In all the dusty annals, sidenotes and forgotten addendums of history, there are few stories stranger than that of ‘Miss Daisy of Blackpool Bay‘. I now reside far inland and, after I have repeated this tale to you, I suspect that you will too.
But, I digress. Apologies. The poppy seed that I indulge in these days may calm my frayed nerves, but it does somewhat weaken my concentration.
I am a scholar of forgotten histories and stumbled across the first reference of Miss Daisy from the old annals of a discarded penny dreadful knocking around an attic in New York. Uncertain as to the accuracy of the story but intrigued by the author’s careful use of real-world places, actual history and the accuracy of everything else in the tale, I decided to travel out to the story’s setting: Blackpool Bay.
Blackpool Bay is a somewhat quaint but extremely isolated fishing port cut into the Blackpool Mountains with a dark, brooding bay that curls out into a wild open ocean. A failed highway build a number of years ago attempted to connect the town with the modern-world but access remains via a winding, treacherous single-lane that dates back to before the war or off a boat from the nearest port.
I took the latter and stepped off an old, creaking fishing boat onto the docks of Blackpool Bay. The docks smelt fishy with something truly awful as an undertone, but I ignored it and wandered into town lugging my suitcase behind me. I marvelled at how old most of the buildings must be. While most had not been properly maintained for what seemed like decades and were streaked black with the weather, they were likely built a century or two ago and one could still see the regal imperial stone cut roofed with black slate yawning out over the cobbled streets.
Eventually, I arrived at the misleadingly-named ‘Grand Hotel’ on the town’s Main Road. It was little more than a run-down room with fading fabrics, a gaslight and a heater, but I did not care. I threw my suitcase onto the bed and hastened downstairs again. A rather sour clerk with bulbous eyes behind the front-desk pointed me in the direction of the Old Museum past the Gypsy Market and I hurriedly left.
“Where is the Curator?” I enquired of the young, fidgetting man before me, “I did not correspond with you in my letters? Where is the esteemed old Curator?”
“Apologies, Sir,” the young man dressed in a worn-out old suit stammered, “There-there was an, uhm, incident a number of weeks ago. The Curator is, uh, no longer here. But I worked closely with him and can help you. What is it that you are looking for?”
I sighed and told him about my exchange of letters with the Curator regarding the tale of Miss Daisy of Blackpool Bay. He nodded fervently through my explanation, told me to wait and then scampered off into the back.
While I waited, I strode around the Old Museum glancing at the strange oddities kept there. There was a harpoon from whaling days on one wall, its deep scratches belying the death it must have dealt in another, more barbaric age. Some suits of armor from Europe stood around in a corner with some family crests and their lineage back to old European family lines. The most prominent being the Athelard family, who appeared to have founded the Old Museum generations ago when they left the Old World for Blackpool Bay. There were some old, eerie paintings on the wall from strange and exotic places. One particular painting of a Congolese woman in dark oils caught my eye and I started to lean in closer to its examine its violent brushstrokes–
“Here we go, Sir!” the young man piped up from behind me, startling me, “Here are the archives on Miss Daisy. Before my time, but back when this was popular, the Old Museum had a show on it and, uh, well these documents and notes are what is left from that.”
I turned around and took the heavy, dusty folder from the young man. Thanked him profusely and promised to return them before I left.
Almost a century and a half ago as the sun was setting, a humble fisherman arrived back at Blackpool Bay docks with a rather unique catch.
According to the fisherman identified only as ‘Horatio’, a freak current had dragged his small vessel out of the bay and into the open ocean. He was an experienced fisherman and had saved his energy by not fighting the freak current. As he had expected, eventually the current had dissipated and he had begun rowing back to the coastline and, thereafter, back into the Bay.
Given that fishing was his livelihood, he had decided to drag his net behind as he rowed. With a bit of luck, he had thought, he might catch some fish making the day not a complete waste.
Let us ignore the fact that a number of other fishermen were out in the bay that day and none of them recall ever either seeing Horatio or experiencing any strange currents. Ignore the fact that the average fishing net was probably too weak for the weight of his catch. And, finally, let us ignore the obvious question of how she got out there or survived at all in the frigid, wild open ocean…
According to Horatio in the local paper at the time, while rowing, his boat had suddenly snagged something heavy with his net. Excitedly, he had pulled the net up into the boat expecting a shoal of cod or perhaps tuna. Instead and to his horror, a slender, well-formed arm had emerged from the dark water as he pulled at the heavy net. The arm was attached to a shoulder and then a well-formed neck. As he pulled the neck into the boat and unwrapped it, the beautiful, naked form of a woman emerged and collapsed into his boat.
The Blackpool Bay Daily had a follow-up article dated from about a week or so after the first mention of this incident. It also is the first time that Miss Daisy’s name is mentioned and the article includes a grainy, blurring black-and-white photo of her standing at the docks with the dark, brooding ocean behind her. While little detail can be seen in such a poor quality photograph, I can attest to something odd but unplaceable about it that makes my skin crawl.
According to the article, Miss Daisy remained mute but had adjusted well to living with Horatio and his wife. She would join Horatio on his daily fishing trips and seemed a natural out at sea. The local doctor had examined her and concluded that she was as fit as a fiddle and no worse for her ordeal. No members of the public or officials had come forth claiming her identity or offering clues as to the events surrounding how she had ended up far out in the open ocean. Thus, the local Mayor Athelard had decided to name her Daisy and the townsfolk had shrugged the mystery off and continued with their daily lives.
From this point, the tale of Miss Daisy of Blackpool Bay starts to take a turn for the darker.
Horatio’s wife was the first to die. Medical records report that she succumbed to a mysterious illness, wasting quickly away and passed late one night. Church records show that no less than a month after she was buried, Haratio married Miss Daisy. But this was not to last long as one evening Haratio’s fishing boat came back to shore without him on it. Miss Daisy–still mute–could not explain what had happened, but the boat had lots of water in it and all items were missing, thus the old fishermen at the docks concluded that it must have been a freak wave or something that had washed Horatio overboard. His two children were then sent off to live with a relative inland and Miss Daisy retired to his old house and stopped going out in public.
The rest of this story–save the ending–is speculation and hearsay. Neighbors reported strange sounds and a horrific smell emanating from Horatio’s old house. A number of pets were reported missing across the bay, particularly in the roads around Horatio’s old house. A mysterious sickness swept the town and many good folk became bedridden with all the symptoms of a vicious bout of seasickness, but not having set one foot on a boat.
And then, late one particularly dark night, a great storm rolled. It’s wind churned up the ocean into a frenzy as the rain beat down on the hapless town. Two neighbors living in the same road and a number of other good folk dotted between the docks and her house all reported seeing that amidst the terrible storm a strange, mishappen group had shuffled slowly to Miss Daisy’s house and beat on her front door.
Miss Daisy had not been seen for many months and, thus, her ragged, wild appearance was a shock to the neighbor–a certain Mr. Humphrey–who saw her throw open the door and confront the strange, shady group on her porch. Her hair was tangled and wild, her complexion pale and taut, and her frame thin and wispy. No doubt confused, ignorant and as superstitious as only small-town folk can be, this neighbor further reported that Miss Daisy was completely naked and, this nakedness, revealed a strange, “scaling” to her skin and thin gill-like slits down her strangely long, eel-like neck.
Irrespective of the details or fantasies of a crazed-mind, Miss Daisy and this strange group proceeded to have a heated argument. This is stranger, indeed, given the fact that Miss Daisy was by all accounts quite muted. But, irrespective, the argument got physical and, at some point, the leader of that mishappen group roughly struck Miss Daisy, she crumpled to the floor and the group quickly scooped her up and started back down the road from whence they had come.
Witnessing all of this through the slit in his blinds and being a good neighbor, Mr. Humphrey had grabbed his old rifle from the wall. According to what he told the reporter the next day, he had rushed out into the howling wind, beating rain and chased after the motley crew as they shuffled down the road with Miss Daisy’s limp form strung across them.
By this time, the mishappen coven had arrived at the docks and was standing out on the edge of the pier. Lightning flashed and the storm raged overhead with a demonic vengeance. What they were planning to do was unclear to Mr. Humphrey, as there were no boats moored there nor any other vessel at the end of the pier. The waves were smashing all around them, seaspray thick in the howling air as the torrential rain made it hard to see clearly.
Mr. Humphrey said that he had called out and fired, hitting one of the figures with little effect, while he charged down the pier. All but one of the group had ignored this and knelt at the edge of the pier, letting Miss Daisy’s crumpled form slip below the raging, black waters. Charging right at them, Mr. Humphrey had taken aim again on the group but–just before he fired–the one that had turned to face him had lept at him and with supernatural strength, overpowered him, ripping the rifle from his hand and closing his hands around his neck…
According to the Blackpool Bay Daily reporter, Mr. Humphrey had passed out at this point. He was found–bruised and unconscious, his rifle lying neatly next to him–the next morning by an old fisherman who had popped down to the docks to check his boat had survived the storm. The storm had blown out in the early hours of the morning and any trace or evidence as to Miss Daisy’s whereabouts and the mysterious group that had abducted her was long gone.
While Mr. Humphrey could not describe the strange group of people that had abducted Miss Daisy, he had gotten a single flash of the mishappen face of the one that had jumped on him. The official description per the police report describes this unnaturally strong man as “…having no face whatsoever but a warped, piscine horror of slime and tentacle covered with a black, wet robe. It was like a hellish, inky jellyfish had pulled itself together into the shape of a man with tentacles instead of limbs, and crawled onto land with the sole objective of abducting poor Miss Daisy before returning to whatever deep, dark crevice it had originally come from.“
No body was ever found of Miss Daisy nor washed up onshore. Likewise, no ransom demands ever surfaced. Of the strange, vile group that had abducted her, no other clues–save some strange, black, inky fluid left at the end of the pier; perhaps the poisoned, wicked blood of the creature that had gotten shot by Mr. Humphrey. There were not even whispers of any kind to indicate what, where and who they were or what their motives with Miss Daisy might have been.
When the police had searched Horatio’s old house, they found very little to substantiate anything. The house was filthy and acrid with the stench of dead fish throughout it. Strange, unnatural symbols were scrawled over its walls and on its floors, in what appeared to be dried blood and some black inky substance. There was a full bath run with heavily salted water in it, a small bottle of noxious, unidentified liquid was recovered from below the sink, and suggestive bloodstains and small bones had been found in the kitchen. Strange scales were scattered throughout the house as if some bizarre fish had been shedding them as it writhed through that dingy abode.
Beyond this, the rest is a mystery. Pets stopped disappearing, the strange plague that had made so many in town sick dissipated and Blackpool Bay slowly went back to its normal, sleepy activity. The sole exception to this was old Horatio’s house, which stood empty and uncared for until it eventually burnt down late one night in a mysterious fire.
What terrifies me is not the events in the tale of Miss Daisy, but what they corroborate across a number of other seemingly unrelated stories, folktales and dark legends. As a collector of oddities and bizarre tales, I have stumbled across a range of references to an ancient civilization from a lost age.
This forgotten civilization was plumbing the depths of hidden knowledge and occult sciences when mankind was still sleeping naked in caves. And, in these dark alcoves of knowledge, the race had itself become twisted and mishappen until some horrendous, unnamed event had torn through their civilization and seen the very ocean rise up against them and swallow their cities whole.
But, it is said, some of these dark, twisted creatures still live in down there. Submerged at the bottom of the ocean and shrouded in the blackest waters, these dark, twisted immortals continue seeking out their arcane, heinous knowledge. Devoted to their vile pursuits, they quietly await the day when they can rise from the depths and retake the world from the ignorant, warm-blooded mammals that now laze around on top of it.
Beyond just dark tales, Miss Daisy–or, more specifically, what appears to have abducted or reclaimed her–is the best and closest evidence I have that these demons in the deep do in fact exist. The black inky blood left on the pier, the bizarre evidence and writings of occult nature left in old Horatio’s house and, importantly, Mr. Humphrey’s confused and crazed account of that night all point to a single, horrific conclusion: this lost civilization with its twisted practitioners of the dark arts does in fact exist and, very occasionally, creeps out from under the ocean and into our innocent and clueless world.
My research in Blackpool Bay completed and my worst fears confirmed, I returned the papers to the Old Museum’s archives that very night. I checked out of the Grand Hotel thereafter, cancelled my shipping ticket and decided to rather catch a taxi through the old, winding road around the mountains and inland.
I will never again be setting foot near the ocean, nor–in particular–Blackpool Bay. I cannot stress enough that neither should you. Please allow the bizarre tale of ‘Miss Daisy of Blackpool Bay‘ to serve as a stark warning that there are many mysteries in this world that have not been pierced by the keen light of science and reason.
Despite our blissful ignorance of these things–long may it last!–ignorance cannot actually keep us safe, just happy. Someday the horror that hides at the bottom of the ocean will come creeping out and we will pay for our arrogance in thinking that we rule this very old and mysterious planet.