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.

Friday, 9 September 2011


November 4, 1993
Hallowe'en séance with pop world celebrities

AROUND 100 believers in the paranormal, including a number of famous people from the pop world, crammed into a Barnet living room on Sunday to talk to their deceased relatives during a Hallowe'en séance.
The British Psychic and Occult Society, which is based in High Barnet - but at a location which is kept a closely-guarded secret - holds the séance every year on Hallowe'en at a house that dates back to the 17th century.
An elderly Barnet woman, who has hosted the event for the last 20 years, invites guests who are not members of the society to make a request to speak to deceased relatives or friends.
David Farrant, the society' president who lives in Highgate, said this year's Hallowe'en was particularly special for Occult Society members, as there had been a full moon the previous day.
"Some celebrities from the pop world attended and wanted to speak to relatives, but we have promised to keep their names confidential. We successfully contacted a number of dead relatives, but most people wanted to know what their future held.
"On Hallowe'en the spiritual world comes its closest to the earthly plane. It is the time when communication between the earthly plane and spirits are at their best."
Mr Farrant first came to prominence during a 1974 court case involving allegations of malicious damage to tombs, exorcism ceremonies and accusations that he removed a corpse from a grave. He was also accused of sending voodoo effigies to a policemen and chalking witchcraft symbols on cemetery floors.
Mr Farrant, a self-confessed white witch, told the Press: "We do not spend Hallowe'en as everyone might expect by holding midnight masses in graveyards. We used to do that, but things have calmed down since a few unfortunate incidents in the past.
It is a special day in the calendar for all believers in the Occult. Many people from across the country and not just Barnet attend the seances, which more often than not are successful in contacting the dead."
He explained that Halloween was the one day in the year when spirits were allowed to roam freely and that is why there is the tradition of pumpkin heads containing candles to ward off evil spirits.
Mr Farrant, who says Barnet is a particular good source of spirits because of the age of many of the buildings, says he doubts the existence of ghosts but says his full-time work now involves giving "restless spirits peace."
"Many people are not usually allowed to take part in our seances but at Hallowe'en there is a chance for people to see what sort of thing the Occult is about."

[BARNET PRESS, November 11, 1993]

Why I sent 'voodoo effigies' to two Barnet detectives
YOUR report last week headlined "Hallowe'en séance with pop world celebrities" was a fair account of the relatively secret activities of the British Psychic and Occult Society. May I clarify a reference in your report concerning myself.
Your report mentions (quite accurately) that back in 1974 I faced allegations (among other things) of "removing a corpse from a grave" and sending voodoo effigies to a policeman".
Regarding the former, whilst indeed facing this charge at the Old Bailey in 1974, I was acquitted of all implications of this offence; the jury accepting my account that this "corpse" (in reality a 150 year skeleton) had been disturbed as part of a continuing influx of vandalism at Highgate Cemetery, and not the prosecution's assertion that this incident had been connected with a black magic ritual.
While it is true that I sent two "voodoo effigies" to two detectives stationed at Barnet during this period. (I never denied sending these, having sent them by recorded delivery and signing two accompanying letters) and was subsequently sentenced to a total of four years imprisonment - two separate sentences of two years which ran concurrent - I have always maintained - which remains the truth - that these effigies were not intended to harm the two detectives in question but to protect another society member whom the police had arrested.
I am presently preparing a new book on ghosts and other unexplained phenomena and would be interested to hear from any readers who may have had any experiences in this respect.
Personal accounts would be preferable, but any local stories or legends relating to this subject, would be most welcome.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Just a little further North from Highgate Cemetery, in the borough of Enfield, a rather gentle ghost story comes from a lady who lives in Bush Hill Park, North London; although at her request she is referred to here only by her first name, Jean. Her story concerns some strange occurrences at her house - a large Edwardian house in Queen Anne's Grove which was built in 1913 - and is 'gentle' because, unlike the Highgate entity, its ghost is neither particularly frightening nor malign.
In fact, Jean moved into the house in 1980 with her husband and two young children - a baby girl of six months and a little boy aged two - following a family who had lived there for four years. During their tenancy the previous owners had done a certain amount of work to the house, but although the ground floor was nicely decorated, much less attention had been given to the rest of the house; in particular, to the first floor. Here, two bedrooms overlooking the rear had been roughly artexed with their walls painted over, and a small box room at the front bore rather undistinguished wallpaper, but the largest bedroom - the master bedroom - lay with stripped walls, with a yellowing ceiling that appeared to suggest that it had been left in a general state of neglect and disrepair. Jean thought this was unusual - if not somewhat uncanny - because the main bedroom would not have been expected to have been left in such a state.
But, after moving in, the house was gradually improved and eventually, the master bedroom was completely redecorated.
During this period, after having initially moved into the house, Jean's husband was kept very busy at work and sometimes did not arrive home until late in the evening. Alone in the house, apart from the children, (and by this time they were usually asleep), Jean soon discovered that it was a common occurrence to hear the sound of 'somebody' moving on the stairs; also the sound of distinct footsteps 'walking' across the first floor landing. Invariably, when she went out to look, the sounds abruptly stopped and subsequent investigation revealed no possible cause for the sounds; certainly the lack of any human agency.
In fact, these 'footsteps' occurred with increasing regularity, and although by this time she was not really afraid (there was a lack of any 'hostile atmosphere' accompanying the sounds, for example, that might have otherwise suggested that they could pose any possible threat), Jean was more intrigued to discover any explanation that could explain their causation.
When eventually, she mentioned the matter to her husband, he was less inclined to accept that there could be any 'supernatural explanation' for these persistent sounds; indeed, he pointed out that the house was old and would be prone to such noises, and apart from this, as the house was semi-detached, Jean could well have been hearing the movements of the people next door.
Such an observation, of course, was not beyond the realms of possibility, but did little to explain why the sounds always stopped abruptly when Jean went out to investigate; or indeed, why they occurred regularly in the same places with such timed persistency. But accepting this as perhaps being the only possible explanation, Jean gradually lost interest in these nocturnal footsteps; at least, she tended to ignore them accepting that the whole thing had some logical explanation and should not be allowed to interfere with her normal family life. Indeed, things eventually 'returned to normal' in the household ... the strange sounds not abating but being accepted as a 'part of everyday life'.
Then, one day in 1987, Jean was surprised at the door by a visit from a pleasant old lady who explained that, when young, she had been a frequent visitor to the house. She explained that she used to visit some elderly relatives who lived there, and went on to say that she was only visiting the area that day and was anxious to once again see the house. In fact, it transpired that she knew the place well, and could even identify many features in the garden where she recalled she'd spent many happy hours playing as a child.
Her curiosity aroused, Jean asked this lady about some of the house's history, and was informed that, at the time, one of her relatives had become ill there - eventually becoming bedridden - and it had been necessary to employ a live-in nurse to look after an old lady who needed constant care and attention; the room in which she'd been confined being the master bedroom. But as this old lady was very demanding, she needed her nurse constantly, and her poor companion would frequently be called from her bed to attend her.
Following this encounter, Jean told the author ... "I then understood that these were the movements that I had heard; the companion coming to and fro along the landing attending the old lady."
"Our neighbour opposite confirms that elderly people did occupy the house until it was brought by our predecessors. Maybe they felt stronger manifestations of whatever was happening; maybe that's why they hadn't decorated the master bedroom; perhaps that's why they only stayed in the house for four years ..."
Such an observation could indeed be true. Many old houses are capable of harbouring or 'storing' psychic energy which, in turn, is capable of 'trapping' poignant sounds or emotions of the living (even images of the living) and transmitting these far into the future; at least, as long as a specific environment remains intact.
This is not to imply, of course, that all forms of psychic activity are just 'dead' or unintelligent mental impressions or vibrations that have somehow been 'caught' in the atmosphere to be picked up at some future dates by unsuspecting people (though when this commonly happens, such transmissions - in the form of sound, visual effects or feelings - are invariably interpreted as 'ghosts'); but I would venture to suggest, without expounding on other existent forms of psychic activity, that certainly a large proportion of alleged ghostly phenomena can be safely placed under such a category.
© David Farrant

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Highgate Investigation - Part 4

The Reckoning

ON JUNE 21ST, 1971, several members of a secret Occult Order gathered in Highgate Cemetery to perform one of the most dangerous magical rituals in existence. The motivation for performing this ritual was to counteract the activities of a Satanic Coven who had violated magical Law by evoking a malevolent evil force to execute their own desires; the basic object being to establish psychic 'contact' with the existing phenomenon (or 'vampire') and thereby negate the diabolical power that had been brought into existence.

Remains of a Satanic ceremony discovered in Highgate Cemetery, in the early 1970s. 

 Of course, such a task was by no means easy for, in magic, darker forces are most potent when summoned to the earthly plane and may only be revoked by a White magical ritual. Thus in context - and in accordance with magical law - an extreme force of evil may only be counteracted and neutralised by an equivalent force of Good. Any other method - if attempted - would have little effect and, in all probability, would only serve to aggravate an 'opposing evil force'.
For the sake of the uninitiated, and to allay any confusion arising from this point, a few words should be said here to explain the difference between white magic and black magic, and black magic and Satanism.
Firstly, it should be understood that magic itself is neither 'black' nor 'white' - it is neutral. Furthermore, magic is only a psychic element through which 'outside' forces may be evoked, not itself active but only a channel through which such forces may be brought into operation.
Of course, these supernatural forces which can be summoned as a result of magical techniques are both good and evil (or 'white' and 'black'), but even the definition of these forces is a man-made conception.
Yet this is not to say that magic alone is harmless, for although it may only act as a catalyst in producing an end result, the very nature of its source makes it lethal in the hands of those who don't understand it - rather like a trainee chemist who does not know which chemicals, if mixed together, will cause an explosion.
Therefore, it may be seen that magic is only governed and subsequently labeled by the intentions of those using it. It follows, that a 'black' magician may also be a 'white' one, and vice versa.
With Satanism, however, it is a slightly different matter. For here, unlike a magician who can harness various types of forces at will and without obligation, a Satanist is dedicated to the continual service and worship of evil powers. And as he cannot retain the neutrality of the magician, (the very doctrines of Satanic belief make this impossible) he becomes bound, or possessed, by the dark forces he has pledged to serve. Thus, unlike black magic, Satanism is a form of religious belief, and because of the doctrines and requirements laid down in its beliefs, it is far more potent and dangerous.
The communication ritual was performed after taking all these things - and more - into consideration. According to the magical requirements of the ritual, a Circle was constructed on the ground in which were placed various ceremonial items. These included vessels of consecrated water, charcoal and salt, and protective talismans which each member must wear. Different coloured candles were placed at strategic points around the circumference to correspond with the elements of air, fire, earth and water. whilst a small fire burned steadily in the middle. To the North of the Circle a small 'sealed' triangle was cast (also containing a small fire) where the entity would be summoned to appear, and hopefully, be able to 'communicate' with a psychic medium who would be inside the protective Circle.
When all was prepared, the ritual commenced and was timed so that the vital part would coincide with midnight.
The first part of the ritual was dedicated to the relevant incantations and 'Calls' necessary to summon forth the entity. These magical 'Calls' were made in strict accordance with the form of ritual and served two purposes: to dispel any unwanted elementals which might have hindered the appearance of the entity, and to open a channel of psychic energy through which the entity could later materialise.
When the preliminary part of the ritual had been completed, the actual evocation to summon the entity then began.
The intrinsic details regarding this part of the ritual, however, may not be disclosed as this would violate magical secrecy; suffice it is to say that the entity would be magically induced to appear in the triangle where it would have a direct 'psychic line' to communicate with the medium.
As midnight approached, the medium began to make the Commands for manifestation and almost immediately the Circle turned icy cold as though some warm power had suddenly left it, and the candles went out. Simultaneously, the fire in the triangle was obliterated by a misty smoke and some sinister force seemed to be amidst everyone present. For the next minute or so, nothing happened. There was no wind and it seemed unnaturally silent and the fire in the Circle cast an eerie red glow over everything. Suddenly, the area was full of a dense mist, more intense around the triangle, and in this, scarcely discernible through the haze, was a quivering 'black shape' that seemed to be trying to materialise. The medium spoke aloud, attempting to aid 'its' materialisation and all at once, two eyes could be seen at the top of the moving black form. They were the same eyes that I had witnessed inside the gate, dull red and almost diabolically evil; only this time, they had increased in strength to such a degree that it was like being confronted by some 'living presence'.
A girl present screamed and fainted, but such was the hypnotic power of the entity, that nobody was really conscious of her. There seemed to be a tremendous power emanating from the distinct eyes that was magnified even more by the flickering firelight and it was at this stage that I realised that the entity might be too powerful to control and we would be entrapped in the Circle. The whole thing was like a vivid dream; that you had a complete awareness of what was happening, only with little means of controlling it.
Strangely, (and this was an impression that other members later recalled) there was no sense of imminent 'evil intent' from the entity, it being more an impression that it was trying to 'absorb' you.
Seeing the dangers of prolonging the ritual, without hesitation - although not without some effort - the medium and myself performed a rite of banishment during which the entity promptly vanished.
Yet, notwithstanding the manifestation and urgent dismissal of the entity, the ritual had not been a complete success. For although the entity's materialisation had proved a success and it had been possible to dismiss it, circumstances had not allowed time for a full exorcism and, to this extent, it still remained earthbound.
But the ceremony had established beyond doubt - at least as far as most serious psychic investigators were concerned - that the majority of sightings, and witnessed encounters relating to the Highgate phenomenon, were not entirely without foundation.
Unfortunately, however, it was realised that such proof would hardly be acceptable to the hardened sceptic, but we had at least succeeded in establishing that not only did some genuine psychic presence exist at Highgate Cemetery, but had also uncovered valuable information about the nature of the phenomenon and possible aspects that might have primarily caused its existence.
Of course, while it could not be irrefutably stated that this 'demonic' entity was the direct result of Satanic activity, it could be reasonably said that Satanic practices had perhaps been the cause of activating some age-old supernatural phenomenon.
Given that the investigation at Highgate Cemetery still remained incomplete - an opinion, shared by most Society members - not long afterwards it was decided to again return to the cemetery with a view to perhaps obtaining some photographic evidence by means of performing another ceremony.
This though, was never to be. The police, keeping surveillance as a result of continuing vandalism, arrested two members just inside the gates.

 On this occasion, however, they were released as no offence had been committed but the Press picked up the story the next day (presumably as a result of police information) and more attacks were levelled against the Society's name.
With the usual precision of Fleet Street, the Society investigation was irrevocably limited to a continuation of clandestine midnight manoeuvres that took place amongst dank decaying tombs inhabited by a 'blood-sucking vampire', whilst the author, in turn, was reduced to some modern-day Van Helsing type vampire hunter.
Ironically, perhaps, concerning the Highgate phenomenon itself, the Press may have for once come closer to the truth than they originally intended.
Copyright David Farrant
[Much of this material has been abridged from the 4th edition of the author's book, "Beyond the Highgate Vampire”

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Highgate Investigation - Part 3


IN AUGUST 1970, there was another development in the Highgate investigation. That month, the body of a woman was dragged from a vault in Highgate Cemetery, staked through the heart, and left lying in the middle of a main pathway. The fact that this was discovered by two schoolgirls made the incident even more gruesome. The Hornsey Journal's reportage of this incident, perhaps also did little to allay the already public growing concern over reports of 'black magic' and vandalism at Highgate Cemetery.
Evidence of vandalism at the cemetery was, of course, no new thing. But the element of 'staking the corpse', seemingly as the aftermath of some black magic rite, pointed convincingly to the work of the Satanists and their possible connection with the phenomenon.

Soon afterwards, it was decided to conduct the postponed ritual; the object was to summon the entity, make psychic communication with it and then - if it proved to be malevolent, which seemed an obvious fact - banish it from the earthly plane by conducting an appropriate rite of exorcism. The view was held that, if indeed the author's personal theory was correct, and the Satanic group were in some way responsible for 'controlling' the entity's appearances by means of black magic, such an exorcism would also dispel much of this group's power by negating the evil they had summoned into existence.
It was almost full moon (three days preceding the full moon and those immediately after being especially favourable for conducting magical ceremonies), and it was decided to hold the seance at midnight on August 17th.
Accordingly, Highgate Cemetery was entered late one night on the appointed date, the purpose basically, to conduct this psychical seance. The place chosen was the 'Thornton spot' as this was secluded and well within the cemetery.
In requirements for this ritual, a large circle was inscribed upon the ground which was adorned by protective symbols and 'sealed' with consecrated water and salt. Some ten feet away from this, where the phenomenon would be summoned to appear, a smaller circle was cast with protective symbols (it had not been overlooked that we were dealing with a particularly lethal form of psychic energy).
When the preparations were complete, the seance commenced but after only a few minutes, torchlight's could be seen in the distance and there was the muffled sound of human voices. It was the police: still some way off but approaching the back gate of the cemetery. This presented something of a dilemma; for not only was it dangerous - from a psychic point of view - to leave the protective circle once the ceremony had commenced, but there was the very real problem of explaining such clandestine nightly activity and being believed, let alone being understood. Because of this, the psychic paraphernalia was quickly gathered up and respective members headed for different exits in the cemetery.
On a sudden impulse, I made for the back wall, which the police were approaching, thinking it was possible to reach this without being spotted and then scale this further along.  After all, this was the easiest way out. But not only that; I knew the people who lived in South Grove whose garden backed onto Highgate Cemetery, and I reasoned it would have been easier to have explained to them than why we’d been in the cemetery than risk possible arrest by the  police  ‘posse’.
Unfortunately, just by the wall, I was caught by a flashlight and quickly arrested.  Luckily, however, the police must have assumed their captive was alone and they made no attempt to look for other people.
Perhaps ironically, any concern about being arrested was not so much for fear of having done anything wrong or illegal, but because the seance would be misunderstood and such misapprehension could attract adverse publicity to the investigation and the Society.
For this reason, the ceremonial paraphernalia I was carrying (which included candles, incense, a wooden cross adorned with protective magical symbols and a small tape-recorder) was quickly discarded in the undergrowth by the back wall hoping this would go unnoticed. Unfortunately, this was discovered and was to form the basis of a police charge of 'being in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose' - although this 'purpose' was not clarified in the charge itself.
The case came before Magistrate Christopher Lea at Clerkenwell Magistrates' Court two weeks later, although it had to be adjourned as the Detective Sergeant in charge, Neville Brown, had apparently suffered a mild heart attack. In any event, the police were unable to proceed and the case was re-scheduled for September 29th.
The main evidence put forward to support the charge was that the Defendant had been caught whilst leaving Highgate Cemetery with a cross and 'wooden stake' (this 'wooden stake' was, in fact, merely a pointed piece of wood used with string to cast - or measure out - a magical Circle), his intention (according to the Prosecution) to seek out and destroy the legendary vampire that slept in a coffin in the cemetery. During this process, the Prosecution claimed, coffins would have had to be opened to find the vampire.
Logically, of course, in principle some of this may have been correct, but, due to my reluctance to give details of the seance realising that these would never be understood because of their occult connotations, and my refusal to name members involved in the investigation, the facts had been grossly distorted.
It was not true, for example, that I had been arrested with just a cross and a 'stake' but the other items I had been carrying had 'mysteriously disappeared' and had not been produced in evidence. Neither was it true that there had been any intention to 'open coffins', but the established link between 'vampires' and coffins had been sufficient to give grounds to this allegation. Ignorance and superstitious assumption - and almost certainly a desire to produce a scapegoat for all the vandalism and desecration at Highgate Cemetery - had done the rest.
If I had any doubts about the latter these were quickly dispelled when Neville Brown proceed to read out a statement which amounted to a verbal admission by myself to the charge. The crux of this admission was as follows ...
At midnight I went with the Cross and the stake to St. Michael's churchyard" [which backs on to Highgate Cemetery] "to look for the vampire. Had the police not arrived when they did my intention was to make my way to the catacombs to search for it. I would have entered the catacombs and inspected the coffins in my search, and upon finding the supernatural being, I would have driven my stake through its heart and then run away.
How this statement had ended up in this form and in a vernacular totally foreign to that of the author's, perhaps indicates how the whole thing was proceeding. But this notwithstanding, the case was dismissed, the Magistrate (this time Mr. DJ Purcell) accepting a Defence denial of this 'admission' and a further submission that I had already been featured on the television in connection with the investigation; and that, in any event, it was just as akin to 'hunt for vampires' as it was for some people to spend vast sums of money trying to locate the Loch Ness Monster.
The Magistrate added that there had been no intention to 'damage coffins' and that the cemetery was not an enclosed area in the strict legal sense.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the police were none too pleased at this decision or the publicity the case had attracted; although any publicity had only been forthcoming because they had brought the case to court in the first place and introduced outrageous statements throughout about 'staking vampires' attributed to myself which had no relation to the real facts of the investigation. It is little wonder that such outrageous statements were seized upon by the Popular Press, but the fact that many of these statements found their way into print but were not retracted afterwards when proved to be false by very virtue of my acquittal, (and even today, many of these earlier newspaper accounts lie erroneously on record), merely confirmed that serious psychic investigation could not be entrusted to the understanding of the police, or the Press.
In fact, some newspapers had a 'hey day' with all this sensationalism and some let their imaginations loose beyond the bounds of credibility. The Daily Express said, for example, that the Society had 'over 100 members looking for vampires all over Europe'! Belief in vampires may well have been prevalent all over Europe in the Middle Ages, as originally stated, but this historical fact was certainly not the immediate concern of the British Psychic and Occult Society!
With a little more sobriety, although not without a hint of sarcasm, the Baltimore Sun observed that apparently it was 'no longer a crime to hunt vampires in England'.
But the publicity brought by the court case made it impossible, at this stage, for the investigation to continue. Attracted by reports of 'vampires', scores of people visited Highgate Cemetery and desecration and vandalism of graves and tombs increased to an alarming degree. People flocked to the cemetery in droves and police were frequently called to evict groups of hooligans or self-professed 'vampire hunters'. Indeed, the situation had become so grave, that on Hallowe'en night, 1970, police literally had to throw a cordon of police cars around Highgate Cemetery to prevent people from entering on the night of the undead.

Police presence was strong around Highgate Cemetery in the early 1970s. Photo copyright BPOS

One small group of aspiring occultists, however, seemed to have evaded the ongoing police presence and claimed to performed a 'secret exorcism' at a tomb in the cemetery that had been desecrated by Satanists; although the only 'evidence' to support this was a photograph that had been sent to the Hornsey Journal showing a man dressed in an evening suit brandishing a crucifix and wearing a 'garlic necklace' posing outside some unrecognisable tomb in the cemetery.
Contacting the Society for comment, the Hornsey Journal were informed that we recognised the person concerned as a well known prankster and, if in line with his past record, the whole thing was just a well timed publicity stunt.
Unfortunately, a sad side to all this activity at the cemetery, at least, as far as some elements in the police and the media were concerned, was that the Society itself was held directly responsible for influencing its occurrence. This was an especial irony, when I had already stated publicly on several occasions that this sort of activity was to be deplored and had nothing to do with genuine psychic investigation. Indeed, in a article I was to write for a local paper scarcely a year later, I stated that the growing menace of Satanism in general - especially at Highgate Cemetery - was a 'very real menace indeed'. (This article appeared in the Islington Gazette on September 29th, 1972, and in it I also pointed out that it was the young, with their tendency to think they were invulnerable, who were most at risk to the dangers of Satanism. Attracted by some 'dare-devil' instinct to the challenge of Satanism, some would became entrapped in a web of corruption and degradation from which there was usually no escape).
But before the publication of this article, BBC Television decided to mount their own investigation and sent a team of cameramen and reporters to see if they could locate the 'vampire'. Although they were unsuccessful, what they did find was a mass of desecrated coffins, many of which had been deprived of their lead. Invited on the programme, I explained that although most of the desecration was the work of vandals, the activities of the Satanic group was a very real problem, as was the existence of the 'vampire-like' entity that had been witnessed there. This programme was televised on October 15th, 1970 and went some way in vindicating my claims that black magic was being practised at Highgate Cemetery.
But regarding the threats from the Satanic group, they had apparently given up. The threatening letters suddenly ceased and it was likely that - as they saw it - the damage done by the Society in exposing their activities to the public view had already been done and so there was no point in continuing their vendetta.
Meanwhile, there was a major development at Highgate Cemetery. Reports were coming into the Society that a young nurse had been 'attacked' by the 'vampire' in Swains Lane which runs alongside the cemetery. Eventually, the girl's identity was discovered and I arranged a meeting with her. Although reluctant to discuss the matter at first, I assured her anonymity and she gave the following account:
She was returning home in the early hours walking down Swain's Lane. As she passed the cemetery, a little way further on, 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 headlights. She was taken to Highgate Police Station in a state of severe shock suffering abrasions to her knees and elbows. The police immediately made a thorough search of the area but could find no trace of her attacker. More mysterious still was the fact that where the figure had vanished, the cemetery was lined by 15 foot high walls.
On hearing this, I felt a tinge of apprehension. Until now, the 'vampire's' appearances had been mainly confined to frightening people. It seemed now, however, that the 'creature' was becoming 'bolder' and presented a real threat to innocent people. If it had attacked somebody once, it could do so again. Only next time, with more disastrous consequences.
It was decided to conduct a full scale ceremony in Highgate Cemetery whereby the phenomenon would be summoned and then banished back to its preordained place of existence.
This time, however, the Ceremony would involve the use of High Magic as a means of communicating with the demonic entity. It was not dared to use less than an advanced form of ritual. At least, if the ritual was not successful, it would be possible to control the entity, whereas Low magical techniques - albeit less complex - could not have afforded adequate protection.