Monday, March 4, 2013

Podcast goes live!

My podcast interview with Trystan Swale is now online. Give it a listen, tell me what you think. But first, some criticism! 

As I noted in the previous entry, 'Writing about the case is one thing–especially with immediate access to materials–but speaking about it 'live', is another, especially as I'm put on the spot'–not that I'm making excuses here, but I did get a few things wrong. If readers spot any more, feel free to add them to the comments section.

The date of David Farrant's letter

David Farrant's initial letter to the Hampstead & Highgate Express was published on 6 February 1970, not 7 February.

David Farrat, 'Ghostly walks in Highgate', Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 February 1970, p. 26.

The (revised) date of David Farrant's initial sighting

I also referred to two dates for Farrant's initial sighting of the 'vampire', mentioning Christmas Eve, 1969 (as mentioned in Farrant's letter, above) in contrast with his latter-day revision, 21 December 1969: 'The date chosen was December 21st - the eve of the winter Solstice and a traditional time (due to the maximum hours of darkness) when potent psychic forces have easy access to the 'earthly plane'.' I said the Solstice was in 'November' instead of the December date. Oops!

The Wojdyla attack

Elizabeth Wojdyla was attacked by the vampire in 1969, not 1967. I got my dates jumbled up. In 1967, Wojdyla was walking past Highgate Cemetery with her friend, Barbara. Both were 16 year old students of La Sainte Union Convent. Highgate. They passed the north gate and supposedly saw, 'this scene of graves directly in front of us. And the graves were opening up: and the people were rising. We were not conscious of walking down the lane. We were only conscious of this graveyard scene.'1

She was subsequently plagued by nightmares of something evil trying to creep into her room. Its face was 'deathly pale'. If the implication here is that Wojdyla was being visited by the vampire, then it must've been a remarkably patient fiend, as it seemingly waited two years to get really stuck into her.

The allusion in Manchester's account holds that the attacks proper began in 1969–as dealt with in the interview. Manchester re-encountered Wojdyla by 'chance meeting', and it was her pallid, sickly state, followed by a stereotypical vampire victim diagnosis–'She appeared to be suffering a pernicious form of anaemia'2–that compelled him to re-establish their acquaintance. It was via this re-acquaintance that Manchester first came to meet her boyfriend, Keith Maclean.

A Sean Manchester blog title

While discussing Manchester's tendency to steal other people's work, I referred to Manchester's blog as 'Ask Bishop Manchester' by way of example: it's a plagiaristic hotbed. However, his blog's actually called Bishop † Seán † Manchester:  questions & answers. Concerning a specific example I mentioned–involving Manchester stealing material from a British National Party blog–see: 'Manchester vs. Google'.

1. Sean Manchester, "The Highgate Vampire," in The Vampire's Bedsite Companion: The Amazing World of Vampires in Fact and Fiction, ed. Peter Underwood (London: Leslie Frewin, 1975), 90.

2. ibid., 94.

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