Thursday, September 3, 2009

Staking Himself in the Foot?

In a recent comment to John Baldry Cat's "Farrant Rates the Women of the World", David discusses some of the earliest writings on the Highgate Vampire:
For everybody’s information the first major book that appeared on the Highgate Vampire case was by Basil Copper in 1973 under the title “The Vampire in Legend, Fact and Literature” by Robert Hale in London in hardback. This book was republished by “Corgi” in paperback in1975 under the title “The Vampire in Legend, Fact and Art [ISBN 0 552 09802 7].

This book contained a long chapter on myself and our investigation into the Highgate ‘vampire’ case, although Bonky was not even mentioned (sorry!).
David also writes:
His chapter deals with my arrest in Highgate Cemetery in 1970 and goes on to detail our findings in that case.
Bonky had not got around inventing his vampire fiction at this time and other people who were making all sorts of claims about that case were really regarded as ‘non-entities’.
As it happens, I own a copy of Basil Copper's The Vampire: In Legend, Fact and Art (London: Corgi Books, 1975).

The chapter that discusses the Highgate Vampire is called "Nights in Highgate Cemetery" (199-204).

Let's see how Copper describes Farrant in the text:
The hunt followed a television interview the previous night, Friday the 13th, in which 24-year-old David Farrant had spoken of his plans to go to the cemetery to put a stake throught the heart of a vampire which was lurking in the graveyard (199).
More coverage is given to his vampire-hunting antics:
Mr. Farrant's vampire-hunt that night ended in the prosaic arms of the law as he was caught by a policeman climbing out armed with a wooden cross and a sharpened stake. But as he walked from court he commented, 'I won't rest until I catch the vampire of Highgate Cemetery.' (200)
There are more, equally damning mentions of David's vampire-hunting past, like his telling the court that he would, "have gone into the catacomb, searched through the coffins until I recognised the vampire sleep in one and then I would have driven my stake through its heart." (201)

There's also his mention of having "100 members" of the British Occult Society all over Britain "and Europe searching for vampires" (201). And so on.

Part of David's "investigation", involved stalking about Highgate Cemetery, armed with a cross and stake, in the presence of journalist Barrie Simmons, for an article called, "Midnight Vigil for the Highgate Vampire" (Evening News, Oct. 16, 1970).

In light of all the vampire-hunting references, David also mentions in the article that he didn't believe in vampires in "the commercial sense of the word" (203), not believing that they suck blood. So, he probably courted the vampire hunting angle for publicity's sake.

But, back to the blog entry.

Depending on one's interpretation, the "first major book" that gave coverage to the subject wasn't Copper's, but Donald F. Glut's True Vampires of History (1971). I shall refer to my Castle Books edition.

The mention is brief, but it's clear who's being referred to:
In August, 1970, Reuters told of a twenty-four year-old man named Allan Farrow who was arrested for trespassing in a London graveyard. Farrow, armed with a crucifix and a sharpened wooden state [sic], was caught by police at St. Michael's Churchyard. He said that he was on his way to Highgate Cemetery, where a vampire was supposedly hiding.
"I decided to visit it and see if I could find the vampire and destroy it," said Farrow. "Had the police not arrived it was my intention to make my way to the gravestones and the catacombs in search of the vampire." (190)
"Allan Farrow", is, of course, one of the pseudonyms used by David Farrant.

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