Saturday, January 19, 2013


This blog has been dormant because I decided to concentrate my writings to a WordPress blog, also called Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?. Unfortunately, that won't be happening any more.

While I was on a trip to Adelaide between 5–12 Janaury, I tried accessing my blog, only to be greeted with this:

Let's say, I wasn't pleased by this turn of events. Nonetheless, I was touched by words of support from my readers. One SMSed me (07-Jan-13 12:34am):
Hi Bud, is everything ok, I see the blogs gone.....was it the potty prelate?
To which I replied (07-Jan-13 8:02am):
I'm looking into that but yes it was him
The reader wrote back (07-Jan-13 9:40am),
What a wanker , can you put it back up somewhere else?
I replied (07-Jan-13 9:50am),
I have to count on it being backed up by wordpress or I have to start from scratch 
The reader added (07-Jan-13 1:40pm),
Hope it is mate...the bloke really is a total cock, I honestly dont know how he can be such a blatant hypocrite!
I'm not going to disclose the identity of this 'potty prelate', 'wanker', 'total cock' and 'blatant hypocrite'. On an unrelated note, in the lead up to my blog's closure, I was subjected to repeated DMCA takedown notices issued by Sean Manchester.

It began when I critiqued Manchester's 'Tamás Ország' entry for his blog, Bishop † Seán † Manchester:  questions & answers (21 December 2012). Manchester's entry discussed candidates for the identity of the Highgate Vampire. One of them was 'a Russian immigrant shoemaker/leather worker called Mikhail Oleg Ostrog'.

My critique, 'Jack the Vampire?' (22 December 2012), exposed several anomalies in Manchester's entry: firstly, it had been plagiarised from ProBoards group, The Highgate Vampire. Second, 'Mikhail Oleg Ostrog' is actually Michael Ostrog: a Jack the Ripper suspect; something Manchester hadn't realised. Third, the Ostrog timeline was at odds with the 18th century date Manchester has suggested for his vampire's origins. Fourth, Ostrog's appearance didn't match his vampire, either.

To illustrate the latter point, I contrasted a photograph included in Manchester's book, The Highgate Vampire (1991)1 with contemporary pictures of Ostrog. As the reproduction was smaller than the picture's original resolution, and it was being used for critical purposes, I thought I'd be automatically safe on Fair Use principles. Nonetheless, that picture's inclusion triggered Manchester's initial takedown notice against me (DMCA #1414831).

Shortly after receiving the claim, I noticed some substantial–and undisclosed–revisions had taken place on Manchester's 'Tamás Ország' blog entry. Not only did he now dispute the likelihood of Ostrog's connection to the Highgate Vampire, but he also included the same source (Casebook: Jack the Ripper) and primary image I did in my post, to refute their association! In other words, Manchester was content with not only forcing me to remove and image off my blog–he also stole my findings!

I didn't mince words with my follow-up entry, 'Bishop reports me for copyright violation; then steals my findings' (27 December 2012). To illustrate the difference between Manchester's original entry and the post-DMCA takedown notice version, I posted screencaps of the original and updated notice.

Soon afterward, I received another DMCA takedown notice (#1418569), demanding the two screencaps be removed. Manchester had reported me. Again.

Evidentially, the final straw for came when I included a photograph of Manchester in my 3 January 2013 post, 'Lie detector developments'. The picture was sent to me by Manchester's former friend, Kevin Chesham. It showed Manchester, in a cowboy hat, on his 63rd birthday. Chesham assured me the picture was his copyright.

Despite clearly captioning the photo with relevant copyright info, Manchester issued another DMCA takedown notice against me–which was evidentially one too many for, who promptly suspended my blog.

I should mention that I did try challenging these notices, but I was repeatedly placed a very difficult position: in order to file a DMCA counter-notice, one is required to forward their personal details along (home address, etc.), which is then passed onto the claimant. As much as I know Manchester would love having my details because I'm sure he wouldn't abuse them, I declined. Purely on those grounds, not because I didn't feel I had a right to reproduce any of the imagery discussed.

In the first two instances, I wound up removing the pictures. I also (literally) blacked out the screencaps. Each was overlaid with an explanatory message explaining the reason for removal of the originals.

There wasn't anything I could do with the latest claim, because by that point, my blog was no longer publicly accessible. Even providing Chesham's details in lieu of mine–which he said was ok–wasn't good enough for them.

I suggested handing my details over to a third party ( They didn't go for it. How about removing the Cowboy Manchester pic and refraining from publishing potentially DMCA-violating images in future? No dice.

And that's where we're at: my WordPress blog––which had been active since 2009, is dead. Long live the blog!

My primary concern throughout all this, however, was preserving my content. It's not like I could go back and save the pages, as I do for the items I link to. I really should've done that, in hindsight.

Anyway, through the darkness, a saving grace emerged. It turns out allows a special file to be saved in the event of blog closures. A special file that preserves text (but not pictures unfortunately), should the owner of the blog want their writing hosted elsewhere...

That's why my WordPress blog lives, breathes and jumps again.You can read 'Jack the Vampire?' and 'Bishop reports me for copyright violation; then steals my findings' over there. 'Lie detector developments' is there, too–albeit with no picture. For now.

So, nice try Sean–but you can't suppress the truth. It always finds a way.

1. Photo captioned, 'Pictures showing the vampire in stages of rapid decomposition which were televised in 1990. Only after exorcism was capture on film possible', S Manchester, The Highgate vampire: the infernal world of the undead unearthed at London’s Highgate Cemetery and environs, rev. edn, Gothic Press, London, 1991, p. 144.

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