Saturday, 31 December 2011



Born in London’s leafy Highgate suburb, David Farrant has now become as closely linked to the area, as the infamous ‘Highgate Vampire’ story that he first broke to worldwide media attention four decades ago – a story that resulted in his eventual arrest and imprisonment. Well known psychic investigator and author of over two dozen books, David Farrant has taken two of his biggest selling books ‘Dark Secrets’ and ‘Shadows in the Night’, and combined them; adding over a hundred new pages featuring never before seen photographs from his personal collection, to bring you this definitive autobiography.

Brutally honest and refreshingly candid, the story charts David’s life from his childhood in Highgate, through to his travels across Europe as a headstrong fifteen year old after the death of his beloved mother.

The voyage of self discovery takes him from the grounds of private schools to the seedy backstreets of  France, and through the mountains of Spain before finally returning home to Highgate only to face public and worldwide scrutiny over the infamous Highgate Vampire episode.


A veritable Who’s Who of celebrities and villains are also referenced, from the Kray twins; the death of Joe Meek (wrongly asserted by some to be the result of a hex devised by David); the sinister neighbour who turned out to be mass murderer Dennis Nielson; visits at his parents’ home from Spike Milligan, and to his friendship with Graham Chapman of ‘Monty Python’ fame. Those with an avid curiosity about David’s personal life will also nor be disappointed – but be prepared to be shocked!


As we return with David to 1960s and 1970s Britain, we are invited to experience the moral climate of the day, that broad gulf which stretched between the entrenched attitudes of the old order, and a post-war generation that was embracing never before known freedoms and opportunities at a giddily accelerating pace. 

David provides the reader with a unique and personal insight into the sensibility of this era of Highgate’s history. He details his experiences within the relatively safe confines of a Barnet Wiccan coven, and his break away movement into a more dangerous experimental magic. Even in the world of the occult and organised alternative religion the younger generation were rebelling against the restrictions imposed therein.  And the occult itself had become a popular fascination for many; a new and exciting world which was the thing to be ‘into’ – but which was also the catalyst which contributed to the legacy afforded by many of the well known personalities in occult and paranormal circles today.


There are clear differences between the Wiccan beliefs and practices, and explorative  High Magic techniques he describes at length in his book, and the darker, often Satanic practices he was accused of by the popular press, including black masses, naked orgies, and necromancy.

There are many incidents recounted in this volume which have in themselves attained cult status. Recurrent ‘occult duels’ between David and rival ‘occultists’, often complete with pre-battle publicity shots, were chronicled by the local and national press.  Their readers, with tongue firmly in cheek, anxiously awaited the outcome of these frightful duels to the death (or, more correctly, to first blood).  We also find out the truth behind the Daily Express and The Sun’s accusations that David had kidnapped and sacrificed the blues singer Long John Baldry’s cat.


It was against this backdrop that David’s involvement with the phenomenon which is now known as the Highgate Vampire began. Local sightings of a dark entity in and around Highgate Cemetery led to an investigation by the British Psychic and Occult Occult Society of which David remains Founder President. Amid escalating press hysteria maintaining that a real-life bloodsucking vampire was terrorising North London, the Society continued its attempts to decipher the true nature of the shadowy aggressor, and its connection with Satanic activity within the tombs of the cemetery. Various ceremonies, detailed within this volume, were conducted within the cemetery in an attempt to make contact with the entity, with varying degrees of success. These attracted the unwelcome attention not only of other occult groups, but also the Police who had begun to keep a close watch on David’s activities. 



By the time of the arrest which led to his trial, David had already been arrested three times - essentially for the practice of magical rituals in public places, regardless of how these charges had been worded in point of law.  Eventually David’s impulsiveness and headstrong defiance was catching up with him. A dossier of circumstantial and fabricated evidence had been compiled which identified him as the principle cause of the vandalism and desecration which had defiled once peaceful Highgate Cemetery. His now admittedly misguided decision to send voodoo effigies as a warning to police officers who had assaulted a society member was probably the final straw. The police had long made it very clear that  they considered him a public nuisance and an outrage, and his time was running out...


‘I have known the name David Farrant ever since I first started reading about and investigating the paranormal. His conversational style of writing comes across as very personal so you get a real sense of David’s character and strong feelings towards those around him at the time. I found ‘In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire’ an intriguing insight to the Highgate case and the man thrust into the media storm that surrounded it.’                                                     -   Ian Topham, Mysterious Britain and Ireland

A Note from the Author

Why the need for a new autobiography?
With the advent of the internet, a lot has been said about me and my life by people with an agenda to discredit me.
Whilst it was interesting to see what lengths people would go to in the early days, a close friend suggested that I take on board all of the comments and answer the critics - who better than me to tell you about my life?
A lot of readers said they felt there were important parts of my life missing from my two previous autobiographical volumes, so here, for the very first time, is a complete, concise account of my life from the beginning right up until the events of '74 when I found myself facing a long prison sentence.

Rather than take an all too easy way out, I have been pushed by close friends who have told me to leave no stone unturned as truth is sometimes far stranger than fiction.

Volume II, which is now complete and also available, picks up the story from the last page of Volume I and includes never before seen court transcripts of my trial and the aftermath.
At 275 pages, it has been a daunting task to go over the events of my life whilst picking at old wounds to scribe new blood in the story.
I hope you, as the reader, will have a better understanding of the truth as it actually happened.

The book has been a labour of love that many people have tried to stop me from completing whilst going to extraordinary lengths in the process.
For me, the final volume looks as good as it reads, with a cover that I hope does some justice to the pages within.

I do hope you enjoy the read!


Saturday, 15 October 2011


PERHAPS ONE REASON so few ghost stories have emerged from Wales compared to the flood of stories and legends hailing from other parts of the country, is a definite suspicion in some rural communities of  'outsiders' who, by posing ‘alien’ questions, are seen to pose a threat to intimate, if not the guarded, lifestyles of some people.  Perhaps it follows that anyone pursuing enquiry’s of a supernatural nature  - enquires which in turn may be seen to intrude upon the privacy of both those living and dead, are often treated with disdain, if not with cold indifference or outright hostility.

Such at least, proved to be the case during a visit by the author to North Wales, though it should be said that patience and persistence revealed an unique haunting and one which had hitherto escaped written documentation.

For some years a ruined cottage near Deiniolen in the Snowdonia valley has been linked with stories of supernatural happenings and a wandering shadowy figure that emanates an aura of intense evil and despair.  Blackbird Cottage as it is known lies secluded near the bottom of a deep mountain slope, its stone walls intact, the broken roof still withstanding despite persistent falls of rain.

Its history is relatively unknown but it has somehow acquired a fearsome reputation, sufficient it would appear, to prevent most villagers visiting the area at night.  Although some have lent their testimonies to the existence of something "very sinister" lurking in the vicinity, most displayed a marked reluctance to recount details of any given experiences, making consecutive accounts hard to track down.

But despite the local  'veil of secrecy' that seemed to envelop the case, eventually research led to two young ghost hunters who actually claimed to have encountered a ghostly figure at the cottage first hand and (perhaps in refreshing contrast to others interviewed) did not mind relating their experience.

Paula Haywood and Jemima Mitchell with David Farrant

Paula Haywood of Tyn-y-Gerdd, Deiniolen and Jemima Mitchell of Bordorgan, Anglesea, both claimed to have seen the ghostly figure on two occasions after deciding to explore the ruins for evidence of its ghost.

Their first visit took place during the day and before long they both sensed an overbearing sense of melancholy inside the cottage and a distinct feeling of being watched from one of the back rooms. It was a mild day with a gentle breeze blowing from the mountains but inside the temperature seemed to have dropped to the extent it was 'like being inside a refrigerator'.  They decided to leave but glancing back they both saw a  'shadowy figure' coming towards them from out of the back room.  The ghost hovered motionlessly before suddenly disappearing into a bare stone wall one side of the corridor.

Shaken but undeterred by the incident, Paula and Jemima returned about a week later, this time at night and accompanied by a male companion.  There was a bright moon and as they approached the cottage, all three clearly saw a dark figure standing beside a stone wall outside.  They walked away rapidly as the figure appeared decidedly menacing, but they were horrified to see the figure following them as if in pursuit. It stopped at intervals down the mountain slope and did not disappear from view until they reached the roadway.

Asked to describe the figure in more detail, Paula said it was about six feet tall in the shape of a man although it was not possible to make out any discernible features.  But it looked ‘solid’ despite being without positive features and it made no sound whatsoever.  She added that there was no question that the figure could have been a human being; for one thing they noticed that it cast no shadow despite the bright moonlight, and on the first occasion they had actually seen it disappear.

From a psychic point of view, there obviously arises the question as to what the nature of the entity was, and whether it was really 'intelligently malign' as described, or whether it was merely some earthbound phantom taken out of all context from a relatively innocuous appearance.

For it is sometimes the case, that relatively harmless phenomena are judged to be entities having some terrible intent, when in reality, they might only be reflections of some past event, shadows or unintelligent pictures that might be witnessed by the human senses.

This would otherwise help to establish if some  'intelligent' force or being lurked - indeed, still lurks - within the confines of the cottage or if this was merely just an unintelligent picture of some long forgotten past event capable of being witnessed spasmodically who happened to be in the vicinity at a given time.

Intrigued by these accounts of the ghostly figure, it was decided to conduct a nightly vigil at Blackbird Cottage to see if some contact could be made with the entity. Members of the British Psychic and Occult Society conducted this vigil in March 1985, and also present were Paula and Jemima, occult medium Colette Sully and the author.

From the onset, it was impossible not to be aware of the distinctively cold temperature inside the cottage  (which was well below that of outside) and an almost uncanny atmosphere of 'trapped isolation’ that seemed desperately alien to the world outside.  A small fire was lit in a derelict fireplace fuelled by gathered logs and everyone settled down to await developments.

For almost an hour everything was quiet, but then a distinct change came over the atmosphere and a  'heavy tension' descended on the room whilst simultaneously a fleeting figure was seen in the doorway, similar to a movement caught quickly from the corner of the eye before having been brought properly into focus; although this had occurred in most peoples' direct line of vision. Only seconds after this, the cottage was illumined by a bright white light passing overhead that cast eerie shadows through the broken timbers of the roof. Probably, most people present assumed that this was a distant helicopter or reflections from an overhead plane; although strangely, there was no sound accompanying this light.

Almost immediately following this, a loud  crashing noise’ came from above and large pieces of bricks and rubble fell down the chimney obliterating the log fire and causing the room to be filled with a dense collection of dislodged soot and smoke. There was also a strange 'breathing sound' that seemed to accompany this; although this could have been that wind howling down the presumably unblocked chimney.

Whatever the cause of this, nobody seemed inclined to investigate further: the prospect of no fire, freezing temperature and torches that made virtually no impact in the dense smoke, persuading everyone present that it would better to postpone the vigil.

In fact, as it turned out, there would have been no alternative to this decision, for just after leaving the cottage, a local police patrol car arrived and two policemen  - after having been enlightened for the reason for our presence  - warned us that, aside from the possibility of trespass - it was unsafe to enter derelict buildings on the mountainside at night.

Pressed about stories and sightings of the black figure, the police confirmed that the cottage was indeed reputedly haunted and, interestingly enough, the conversation led to local reports about mysterious lights in the sky. They said these were numerous, and added that they had seen one only some ten minutes before they approaching the cottage.  They would not be drawn further than this, although later enquiries to locals revealed that the two policemen had, not exaggerated the extent these mysterious lights had been officially reported.

 In fact, for some reason, local people seemed far more willing to discuss these lights  (which many referred to as UFO's) than they did to discuss cases of ghosts - probably because they were commonly known and this reduced the risk of potential ridicule.

From a personal point of view, however, the mysterious lights seen in the sky over Snowdonia  (in this particular instance, perhaps over the cottage), raised another potential to this investigation ...

Could it have been a feasible possibility, perhaps, that the light seen momentarily through the cottage 's broken roof, was in some way connected with the appearances of the ghostly figure?  And to speculate a step further, was the cottage itself perhaps situated upon an earth energy line (a ley line) along which such lights and other ghostly phenomena had been reported over other parts of the country?

Following the police intervention at Blackbird Cottage, however, there seemed little point in holding another nightly vigil there.  It was fairly obvious that the cottage would now be under police observation, not to mention the possibility of a hostile reaction from locals if word of any further nightly vigil came to light.

But the investigation into Blackbird Cottage had not been entirely without success. We had managed to catalogue what we considered two definite sightings. And, of course, the nightly vigil had also brought limited results - at least, in suggesting the possibility that 'non-worldly’ forces may have been connected with events at the ruin.

It had not been possible to establish the exact nature or cause of this phenomenon, but what remained of importance was, that we had reasonably established that some psychic force  - or 'forces' - were active in and around Blackbird Cottage.

-  By David Farrant - 
President of the British Psychic and Occult Society

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Or should he abandon the fight?
asks Peter Hounam

DAVID FARRANT IS INNOCENT, OK? That slogan is hardly likely to appear on gas-holders and tower blocks in Haringey because the occult high priest has hardly any supporters willing to carry on a campaign for a re-trial. All the same, David Farrant is as convinced of his innocence as George Davies and determined to clear his name. The odds look stacked against him. The Home Office have already turned down his demand for an appeal. Yet he fights on.

David Farrant became a public figure (some would say a public menace) in the early 1970s. His witchcraft activities were often in the popular Sunday papers, and the Journal, and gradually his name was linked with more and more bizarre happenings in Highgate Cemetery.

Vampires were sighted and had to be exterminated. Tombs were discovered broken open. There were bizarre ceremonies of exorcism, using naked girls and animal sacrifices.

For us it made good copy but, not surprisingly, the police felt that Mr. Farrant and his friends were a nuisance. There were numerous attempts to catch him doing something illegal.

In 1972 and 1973 matters got a little more serious. Groundsmen employed to look after Highgate Cemetery found tombs broken open. Bodies in various states of decay were left lying around and one, horrifically, found its way into the passenger seat of a private car parked in
Swains Lane

Farrant was arrested for this offence and several others and it looked as though the bizarre practices were scotched once and for all. But while Farrant was in jail the activities recommenced. It became clear that Farrant wasn't the only culprit. Could he be right in claiming that he wasn't the culprit at all?

During the trial, Farrant dispensed with his counsel and carried on defending himself - with some success.

He faced three charges of interfering with remains in tombs, the most serious being the case of the corpse placed in a car. A further charge suggested he had conspired to damage property in the cemetery between 1971 and 1974. He was accused of sending voodoo effigies to two policemen and thereby trying to influence their actions.

Farrant was also charged with "unlawfully and maliciously damaging a memorial to the dead" - by chalking a witchcraft symbol on the floor of the vault.

Two other trifling offences - having his father's service revolver and some sheets from a hospital - were tried at the same time.

The Old Bailey jury found him not guilty of the corpse-in-the-car offence, another charge concerning interfering with remains, and the conspiracy charge.

The judge was left to sentence Farrant on the remaining charge of interfering with remains. He got two years.

Sending voodoo dolls and "frightening" policemen got him two more years.

Chalking on the floor of a vault was adjudged "damage". Farrant went down on this count for six months. Having his dad's revolver got him one month or a fine - later made concurrent like the six-month chalking offence.

Having hospital sheets in his flat (Farrant says they belonged to his girl-friend who was allowed to bring them out of the hospital to wash) got him eight months. This was later made concurrent.

Farrant ended up four years' imprisonment though he was not found guilty of handling any remains.

I said at the time that the sentences were harsh, and I still think so. Farrant could have appealed against sentence but he wanted to appeal against conviction and this was prevented by one or two key witnesses not being available.

He argues that only now, when he is free on parole, can he put an appeal case together.

The charge of chalking on a vault floor allegedly occurred on a specific date. Farrant claimed the markings were already there, when he and a French girl-friend - Martine de Sacy - entered the vault. She has now been found, and an affidavit to the effect that Farrant's story is true has been sent to the Home Office. The Home Office now refuse the appeal because Farrant "admitted" in his trial that he had seen the chalk marks on a previous visit, therefore implying that he could have "damaged" the vault on a previous occasion.

I find this baffling. The original charge accused him of damaging the floor on a specific date, not on an earlier occasion.

Farrant believes he could get himself acquitted of the charge of interfering with remains if he could find a freelance journalist named Hutchinson who took the picture (right). [This picture with the Hornsey Journal's accompanying caption, has been posted separately below.] Unfortunately he has no address for the man and cannot trace him.

On the voodoo effigies charge, Farrant would claim that he was provoked into sending them because two policemen had been putting undue pressure on a friend who was literally terrified of the police as a result.

There are many who would advise David Farrant to give up his campaign. He has served his sentence and is now free so what point is there in trying to change the trial decisions of 1974?

David Farrant would argue that he was the victim of a calculated police campaign to get him at all costs - on whatever charge they could throw at him.

The whole involved saga has left him bitter and resentful. He is working almost non-stop to dig up evidence that might give him a new trial and it seems his main purpose in life. Giving up the fight might well be the most logical thing to do, but for David Farrant it would be like giving up witchcraft - unthinkable.

Hornsey Journal - August 28th 1976



There is a secret place that lies almost concealed just yards to the side of the A35 that leads between Dorchester and Brigport. Well, it is not really that secret because it is listed as an Ancient Monument, although it is quite difficult to find by car; the almost oblique English Heritage sign heralding it being difficult to spot if you are looking for it from a vehicle. The traffic speeds so mercilessly along this main road that you can be forgiven for missing its marked location upon any map; really, apart from approaching it from secluded footpaths marked upon Ordinance Survey maps, the only other quick way is to trace it from the main road, the location turning out to be literally only a few yards as portrayed on a map.

This secluded place is marked by an almost hidden ring of a stone Circle known as “The Devil’s Nine Stones” and here, or nearby, the engines of several cars and trucks have mysteriously ‘cut out’ whilst driving past it.  There have been quite a few reports of cars and other heavy duty vehicles  having their engines mysteriously cutting out as these drove past the site.

This ancient stone Circle (once you can locate it) consists of nine almost ‘gigantic’ stones plus a few lesser ones) but the feeling within this Circle of stones, almost defies description .. .

I visited the site one summer’s afternoon in 1994 with other members of the British Psychic and Occult Society.  Entering it, it almost appeared cold and oblique, but once finally inside, there was a sense of ‘timelessness’, that almost defied description . . .

There was a feeling of almost total distraction from the world outside; a feeling (and this is where it is hard to describe) that the place had no normal relationship with reality; there was a ‘strange quietness‘ that seemed to be a secret part of the circle; an ‘esoteric atmosphere’ which was somehow ‘trapped’ by the stones themselves.

Certainly, when I visited the place in 1994, such an impression was overwhelming.  Luckily, being remote and almost hidden thus not being easy to track down, the site remains fairly safe from casual vandalism.  Remaining thus so secluded, there is no reason why it should not continue to remain that way for the next few centuries.

David  Farrant

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Ghost of Hillcrest

This short ghost story (a true one yet again) might be of some interest to people who have followed the stories and reports of a ‘tall ghostly figure’ reported around Highgate over the years.
This case was personally investigated by myself and I have no personal doubts  about the validity of the events described to me.
Like most cases, they are, of course, open to individual interpretation.  I can only report the facts as I found them and as these were relayed to me.

Anyway, enjoy it . . .


The Ghost of Hillcrest

"HILLCREST" IN HIGHGATE, lies barely less than a quarter of a mile from London's famous Highgate Cemetery. No 'blood-sucking vampires' here, but for some time this leafy council estate has been associated with stories of a ghost and other supernatural happenings.
            Constructed upon the site of a Victorian Convent called St. Mary Magdalene (which was demolished in the late 1930's), personalised accounts of 'ghostly goings-on' have come from several different residents, but a common story tells of a tall black man with an 'evil countenance' who appears in the grounds and then disappears.
            Alexander House is one particular block of flats on the estate where a series of inexplicable happenings have been especially potent, and these have been witnessed by people in at least three different flats.
            One of these people is Mrs Betty Goodchild, who is still in residence at Alexander House. She is convinced that some sinister force or 'presence' haunts her downstairs flat where she has lived with her husband John and three children, Jan, John and Robert, for 29 years. Her story is intriguing, and categorises a mysterious series of events that are perhaps unique in terms of frequency and intensity.
            Things really began to happen after the family took up residence there in 1970, although at first, there were no blatant sign to suggest a ghost; rather that, Betty Goodchild would often receive a strong mental impression of 'not being alone' when she was sitting up reading in the front room in the early hours (as was her habit) and the rest of the family were asleep.
She recalls that it was quite a common occurrence for her to be engrossed in a book, and suddenly receiving an overwhelming impression that somebody had 'walked by' and opened a door in the corridor. So great was this impression that she always got up to look but invariably there was no one there and no sign of anything being disturbed.
            But soon after this, the existence of some 'nocturnal presence' seemed to be confirmed. Frequently both her and her husband were woken up by 'something' sitting on the edge of the bed. At the same time, there was an overbearing scent of wall flowers in the room. Then, the light in the corridor would momentarily fade as if somebody had left the room and obscured the light as 'they' passed through the door. Also on several occasions at precisely 2 a.m., John Goodchild was awoken by the sound of a low whispering sound echoing around the flat. He eventually traced the main source of this to the darkened front room, but it always abruptly stopped when he entered and switched on the light, and there was nothing to account for the eerie murmuring.
            At first, these incidents did not unduly alarm the Betty or John Goodchild having concluded that their flat was haunted by a relatively harmless ghost, but as time progressed, ghostly occurrences increased to the point of becoming decidedly unpleasant. Events reached a climax in the late 1970's and by then, the children had began to seriously suffer the effects.
            Most sensitive to this 'presence' was their youngest son Robert, who frequently experienced vivid nightmares about 'something horrible' that came into his room.  In the end, these became so realistic that he refused to sleep in his bedroom under any circumstances. But his brother and sister, John and Jan, were also convinced about the existence of some presence in the flat. Jan, in particular, often heard 'breathing' in the front room at night and once, she saw a dark form which glided along the corridor.
            But it was a little later that this ghostly activity really took a turn for the worst, and had a dramatic effect upon the whole family . . .

Perhaps most chilling, was the piteous sound of a baby wailing in the front room; these cries at first penetrating but gradually fading out.  This happened on three separate occasion and on each one just preceded the deaths of three residents on the estate.
Around this time, an equally frightening occurrence took place that seemed to suggest that the ‘incumbent entity’ was malevolent by nature.
            One evening around midnight, Jan and Robert burst into the from front room where their parents were sitting after having been awoken by ‘something’ in their bedrooms.  Frightened and upset, they explained that their rooms had turned icy cold and that something menacing, albeit invisible, had deliberately woken them up.
            With almost calculated precision, just as they were talking, the front room itself turned icy cold and their pet cat, Elsa, suddenly rushed across the room with its back arched and began to spit at 'something' in the corner.
            Any temporary misgivings their parents might have had about this encounter, had now disappeared; indeed, it was now apparent that whatever it was that had visited them in their bedrooms, had now followed them into the front room. All could now sense an extremely unpleasant presence that seemed to be 'watching' them from its new location in the front room; and it was suffice to make them to stay up together for the rest of the night until welcome glimmers of daylight seemed to mark 'its' departure.
            It would seem from this particular occurrence - indeed, from the ones that preceded it - that some malevolent form of psychic energy had definitely attached itself to the Goodchild's or their flat; although further research into this matter revealed that this presence or 'entity' might not be operating on an entirely 'personal basis' and that similar instances had occurred which were not confined - or seemingly directly connected - to the Goodchild's or their flat.
A lady resident in a flat opposite, for example, had also experienced a series of unaccountable happenings in her home around this time that convinced her that some 'nocturnal presence' was wandering around her flat.
            Again, in another flat in the block upstairs, a young girl would wake up screaming after having been confronted by 'some man' in her bedroom. Again, drastic drops in temperature often accompanied these 'visitations', and the same 'sinister' - if not overbearing - atmosphere was present that had so much unnerved the Goodchild's.
            Ghostly manifestations at the Goodchild's flat, however, were nowhere near conclusion …
            One night John Goodchild was awoken by a loud crash in the front living room and on investigation discovered a picture, which he had only just framed, had fallen to the floor. The glass had broken, but closer examination revealed that the brass-stranded wire at the back had snapped in the middle, although the nails on the wall and the eye hooks that supported the picture were all intact. The point is, of course, that some considerable force would have been needed to break the wire in such a manner.
            But if any further evidence about a 'nightly visitant' to the flat were needed, it was soon forthcoming.
            In 1980, the Goodchild's little grand daughter, then just a few months old, would frequently stare intently at 'something' near the ceiling in the front room and follow this with her eyes as it apparently moved around the room. The child did not seem frightened by whatever it was she could see, but was rather absorbed by 'it' to the extent of losing interest in all her other surroundings. This happened on numerous occasions until she reached the age of three, and a particular photograph taken at the time (which was personally examined by the author) indeed shows the little girl gazing intently at something unseen in the air.
            In the early eighties, yet another bizarre series of events started up at the flat.
            On several occasions, again at exactly 2 a.m. in the morning, the doorbell would mysteriously ring but there was never anybody at the door or any sign that this could have been caused by any human agency. This happened so frequently at this period, in fact, that eventually John Goodchild removed the batteries from the bell each night before going to bed to prevent any further disturbances. It perhaps came as no surprise (taking into account the lack of any plausible explanation to account for previous disturbances) that the bell still continued to ring on its own accord - even after the batteries has been taken out.
            Today, many strange events still continue to occur at the Goodchild's flat; indeed, ghostly occurrences seem to have become an integral part of Hillcrest's history, and are not even confined to Alexander House.
            In fact, reports of a ghostly figure seen in the grounds at Hillcrest are frequent, and only recently, a group of children playing in the spacious grounds, insisted that they had seen a tall grey figure gliding along the ground. This disappeared through the walls of another block of flats next to Alexander House causing them all to flee in terror. There have been similar reports about this ghostly figure; sometimes described as featureless man in old fashioned dress who confronts residents in the grounds at night and glides away to disappear into the darkness.
            It would appear, from the numerous accounts of several witnesses, that some supernatural entity or 'presence' roams the grounds of Hillcrest; if not being decidedly active at Alexander House.
            Of course sceptics will probably proffer the usual arguments about witnesses being over-imaginative or mistaken, but as far as it has been possible to tell, none of these ghostly manifestations has ever been explained by any natural explanation.
            But material explanations aside it does remain a fact that, before its demolition, the old Victorian Convent of St. Mary Magdalene, once cared for the welfare of unmarried mothers (a 'social sin' in days bygone we should remember) and not so long ago - during the course of building work - it was discovered that a small burial ground attached to this Covent, lay right beneath the foundations of Alexander House.
© David Farrant
[This chapter first appeared in the 2nd revised edition of David Farrant’s book “Dark Journey” published in 2004]

Saturday, 17 September 2011


EVENING NEWS, Wednesday 1, 1972

The 'ghosts' in blue uniform . . .

AN EERIE mist swirled around the gravestones as a white magician summoned the ghost of Pirate Tom Walmsley.

Standing expectantly inside a magic white circle, the magician waited for a spirit to appear through the smoke of two small fires.

Then, suddenly, on the stroke of midnight, mysterious shapes began tp emerge.

The "ghost" had arrived . . . dressed in blue uniform. It quickly challenged magician David Farrant and his pretty assistant Victoria Jervis with down-to-earth words.

For the spine-chilling guest, turned out to be a very solid police sergeant accompanied by a constable.

They marched up to the magician and arrested him.

The couple, together with a plastic bag of bottles containing potions and mixtures, were taken to Barnet Police Station after a night of Hallowe'en magic at the ancient church of St. Mary, Monken Hadley.

Sergeant Ernest Bernthal said: "Call me psychic if you want, but I knew there was something psychic in the air."

Farrant, 33-year-old President of the British Psychic and Occult Society, explained . . . "The ghost of Wallmsley the Pirate comes out twice a year - on Hallowe'en and Christmas Eve."

" All I want to do is summon him, and speak to him and find out why he only appears twice a year."

It was not the first time Magician Farrant had summoned spirits from their graves.

Farrant, of Archway Road, Barnet and Miss Jervis were later charged under the 1860 Ecclesiastical Court Law with acting in an indecent manner in a churchyard.

They will appear court next Wednesday.


As this article is my copyright and because, in a way, it compliments my previous one here (VAMPIRES FACT OR FICTION?) on the Highgate 'vampire' case, I thought I would post it up for the sake of anybody interested. Any followers of the Highgate 'vampire' case, may care to note that I was warning people about the dangers of getting involved in Satanism some two years before my notorious 'witchcraft trial' at the Old Bailey in 1974.


Has the Stone cast its magic spell?

-         by -

David Farrant

AMONG THE MANY LEGENDS  that surround Old Highgate and Hampstead, there is an old belief that if Whittington's Stone is ever removed (from the original spot where Dick Whittington "turned once more" toward London)  or if any harm should befall it, great change and disaster will fall upon the neighbouring area.
     Of course, this myth is probably based upon the fact that the Stone is one of Highgate's oldest landmarks,  and therefore,  it would naturally be bad luck to remove it,  but if the present mania for redevelopment continues,  this old assumption could well prove to be correct.

     For already the giant bulldozers have left their ugly mark on much of Archway and are now advancing up the Archway Road, and it seems inevitable that Highgate, too, is destined to suffer at the unmerciful hands of progress.

     Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that Highgate,  one of the oldest and least unspoiled parts of London,  will lose not only its status,  but also a great deal  of its character.
     For when an environment is destroyed the legends and myths associated with it are also affected.  And throughout its history,  Highgate has been linked with superstition and legends,  many of which pertain to a supernatural origin.


     Most of these legends have survived from the days when Highgate served as an important relay point for coaches on the Great North Road,  and it was this era that gave birth to the many and assorted tales of the highwayman and also witnessed the great revival in occultism.

     But a much "blacker" part of Highgate's history were the events of 1665,  when it was used as a mass burial ground for the victims of the Great Plague.  They were brought by the cart-load from London and buried in deep lime-filled pits in the place which is now Queens Wood.

     To go back even further there is now sufficient evidence (following recent excavations in Highgate Wood) to be certain that Highgate was once the site of a large Roman community.  And as the Romans tended to improve and develop already existing settlements rather than starting from scratch, it was probably inhabited by pre-Druid races long before that.

     Whether or not the present day planners will follow the Roman example to improve only where necessary is debatable,  although it seems more likely that the speed and convenience of the motor car will take precedence over preserving sentimentality.

     And while Highgate waits patiently to await its impending doom, nearby fashionable Hampstead enjoys a slightly longer lease of life.

     Hampstead,  with its many trends,  also has its share of legends.  The most famous of these is undoubtedly the "Headless Horseman" who rides noiselessly across a moonlit Heath.  Reputed to be the ghost of Dick Turpin,  this eerie figure and his horse can be seen galloping past the Spaniards' Inn and Jack Straw's Castle - presumably in the same vicinity where he waylaid stage coaches so long ago.

     The countless reports of desecration in Highgate Cemetery have also caused much concern lately.  Although the cemetery has been used occasionally for the purpose of conducting ceremonies, it has now become a haven for the black magician who requires ancient relics for use
in his rituals.  These vary according to the purpose for which they are needed.  Coffin handles and ornaments are the most common target,  but sometimes cremation urns or even skulls are removed.

     No doubt numerous incidents where coffins have been smashed open or gravestones knocked over can be attributed just to sheer vandalism;  but the planned and precise method employed in other cases in obtaining these relics seems to imply that here the purpose is of a more sinister nature.  Also,  the fact that the valuable lead inside the coffins is often left untouched,  rules out plunder or theft as a motive.

     It is hardly surprising that the public feeling which has arisen as a result of these occurrences has been one of anger and indignation.

     Yet, indirectly, it is the public themselves who have helped to exaggerate the fearful image that prevails  about magic - both black and white.  Though in the case of black magic this image is undoubtedly well deserved,  it is only too often that the actions of the white witches are being confused with the continuing practices of Satanic cults.

     As a result of this misinterpretation,  fact has become mingled with fantasy,  and magic,  witchcraft and supernatural phenomena have become so entangled together that only an expert could distinguish between them.

     As with most aspects involved in ritual magic,  perhaps the one which is least understood is the use of sex in many of the rituals.

     However,  before it is possible to understand this,  it must be realised that such sexual activity is of a highly organised form,  and not - as is so often imagined - merely an excuse for promiscuity or what the public would like to think is a mass orgy.  There can be no doubt,  however,  that the association of sex with magic has presented a perfect opportunity for would-be participants to satisfy their own personal desires under the guise of a magical ceremony.

     Sometimes sex is included only in symbolic form.  Yet apart from the varying degrees in which it is used,  sexual practice plays a vital part in the magical mysteries,  and although some groups strongly protest and deny that sex is ever used in their ceremonies, the origin of sex in ritual dates back too far to be dismissed as a fabrication.

DECEITFUL:  'Menace of Satanism is very real indeed.'

     Perhaps the most disturbing feature is the way the relatively harmless rites of white magic are assumed to be one and the same as the more sinister and diabolic rites of the Black Mass.  For although these may appear similar in the overall effect,  they are as far apart as the "good" and "evil" which they themselves represent.

     As with everything else practised in the Black Mass,  sex is included only to be abused.  More serious still is the way their "devilish doctrines" spread amongst the innocent members of the community,  frightening and misleading the gullible and corrupting the weak-minded.

     For Satanism,  too,  has its priests and its adherents,  but unlike Christianity,  they proclaim their belief in a deceitful way.  And it is not always obvious.  Perhaps the Bible sums this up best when it says: "Be sober,  be vigilant;  because your adversary the devil,  as a roaring lion, walketh about,  seeking whom he may devour."  (1 Peter 5 verse 8).

     Cases of Satanic corruption are by no means rare,  and frequently priests or leading exorcists of the church are called upon to cast out the devils that have possessed some unfortunate person, the most common way being for the priest to place his hands upon the head of the sufferer,  recite the appropriate prayers and command the evil spirit to take leave of its victim.

     Sometimes,  however,  it will be too late,  and the only reward to face would-be repenters is to "reap their rewards from the seeds they have sown" - or possible confinement in a mental institution.

     Ironically,  it is the young, with their tendency to think they are invulnerable, who are the most prone to the evil influences of Satanism.  The tragic thing is that many young people, attracted by sexual promise or a dare-devil instinct,  are quite unaware of the hidden dangers.  Consequently they dabble on the surface and are soon dragged down to become hopelessly entangled in a web of corruption from which there is virtually no escape.

     Yet surprisingly enough,  the majority of the general public still live in complete ignorance of this dangerous religion, and know nothing more about it than the lurid descriptions they have read either in the press of paperback horror stories.  Unfortunately,  while the press does its best to relate the more sensational aspects of black magic,  the relevant more frightening aspects remain unpublished.

     Witchcraft,  nevertheless,  prevails;  and in spite of the charlatans who merely make use of its commercial aspects,  the numbers of its true believers are increasing rapidly.  For beneath the paraphernalia that engulfs modern witchcraft,  there lies a deep inner meaning and purpose which no charlatan could possibly hope to understand.


     And while this is true of white magic,  it is equally applicable to black.  Admittedly,  its motivations are of a different nature,  but black magic too has its inner teachings,  however warped or sacrilegious they may be.

     So before we dismiss the belief in black magic as sheer fantasy which only takes place in a Dennis Wheatley novel,  perhaps it would be as well to remember that the Christian Church herself accepts the extent of its widespread existence, and warns us accordingly - as a part of her doctrine - of the imminent dangers of becoming involved.

     The reason for this intervention by the Church where black magic is concerned is not without foundation,  and her subsequent warning is applicable to everyone - whatever their beliefs.

Yet perhaps the real problem that arises from the existence of black magic is the minority of people who,  although they possess no real knowledge of Satanism,  adapt its fundamental beliefs to suit their own ideals.

     Thus it is the hoaxers and the dabblers,  who continue to scratch the surface of black magic and use its connotations superficially to gain publicity or for commercial gain,  who are serving to conceal its real menace.  And that menace is a very real menace indeed.

 [This article first appeared in the ISLINGTON GAZETTE on September 29th  1972]

©  David Farrant

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Vampires – Fact or Fiction ?

HIGHGATE CEMETERY - a rapidly decaying relic of Victorian architecture - has now become the centre of the growing interest in the occult sciences.
First reported in the Press in 1970, the now almost legendary vampire of Highgate Cemetery started the trickle of interest, which has now become a flood.
On the eve of Sabbaths in the occult calendar, hundreds of people gather outside the gates of the cemetery to catch a glimpse of the "vampire". For the last two Hallowe'ens’ police have been called to control the mob that forms at midnight.
Many local people have reported seeing the "vampire", several of whom wrote to the local Press describing their experience. The British Occult Society decided to investigate after I had witnessed the phenomenon on two occasions.
The investigation was carried out to a strict schedule for a period of six months, during which there was always at least one member of the society watching in the cemetery. The parts we concentrated on mainly were the Columbarium ((a sunken circle of tombs) and an area close to the top gate where the sightings had been most frequent.
As you can imagine, a thorough investigation of this type in a cemetery is not an easy matter. Every vigil carried out by the society met with obstacles whether it were Satanic worshippers, vandals or the police. I have been arrested twice although fortunately I was able to clear my name by proving that I was a genuine occultist.
Not all our investigations, however, have been entirely unsuccessful and as a result of our findings I have no doubt in my mind as to the existence of the "vampire-like creature" which haunts the cemetery.

I think at this stage it is important to explain a very important factor, that being the actual definition of a "vampire". In so doing perhaps I can remove the element of ignorance from the minds of the many sceptical people who regard vampires among the absurdities of the supernatural. Indeed, with the true facts buried deep beneath so much fallacy and exaggeration, it is hardly surprising the truth has been lost amongst the legends of the misty past. So in order to be able to draw any sort of accurate conclusion, one has to go to the heart of the legend.
There is no doubt, however, that legend is based originally on fact however misdirected and exaggerated it may have become through the centuries.
But it was during the 19th century that the vampire made its impact. In 1847 "Varney the Vampire" (a novel by Thomas Priest) became so popular that it was reprinted many times, before it was finally over-ridden by Bram Stoker's "Dracula" - written with all its Victorian authenticity - that has given birth to the vampire as we know it today.
It is the Dracula of this book which makes the vampire seem like a "fanged blood-sucking beast" which has escaped from a Hammer horror film: but this is not a fair conception. At least not quite. Although it would be untrue to say there is no connection between the two; there can be no doubt that by becoming commercialised the vampire has lost much of its original authenticity. This is a pity becomes even more difficult to separate fact from fact, or fiction from legend.

By this it must not be presumed that the legend has originated from the book. The book has originated from the legend. It is even likely - in an uncanny way - that the Highgate phenomena inspired Stoker in the writing of "Dracula." (It is interesting to note that Stoker makes direct reference to Highgate Cemetery as one of the resting places of one of Dracula's disciples.) From this an interesting point arises. Was Stoker's knowledge derived from ancient myth, or was he too that perhaps something of this kind was in existence? It is unlikely that we shall ever known, but if the latter is true, it could provide an interesting clue to the present phenomena.
One thing is certain however, and this is the actual legend has been in existence long before it came to light in the 19th century. The actual date is not clear, but references is made to vampirism as early as the Medieval era.
Although there is no evidence to substantiate that the Highgate vampire is recorded as far back as this, there are too many reports to ignore its authenticity.
One of these came to light as recently as 1971 when a young girl claims she was actually attacked by "something" in the lane outside the cemetery. She was returning home in the early hours of one morning when she was suddenly thrown to the ground with tremendous force by a "tall black figure with a deathly white face." At that moment a car stopped to help her and the figure "vanished" in the glare of the headlamps.
She was taken to the police station in a state of shock, luckily only suffering abrasions to her arms and legs. The police immediately made a thorough search of the area , but could offer no explanation to the incident. More mysterious still was the fact that where the figure "vanished", the road was lined by 12ft walls.

Another interesting case is that of the man who was "hypnotised" by "something" in the cemetery. He had gone into the cemetery one evening to "look around," and as the light began to rapidly fade he decided to leave, but became hopelessly lost. Not being a superstitious person he walked calmly around looking for the gate when suddenly he became aware of something behind him. Swinging around he became "hypnotised with fear" at the tall dark spectre which was confronting him. So great was the intensity of his fear that he stood motionless for several minutes after the spectre had vanished. He later recalled that it was almost as if he had been paralysed with fear by some force.
There have been many reports such as this all describing "the tall black figure with a death-like countenance." Unfortunately, these are too numerous to describe in detail, but I myself, having witnessed the phenomena, have no doubts as to their authenticity.
However, it is not only the possible existence of the vampire which has caused such controversy lately. Satanic worshipping and desecration are increasing at an alarming rate. Graves are violated and remains are used as emblems in black magic ceremonies.
Recently the charred body of a woman was found headless impaled by a stake. It had been used in such a ceremony. The fact that it was found by two schoolgirls makes the incident even more gruesome.
In a part of the cemetery - which I am not prepared to disclose - Satanic Masses regularly take place and have been observed by myself and other members of the British Occult Society. The people concerned are not youngsters "out for kicks", but genuine Satanists who take part in bizarre rites, and include sexual practice as part of their worship. It would be wrong to mistake their rite for harmless orgies. They are, on the contrary, using this tremendous sexual power - generated by many people - to direct and help them in the practice of their magic.
Although the motive is not clear, their main aim seems to be invoking certain spirits to establish contact with the devil. There is also some likelihood of their being responsible for - or having some connection with - the frequent sighting of the vampire. Unfortunately, lack of evidence prevents me from commenting further on this at present.
Being an occultist, it is only my job to present the facts as we have found them, and not to bias people with my own personal opinions.
I think at this stage however, I should make some comment regarding my own position in the occult. As I have been the subject of much publicity lately, I, together with my associates have come to be regarded as "mysterious". The "Sunday People's" recent reference to me as a "white witch" and "vampire hunter" has only served to increase this "aura of mystery" which surrounds us, and subsequently we are made scape-goats for any unexplained occurrences in the district.
It is true that I am the founder of a magical society, and our activities do involve our going to Highgate cemetery, but we are in no way connected with the black magic which is practised there. Our Society is well-versed in many forms of white magic - including Kabbalistic - but we (and indeed all the witches I know) would never break our code and use this for an evil purpose. the rites and ceremonies, however, must remain a secret as they have done through the ages - for to betray these secrets would be to violate a sacred oath.
I am constantly having to protect our beliefs and justify our actions in to disbelieving authorities. In the midst of such scepticism it is hardly surprising that the public in its ignorance has come to regard us with suspicion.

Our investigations, however, will continue. The vampire has become sensational, and the more sensational it is, the more difficult it becomes to differentiate between actual happening, the possibility of there being a logical explanation or hoaxing. The Loch Ness Monster can be taken as a typical example of this.
It really is impossible to draw a line between relevant aspects, and what is just sheer fantasy. One thing is certain, however, there have been so man sightings and authentic reports (which cannot all be dismissed as wishful thinking), that there must lurk an element of truth. It is for this that we search.

NB Exclusive copyright David Farrant. This article first appeared in the Camden Journal on May 5th 1972, a  (then) sister paper of the Hornsey Journal.