Monday, June 8, 2009

David Finally Responds to My Other Queries, Pt. 1

I wrote a series of posts ("Queries Regarding Farrant's Account, Pt. 1", "Queries Regarding Farrant's Account, Pt. 2" and "David's Response to My Queries") in Feburary which questioned David's account of events relating to the Highgate Vampire Case.

At long last, he responded to my queries in an e-mail ("Re: Good Evening"), dated Sunday, 7 June 2009 4:35:41 AM.

He previously requested that I condense my queries in point form.

I have reformatted the e-mail response into an "interview" style, that is, my point form questions are now accompanied with the tag, Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate? and DAWWIH? thereafter. David's answers, which he originally accompanied with an "A" for "Answer" have been re-tagged with David Farrant and DF thereafter.

I've done this merely to make the article more readable.

Also, where I see fit, I follow the response with a comment and/or query, addressing them to Farrant.

Due to the length of this article, the rest of it will be continued in a follow-up blog entry.
Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?: In "Why do the foxes die?" (Hampstead and Highgate Express, March 6, 1970), you said: "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." Did this include patrolling the cemetery armed with a stake and cross?

David Farrant: No. But it did involve the performance of two occult ceremonies in Highgate Cemetery. Well three actually as one was interrupted by the police.
If the context of the article was a "vampire theory" and your claim was "taking whatever means necessary" to pursue it, does that mean you performed these two "occult ceremonies" with the idea that the being was a vampire?
DAWWIH?: Your BPOS [British Psychic and Occult Society - ed.] page claims your society was formed in the mid-'60s. If this is the case, why are there no contemporary references to it, as there were for the BOS [British Occult Society -ed.]?

DF: There ARE contemporary records such as membership forms and the like; just as there are for The Highgate Vampire Society.
Yes, but none of these contemporary references appear in the Press. Nor have I seen any of these membership forms reproduced elsewhere. However, there are contemporary references to the British Occult Society. An image from a 1970 TV interview with Sean Manchester, labelling him "President[,] British Occult Society" can be viewed here.

So, I guess I should be asking this: why are there no contemporary references to the BPOS in the Press or other public media?
DAWWIH?: In your letter to the Hamstead and Highgate Express (February 6, 1970) you wrote that you had "I have no knowledge in this field" [that is, supernatural phenomena]. Yet, you also claimed to have founded the BPOS approximately five years prior. How do you explain this discreprency?

DF: I did NOT say I ‘had no knowledge’ in the field of ghosts or the paranormal. I meant no knowledge in the field of ‘blood-sucking vampires’ – which I don’t because these simply do not exist. This is why I was always very careful not to refer to the entity or ghost as a ‘vampire’ in interviews either in newspapers or on television not wish ing to scare-monger people or add to the local fera [sic] in some quarters in Highgate.
Regarding the "no knowledge in this field" quote, I can tell you that it did not relate to vampires. And to prove it, here's a more complete version of what you said:
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.
As to not referring to the "entity" as a "vampire", well, that's kind of contradicted by your initial, albeit, hesistant acceptance of the "vampire theory" as well as conducting "vigils" in the Cemetery, armed with a stake and cross, for the sake of the Press. As well as a re-enactment of said vigil for television.
DAWWIH?: You first published your full account of the Highgate Vampire Case in your 1991 book, Beyond the Highgate Vampire. Why did it take so long for the BPOS to crop up in this context?

DF: Simple. Because so many false stories were being circulated about that case (and myself) that I decided to set the record straight.
This misses the point of the question, which was why did the BPOS fail to make a "public" (contemporary) appearance in the Press, despite the case being circulated within in it for many years?
DAWWIH?: How do you explain the similarity of name in the BPOS against the BOS (which is claimed to have been founded in the 1860s)?

DF: No ‘British Occult Society’ ever existed in 1867 (or whenever it was). That was the year that the Ghost Club was originally founded and its President today is Peter Underwood. A friend of Bishop Bonkers . . . Get it!?!
By virtue of public record, whether or not the British Occult Society was truly founded in the 1860s (the VRS claims that the BOS was founded "circa 1860"), there are at least clear references to the BOS contemporary to the Press' coverage of the Highgate Vampire Case, i.e., 1970. The same can not be said of the BPOS.

So why are the names so similar? Who ripped off who? That's what I'm getting at.

I fail to see what your connection between the similarity of name between the two Societies to Peter Underwood's involvement with Sean Manchester (who you dub "Bishop Bonkers") is. Are you saying they conspired to form a fake organisation whose name was extraordinarily similar to your group's?
DAWWIH?: You had members of the BPOS stationed at Highgate Cemetery after your initial sightings in 1969. Yet, in February, you were claiming "no knowledge in this field". How do you explain this?

DF: I already have!
As we've established, your lack of "knowledge in this field" did not regard vampires, but your sightings of an "apparation" in context of the "supernatural", i.e., supernatural phenomena. So, in February 1970, you were claiming no "knowledge" in "this field". Yet, in 1969, not only do you claim to have a group called the British Psychic and Occult Society (which you say was founded in the mid-60s), but you also had members from it stationed at the Cemetery as part of an occultic/parapsychological investigation!

So, this either means one of three things: a) you were playing dumb to the Press, b)
you were being extremely modest about your level of knowledge in the supernatural, despite being the head of a group, for approximately 5 years, calling itself the British Psychic and Occult Society or c) you're lying about the BPOS being involved in a prior investigation.

Which is it?
DAWWIH?: Did you or any members of your group obtain any photographic evidence of the "entity" you saw at Highgate Cemetery?

DF: Not of the entity. Evidence of the after-marth of Satanic Rites, yes.
So, essentially, your specific claims of supernatural activity at the Cemetery rely almost purely on your own eyewitness account.
DAWWIH?: After you were arrested at Highgate Cemetery, a stake and a cross was found on your person. You currently claim that you had other magical items on your person too. Why are there no contemporary mentions of these items by the press or yourself? Also why would a person with "no knowledge in this field" have such items on their person in the first place?

DF: There was one Press report that stated that the ‘stake’ had a piece of white cord attached to it. Don’t ask me why the police never exhibited the other items. Its obvious if you think about it! They did, however, exhibit a statement about my intention of ‘staking vampires’ (which I never made) which was not believed by the Court and which was the reason that I was acquitted. Ask them about that as well!
I don't think it's obvious that the police chose not to exhibit the other items you claim to have dispensed with. Unless, of course, we go back to your claim that you were, essentially, set-up. Of course, proving this claim is a tad difficult. Then there's the question of why they'd want to set you up as some kind of vampire hunter in the first place...something not helped by you also demonstrating vampire hunting vigils to the Press in 1970.

But, also, in February 1970, you were claiming "no knowledge in this field" so why you'd have such magical items on your person, in the first place, is a bit difficult to establish as well.
DAWWIH?: You claim that you were aware of policemen monitoring Highgate in the wake of vandalism, etc. If so, why did you continue to conduct your clandestine operation? Also, why did you feel the need to discard some of the magical items on your person when you made your attempted escape?

DF: I have already explained to you that these ‘witchcraft’ items (candles, incense and the like) would not have been understood by the Police; which indeed, proved to be the case.
So rather than try to "understand" them, they instead set you up to be a vampire hunter of some sort. You also said they retrieved the items, anyway. So, if you felt the police wouldn't understand your use of them...why did you take them to the Cemtery with you in the first place?

To be continued...

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