Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Strange Coincidence

I just noticed an eerie coincidence in terms of David's latest reports on the Highgate Vampire being "active" again.

In 2005, David was interviewed by Marc Mullen for an article called "Vampire Active Again, Claims Occult Expert".

"Coincidentally", this timed well with the reformation of his Highgate Vampire Society, as discussed in the article.

And now, shortly after the publication of his autobiography, In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire (2009), his January 27, 2010 blog entry mentions the following:
I have been asked to give another Talk soon on latest reports about a ‘vampire-like figure’ that has been sighted again in and around Highgate Cemetery. These reports seem to have escalated again in recent years, but luckily I have most of these witnessed experiences on record, with appropriate permission to use them for future books, Talks, etc.
To paraphrase Marcellus in Hamlet, something is rotten in Highgate.

28 comments:

Sam said...

Hi Anthony,

Did David Farrant not 'grace' the cemetery with his presence on a guided tour in 2005? I'm fairly certain that he boasted about it online at some point or another. I also seem to recall reading about his group claiming to be long-lost relations of the Fisher-Wace family so as not to arouse suspicions about the true nature of their visit.

(Err... David? If you're reading this, we guides aren't from the dark ages and all have access to the internet)

As a long-standing tour guide and Friend of the cemetery's, I can assure you that the only things I've ever witnessed that are "rotten" in Highgate are the misinformed sheep who actually believe this garbage. I have to waste valuable tour time dispelling these fairy tales. Which is at times frustrating considering how many interesting that are buried there.

(I actually had some sweet but incredibly naive woman ask me last weekend where the Highgate Vampire was buried. I had to let her down gently and tell her there were no such things and that the only thing that those two girls had seen through the North Gate on that fateful evening in the late 60's were actors in costumes on a film set. She was genuinely disappointed)

Regards
Sam

Anthony Hogg said...

Hi again Sam,

Indeed he did. On July 9, 2005, in fact. He mentions it here.

As you've read, it was the same year he promoted the reformation of the Highgate Vampire Society...

You'll also see his participation in a Title the visitor sees.French doco-thingy, peering wistfully through its gates.

As to claiming to be "long lost relations", that's interesting, because his claim is that the Fisher-Wace tomb is the one allegedly bricked-up by Manchester. So, we're dealing with some false pretences here. That wouldn't surprise me in light of David's criminal history in association with the Cemetery.

And no prizes for guessing that he's got an endless stream of Highgate Vampire-related merch and even a new product on the way, to promote his "role" there.

To be fair on the "sheep" the vampire thing is a pretty interesting addition to the Cemtery's history. Although, I'm more than understanding of why it frustrates the stuff, especially in light of the vandalisms that occurred there. I doubt there are many "believers", per se, but I think there's an audience for a good story. I think it taps into something deeper in our subconscious there.

People will keep coming to the Cemetery to see the "vampire", no doubt about that. Perhaps it's even something you guys could use to your advantage. Or, at the very least, provide an FAQ.

Spam said...

Hi Anthony,

As far as I recall, they claim to have been doing some "family history research" (or something along those lines) but I honestly can't remember the URL of the message board it appeared on, it was so long ago. I seem to remember one of them (Barbara, maybe?) claiming to have booked the tour using a fake name so that no one would cotton onto their real identities (you know you've hit the big time when you have to use a pseudonym).

I noted from the link you provided that of the four online articles published, there's only one that *doesn't* involve the Highgate Vampire. The place really is still his bread and butter! As for the new book, I'll camp out outside Waterstone’s for the night to avoid the queues.

Fair play to you- the ‘sheep’ phrase was perhaps harsh on my part and I appreciate that the notion of vampires speaks to us on a level (ditto zombies - after all, they used to be us). Most people who ask about the vampire are oblivious to the vandalism and desecration that took place as a result and, unlike the days of yore when no one was allowed to mention the V word on tour, a number of guides now will recount the tale (if asked) but we make it very clear about the horrible results of those ‘hunts’. Most visitors just shake their heads in disgust after hearing about it. There’s no way of avoiding talk of vampires these days anyway, courtesy of the massive resurgence of the genre in popular culture recently: Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc., etc (nope, nothing to do with you, Dave).

Anthony Hogg said...

Sam,

Family history research. Ha! I have asked David about his incursions to the Fisher-Wace tomb, but am yet to obtain an answer. I'll keep you posted on that one.

If they did enter the Cemetery under false pretences, then it's interesting seeing the recurring thread going on here.

As to Dave's bread and butter - it gets better. Get a load of this. Oh, and don't forget he named his own autobiography after it.

As to the new product, it's actually a DVD, not a book. Makes you wonder what kinda footage it contains and how it was obtained...

I'm surprised more people aren't familiar with the vandalism that took place there. After all, if they've heard of the vampire, I would've thought they'd be familiar with the aftermath of the "hunts".

What disturbs me, though, is that David openly acknowledges that his investigations (for want of a better word) had an impact on the vandalism that took place there, yet, continues to promote the idea of a "vampire" lurking about in the Cemetery...

Obviously, he doesn't learn.

Spam said...

Hey Anthony,

Sadly I can’t locate the message board’s URL anywhere for love nor money. Pity… they were quite open about porkies told in order to get a place on the tour.

Re that DVD, I’m curious about the content too. If any of it’s been filmed clandestinely in the cemetery, the cemetery’s trustees will be equally interested in viewing it, believe me. HC allows filming but for a price and they don’t allow just anyone in. I honestly can’t see them approving a film that glorifies a vandal’s “accomplishments” in what was a very dark period of the cemetery’s history. Did you see the bio on his website? Classic! Talk about an overinflated sense of self-importance… apparently he’s amongst Highgate’s “most famous sons” (read “most infamous crackpots”).

Re vandalism, I doubt very much that Dave cares about the impact that his desperate grasps at fame have had on the cemetery. As long as that place is still standing, he and his misguided supporters are going to milk it for all it’s worth.

Spam said...

By the way, who is the Overseer?

http://www.knowhere.co.uk/Highgate/Greater-London/London-and-inside-M25/messages?start=2

Anthony Hogg said...

Open about porkies, eh? Well, their "investigative" method does leave a lot to be desired. See: Kirklees.

I'm sure you can request a copy of the DVD. I'm not sure if it has any footage from Highgate in it. I have been asking about whether or not he "investigated" the Wace-Fisher tomb under false pretences and, perhaps unsurprisingly, I've been greeted with silence.

I've just asked him whether any of his new DVD's footage was filmed at Highgate. I'll let you know what he says (if anything).

As to David's "overinflated sense of self-importance", hahaha, yes, I've noticed that meself. Especially when he emphasises that he has all the "true facts" about the Case itself. And if you dare question him on them or point out the contradictions in his account, why, you must be a Manchester supporter or "in-genuine"! The whole thing has a cult-like veneer, put it that way. They echo each other in many ways.

As to being one of Highgate's "most famous sons", well, his modesty wouldn't permit him to reveal that this "fame" is something he largely courts himself. I can see the timeliness of these recent sightings, put it that way.

Milking it for what it's worth is a pretty good analogy, too. I mean, how many books/DVDs can one release (yeah, he puts 'em out through his vanity press, BPOS) about an event forty years ago? One of his books has four subsequent editions!

As to the Overseer business, I see you've stumbled upon my imitator/stalker!

Eons ago (say about 2006), I used to be a member of a forum called The Cross and the Stake. It's run by Manchester's lackeys. I was there for the conversation. My username was "The Inquisitive One". When they started stifling the discussions on the Case over there, I formed my own forum and gave myself a new username: "The Overseer".

Literally within hours, another forum by a Manchester-sympathiser sprung up, aping my forum's name and even pinching my new username. Obviously, this lunatic's intent is to trick people into thinking he's me. Or, to "overwrite" my own contributions by hijacking my identity and "property".

A while later (and as he'd already publicly revealed my name through incredibly dodgy means), I figured I might as well start using my real name.

More on that clown here, if you're interested.

Anthony Hogg said...

David's replied to accessing the tomb under false pretences thingy here.

Spam said...

I see he's indignantly denied all wrongdoing (surprise, surprise). Such Dave - you should get an Oscar!

I also note from the archives on his current website that the previous MSN & Proboard message forums have since been removed (covering his tracks, more like it). There used to be a link to the old board on his previous web page, which is how I tracked the discussion down the last time. No wonder he's subscribing to the culture of victimhood - he's deleted the proof!

It's a long shot but I'm checking in with a couple of people at HC as to whether we still have the cemetery diary for 2005. This contains all the tour bookings for the year and I want to see what name their group used to book the tour (if it hasn't been thrown away). I’m also checking in to see if anyone still has the link I sent them with the original online tour reports/boasts by his cronies. Unlikely if the boards no longer exist but I want to prove this bozo’s full of (sh)it.

Something that disheartened me regarding the "old regime" that used to run HC was that when DF was recognised at the gate by some of the staff that day, he was, amazingly, still allowed in by the money-grabbing ex Chairwoman, who justified allowing him on the tour with, "Well, he's paid his money like everybody else!" when challenged by a guide. I couldn't believe my ears after I heard that.

No wonder he thinks he's Lord of the Manor...

Spam said...

I've just stumbled across an old email from May 2006 that I forwarded to one of the cemetery's Directors about another planned visit they talked about on DF's old website:

"Fellow Cemetery Enthusiasts,

I have contacted Highgate Cemetery FOHC to confirm our booking on May 5th at 3.15pm. Mrs Pateman has informed me that the 'special' tours take in more of the cemetery than the standard ones do, and this means that 1) we'll be spending more time inside the grounds and 2) we'll get more value for money. In addition, Mrs Pateman has offered to arrange free entrance to the East Cemetery for us to explore at leisure if we'd like, whilst waiting for the tour start at 3.15pm.

The cost is £9 per person, payable to FOHC on the day. All those on the list, which Catherine has supplied, and those who have contacted me personally, are guaranteed a place on the tour.

All other guests, please meet at the cemetery gates at 2.15pm. It doesn't matter if anyone is a bit late, but those who arrive after 3.15pm cannot be admitted on the tour.

I'll be in touch closer to the day.

Best wishes,
Patsy"

Not the same article I was hoping to find but it proves that they were back again.

A couple of other links I sent my friend are detailed below but I'll be damned if I can get onto the sites - it looks as though the links are no longer active:

http://highgatevampiresoc.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/page7.html

http://highgatevampiresoc.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/

Spam said...

Apologies Anthony, I should really just put everything down on one comment field in future so as not to clog yer blog.

Regarding SM, he, like Farrant, is just another holier-than-thou megalomaniac (after all, there's only enough room for ONE vampire hunter in this town, right?).

I had an online run-in with him a few months back on the HC Facebook discussion page about Bram Stoker/Highgate and he doesn't half waffle on! He shot down my arguments but was unable to present any hard evidence to substantiate his own claims and then used that old cop-out line of, "I rely on instinct" or "gut feel" or some other such garbage...

Anthony Hogg said...

G'day Spam,

He actually wants me to apologise for making the "allegations"! Not only did I refuse, but I had to point out that there's a difference between asking questions and making allegations. Something he seems greatly confused about.

Now, as to the MSN boards, I can explain that one: a while ago, MSN Groups shut down. All of them. They employed a new, crappy service called Multiply. So if the MSN stuff still exists, your only hope's that they converted their board over to Multiply. I had to do it for my own forum.

As to the Proboard, however, I dunno what the deal with that one is. The service still exists, after all, so I'm guessing it did get deleted. As to the why...I can only speculate. ;)

That said, he does employ censorship tactics. We're talking outright deletions or wildly distorting things I've said. In other words, a lot like his chum, Manchester.

I've had comments refused on Dave's blog and he also deleted me off his Facebook and the HVS group because I was pointing out that his so-called lack of interest in the Highgate Case was undermined by his continued publicity of it. Quite a schizoid approach. He didn't take too kindly to my observations.

Now, as to the bookings, there seems to be a few. There was one in 2005 and Dave's refutation mentions a visit by Patsy in 2007.

Concerning the ex-chairwoman's approach, I can see the money-making logic, there. Really, the vampire thing is a gift and a curse. I mean, would the Cemetery have been restored if all this, uh, negative attention , hadn't come to pass?

What disturbs me, though, is David's blatant admittance that the press coverage of his "investigations" (which he actively courted, even going so far as to bugger about the Cemetery with cross and stake) drew vandals to the Cemetery. So why is he promoting the idea that the bloody thing's still there? Surely, this'll attract more unwanted attention. Of course, any publicity is good publicity when we're talking about a (then) newly-minted Highgate Vampire Society, not to mention the dearth of books, vids, etc. for sale straight from his BPOS vanity press.

Anthony Hogg said...

Continuation!

(Just briefly, I made a mistake about those extra visits. The 2007 date concerned Patsy's book publication).

Patsy, incidentally, is the BPOS's Secretary. She wasn't in 2005, but she has been since about 2007, I think. She filled the void when Catherine Fearnley left (you can read Catherine's views on the whole thing in this blog).

The gathering Patsy mentions seems to have been part of a clandestine investigation, obviously. She was doing research on the Highgate vampire case at the time (as David mentioned), after all.

There's no smoking gun in terms of visiting the Cemetery under false pretences (Mrs Pateman could confirm that, though).

The sites you showed aren't active anymore, unfortunately. Haven't been active for a while. Not sure why. Closest thing he has to a HVS page, is this. However, the site's "News" section might be a bit more helpful. There's also the videos, confirming his presence at the Cemetery.

Back to his 2005 tour. There's some interesting wording in his article (which alternates between third and first person):

"It was July 9th, 2005 at 4pm; the venue, an Official Tour of London’s Highgate Cemetery. Not a particularly irregular Tour from the norm, perhaps, but maybe one almost unique in that one of the invited participants was David Farrant, a man who had been virtually banned from Highgate Cemetery back in 1973 following an investigation he conducted there into reports about a ’vampire-like’ figure that had been reported inside the cemetery."

Hmm "invited participant". Sounds like the Cemetery heads invited him, eh? That'd give him a nice, official "seal of approval"!

However, going by Patsy's e-mail, it's clear we're dealing with a little group tour organised by her, a sympathiser, sans his name. Clever move, but not so clever that such dodgy wording can't be uncovered.

Spam said...

You were expected to for merely asking a question? Ooooh, methinks you hit a nerve Sir (keep up the good work!). Censorship tactics = paranoia, plain and simple. As for The Bish, he and Dave should really just kiss and make up over a pint (or have a “Warriors”-style street battle) and be done with it. After all, they have more in common with each other than they’d care to admit: delusions of grandeur, self-righteousness, nit-picking, slander, etc.

(Mind you, there’s great comedy value in watching two adult men bicker like a couple of old biddies)

About the cemetery’s history, I’ve been told that things had started to go t*ts up long before we had any help from The Two Stooges and their ilk. United went under in 1975 but apparently the place had been getting progressively worse long before then (the initial downturn began in 1930’s or 40s). So, no – I’d say that restoration work was undertaken the vampire myth, not because of it - it merely added extra work to a project that was already underway. Regarding the now ex-Chairwoman, a very good friend of mine (and fellow guide) was asked about the Highgate Vampire by one of his tour group a few years back. Without skipping a beat, he replied, “She just sold you your ticket, mate”.

I’ve seen a number of interviews, news clips and articles that feature DF’s mug and it’s obvious that he revels in the attention. I’d imagine he’s concerned about his fifteen minutes running out, hence the sporadic “new sightings” (he needs this ‘vampire’ or he’s nothing). Ms Fearnley should count her lucky stars she washed her hands of him.

Speaking of hangers-on, have you ever heard of a fruit loop called John Pope-De-Loxley? I came across his horror tour website in Jan 2006 and noted with amusement that he offered a Highgate Vampire tour. Come on, how could I ring him up?! It was more for my own amusement than anything else and boy, did he deliver: I was guaranteed a sighting of the vampire on his tour (he’d seen it reach through the gates to grab passers-by! During the day, John? ). He also claimed that he was good pals with DF and that he'd accompanied him on the original vampire hunts back in the day. He even offered to set up a personal meeting between Dave and I (at this point, I had to hang up because my sniggering was beginning to blow the gaff).

Sadly, you’re right about there being no smoking gun regarding the use of false names to get on the tour. However, all is not lost. I’ve been making enquiries about whether the cemetery’s 2005 diary is still knocking around so that I can check the names used to book that tour myself (Mrs P wouldn’t remember).

Anthony Hogg said...

Indeed, I was! An apology for asking a question! Ha! Incredibly hypocritical from someone who's made repeated errors and false accusations against myself.

Only sheep would fall for his jedi mind tricks. David keeps forgetting that anyone with half a brain can tell the difference between inquiries and accusations. Considering my postings appeared on a public forum, the writing's there, set in stone. All they have to do is scroll up or flick through a page. I guess that's the kinda contempt he has for his own "followers".

As to making up, well, funny you say that. While I was asking David questions about his alleged evidence, out of the blue, he mentions an invite he's been given to see the Bish (while employing his usual practice of dodging my questions).

I pointed out that it was a nice detractor from my line of questioning, but I expressed my full support for the idea. I still do.

However...David hasn't decided if he's gonna go yet. Now, considering what happened last time, I can anticipate what's gonna happen here. But, I'm gonna keep an open mind...just in case.

Your observations on their similarities were dead-on. In fact, they shadow each other in so many regards, the secret conspiracy side of me wonders what if...they're in in together, all along! Maybe the feud's a way to generate interest in the whole thing, mutually beneficial for both parties, if ya catch my drift...

Hell, I could even say the sporadic attempts at reconciliation are a way of keeping the URST (and "viewer" interest) alive!

The Cemetery, from my own readings, was already dilapidated, long before the Vampire Hunters' respective arrivals. That is true. And yep, that era's about right, too. In terms of the Case inspiring restoration work, well, I still think they unintentionally helped with it. After all, by that time, the was a lot of media coverage of the Cemetery. Many of them mentioned its state of disrepair, too. I think this served as the kick in the pants the restorationists needed to repair it. That's not to say I tolerate what happened there, mind you. I think it was quite deplorable. I also think it's quite shameless that David and the like still try and exploit its dark history to drum up interest in their writings.

For instance, David regards himself as a "full-time author and psychic investigator". Yet, he's also on Social Security and has been for many years (or so I've read). How does that work?

Anthony Hogg said...

As to Dave's recurring mug, yes, keep in mind this is the same guy who says his interest in the case is "dead" and (get this), I'm the one keeping interest in the case alive!

It must be a hell of a burden on me, cos last I checked, I didn't tell David to write a dozen books on Highgate, publish magazines, appear on TV, participate in interviews, give talks, etc.

Let's say I'm suss about the new sightings, too. And yes, CF has pretty much washed her hands of the whole thing. To turn back to the whole feudy thing, she (accurately) levels the blame on both sides of the fence.

Ah, yes. John Pope. You mean, the "head of the junior department of the [David's] Highgate Vampire Society". That title's mentioned on his own website, too.

I've never interacted with him, but I've read a lot about the guy. His lineage incorporating Jack the Ripper, Robin Hood, Vlad Dracula (I think), gives a bit of an insight to the guy.

I could argue a more sinister link there, too. Check this out.

Hmmm, accompanied David on vampire hunts, eh? That's funny, because David denies he ever went hunting for vampires there, at all! Hahaha!

Guess they need to get their stories straight.

Best of luck with the 2005 diary :)

Spam said...

The idea of this being a double-act has crossed my mind before! It wouldn’t surprise me if it began as a drunken bet while they were sinking pints in the Prince of Wales. I can just picture them both huddled around a table surrounded by a dozen empty pint glasses and a couple of empty crisp packets (cheese & onion, in case you were wondering):

“Shhhhhawwwwn, I’ve got thish great idea for the shemetery… we’ll be famoushh *hic*!” “Dave, you’re shush a card *hic!*. Gwan, I’m lishnin’…”

There’s no doubt that our two favourite reprobates generated publicity for HC (albeit bad) and, to the best of my knowledge, the Friends were originally set up to try and cut back vegetation and secure the place so that family members could visit their loved ones in relative safety, this no doubt arising from past encounters with weirdos lurking about in the undergrowth:

I was told by one of the longest standing volunteers about a particularly creepy situation that she experienced all those years ago. She, her husband and their young family had been burning leaves & branches on a bonfire that they’d set up in the middle of a main pathway. As darkness fell, she noticed a couple of torch lights that appeared to be moving through the trees towards them. She did a 360-degree turn and realised with horror that they were actually surrounded by a mob who were silently closing in on them. She and her husband panicked, packed their girls into the car and actually drive through the bonfire to make their escape. Halfway down White Eagle Hill, their car drove through a trip wire that had been set up to incapacitate anyone running to escape.

(Just for the record, I’m not accusing The Two Stooges of actions such as the one described above. However, I do firmly believe their shenanigans attracted some pretty bad eggs)

Spam said...

One quick question: I don’t suppose you have a copy of the H&H’s 1970 article “Why Do the Foxes Die?” on hand, in its entirety? I note with interest that most of the online copies have been cut off JUST as a spokesman for the cemetery offers up their take on why the foxes kept appearing with mysterious neck wounds (I was told that the cemetery’s caretaker at the time had a large dog who used to catch them, shake them to death and then bring them down as a ‘gift’ to the front gate!).

Love this:

“I am really not interested in that particular case anymore, Anthony, It is DEAD (excuse the pun!) there are far more many genuine cases of psychic phenomena to be investigated apart from that one!”

Really Dave? Then explain your decision to release of yet more merchandise on the subject! As for CF, I’m in agreement – both DF and SM are equally responsible for bickering and mud-slinging. We could sell tickets! It’d be like (I-Wanna-Be-A) Celebrity Death Match…

Ah yes, good ol’ Dr John/Jack - always good for a giggle. I just visited his website and am blown away at just how his CV and list of accomplishments have grown since I last checked in on him in 2006. He’s quite the little achiever, isn’t he? Even his name got gotten longer (John it’s quality, not quantity). I also note with amusement that his original claim of having links to Jack the Ripper has now trebled:

(1)
“In 1996 the East End Advertiser covered Dr J. Macmillan-Pope-de-Locksley's family claim that his great maternal grandfather was the Police Ripper suspect Servenio Klosowsky”

(2)
“The pump outside Mary Kelly's room in Millers Court. This was first remarked upon by myself when I told Ripperologists in the 1980's I had drank from it. No one had heard of it or seen a picture of it. First discovered by P Suggen in 1995. Ripperologist 1997. As millers court was demolished in 1929, I am either a reincarnation of Jack the Ripper or have the memory of a person who drank from the fountain/pump.

(3)
James Bartle (1826-1896) ran an iron foundry at Notting Hill. He married the daughter of Henry Robins, mr great grandfather and the Royal Artist, he was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. Robert James Lees, the Royal Medium attested that Jack the Ripper (1895 press) was a Notting Hill man whose wife's family had a position at the Royal Court and he was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. Which suggests he was pointing the finger at my uncle, James Bartle"


On a more serious note, the link you posted about his talk at the Springbok Club demonstrates just how murky the depths that he’s crawled out of actually are. Nothing screams “Raving Loony!” like a racist melaphysicist (eh?!) who claims to share DNA with Jack the Ripper and Robin Hood.

(By the way, d’you reckon he did his Springbok Club talk dressed in that fetching blue wizard’s outfit he’s wearing halfway down his own biography page? It just doesn’t have that standard Hogwarts-issue feel about it, in all honesty. “Dr John: When Adolf met Gandalf” maybe? Hmmmm)

Anthony Hogg said...

Re: the double-act, you've probably read my coverage of Tony Hill's claim that it was, indeed, a hoax (although, not an alcohol-induced one). In the interests of balance and fairness (a trait I can't ascribe to Dave or Sean), I also covered Dave's refutation.

So, whether or not Dave n Sean actually did collude, or if they're not in cahoots, their respective careers are fuelled by each other. Quite a disturbing co-dependant relationship, I must say. Especially as it's been going on for forty damn years. I can't emphasise that angle enough.

As to the by-product of that, i.e. unwanted attention at the Cemetery, well, that goes without saying. As I've pointed out before, David even openly acknowledges this bad publicity, yet, still promotes "something" active there. If you've read through the JREF forum thread, you'll see his methods are, well, hopeless. And, unfortunately, both sides have managed to attract slavish fans, enamoured by their respective personas. That's what it comes down to: it's a personality cult. I've found that asking his supporters whether they actually believe Manchester or Farrant's accounts comes up with a negative or uncertainty. Essentially, it's a choice between the lesser of two snakeoil salesmen. It disturbs me that the Case is galvanised in this way. Of course, that's something they've helped orchestrate, themselves.

You'll rarely here from voices in the "middle". That is, "the sane".

As to your creepy lil story, I must admit, I was expecting those lights to be eyes! ;)

But the Great Reveal was much scarier. That said...lighting a bonfire in the middle of a pathway? What the hell? Hahaha!

And a damn trip-wire?! Sheesh. I didn't realise the place was bloody booby-trapped, too!

To be fair on "The Two Stooges", vandalisms and so on were obviously going on before their arrival on the scene, but it goes without saying that they essentially opened the floodgates to the subsequent nutters crash through. Though, thankfully through the work of your organisation, I'm guessing you don't get major incidents like that anymore?

Anthony Hogg said...

Now, to your quick question: alas, I don't have a copy of that article. I can give you a citation, though: it was in the March 6, 1970 isssue. Front page.

I've actually been chasing up articles on the case. I've been in touch with the Camden Library, which has relevant issues of the H&H on microfilm.

I had a whole stack o' articles I was trying to obtain from them, all cited (I can give you a list, if you like), but they wanted a "researcher" fee. Bugger that. So, I'm looking for alternate means. Still in progress.

You're right in saying that the copies that appear on the web are truncated. It's pretty obvious. That's part of the reason as to why I've gone on the article hunt in the first place.

I really, really hope that caretaker's theory about the fox deaths appears in that article! We'll wait and see, eh ;)

Love this:

Ah, yes, David's "DEAD" interest in the case. He pulls that card when it's convenient. Especially (coincidentally enough), when I'm asking him some rather hairy questions about things he's said and done, which serve as a direct contrast to what he says and does now.

Another one of his classic lines, is referring to "ancient" newspaper articles (the '70s ones). Mind you, he does this even when I quote one from 2005.

I have to point out to him that without those "ancient" articles, his current career wouldn't exist. Also, for something he has "no interest in", blimey, does he like to mine it for all it's bloody worth! As to merch, perhaps you've heard of the latest example...a film based on his time there. A film he spends a great deal of time mentioning, but adding that he "can't talk about it". Yet, he does mention that it doesn't feature Manchester, who the "producers" didn't think were relevant to the "true story". Historical revisionism is his friend.

Lastly, onto Dr. John. I can't say much about the bloke, as I haven't interacted with him, but apart from his delusions of grandeur (hmm, am I noticing a recurring thread here?), his links to racist organisations are quite troubling.

Just when you think the Case goes down one dark path, you turn a corner and surprise! More murkiness! It's one giant soap opera and keeping track of all the threads is a real pain-in-the-ass. It's not helped by the lack of real co-operation from its main participants...unless of course, you wanna talk smack about "the other side". That's the hard currency here.

As to the Springbok Club talk, I picture it more along the lines of Basil Fawlty silly walk variation in "The Germans". That, or popping out of a coffin, Screamin' Jay Hawkins styles!

Anthony Hogg said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention: John's scored a new job.

Spam said...

Re the crazies whose trip wire and lynch mob mentality I mentioned earlier, tourists sometimes ask if I’m scared of in a cemetery and I always tell them the same thing: I’m more afraid of the living than I am of the dead.

Regarding such incidents, that doesn’t really tend to happen much anymore (not to that extent, anyway – I think the worst thing that’s happened in the past 6-12 months was that a pot of black paint was thrown over two gravestones. Even Halloween was incredibly quiet this year (although for how long remains to be seen, what with Mad Bad Dave’s latest claim doing the rounds).

I work 10 minutes from the Camden Local Archives Studies place! I’d be happy to see if I can pick up a copy of the complete article and forward it to you, if you want?

I also came across something else written by Matt Salusbury that features a ridiculous pic of our good pal, Dr John (scroll down to page 15/16) in full tour guide regalia (glad to see he’s coming up in the world with his new job, btw, hahaha!):

http://www.highgateschool.org.uk/media/News/cholmeleian_summer10.pdf

When I first read about the vamp story prior to volunteering at HC, I have to admit to being genuinely intrigued. But the more I read, the more these two’s self-righteousness and lofty perches on the moral high ground pushed what few (if any) relevant points they had into the farcical.

Re: the Springbok Club, I lived in SA for 27 years and there are still white supremacist groups in action who dress their children in the bonnets and frocks that their ancestors arrived wearing 400 years ago! Watching their “army” parading around in bad military formations is EXACTLY like watching Basil Fawlty doing his “Don’t Mention the War” routine (that comparison really cracked me up).

Anthony Hogg said...

I knew that cemeteries get vandalised and such, but being confronted by actual mobs. Wow. I didn't think that kinda thing still happened outside of Universal flicks!

I'm glad to hear the incidents have died down. I guess that anti-vampire stuff you guys promote must actually be working! :P

Well, that is, until, I read what I did about the new manager. Seems he wants to embrace the supernatural stuff...I think the only good that'd come out of that, is it attracts more visitors = more money = more staff = less chance of incidents occurring there. That remains to be seen, I spose.

I figured you might be near the Library, heh heh. I'd love a copy of the article. My e-mail addy's in my profile page. If you're interested in other Highgate vampire articles (including a few that precede the "Foxes Die" one, then I can send citations for 'em via e-mail.

As to Matt Salusbury, "strange coincidences" indeed! I came across his article while I was writing my latest post!

That pic was certainly amusing, even more so that his "tour" seemed to involve standing outside the gate!

I was initially intrigued by the vampire story, too. I liked the Gothic trappings, if you will. A modern day "real life" Dracula story. Not that I believed it, mind you, but it was certainly in my milieu.

Years later, I joined up with the Manchester forums to discuss various supernatural things. Let's say I started noticing dodgyness there soon enough. When I discussed Highgate, a "poll" was held, concerning whether or not the debates should continue. It was voted down by a bunch of faceless folks. So, I took the opportunity to start my own forum on it. For that "crime", I was BANNED! Ha!

So, despite having my own lil playground, where both sides could roam, free from mutual censorship, I quickly found out that Dave was just as dodgy as the Manchester crew.

I've been actively discussing the case for four years now. My view's only worsened, thanks to them! :D

And wow, I didn't know you had South Africaaner Amish! "Don't Mention the Apartheid!"

Spam said...

What we tell visitors isn’t “anti vampire” as such – it’s more anti desecrators and vandals who misguidedly trashed the place hunting for one ;-)

Tom Richardson is the new(ish) Chairman and he certainly hasn’t mentioned anything to us about embracing the supernatural. Mind you, we’re having another volunteer forum next month so perhaps it’s on the agenda. I see your point about being more open about these things but the primary reason we’re there as guides is to show people the famous graves and the architecture. Having said that, I’ve read a couple of visitors’ online reports in the past about how their guides’ continual refusal to discuss the vampire made the cemetery look like it had something to hide.

(As for Dr John/Jack (or whatever other guise he prefers to go under), in that same conversation with me, he mentioned that if we DID go into the cemetery for a tour, we weren’t allowed to mention the V-word because “they don’t like that”!)

How’d you figure I might be near the library? Do you have psychic powers (if so, better not let the BPOS know about them!)? Seriously, I work about a ten-minute walk away and can pop by on my lunch break and pick up a copy. Still no joy on the diary for 2005 but I will keep asking around.

Correct me if I’m wrong but the definition of the word forum (according to dictionary.com anyway) is “an assembly, meeting place, television program, etc., for the discussion of questions of public interest” (convenient lapse of memory on the part of The Bish when he set it up, I’ll bet. Tut tut tut Bish!) He doesn’t need a forum, he needs is a soap box and a megaphone at Speakers Corner.

Yup, I’m ashamed to admit that we still have some 17th century wannabees living there whose collective mindset hasn’t evolved in 400 years *head in hands*

Anthony Hogg said...

Isn't it bizarre to think that people, in 2010, would trash Highgate Cemetery looking for vampires. Jeez.

Everyone knows the live in Transylvania! >:D

As to Tom, I'm going on Salusbury's article. After mentioning the resignation of "the longstanding head of the FOHC", he writes, "Its new chief, Tom Richardson, reportedly pledged to end 35 years of official 'animosity to interest in the supernatural'." (p. 15)

Cue ominous chords!

It's a bit of a catch-22, really. I'd say a sizable portion of the visitors go there for the vampire. You'd know better than me, of course, but I think I'm on the money.

The refusal to discuss the vampire could only have backfired. I can totally see why it'd have the effect of making it like you guys've got "something to hide". After all, we're talking about a repressive approach. We know how well that works!

If you guys do go ahead and start being more open about the vampire, it's gonna have to call upon your every reserve of patience. The Highgate Vampire is gonna keep getting written about, with or without Sean 'n' Dave's help. People are gonna keep reading about it and they're gonna keep coming to the Cemetery to catch a glimpse of it, or just to be at the place where the whole thing went down.

I think the Cemetery's best response is to be open and honest about it. At the very least, maybe provide a fact sheet explaining the dodgy claims. I don't think not acknowledging it, and hoping it passes from collective memory, will work in the FOHC's favour. It certainly is a double-edged sword, so I can see why the FOHC would be conflicted about it.

It's good to hear that Dr. Jack has some sense about the place! Heh heh. "Don't mention the V word!" Cue silly walk!

How'd I figure you'd be near the library? Psychic? Please! I don't engage in that mumbo-jumbo!

Besides, my tarot deck never lies!

Actually, it was quite easy: proximity. You work at the Cemetery, Camden Library contains local papers, I figured you wouldn't go too far out of your way for a commute (as most people don't for their jobs) badda boom, badda bing. Deduction!

All the best with that diary sleuthing!

Hahaha, yes, I'll agree with your forum. In that case, more like a cage, really. Don't get me wrong, I can see the practical value of censorship. We all engage in it to some degree. So, what's important is intent.

In this case, I was banned for starting up my forum, continuing discussions on the case, which they "voted" against. That'd rationale would hold water if...they didn't talk about him later anyway. Yeah, they really can't help themselves. Both sides pretend the other doesn't exist or is "irrelevant" to the case, but dammit, they just can't stop themselves talking about 'em. Classic love/hate stuff.

As to the Afrikaaner Amish, let's say, from the sound of it, they're the least of SA's problems, racism-wise! Plus, their hoopskirts and britches would be good for a laugh!

Spam said...

But Anthony, everyone knows vampires can change into bats and fly from one country to another! *rolls eyes theatrically*

You know what I find frustrating? Because of past instances reported on the internet where visitors were being told off by the Old Guard for asking about it, a lot of people are now reluctant to ask questions on tour for fear of getting a tongue lashing (I’ve actually had visitors tell me this). It’s unfair. Most of us are approachable, friendly people and are happy to clear things up for anyone who wants to know. You’re quite right about being open and honest because what happened is undeniably part of the cemetery’s history and people do visit on that basis. I certainly answer people’s questions as honestly as possible because I’m very aware of the cemetery’s tight-lipped reputation of the past.

Ah, deductive reasoning. I like your style, Sir! I know someone who used to work at the Camden Local Archive Studies who’s been at the cemetery since the inception of the Friends and once he gets it sorted, he’s got BOXES of documentation that he’s going to make public about the cemetery. It should be very, very juicy indeed…

You know something? I’d love to be a fly on the wall if Dave and The Bish every decided to open up on the couch for some therapy sessions. They feed off each other… in fact, I don’t think one could live without the other. Kinda like bickering conjoined twins (dear God, just imagine that!). You’re bang on about the intent of censorship – that’s essentially the crux of the issue with those two.

As for the Afri-Amish, those guys are national jokes. No one takes them seriously because they are, quite simply, ridiculous. What frightens me more is the total lack of value on human life in relation to the crime rate.

Anthony Hogg said...

They can fly! Dammit, I forgot! *slaps head* At least we've got a rational explanation now!

Clearly, there's been a system of repression at Highgate. This unfortunately creates a breeding ground of speculation. Or, at least, discourages people from rockin' up. The best way to pre-empt the questions would be some kinda FAQ, methinks. That'd help kill two birds with one stone. Or Two Stooges.

The policy needs to be adapted across the board. You just happen to be a shining example, but I'd say that's to do more with your personality, than actual policy. Consistency's the key.

As to your Camden connections, I actually came up with an idea, meself. And yes, it'd make those boxes come in handy. I can e-mail ya my idea. But, I'm surprised no one's thought of it yet...

So you reckon they should forego the dinner and hop on a couch, maybe get some marriage counselling? That'd be great!

Maybe send over a social worker to see who gets custody of the kids.

I do like the bickering conjoined twins idea. Perhaps something like this could be arranged for them. It's a step up from locking-em-in-a-room till they hash out their differences. Maybe we could chuck 'em into Dr. John's dungeon? I bet he's got one!

Lastly, concerning the Afri-Amish, maybe they'd loosen up if they took off those damn whalebone corsets! It's bloody hot there, after all. No wonder they get so cranky!

Oh, and the crime rate...well, yeah. That's pretty horrific. If I'm not mistaken, Johannesburg has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Why has everything gone to crap over there?

And I'm not just talkin' about those vuvzelas...

Spam said...

*whispers* Apparently they can change into giant hairy spiders too!

I hate to say it but yes, HC does have an unfortunate reputation for not being entirely open and that isn’t restricted to what aspects of history are imparted on tours either. Fortunately with the new(ish) Chairman at the helm, I think we stand a much better chance of changing that, and also getting some much-needed good PR for the place (during your research, I’d imagine that you’ve probably come across visitors’ reviews of their less-then-friendly welcome at the gates at the hands of a certain now ex Chairwoman).

(Thanks for the compliment but we all do our best and try and make the Highgate experience a pleasant one for everyone who visits :)

Funnily enough, your suggestion of FAQs has already been taken on board and all new guides are now given a list of FAQs, including questions about vampires. Sadly though, we don’t seem to have that on the FAQ list on the website and the vampire hunting isn’t mentioned on the cemetery’s History page.

I was talking to one of my fellow guides recently and we noticed a number of common denominators shared by all those I’ve put on my mental “HC’s Least Wanted” list:

1. They've all make claims they can’t substantiate about (mainly) the paranormal side of the cemetery and also, in some cases, about their personal information (this mainly relates to titles and positioning within the social hierarchy);
2. They are all exceptional self publicists;
3. When presented with hardened evidence that refutes a claim they’ve made, they lack the grace to admit they were wrong and go on the offensive (be it by deleting/editing posts without explanation or launching a slander campaign).

This is something I’ve seen repeatedly over the years and it’s behaviour that’s not restricted to Dave and The Bish either (more on that to follow via email).

As for marriage counselling, I think a nice romantic weekend away would help clear their heads and would allow them to remember why they fell in love in the first place. What do you reckon? Venice? Paris? Apparently both are very romantic this time of year.

I love your suggestion of doing a Dr Frankenstein on the two of them but have found one tiny flaw with that plan: you can’t have three arses on one body.

Email me that idea please Sir… I’m intrigued.

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