Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shady Pagan Shenanigans?

On Friday, December 13, 1973, David Farrant and John Pope were arrested at an abandoned neo-gothic mansion in Crouch End locally known as the "House of Dracula." An article the week before spoke of "strange goings-on at night and mysterious noises and flickering lights in upper windows." It goes on to mention:
Later this week, Highgate Police appealed to anyone who sees anything suspicious in the deserted house or people entering, particularly at night, to call them. They promise they will act on the information immediately. (Simpson 1973)
Interestingly, Farrant mentions "a series of 'mysterious witchcraft ceremonies' that took place in a deserted gothic mansion house in Crouch End, North London" that "began to unnerve the local residents." He adds that he and another coven member [John Pope], were there "conducting a magickal ceremony", specifically, a "Ritual to summon the nature God Pan" (Farrant n.d.). Elsewhere, he explains the mysterious "flickering lights" and the reason for their arrest:
We used a biscuit tin to make a small fire for heat and light, and there was an old people’s home opposite the house. I am not sure if they saw the flickering lights, or if the police had been tipped off, but all of a sudden there was a stampede coming up the stairs and the police burst in and charged me with arson. (quoted in Gough n.d.)
The charges didn't stick, though. Farrant and Pope "were later acquitted by High Court Judge Bruce Campbell, but warned to be careful in future as they were certainly acting in a manner that could have provided unwanted police attention." (Farrant n.d.)

What Farrant doesn't mention in those passages is that someone else accompanied their summoning rites—a woman Sean Manchester identifies as "Deborah Davis - a Californian blues singer . . . high on cocaine" who "did not participate in the third ritual because she was "so petrified by the past attempt that she refused to enter the house again."" (2009a). His blog post features a photograph of the trio, captioned "Farrant (centre) with Deborah Davis and Pope at the demon-raising ritual." (Manchester 2009a)

In that shot, they're clothed, but apparently, nudity was "essential" to the ritual, according to Farrant. "Yet Pope confirms that throughout these rituals Farrant failed to disrobe. Pope was not so coy and stood completely naked throughout the ceremony." (Manchester 2009a) Indeed, other pictures of the event in Manchester's blog feature Pope in the buff and Farrant fully-clothed. (Manchester 2009b)

So with Farrant conducting the ceremony and Pope getting his kit off for the cause, why did they need Davis? And for that matter, if all three were photographed while seated who was taking the photos? Pope recently had some interesting things to say about the event, Davis' presence there and the identity of the photographer, on my Facebook group, "Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?" On June 12, 2014, 9:08pm, he said:
i was doing a rite from crowleys [sic] book to conjur [sic] up pan but I went into trance instead., I didf [sic] banish it after. but I think we had not started when Police arived [sic]. we had hyme [sic] to pan and banishing rite of the pentergram [sic]. it was all painted with crowlian [sic] symbols. I dont [sic] know for sure who did that. I never felt any thing sinnister [sic] there. but my rituals may have left something, of the pull of the other side. as gateway to other realms was opened.
I sought further clarification from Pope and decided to address a rumour I'd heard about the photographer's identity (June 12, 2014, 9:010pm):
The gist of the story seems to be that the place was already haunted and that's why you and David were there in the first place. Also, there was a lady with you too. Oh, and apparently Manchester photographed the ritual. Is that right?
Pope responded and added something that caught me off guard (June 13, 2014, 8:52pm):
yes a french women friend of davids [sic], we were hopeing [sic] for soe [sic] fun but she was not up for it, I forget here name, she looked like a famouse [sic] acrtess [sic].
it was a funny case cops in court were asked by jury for evidence, and they said look at the photos jury said we understood house was bombed in war are you saying mr pope and farrent [sic] burnt it down, cops screamed just look at flameing [sic] photo, ie [sic] burnt out house, hence we found not guilty.
I wanted John to elaborate a little on certain things, so I asked (June 14, 2014, 12:25am):
"We were hoping for some fun" - are you saying you guys had her there, not so much to play an active role in the ceremony, so much as to get a "bit" from her? The tale of the vampire there seems mainly to have come from its nickname, "The House of Dracula." The Hornsey Journal report doesn't actually mention any vampiric activity in it, but something more akin to a standard haunting.
Pope later provided the clincher (June 20, 2014, 9:17pm):

It's not the first time I've been made aware of a sordid angle to Farrant's rituals (Hogg 2012), so I can't say I'm too surprised by Pope's claim.

Pope's reference to "a french women friend of davids" in lieu of the "Californian blues singer" Manchester mentions is possibly muddled,¹ but his later reference to "a full frontal of me sqoting [sic] holding a knife and my weding [sic] tacvkle [sic] for all to see" (June 23, 2014, 10:36pm) during the event is backed up by a photograph Manchester captioned "John Pope during a demon raising ritual in which Farrant participated" on his blog (2009b)—which indeed shows a nude Pope holding a knife to his rude bits.

So what of the photographer? Manchester's blog features a picture he's captioned "Pope and Farrant summon dark forces in December 1973" (Manchester 2009b), but the telling caption comes from the picture, itself, which has actually been lifted from an issue of City Limits

The caption reads "Farrant (facing camera) in the picture"—but the rest of the caption has been conveniently blurred out. That's because the original reads: "Farrant (facing camera) in the picture sent in by his rival"; his rival, of course, being Manchester.


¹ Though I have asked him for further clarity: "So, in short - what begins as a story of summoning Pan, turns out to be a story of nookie, with Manchester happily snapping away in yet another publicity stunt. Fair assessment, John?" (June 24, 2014, 7:24am) and "Oh, and are you sure the lady was French?" (June 24, 2014, 10:44pm)


Farrant, David. n.d. "What Goes on at the ‘House of Dracula’? – Hornsey Journal, Dec 7th 1973." David Farrant - Psychic Investigator. Accessed June 24, 2014. http://davidfarrant.org/vintage-press-reports/what-goes-on-at-the-house-of-dracula-hornsey-journal-dec-7th-1973/.

Gough, Andrew. n.d. "17 Questions: David Farrant." Andrew Gough's Arcadia. Accessed June 24, 2014. http://andrewgough.co.uk/17q_farrant.html.

Hogg, Anthony. 2012. "The American Magazine." Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?, February 8. Accessed June 24, 2014. http://dawwih.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/american-magazine.html.

Manchester, Sean. [B.O.S., pseud.]. 2009a. "Hymn to Pan." In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire:  The Life of a Lack-lustre Luciferian Layabout, February 13. Accessed June 24, 2014. http://thehighgatevampire.blogspot.com.au/2009/02/one.html.

———. 2009b. "Source of Falsification." In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire:  The Life of a Lack-lustre Luciferian Layabout, February 13. Accessed June 24, 2014. http://thehighgatevampire.blogspot.com.au/2009/02/five.html.

Simpson, Roger. 1973. "What Goes on at the 'House of Dracula'?" Hornsey Journal, December 7.

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