JailWe then went to the place we’ve been most looking forwards to – Bodmin Jail. We didn’t get lost! This is becoming a nasty habit. Particularly as we didn’t print out many route planners so we relying on our map reading skills and sign posts. It’s £6.50 to get in but it’s so worth it. http://www.bodminjail.org/ It was boiling outside so we took our jumpers off. Only for the jail to be 12 degrees C. Yes, we used our new toy for the first time – our temperature gun. The jail is everything a jail should be – dark and creepy. There were many levels to explore and we spent three hours there.

Bodmin JailWeirdly, when we were exploring one of the lower levels, we were setting up a shot when this family approached us. Turns out, they recognised us from Oxford Castle. In fact, they were on the same tour as us! What are the chances? They’re from the Berkshire paranormal group, so we compared notes on Oxford and Hell Fire Caves. For some reason, these mad coincidences never happen with us and Johnny Depp. We’ve never managed to be in the same room as him.

Bodmin JailAfter exploring the jail, we wandered around the back to get some outside shots. There we stumbled across another wing of the jail. We saw it from one of the levels in the main jail and were desperate to get inside. All the cells were still there, but there were no walkways so we couldn’t explore it all. Sadly, the gift shop wasn’t open. We were gutted. Apparently it closed at three, but we were there at two and it was already closed, which is a bit strange, as the jail is open ‘til dusk, so they’re missing out on a lot of potential custom.

It had been our intention to visit Bodmin Moor and Jamaica Inn on the same day as the jail, but we decided to save them for Saturday. Our second Travelodge was in Wadebridge so we began driving towards it. Only to realise we were heading in completely the wrong direction. We had to turn around and retrace our steps ALL the way back to the jail. Turns out, instead of going left out of the jail, we should’ve gone right.

We found Wadebridge with no further mishaps. Except we couldn’t find our Travelodge. We swear they hide them from us. There is no way we can miss FOUR Travelodges. There MUST be a conspiracy involved. Ryan chastised us for not getting the postcode, but then his iPhone died, rendering any postcode useless. We drove through Wadebridge one way, failed to find the Travelodge, so turned around and headed another way through Wadebridge. We drove out the other end, looking for somewhere to turn around. And drove straight past our Travelodge. We did a quick u-turn in Tesco’s then parked up.

This Travelodge has a big disadvantage to the one in Hayle – Ryan’s pull out bed doesn’t have an incontinence mattress. Looks like he’ll have to get up to use the toilet this time.

Bodmin Jail

Hang ’em High

Bewitched

Tintagel castle cliffs3 people, 2 suitcases, food and other essentials on a ghost hunting tour of Cornwall for 3 days. In a Mini Cooper Convertible. It sounds like the start to a bad joke or at least a comedy show. It’s Calamityville Horror Roadtrip. So yeah, the start to a bad joke or a comedy show 😀

After weeks of crappy weather, we’ve had nothing but hot sunshine on our holiday. Our pasty skin blinded passers-by, who donned their sunglasses and hissed at the rare sight. We made good time and didn’t nearly die once. It was looking good. Except our big black cat, Warlock spent the day on a hunger strike in protest of us leaving. Temptations swiftly ended it. Our first destination was the witchcraft museum in Boscastle. the museum of witchcraft, BoscastleWe didn’t even know of its existence until we were circling places on our map and discovered it by accident. We’re so glad we did. We initially drove out of Boscastle so pulled into a petrol station to ask for directions. Only for a lorry to pull in behind us and jam us in. We thought it was getting diesel. No. It was unloading supplies for the shop. It was hot in the car so we ate some lunch while we waited to be freed, our patience melting with our skin. Then Cat hit a low point by arguing with the pay and display machine because it swallowed her 5p, until Ryan told her to press the coin return. That worked but the relationship remained frosty.

The museum was fantastic. We were speaking to the owner at the start and he told us he’d seen the beast of Bodmin Moor – 3 years ago! He even let us interview him. We’d only just arrived and already we had an interview for this sinking ship that is Calamityville. He was certain we would love the museum and he was right. There was everything related to witchcraft including poppets, wands, Mandrake root, herbs, Ouija boards, swords and skulls. And even entire board relating to penis amulets. We even bought an iron Athame. Yes people, we now have our very own wand. Ryan is now a little scared of the power we wield. The witchcraft museum, BoscastleWe even used a Tarot machine for the first time. Basically, you put a coin in, the needle spins and lands on a card. Ryan tutted at us for paying 2p as he slotted £1 in. If writing paid better, we’d be less stingy. His tarot card was Judgement. Lynx’s landed smack between The Fool and Justice. Cat got The Devil. Throughout the museum were signs warning people not to lean across the displays as they were alarmed. While we were loitering by the magic mirror (if you see a face, it’s the person you’ll marry. Wentworth Miller didn’t appear) an alarm blared around the museum and a guilty looking Ryan stepped back from the display.

We then headed to Tintagel castle. It was basically ruins but it was right on top of a cliff and was the birth place of King Arthur. Merlin’s Caves were underneath. The views were stunning. Unfortunately Cat’s bad knee had been playing up all week and the steep cliff steps finished it off but she ignored the pain and we climbed another cliff to more ruins. Luckily she packed her ice pack and crutches. Tintagel castleAfter that we headed for Hayle and our Travelodge. For those who know our tales of woe when trying to find our Travelodges in North Wales, you won’t be surprised to discover we couldn’t find this one. Turned out in wasn’t actually IN Hayle. Travelodge name them after the nearest town, not the actual destination. We were directed to a garage and pulled in to the car park, only to discover it was Premier Inn. As we toured the car park, we spied Travelodge lurking behind a Shell petrol station, spying on us. And it had just caught us flirting with another motel. We scurried over and assured Travelodge that it wasn’t what it looked like, we were just LOOKING at Premier Inn and it meant nothing to us.

Penzance ghost walkWe had just enough time to unpack and have a quick snack before leaving for Penzance. Mum told us to leave at half seven for the half eight ghost walk. We left at 7:55 – we had to wait for Ryan’s equipment to recharge. We got there on time and were even allowed to film. The walk lasted til 10:15 and it was brilliant. The guide, Ian Addicoat, was really entertaining and clearly knew a lot about the area. There were 15-20 of us on the walk yet we were the only ones who had a light. In the pitch black cemetery, Lynx kindly lit the steps for the elderly people in the group so no one broke a hip. That would really sour the spooky atmosphere. We kept getting left behind as we skulked in the dark taking photos like perverts. Iain told us of the legends of black dogs and how people die soon after seeing these spectral creatures. Ryan was then paranoid about meeting them. We planned to tell him we couldn’t see any black dogs if he spotted one.Penzance ghost walk

We found our way back to our Travelodge no problem, which surprised us all. A whole day in Cornwall and we didn’t get lost once. In other news, Jupiter has melted.

Hello world!

No, we’re not fresh out of the Rocky Horror Show (though we are going to see that). We’re writers. Here is our mission statement: to unseat Stephen King and replace him as the new mistresses of horror. Seeing our freaky faces first thing in the morning we’d have to love horror. So far, work record – ok, maybe not glowing. King is safe for now. We’ve had a short story published in Legend Press’ Eight Hours anthology. Ours is called End of Innocence. (Available from www.legendpress.co.uk. We also have blogs on their site – under Author’s Group website.) We’ve had 2 short stories published in The Pages anthology – Missed Call in Dec 2008 anthology and Gallery of Souls in June 2009 anthology. (Available from www.the-pages.blogspot.com) We’ve also had a poem, Wedded Bliss, published in Cardiff-based Square Magazine. (www.squaremag.net) One day we will win a horror award. Just hope we’re not dead by the time it happens.

We did our very first poetry reading on Jan 31st 2010 in The Poets Corner pub in Cardiff. It was organised by Square Magazine’s editor, Nick Fisk. We read Wedded Bliss, Penitence Ball (inspired by our favourite band, My Chemical Romance) and Dating By Numbers. We hope to do more readings, but whether we’re invited back is another matter.

We have an aim this year to get 12 pieces of work published – one for every month. So far we’ve achieved – nothing. But the year is young. We just got a rejection from Shock Totem magazine, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the other stories and poems out there.

We also plan to take over the world. But ssh! (It’s a secret.)