Friday, February 10, 2012

Diminishing responsibility

BBC
It seems Della Farrant's got an axe to grind with Barbara Green. For some reason.

Green's president of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society and believes Robin Hood was buried at Kirklees Hall Estate.

She also has the rare distinction of being aligning with both sides of the Highgate vampire case's feuding overlords, Sean Manchester and David Farrant. They've both served as Patrons of the YRHS; the latter as part of a 'calculated snub', in Kai Roberts' opinion.

As of this writing, Della's devoted three blog entries to Green's 2001 book, Secrets of the grave (here, here and here), all of which take potshots at her; increasingly personal in attack. Indeed, the latter post makes several jibes about her mental state—'Anyway, a parting treat is presented below for any of you who can stomach it – it might help if you are a fan of the film ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’'—etc.

Della never really explains her 'beef', but perhaps the clue's in her aggrandising coverage of David's role as patron. She 'lets him off' scott-free: 'As a well known psychic investigator of some standing, and ‘considered the sane one of the bunch’ viz the YRHS, David Farrant (who was at one stage persuaded against his better judgement to act as  Patron for said ‘society’) has benefited from a mutually reciprocal relationship over the years with Dr David Hepworth, a close friend and practical and academic advisor of Lady Armytage (referred to by some as her manager).'

It's rather strange she'd give her husband 'innocent fair maiden' status, chaste as the driven snow, as 'persuaded' waylays the reader into thinking he was somehow conned into the role. Far from it, it's something he openly embraced. 

I'm sure, for instance, that no one made him take part in a 'blessing ceremony' at the gravesite on 20 April 2005 in the presence of film cameras, any more than anyone made him pen this letter to the Halifax Courier in 2008. I'm equally sure no one made him promote Green's article on the supposed Kirklees conspirary in 2009—even though he pooh-poohed the idea two years before, voicing scepticism the day after that post, yet still choosing to be the society's patron.

Della also overlooks the fact that he attempted to arrange another visit to the gravesite—in 2010 (part 1; part 2). If these were mere blips in David's 'better judgement', then let me remind you he maintained his role as the YRHS's patron over a ten year period.

Indeed, the tenth year, 2010, marked a turning point. He was replaced—David says he 'resigned'—by a new Patron: John Pope de Locksley, better-known as John Pope.

Could this all stem from a case of 'sour grapes'? If not, why did David align himself with the society for so long? Perhaps the answer's in his latest post on his involvement with the YRHS: 'There has also been renewed activity on the filmed project involving Gareth J. Medway, Barbara Green and a couple of other assistants on the subject of Robin Hood’s (reputed) grave at Kirklees. I understand this film is now near completion, and will be released publicly later this year. Maybe even at the Brighouse Gala? – and I cannot think of a more glamorous and appropriate setting for its debut.'

It's the same film for which the camera's rolled on David's blessing ceremony in 20 April 2005.

The war on chapter 6

Yesterday, I received a copy of folklorist Kai Roberts' Grave concerns (2011) in the post. It was a belated Christmas present (thanks, Jo!) ordered via Amazon.co.uk. 

The book primarily deals with the alleged gravesite of Robin Hood in Kirklees Park, Yorkshire. However, it also features a chapter on the Highgate vampire case to give the 'story' greater context; after all, Sean Manchester and David Farrant both served as patrons of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society, both emphasising the site's supernatural 'angle' associated with the place.

While the book was still in draft form, Kai emailed me, asking if I'd look over the chapter in question. He was familiar with my writings on the subject, via this blog. I was happy to oblige.

The book's generally received positive reviews, but there've been two notable sticklers: Della Farrant née Della Vallicrus—and her hubbie, David.

Before even finishing the book, Della honed in on the Highgate chapter, in a review for her blog, The Devil's concubine. Unusually, her criticism isn't directed at the author, but the unnamed 'editor' of the chapter: 'Some of Kai’s points are remarkably similar to those which I raised myself in my May 2010 Introduction to Volume 2 of David Farrant’s autobiography, ‘David Farrant : Out of the Shadows”, which I presume the editor of the chapter has read.'

It's unfortunate she's adopted the oblique, passive-aggressive referencing usually employed by her husband (see: 'A bizarre 'reply''), as Della—a flitting member of The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society—knew that the 'editor' was me. However, considering her associations, it'd certainly explain why she'd go for my neck instead of Kai's due to my overt critical stance on the case. 

As of this writing, no, I haven't read her introduction. But I did ask her if she'd post the introduction on The supernatural world forum while the Highgate section was still active: she told me to buy the book.

Della goes on to criticise the chapter's 'tone': 'But aside from this, I can’t help but feel that its tone is slightly different to the rest of the book, and has perhaps suffered from some rather heavy-handed, subjective editing, alien to the rest of the tract', perhaps not realising that the book's chapter is largely intact from Kai's draft.

What she means by 'subjective editing', is anyone's guess. It's also redundant: aren't all editors 'subjective' by default? By 'heavy-handed', perhaps she's referring to the chapter's copious—albeit, necessarily so—footnotes, of which there's ninety-nine, all taken from various sources. Considering the tangled web of contradictions, claims and counter-claims weaved throughout the case—which Kai readily acknowledges with no 'prompting' from me1—I can only suggest she grasp the importance of citations in academic works.

At long last, she gives us something to work with, by providing an actual example from the book: '. . . when referring to David Farrant’s arrest for ‘vampire hunting’ in 1970, Kai omits a crucial point. David was, as everybody will remember, acquitted of this charge. The charge itself was being [caught] in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. Kai was apparently misinformed when he summarises that David was acquitted on 2 technicalities, namely the definition of an enclosed area, and the fact that it is not actually illegal to hunt a vampire.'

Let's break this down. First, here's what Kai actually said about it:
It was one such [police] patrol that, on the night of the 17th August, discovered David Farrant trying to gain access to the cemetery from the adjacent churchyard of St. Michael's, carrying a crucifix and wooden stake. He was arrested for being in an enclosed space for an unlawful purpose, and bailed at Clerkenwell Magistrates Court the following morning. National newspaper, The Sun, reported Farrant telling the magistrates "My intention was to search out the supernatural being and destroy it by plunging the stake in its heart." The case was adjourned until 30th September, and Farrant bailed.2
That's it. So, what '2 technicalities', exactly? If Kai was, indeed 'apparently misinformed', the 'blame'(?) falls on an article in The Sun's 19 August 1970 issue and Bill Ellis' essay, 'The Highgate Cemetery vampire hunt: the Anglo-American connection in cult lore' (1993), i.e. the 'informants' featured in Kai's endnotes.3

Della goes on to say,
This was not in fact the case. The main indictment in that case was the element of unlawful purpose. That was the only reason David was arrested by police who attempted to persuade the court that his purpose was to break open coffins in search of the reputed vampire. The police evidence (again given under oath) was that David had later told the arresting officer that he intended to drive a wooden stake through the vampire’s heart and then ‘run away’. The latter phrase has always struck me as somewhat bizarre, because, fait accompli, surely there would be nothing to run away from. However…David denied making this statement, in court, and the stipendary magistrate obviously did not believe the police evidence and so the unlawful purpose element was thrown out of court. The conclusion is clear: that David was not acquitted because it is not illegal to hunt vampires, but because the court did not believe that he was trying to do so in the first place. To inadvertently misguide the reader over this important point is regrettable, as it contrasts sharply with many of Kai’s other points which he has investigated thoroughly.
It's a 'conclusion', however, which Kai didn't make, thus, negating Della's 'argument'. It's a fair sticking point, though, but it's no so simple, either. Farrant was caught in the midst of a 'Black Magic probe' launched by police4, on account of increased occult-themed vandalism the cemetery was subjected to, in the wake of press coverage relating to Farrant and Manchester's respective claims. Indeed, the Hampstead & Highgate Express had earlier quoted Farrant saying,
"Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently leart all points to the vampire theory as 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."5
And he was captured in the cemetery—according to police and press reports—with a cross and stake. You do the math.

The legality of hunting vampires, however, was indeed a big part of the case. At least, as far as contemporary coverage goes. Farrant, himself, has previously acknowledged this 'angle':
But notwithstanding, the case was dismissed, the Magistrate (this time a Mr DJ Purcell) accepting a Defence submission that the Society investigation had already featured on television and in the Press and that, in any event, it was just as akin to "hunt for vampires" as it was for some people to spend vast sums of money trying to locate the Loch Ness Monster.6
The real basis of the 'unlawful purpose' was, of course, the implicit actions involved in hunting vampires, i.e. grave desecration. This is also acknowledged by Farrant: 'The Magistrate added that he was satisfied that there had been no intention to "damage coffins"' and that the Cemetery was not an enclosed area in the strict legal sense.'7

In his comment on Della's review, Farrant adds,
Very concise review Della; especially concerning the blatant inaccuracies in Chapter 6 of Kai’s book over my acquittal for ‘vampire hunting’. I am not blaming Kai for this important ommission or how he failed to mention that my ‘confession’ for ‘hunting a vampire’ and intention to ‘smash open coffins’ (the fabricated police statement which was largely reported by the Press BEFORE my acquittal), when he was only acting on information given to him in ‘good faith’ by an extremely prejudiced and misinformed party. THAT was shoddy research, but it was hardly Kai’s fault.
One can only wonder whether he'd actually read the chapter, himself. Therefore, the identity of this 'extremely prejudiced and misinformed party' is a bit of a mystery. All I know is, it can't be me, as I made no edits to Kai's paragraph.

Farrant wasn't content with restricting bile to his comments on his wife's blog: his war on Chapter 6 spilled over to Kai's Facebook page. In a posted dated January 26 at 8:41am, he wrote:
Congratulations on your new book "Grave Concerns" Kai, and I agree with my wife that it is a 'well researched academic (and yet accessible) work'. The only part I didn't agree with was your description about the result of my case for 'vampire hunting' back in September 1970. However, I have already made it clear that the only person who can really be blamed for this, is the same person who seems highly confused about the legal outcome of that case in which I was acquitted, and who has a habit of making his erroneous conclusions public. It was not dismissed over any 'technical issue', but because of deliberately fabricated evidence (namely a false statement of 'confession' that one particular police had attempted to attribute to myself) which was not accepted by the Court. That aside, I found your research into the case of Robin Hood to be very accurate: especially your apparent conclusion how sometimes historical legends can be turned in modern day 'facts' by virtue of 'legend tripping'. Professor and historian Bill Ellis came to more-or-less the same conclusion in hs own book "Raising the Devil".
That, of course, erupted into a mini flame war between myself and him after I noted, '. . . if your worst criticism of my edits to the chapter (I've yet to receive the book, so I'm not sure how many of them stayed, intact), is allusions to your court case, then that means the rest of my writings on the chapter must've held up pretty well. Cheers. :D'

Farrant added,
The point is, that if you could get the important facts of my 1970 Court case blatantly wrong, then people are entiled [sic] to ask how many of the other points in your 'editing' were also erroneous. There is no need to list them all, except to say you substituted your personal opinions in favour of events as these actually occurred.
It was getting pretty clear that Farrant thought I was more involved with the chapter than I actually was, but I pointed out: 'They're entitled to ask, but if *you* can't even say what they are, then what you're trying to imply is that the rest of my research is fallacious...without backing that up. Sounds like a 'campaign' to me! lol'

And on it went, along with contradictory amusements like this: 'I am not prepared to discuss your 'editing' here Anthony. Kai has written a well researched book - except regarding the erroneous editing in Chapter 6 regarding Highgate in the early 1970's that was supplied by yourself.'

However, since that time, Farrant's tune's changed. Perhaps he actually sat done and read through the chapter, properly, without resorting to the ad hominem hysterics. In a recent blog entry, he wrote:
I think I have already mentioned this, but Kai Roberts’ book “Grave Concerns” on Robin Hood’s grave has just been released. I did like his assessment of events surrounding the alleged grave of the legendary outlaw, and also appreciated his narrative in chapter 6 which detailed old research about my own involvement as ‘President’ (sorry I meant – or rather he meant – Patron) of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society.  It seems Kai spent quite a few months if not years methodically researching the book; but in reality, I was only Patron of the YRHS and not its President! (I am the President of the British Psychic and Occult Society and the Highgate Vampire Society, and that is quite enough work for one day!)

But I do wish him every success with the book, and no doubt, that appreciation should be due to other people who aided him in his research as well.
That last bit almost sounds like a compliment. Perish the thought! If there's any criticism I'd personally give Kai's chapter, it's that it overplays the sincerity behind Farrant's vampire-hunting antics. Indeed, in correcting the date of an Evening News article, I added: 'To be fair on David, the 16 October [1970] article does mention (quoted by Copper), that David said he did not believe in the ‘the commercial sense of the word’. That article would be worth seeking out. Of course, that’s in late 1970, after months of brandishing crosses and stakes and all those other claims to the press and so on and so forth.'

It didn't make the cut.

However, keeping in tune with David and Della's respectively absolving Kai of responsibility for the content of his own chapter, we can't 'blame' him for the associations, either. After all, Farrant actively courted the vampire tag—and still does. The current President of the Highgate Vampire Society lists it as one of his greatest regrets. And then takes it back:
The worst I did was to go along with another person's innane [sic] wild assertions about a 'blood-sucking vampire', but again, this was only because this was the 'angle' the Press and television wanted at the time - 'vampires' apparently selling more newspapers or attracting more interested audiences for TV. Even today, aome [sic] of those film clips of myself 'hunting a vampire' are still being shown or repeated. Do I regret this? NO. Because this is the way it happened. I can't change the past, but ironically there are people who would like to try and do so.
Says the revisionist. In the meantime, I look forward to reading the rest of Kai's book. I've enjoyed my correspondence with him—he's got a good head on his shoulders and shares academic sensibilities. I'm also proud to call him a friend. I wish him the best with his work.



1. K Roberts, Grave concerns: the follies and folklore of Robin Hood's final resting place, CFZ Press, Bideford, U.K, 2011, p. 91: 'It is almost impossible to present an accurate record of the Highgate Vampire drama because - in the opinion of this author, at least - the two principal players have consistently proved to be unreliable witnesses, repeatedly altering or embellishing their recollection of events, often in an attempt to undermine each other's credibility.'

2. ibid., p. 95  

3. ibid., p. 196.  

4. ''Black Magic' probe starts', Daily Express, 1 August 1970, p. 1. 

5. 'Why do the foxes die?', Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970, p.1. 

6. D Farrant, Beyond the Highgate vampire: a true case of supernatural occurrences and "vampirism" that centred around London's Highgate Cemetery, 2nd rev. edn, British Psychic and Occult Society, London, 1992, p. 18.  

7. ibid.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A bizarre 'reply'

deviantART
After publishing yesterday's blog entry, I emailed David Farrant and asked, 'Quick question: how many articles did you submit to Penthouse?'1

Instead of an email reply, he 'responded' with a several paragraphs-long blog entry. However, I use the term 'responded' very loosely; for all its waffle, at no point does he actually answer the question.

The closest thing we get is this: 'For the record – but certainly not for his particular benefit – I have written for many magazines in the past, or given interviews if, or when, they came to visit me.  Depending on the type of magazine, would usually determine the subject matter.  That’s only common sense, but it does not mean I would give interviews on any alien subject matters.' Not the first time I've encountered his patent evasiveness.

Admittedly, my email must've seemed odd and out of the blue, as I gave no context for it—my blog entry's publication still fresh in my mind, I thought Farrant would 'get it'. If he merely expressed bewilderment, fair enough—except prior to writing his blog entry, he clearly read mine, too. The 'context' is readily apparent.

Bizarrely, he takes me to task for asking him about his contributions to it: 'It came from a person I know (of) who lives in the far-flung area of South East Australia (of all places!), and was asking me how many articles I had written for Penthouse magazine. Not, ‘have you ever written’ for that magazine but how many times, as if this was some kind of foregone conclusion!' This, despite his previous boasting of practically writing the source—which I cited in the same blog entry—from which I scored the info. A direct quote from him, no less:
I also wrote one for Penthouse, because ... they'd played up the sex angle in court and all the papers were implying ... I thought, well, it's a magazine, they could be half-serious. I mean, bloody hell, it was sold in W.H. Smiths ! So I wrote to them. As far as I can recall, it was an article about witchcraft, what really went on in Wicca and, more to the point, what didn't. That we regarded sex as a pure and natural thing, that it only became abused and corrupted by the minds of men. And they only sent the article back ...
Unfortunately, these are the sort of 'mind games' you have endure in covering this case. Despite his blog entry's warped commentary about myself—'Obviously his personal interests went far beyond his query.  How come he knows so much about it otherwise!?  A subconscious reflection of his own guilt perhaps?' and 'So I’m afraid that particular email had to go on the ‘crank file’'—I'm a good sport—I have to be, to make any headway with this thing—so I posted a comment elaborating on why I sent the email:
Hi David,

A blog entry is a really unusual way to respond to a one sentence e-mail, not to mention the oblique references to myself ('It came from a person I know (of) who lives in the far-flung area of South East Australia (of all places!))'.

My question was 'foregone', because, unless you've forgotten, you admitted to writing an article for 'Penthouse' in Kev's 'book'. Why did I ask? Well, I thought that'd be obvious, as you've clearly read my recent blog entry, 'The American magazine', as given away by saying, 'Especially after he had gone on to describe the magazine’s format as a ‘wanking magazine’' (I actually called it a 'wank mag', as many people would). Indeed, type 'wank mag' into Wikipedia, and check the list you come up with.

If you don't 'get' why I asked, allow me to explain: there are discrepencies [sic] in the description(s) you've given for your contribution. That's why I added 'That means Farrant's memory's either faulty, or he's referring to another article for the mag. I'm hoping it's the former.'

I hope that makes things clearer for you. So, how many?
Perhaps due to some glitch, the comment didn't 'come up'. I tried a few more times, with some minor alterations. No dice. So, I apologise, in advance, if it duplicates. But hopefully, this time round, we'll get a straight answer.

And yes, it's true: if you type 'wank mag' into Wikipedia, you'll be re-routed to a 'List of men's magazines', which includes Penthouse—filed under 'Pornographic magazines'. If that's not a redundant explanation for my 'wank mag' reference, I dunno what is.



1. A Hogg, email, 8 February 2012, dawwihmanager@hotmail.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The American magazine

The Highgate vampire case is spread across a wide variety of media. Newspapers, magazines, journals, books, TV, radio—you name it, it's been there. Until recently, one particular oblique source has eluded me: an American magazine.

This oblique source is surprisingly pivotal to our story, as David Farrant's contribution to it would come back to haunt him at a later time. In an interview with associate, Rob Milne, he mentions: 'I got approached by an American magazine ... they'd heard about the the stories of vampirism (this was obviously before my trial at the Old Bailey) and they were doing an article on Satanism, Highgate Cemetery being used by Satanists, nudity, exorcism ...
RM The usual ...

DF Yes. And bear in mind, this was time all of this stuff was all over magazines, the News of the World - there was really a great interest.

RM I remember that at the time. It was every other week there was an exposé of some Satanic group or some 'black magic outrage' and all that sort of thing ...

DF Well, ironically, I ended up getting - not exposed - but blamed for that.

RM I'll bet, yeah.

DF Foing back. Because what I did was, I knew that this reporter wanted a picture. I [sic] was a big American magazine and I thought, well, there's no problem, its [sic] not England and, you know, they promised quite a good payment for it.

RM Well. Needs first!
DF I took the girl [Martine de Sacy] into Highgate Cemetery one night, and I got her to pose named in front of these black magic symbols that we'd found. I took two or three pictures ... sorry, two. And that was the end of the matter. Until the police raided my flat and found the pictures in 1974. Took them to court and, of course, the judge nearly had a heart attack! Well apparently, he has had one! ... but I know he's dead, I mustn't be ... You know, it would be very tempting to use your interview to lay into the injustices of my trial and judge Argyle. But I'm not going to do that; I'm just telling you all the basic facts. If it sounds a bit frivolous at times, its not because its [sic] not true, but its [sic] because I can look back at it now ... but at the time it was taken very seriously. And he actually said at the Old Bailey, passing the photograph to the jury he said ... "Members of the jury, look at that closely " ... It was almost as if he was enjoying it! ...1
What was the mysterious 'American magazine'? At first, I thought it must've been an occult or paranormal rag. Makes sense, right? However, finding the right one would've been a needle-in-the-haystack situation. I had no references to work with, so I left it in the back of my mind. That's when serendipity stepped in. 

One night, while trawling through Google Books for references to the case, I came across an interesting snippet from a magazine entry. An American magazine, no less. It discusses Farrant and mentions they'd decided against publishing his article. It even dates 1973, contemporary with events described. Tick, tick, tick, tick. 

So, what was the name of the magazine? Was it an occult/paranormal rag? No, it wasn't, surprisingly enough. It was, well, how do I put this? A 'wank mag'. Penthouse, in fact.

I was reasonably sure I'd found the mysterious American magazine in question, because Farrant mentions sending an them an article in Kev Demant's 'book':
Apart from the legal stuff, when I had time to spare I wrote a few articles. I sent one to New Witchcraft which was used, and I mean, every single word was used. It was written on old scraps of paper, anything I could get together because obviously, they wouldn't have given me official writing paper to do that, apart from which, it would have been stopped anyway. That was smuggled out and used. I also wrote one for Penthouse, because ... they'd played up the sex angle in court and all the papers were implying ... I thought, well, it's a magazine, they could be half-serious. I mean, bloody hell, it was sold in W.H. Smiths ! So I wrote to them. As far as I can recall, it was an article about witchcraft, what really went on in Wicca and, more to the point, what didn't. That we regarded sex as a pure and natural thing, that it only became abused and corrupted by the minds of men. And they only sent the article back ... [my italics]
I had a citation, so now it was just a matter of tracking a copy of the mag. USEDmagazines.com (ok, not the best site name for selling such mags) had 1973 issues of Penthouse. Perfect! I provided the citation, and made sure the article—'Witch report'—was featured in the relevant mag. However, a stumbling block was immediately thrown my way. Try as she might, Wendy—an excellent and incredibly patient customer service rep—couldn't find the article. She even checked all issues from that year, but it simply wasn't there. How odd.

I located a copy on eBay for  £12.99 (+ £6.48 Royal Air Mail) (left). I double-checked with the seller whether the article appeared in it—it did!—but then I figured I only wanted the article, itself. Might've been cheaper. Only two pages long, after all. So, I contacted the Google Books entry's digitzer—the University of Michigan Library—to see how much it'd cost.

The request was processed fairly rapidly. They found the article, too. Then price came: US$44.00. 'This amount includes our MITS fee of US$15.00 and a copyright fee of US$29.00. Would you like us to proceed?' Hell no!

I was much more polite in my response, of course. I settled on snapping up the eBay copy, but was still mystified as to why it wasn't appearing in Wendy's searches. Then, I started paying closer attention to the citations. I figured out the problem: Penthouse, the American magazine, features month and year on the cover...but the UK version features volume and issue number. The issue I was after? Volume 8, number 8. I also learned that their content differed, too (link not safe for work or children!). Mystery solved! And see, ladies? Sometimes we do buy this stuff for the articles!

I ordered it on January 30th and it arrived yesterday. Does the article feature any startling revelations? Game-changing info? No, not really. There are a few interesting tidbits, though. According the article, Farrant's article wasn't simply refused and that-was-that: the magazine actually interviewed him. 'He was careful to stress from the outset that he was a practitioner of witchcraft, not satanism: "Satanists worship Lucifer, the supreme power of evil, whereas witchcraft is a neutral thing—it's only evil if practised for an evil purpose."'2

There's the usual emphasis on special powers derived from sex—'and Farrant acknowledged that his duties as a High Priest included having intercourse with his High Priestess at some—but not all—of his coven meetings, while his followers are also required to perform occasionally.'3

Farrant also mentions helping a man of diminutive stature—'a midget'—who was being booted out of a controlled tenancy and suffering harassment from them, too. As if that wasn't bad enough, the man's wife was preggers and not coping well with the stress. Farrant 'wrote to the landlady saying politely but bluntly that if she didn't stop we would deal with her our own way.' She was sent an amulet 'consecrated' by the coven, along with a rhyme intended to convey that 'once she'd touched it we'd have power over her, and we performed a ceremony in which we cast forces on her wishing her all she wished on the midgets.' Two days afterward, 'she went into the hospital and lost her baby.'4

The 'midget' is unnamed, but  I've a feeling it's the guy depicted in this photo and this one, too.

It also says Farrant began practising witchcraft, seriously, at 18. Interestingly, the article mentions his current age as 33, which is at odds with the 23 January 1946 birth-date he's usually given.

The last item of note's his accumulation of enemies, including his challenges to duels. One of them, from 'another witch' who challenged him 'to a duel of powers once, and the Sunday papers picked it up and quite wrongly said [he] was going to sacrifice a cat during the course of it.'5

There is, of course, a discrepancy between Farrant's account with the content of the article. His interview with Demant suggests the article was written while he was incarcerated, but the interview in Penthouse took place about a year or two beforehand, in his flat. That means Farrant's memory's either faulty, or he's referring to another article for the mag. I'm hoping it's the former.

However, what you make of Farrant's alternating rationales for composing the article(s)—

'I [sic] was a big American magazine and I thought, well, there's no problem, its [sic] not England and, you know, they promised quite a good payment for it'

or,

'they'd played up the sex angle in court and all the papers were implying ... I thought, well, it's a magazine, they could be half-serious. I mean, bloody hell, it was sold in W.H. Smiths !'

—is up to you.



1. R Milne, Return of the vampire hunter: an exclusive interview with reclusive vampire hunter, David Farrant, British Psychic and Occult Society, London, 2003, pp. 24–5.

2. 'Witch report', Penthouse (UK), vol. 8, no. 8, 1973, p. 19.  

3. ibid.  

4. ibid., p. 20.  

5. ibid.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails