Friday, 13 March 2020

Mass Vampire Hunt 50 Years Ago



Friday 13th March 2020 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the largest vampire hunt ever to take place in the British Isles. It occurred at Highgate Cemetery on the evening of 13 March 1970, following reports in local and national newspapers, plus a television interview with various witnesses earlier on a programme called Today, Thames Television. Notwithstanding many amateur vampire hunters inflicting themselves on the cemetery with home-made stakes, crosses, garlic, holy water, but very little knowledge about how to deal with the suspected undead if they encountered it, I made an appeal on the Today programme at 6.00pm requesting the public not to get involved, nor put into jeopardy an investigation already in progress. Not everyone heeded my plea. Over the following weeks and months a wide variety of independent vampire hunters descended on the graveyard — only to be frightened off by its eerie atmosphere, and what they believed might have been the supernatural entity itself. Some were promptly arrested by police patrolling the area. None, however, caused any damage. I advised the public that a full-scale investigation was already taking place, and that individual efforts by those merely seeking thrills only served to endanger all.


On the Today programme, 13 March 1970, I warned one self-styled vampire hunter in particular, who had appeared on the same programme as one of several witnesses, to leave things he did not understand alone. Apparently he had received “a horrible fright” a few weeks earlier when he allegedly caught sight of the vampire by the north gate of Highgate Cemetery and immediately wrote to his local newspaper about the experience, concluding with these words: “I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature.” (Letters to the Editor, Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 February 1970). In the following month the same individual revealed to the media that he had seen something at the north gate that was “evil” and that it “looked like it had been dead for a long time” (as told by him to Sandra Harris on the Today programme). I warned on the same programme that this man’s declared intention of staking the vampire alone and without the proper knowledge went “against my explicit wish for his own safety.”


The Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 March 1970, under the headline The Ghost Goes On TV, reported: "Cameras from Thames Television visited Highgate Cemetery this week to film a programme ... One of those who faced the cameras was Mr David Farrant, of Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road. ... 'It was tall and very dark grey. But it didn't appear to have any feet. It just glided along.' He intends to visit the cemetery again, armed with a wooden stake and a crucifix, with the aim of exorcising the spirit. He also believes that Highgate is 'rife with black magic.' ... [Seán] Manchester is opposed to [David] Farrant's plans. 'He goes against our explicit wish for his own safety,' he said. ‘We feel he does not possess sufficient knowledge to exorcise successfully something as powerful as a vampire, and may well fall victim as a result. We issue a similar warning to anyone with likewise intentions'."


The mass vampire hunt on the night itself was not attended by David Farrant who spent his time in the Prince of Wales pub before repairing home to Archway Road and the bunker of an acquaintance.

The hunt went ahead, as chronicled in The Highgate Vampire book, and what was thought to be the vampire source and its resting place was discovered, along with empty coffins, in the catacombs.




Sunday, 9 February 2020

Vampire Research Society



The Vampire Research Society this year celebrated its founding on February 2nd (Candlemas) in 1970. Most of its original membership, including notable executive members such as Professor Devendra P Varma and Peter Underwood FRSA, to name but two of many more, have now sadly passed away. This year, however, reached the ½ centennial of the founding of the Vampire Research Society. Its official organ is The Cross & The Stake. The magazine is available to members only, and membership is strictly by invitation. There is a webpage on Facebook where selected news is shared.


Vice




To access the answers to Francisco Garcia-Ferrera's four questions click on the images above.

To access Francisco Garcia-Ferrera's article click on the images below.


Francisco Garcia-Ferrera drew himself into the controversy that has existed long before he was born.

Having chosen to publish what amounts to misinformation, falsehood and factual inaccuracy, he now wants to wash his hands of any responsibility for what he has written and published on the internet.

†Seán Manchester's response to Francisco Garcia-Ferrera's less than "rounded" article now follows:

Where do I start?

Francisco Garcia-Ferrera approached me as late 2019 became early 2020. I directed him to a private forum (click on image at the top of the page to access) where I told him I would answer any queries.

I also advised him that much he probably sought to know was already contained in my book The Highgate Vampire. He confirmed that he had not read it.

He asked only four short questions. I offered to address any supplementary or additional queries he might have. There were none.

Consequently, the article he produced is riddled with misleading statements, false claims and error.

Straight away, I am  described as "a self-proclaimed exorcist, vampire hunter and bishop of the mysterious 'Old Catholic Church'."

The description "exorcist" is quite obviously an accurate one in view of the fact that I entered the minor order of Exorcistate in early 1973, and had been performing exorcisms bohth before that date and, of course, long after it.

How can the description "vampire hunter" be "self-proclaimed"? This is how I was accurately dubbed by academics, authors, researchers, interviewers and the media generally over the last half a century. I did not "proclaim" myself as such. I had no such need. It was apparent to my readers and most others.

How does he deduce that the Old Catholic Church is "mysterious"? There is nothing mysterious about it. His statement is based on ignorance, ie a lack of ecclesial understanding, information and knowledge. This is probably not the place to elaborate further, but I will gladly do so elsewhere.

Next we are told that "the story officially ended in 1973, when Manchester claimed to have driven a stake through the vampire's heart in the nearby 'House of Dracula' in Crouch End."

The year is incorrect. It was not 1973. The term "House of Dracula" was coined by a local newspaper (the Hornsey Journal). I dubbed it as a house of evil, and "Hell House." The property where the exorcism took place is actually situated on the border of Highgate and Hornsey, not Crouch End. The story did not, of course, end with the 1974 exorcism, as anyone who has read my book will know.

"While Farrant had presided over The British Psychic and Occult Society, Manchester founded the British Occult Society," it is erroneously claimed.

David Farrant's British Psychic and Occult Society was created by him circa 1982-1983. There is no evidence of its existence prior to that date. The British Occult Society was not founded by me. I became its president in June 1967. The British Occult Society was originally formed as an umbrella organisation circa 1860. Much of its activity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is shrouded in mystery. The BOS came out of the closet, however, in the mid-twentieth century before finally disappearing in 1988 when it was dissolved under my presidency. During that period  I placed emphasis on investigating the claims of the occult and the study and research of paranormal phenomena. Out of this history sprang the Vampire Research Society (formerly a specialist unit within the BOS).

Next we are told: "Both parties heavily advertised a 'magical duel,' which was to take place on Parliament Hill in Hampstead, before cooling down and calling off the clash."

I advertised nothing, and the occasion, which I attended, was not called off. According to the media it was to be a "duel." It was made clear in that from my perspective it would be an attempt to exorcise and heal. David Farrant did not attend for reasons he made known to the local and national press.

"Manchester remains in no mood to relinquish his grip on ownership of the case – it is, after all, almost his entire life's work – while also not exactly forthcoming when it comes to interview requests," Francisco Garcia-Ferrera claims.

The absurdity of the article is summed up in the above sentence. I am approached almost every week, certainly every month, of the year to do a piece to camera, or speak on radio, about this case. Each time I have rejected any attempt to involve me in continuing to publicly fuel more interest in the case, something that was a tiny part of my life's work which is so much more than just one solitary case.

Garcia-Ferrera then says that I "am not exactly forthcoming when it comes to interview requests." That's because I don't give interviews, and haven't done so for many years. But he already knew that.

"I tried to reach Farrant's long-term partner, Della – but she chose not to respond," says Garcia-Ferrera. How do you define "long term"? Della came onto the scene ten years ago, and quickly made a beeline for Farrant. They claimed to be an item from 2013 when on Hallowe'en of that year they had pictures taken at his Muswell Hill Road address. These were allegedly images of a witchcraft "handfasting," even though Farrant had stated back in 1982 that he had outgrown witchcraft. When interviewed by Andrew Gough in December 2009, he said: "I left Wicca in 1982, actually." He self-identified as a Luciferian privately in the 1970s, and publicly in the 1980s, until his death in 2019.

Francisco Garcia-Ferrera ends his piece with this paragraph:

"I'm not really sure what I expected when I asked Sean Manchester for some thoughts on his old rival, but it certainly wasn't a link to a relatively magnanimous self-penned eulogy. Perhaps I should have already realised that, when it comes to the Highgate Vampire, one should leave any reasonable expectations at the door."

A eulogy is a piece of writing that praises someone highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died. The link I provided, having explained that I would "not pursue this infelicitous matter beyond the veil of death," took the reader to an obituary, not a eulogy.  A nuance that is perhaps lost on one who writes for and is published by something called VICE?

 


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Mass Vampire Hunt 50 Years Ago

Friday 13th March 2020 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the largest vampire hunt ever to take place in the British Isles. It occur...