Friday, June 12, 2009

Don's Inquiry Continued

Don's report is continued from here.
About 1995 or so, a buddy of mine, Dean Lamana, was a editor with Cinescape Magazine and he used to send my wife and I a free subscription. This magazine covered all the happenings in the entertainment field and other media.

I recall reading one issue that mentioned a new John Carpenter movie in production that was involved with a Vatican sponsored group of “vampire hunters.” I was excited because I could not recall another movie dealing with the mythos of vampires that was worth a damn. It was about one year later when my wife and I were at the movies that I saw a trailer for Carpenter’s film “Vampires”, and I told my wife I was going to be at the very first showing when it was finally released. In the meantime I discovered that it was based on a book by a Texan named John Steakley titled “Vampires.” I went out and bought the book. After reading it, I waited impatiently for the movie. When the film was released, sure enough I was at the first showing. I liked the film a lot, then I remembered the Highgate case and I jumped on my computer.

Going on the “net” I discovered a number of places that discussed the Highgate vampire incident, giving the locations of the alleged events, naming the principal players, and alleged happenings. Okay, I will say it once again … I was intrigued. My wife Vicki and I were invited to the UK in 1997 to speak at the BUFORA UFO conference in Sheffield,UK. We ended staying with John Spencer and his lovely wife Anne, and all in all had a wonderful time. I recall mentioning Highgate to John and although he of course had heard of it, he didn’t have any great insight into the case as he had not investigated it himself, and I would be remiss if I did not mention he was very skeptical.

We got back to the U.S. and at that time my wife Vicki and I were mainly concerned with our publication, UFO Magazine. A couple of years passed, and being a writer I decided to finally start my novel. Like I mentioned earlier, I enjoy good horror in my “off time” and I found little to my liking. I thought I had a winner for a “hook” for my still unwritten novel. “What IF … what if “vampires” were REAL … and the CIA got their hands on one? What might they attempt with a genuine “undead creature?” Then I again recalled the Highgate vampire and I decided to start some serious research.

I had discovered that a book had been written on it (The Highgate Vampire) by a fellow named Sean Manchester. I had come across his name on the web, and I also discovered another fellow named David Farrant who had written another book, similar in title, “Beyond the Highgate Vampire.”

I got in touch with John Spencer, and I asked John if he would be willing to contact the Sean Manchester group and ask them if I could interview Manchester. By this time I was aware that a great schism existed between Manchester and Farrant. Even knowing that fact, I had no idea how deep the rift was … or how much vitriol existed between these two.

About a week or so passed and John got back in touch with me and he told me that the Manchester people were not interested in speaking with me. I found that somewhat odd, my name was fairly well known in some quarters, I had well over 6 years as a national radio broadcaster, and our magazine with my work was all over the UK. The upshot was I never did speak with Manchester.

I did some online searching and while I did not find his book anywhere in the United States, I was able to order it via Amazon dot com in the UK. I also ordered another tome written by Manchester, “The Vampire Hunters Handbook.” (And I must state for the record that during this time, I was still willing, with proof, to acknowledge something very strange might have happened at the Highgate cemetery.)

Now recall, I was attempting to examine this in the same manner I had used to investigate homicides, manslaughter cases, robberies, shootings, and other felony crimes. I knew the methodology, the protocols that any police officer would use to investigate a crime or criminal act.

After a week or so of waiting, both books arrived from Amazon UK. I dropped everything and immediately read “The Highgate Vampire” and then the second book “The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook.”

I started this process attempting to keep an open mind. I suppose I should state that with 10 years on the streets as a cop, and two combat tours that I did in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict I felt pretty confident that if there were such creatures as “actualhonest-to-God vampires”, I might have gotten a glimmer of such being the case. Granted, now I was very up-to-date on the phenomenon of cattle mutilations, especially the aspect of blood loss, but still no connection could be made to an actual vampire. I should mention one other aspect of research I conducted when I first became actively involved in the research of UFOs. I don’t know but this might be a reason why the vampire mythos intrigued me as much as it did.

Back in 1988, it was mutilations that first pulled me into the field, and when first becoming an active researcher I was confronted with a very weird and troubling aspect that involved human beings that were mutilated like the cattle I had investigated. I wrote a paper on this and spoke about it at the 1989 International MUFON conference in Las Vegas. I pursued this for almost 3 years but other than finding a number of cases of human mutilation I was not able to break through whatever secrets were being kept on this aspect of mutilation research. After almost three years of banging my head against this brick wall I dropped this line of inquiry.

However let us go back to Manchester’s book. I knew that if this were real, (actual vampires) and make no mistake that is what he claimed, the way to pursue this was to find out who his alleged victims were. (Then the next step would be to use forensic science and examine what the “ME” (Medical Examiner) might have said on the death certificate.) One alleged victim that was named in the book was a, then, young woman named Elizabeth Wojdyla. There is a photograph of this woman on page 61 of the second printing (REVISED EDITION) 1991 of “The Highgate Vampire.” As I discovered while tracking this book down, the original edition, printed in 1985, had been revised and a number of photographs in the earlier book had been removed.
To be continued...

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