Thursday, February 19, 2009

Queries Regarding Farrant's Account, Pt. 1

It's been some time since I mentioned that David's say on the Highgate Vampire Case "certainly raises some questions, which I'll raise in a future post." ("Nicked at Highgate Cemetery")

Time to raise them here. I address you, David, and certain portions of your previous response:
This is not just for you personally, Overseer, but to set the record straight over all the confusion that might have occurred about this original Court case; the one which mainly contributed to the story that a ‘blood-sucking vampire’ really lurked in London’s Highgate Cemetery, and which saw myself at the centre of the whole affair.
Wasn't Sean Manchester also central to the case, considering that he seems to have coined the vampire hypothesis, in the first place? Indeed, the one you agreed with in "Why do the foxes die?" (Hampstead and Highgate Express, March 6, 1970):
"Several other foxes have also been found dead in the cemetery," he said at his home in Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road, Highgate. "The odd thing is there was no outward sign of how they died. Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently learnt all points to the vampire theory being the most likely answer. Should this be so, I for one am prepared to pursue it, taking whatever means might be necessary so that we can all rest."
Would these "means" include wandering the cemetery grounds with a cross and a stake, by chance?
In the late 60s there were voluminous reports about a ‘tall, dark figure’ that had been seen in and around London’s Highgate Cemetery. With the British Psychic and Occult Society (BPOS), I decided to launch an investigation into all these accounts to see if there might be any foundation for them.
According to your "The British Psychic & Occult Society" page, the group was formed in the "mid-1960's".

Firstly, if that is indeed the case, why are there are no contemporary references to the BPOS? There certainly is for the British Occult Society (which is alleged to have been founded in 1860), but seemingly nothing for the BPOS, despite your interviews with the media of the time.

Not only that, but in a letter that appeared in the February 6, 1970 edition of the Hamstead and Highgate Express, you wrote:
Some nights I walk home past the gates of Highgate Cemetery. On three occasions I have seen what appeared to be a ghost-like figure inside the gates at the top of Swains Lane. The first occasion was on Christmas Eve. I saw a grey figure for a few seconds before it disappeared into the darkness. The second sighting, a week later, was also brief. Last week, the figure appeared long enough for me to see it much more clearly, and now I can think of no other explanation than this apparition being supernatural. I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature. [my emphasis]
Am I to believe that you founded a group in the "mid-1960's" called the British Psychic & Occult Society, with "no knowledge in the field" approximately 5 years after its formation?

Indeed, the "Highgate Vampire" Wikipedia article states that, "On 21 December 1969 one of their members, David Farrant, spent the night there, according to his account written in 1991." [my emphasis]

Why did it take 21 years for a mention of the BPOS to appear in correlation with the Highgate Vampire Case?

Also, how do you explain its similarity of name to the extant British Occult Society?
December, 1969, I visited the cemetery alone in an attempt to see if there might be any logical explanation behind these reports. That same evening, I actually witnessed a tall dark shape just inside the top gate of Highgate Cemetery. After this, the Society had members stationed in the cemetery by night to see if we might be able to obtain some photographic evidence of the entity’s appearances.
After your first sighting you had members of the BPOS stationed at the Cemetery?

Well, according to your previously-cited letter, there's no mention of this or any other members at the Cemetery. This is even after you claimed to see it twice. Why did you not give any mention to this investigation at the time?

Oh, and by the way, did you end up getting any photographic evidence of the "entity" you sighted?
Then, in August 1970, a group of five of us eventually visited Highgate Cemetery (with a psychic medium) with the intention of holding a séance. For this purpose, we had with us several ‘magical implements’, including small Celtic crosses, cameras, candles, incense, and a tape recorder. The area chosen to perform the séance was a flat area of ground above the ‘Circle of Lebanon’, a Victorian circle of tombs not far from the back gate of the cemetery.
Yet, according to the Daily Express, August 19, 1970, your intention was to: "search out the supernatural being and destroy it by plunging the stake in its heart."

Let's buy that you had "magical implements" on your person for use in your investigation. This is despite mentions of only a stake and a cross. What became of them, and, again, why are there no contemporary references to these items - by yourself, or anyone else?

Also, why was someone with "no knowledge in the field" (yourself, as you claimed) equipped with such occultic items in the first place?
Unfortunately this was interrupted by the police, who had been keeping a watch on HC because of serious vandalism in months prior to this.

As the police approached, the four other people headed back towards the front of the cemetery, where they had two cars parked. I decided to leave via the back garden of a house which backed on to the cemetery, situated in South Grove. I knew the people who lived there, and therefore felt quite confident should I have been spotted in their garden. I discarded some of the paraphernalia I was carrying, but was shortly afterwards apprehended by the police.
If you were aware of the police keeping a watch on Highgate Cemetery, which is also implied by your pre-conceived escape route, then why'd you do it? Why'd you take the risk? And why did you feel the need to discard the paraphernalia in the first place?
I was taken to Hornsey Road police station, and the police had obviously found the discarded items, as they were lined up on a desk. These included a wooden cross, a wooden stake with a piece of string attached to it, some candles, my portable tape recorder, and a small camera.
In your previous list of implements you carried on your person at Highgate, you didn't mention a "wooden stake with a piece of string attached to it". Where did this stake come from?

What was it for?

And, in light of your mentioning of pursuing a vampire by "whatever means might be necessary" in March, 1970, don't you think carrying a stake in an allegedly vampire-haunted cemetery might have come across as a tad suspicious?
I was questioned extensively by the police, who had already heard stories of a ‘vampire’ that lurked within the cemetery. I told them virtually nothing, except to say our presence was due to a serious psychic investigation into this phenomenon. To protect other members of the society from unwanted publicity, I refused to disclose their names. I also gave them a false name, and refused to give them my address in Highgate (which in fact is why some newspapers quoted me as being of ‘no fixed address’).
Could they have heard the stories by your (unintentional or otherwise) co-operation with the media? Again, take note of the March 6, 1970 article.

I suppose I can understand the desire to protect the other members of the Society from "unwanted publicity" - obviously, something that wasn't a concern to yourself - but giving the police a fake name? Refusing to give your address? What was the deal with that?

To be continued...

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