Thursday, May 29, 2008

Manchester on MySpace

Perhaps in an attempt to be "hip" and "down with the kids", Sean Manchester has his own MySpace page!

You can access it here.

On closer inspection, he either has a sense of humour, or someone else is just taking the piss, because he lists his age as "100 years old" and his top 4 friends are "Jesus", "St. Michael", "Saint George" and "The Virgin Mary".

Dark Matters Radio Exploration forum member, Florence King, gives a bit more coverage to the page, here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Regurgitating One

There's an MSN Group out there, whose primary function is to:

discuss Farrant and his fiends (demons) and the confrontation thereof.

It's name?
Fiends of David Farrant (a parody of Friends of David Farrant).

Its membership consists of members of the clandestine
Friends of Bishop Sean Manchester, as well as the Bishop himself (username: "The Author").

Apparently, I'm regarded as one of his "fiends" too, hence topics devoted to myself and my writings, on that forum. It's a strange banner to fall under, considering I've also been considered a Bishop Manchester supporter...if not Bishop Manchester himself, by other persons. See: "
MondoSkepto's False Accusations", as an example.

For those not in the know, public figures Sean Manchester and David Farrant, have polarised discussion on the Highgate Vampire Case. "Defendants" and "prosecutors" usually take one side (even if they don't share the supernatural beliefs of either party) and will attack and malign the other party, tooth and nail. The sheer volume of these disputes was partially recorded in the "FeudWatch" category of my defunct Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?: The Official MSN Space Site blog.

But let's get back to the matter at hand.

One particular member of Fiends seems to have a real axe to grind with me. His username is "The Informative One" (a parody of my former MSN Groups username, "The Inquisitive One") and seems particularly keen in refuting me or trying to dig up "dirt" on me, too.

Little is known about him. This is partly at the instigation of the National and International Secretaries of the Vampire Research Society:

Dennis and I have met The Informative One and know his identity. We advised him not to use it here and to offer no clues.¹

Why the secrecy? No answer is given. This has led some to speculate that "The Informative One" is actually an online alias of Bishop Manchester.
For you see, despite having engaged in "independent research",³ he has no qualms toeing the VRS-party line, even linking to adverts within his messages, to VRS products.

He was also the founder of pro-Bishop Manchester forum, Did A Vampire Walk In Highgate? (ripping off the title - but not intent - of my Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate? MSN Group). Which I should mention, is also the refuge of an Englishman who has also blatantly ripped off my username, "The Overseer" (funnily enough, he also resides on "Fiends").

"The Informative One"'s main purpose, contrary to his username, seems to be in regurgitating VRS-related material. For proof, read my "
Does a Doppelgänger Walk in Highgate?" thread.

More recently, his inane posts have been regulated to putting me on some kind of "bandwagon" (see: "
Anthony Hogg Hops On Bandwagon", Fiends of David Farrant); hunting me down on Amazon with "A Question of Attribution" (The Highgate Vampire), which chastises me for not including Manchester-penned works to any of my lists (!); and the copyright-violating "Shroudeater's Truth-eating"/"A Matter of Fabrication" (Fiends of David Farrant/The Highgate Vampire) which has reproduced my Brautigam interview, without my permission.

I have reported the latter thread to MSN Groups, which is obviously why it has been deleted and reposted on several occasions. Sneaky.

¹ KatrinaGarforth-Bles1. " "HVS" Debate Poll". The Cross and the Stake.
15/09/2006 03:19.
Florence King. "Dennis Crawford Watch: ID Theft Stupidity". Dark Matters Radio Exploration. Yesterday, 5:41 pm.
³ The Informative One. " "HVS" Debate Poll". The Cross and the Stake. 11/09/2006 21:24.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Highgate Vampire Resurrected?

Has the Highgate Vampire risen from the dead?

The matter is touched on in The Second Side's "The Highgate Vampire is Back!". After describing the destruction of the Highgate Vampire and one of its victims by Sean Manchester, it goes on to say:

Apparently, the vampire is
active again, as a tall, dark figure is haunting the cemetery once more . . .

Spooky stuff.

However, it sounds suspiciously similar to a claim made by David Farrant in 2005 while promoting the reactivation of his Highgate Vampire Society. In "Highgate Vampire at it again!!" for Pentacle Magazine, he stated that:

The sighting of a tall, black figure in April on Swains Lane makes me think the vampire is active again.

Haven't heard much about it since, so I guess we can still sleep safe and sound.

Where You Might Find Me

Recently, I've been participating on Don Ecker's Dark Matters Radio Exploration forum.

To browse through my contributions, click here.

You'll have to register an account to access the contents of that link, however.

Alternatively, you could browse through the "Highgate Cemetery Vampire" section. Your call.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

When a Vampire Isn't a Vampire

David Farrant, at least since about 1991, has been publicly emphatic about his view that the alleged supernatural being that haunted Highgate Cemetery was definitely not a vampire:

The sighting of a tall, black figure in April on Swains Lane makes me think the vampire is active again.

Thankfully, he has a far more rational explanation for such phenomena:

As for my concept of a vampire, it is necessary to mention the existence of the incubus and succubus, male and female demons respectively (I prefer to call them psychic entities) that visit sleeping people by night and supposedly have sex with them. Reports about the existence of these phenomena date back for centuries and the symptoms of the visitations are invariably the same. People are suddenly awakened in the night to find themselves completely paralysed, often with a tremendous pressure on their chest that 'pins' them to the bed. They are unable to move, even scream, and can only lie helpless completely subject to the entity's will. These visitations often occur with persistent frequency and victims often find themselves growing physcially weaker, becoming anaemic and developing an aversion to bright sunlight. They also become prone to bouts of sleep-walking either soon before, or not long after, the 'attacks'. I am quite convinced that stories of vampirism actually derived, or were based upon reports about the well known existence of these malevolent phenomena; in fact, it is highly likely that Stoker himself could have been aware of such accounts when he wrote his fictional novel, Dracula

Take that, science!

¹ Mullen, Marc. "Highgate Vampire at it again!!". Pentacle Magazine. Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 02:58 PM.
² "Interview with the Real Vampire Hunter". David Farrant.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Interview They Didn't Want You to See!

In "Another One Bites the Dust!", I briefly discussed an interview I conducted with Rob Brautigam.

It was originally available on my website, but, unfortunately, is no longer accessible due to an allegation claiming it guilty of "defamation". This claim is pending review.

In the meantime, you can read the interview here. Make your own judgements.

To set the scene; the interview was conceived due to a perceived bias Brautigam seemed to be displaying in the Highgate Vampire Case, on his otherwise impartial Shroudeater website.

There were also quotes and actions attributed to him elsewhere, which I was interested in having him clarify.

He agreed to an interview on this matter. I sent him some questions. Here's how he responded¹ (Note: the interview is taken in verbatim from the e-mail in question, so you'll have to forgive the formatting):

1. What first drew your attention to the Highgate Vampire?

As far as I remember, it must have been around say 1972, 1973. I think the case was mentioned in a book I read, perhaps by Peter Underwood or maybe someone
else. And possibly I did read something some place else as well. A magazine ? A flyer I picked up in some London bookshop ? Forgive me, it is a very long
time ago. And I am just recovering from some serious health problems. So it is hard for me to remember undocumented events like this exactly. Later, before I
first got in touch with Mr. Manchester, I had of course read much more material about the case.

2. You met Sean Manchester, after correspondance, in 1991. What were your initial impressions of him and the claims he made in his books? Have you met
David Farrant, also?

On our first meeting Sean Manchester appeared to be quite friendly. As to his own books, I had only read his article in another Peter Underwood book (The
Vampire's Bedside Companion), and his first edition of "The Highgate Vampire" published by the British Occult Society. As to his claims, I had an open mind
and was actually hoping that there might be some truth in his story. The moment I shook hands with Mr. Manchester, his wife Sarah came jumping out of the
bushes and started to take photographs of Mr. Manchester and myself. She had to leave and we said goodbye. Mr. Manchester apologised for the fact that his
face was covered by a layer of pancake because he had an appointment with a photographer who was going to take some portraits of him in Highgate Cemetery.
At the time I happened to be a member of the "Friends of Highgate Cemetery" and I could not help wondering how this could be possible. The "Friends", who had
been given complete control over the Cemetery, definitely did not approve of any vampire stories, let alone vampire-hunters ! And I very much doubt that
either Manchester or Farrant would have been given entrance if they had shown up at the gate. But another lady, Diana Brewster, appeared who was introduced
to me as being Manchester's "secretary". The photographer appeared, who was called Byron (first name) uh... something, I can't remember. Diana asked: shall
we do it the same way as last time ? Manchester approved. We went to the back of the garden of the teahouse where there was a gap in the wall that closed it
off from Highgate Cemetery. And we entered the cemetery through there. At one point, we were confronted by an old gentleman who seemd to be taking care of
the flowers on top of a grave. He noticed our overdose of photographic equipment. He said: I am surprised that they have let you in at the gate with all that
gear. And Manchester, dressed up as a priest (but wearing a bishop's cross that - in his own words - at that moment he was "not really allowed to wear as
yet") stepped forward and said: No, no, no, these are no video cameras, it has all been taken care off, don't worry, it is alright.
And that was my first meeting with Mr. Manchester. Why did I want to meet Mr. Manchester in the first place ? He is our one and only witness to the Highgate
vampire story. First saying that "The stake was not struck" and then changing the story and stating that he has indeed destroyed the vampire and such. So I
wanted to find out if he was a trustworthy person. Well, I know that I have found my answer...
And, yes, I did meet Mr. Farrant also. And, let us not forget: I did exchange letters and shake hands with the illustrious Brother Keith as well.

3. It is clear that a rift later took place between you and Sean Manchester. What was the cause of it? As evidence of this,in correspondance dated 22 August 1990, you declared Sean Manchester's The Highgate Vampire, to be a "masterpiece of vampirography". However, you now seem to
regard it as an "amusing piece of horror fiction". What changed your view?

Change of view ??? I still think that the first edition of "The Highgate Vampire" as published by the British Occult Society (in contrast to the more recent
expurgated edition) is a great and entertaining novel. It is a cunning and interesting mix of facts and fantasy. All those bizarre photos also add to it all.
But, allow me to stress the fact that at the time I have purposely used the term "vampirography". Because I consider the story to be a piece of fiction
rather than proper vampire research. Had I thought that there was some truth in the story, I would have said: "vampirology". So I do not think that there has
been any change of view in that respect. If there has been a change of view, it is that I have come to learn Mr. Manchester a little bit better. And I have
learned it the hard way. I was publishing a fanzine called "International Vampire". First, Mr. manchester tried to take over control by offering his
"Patronage". I told him - in a diplomatic way - thanks, I don't think so. After that, although we were still supposedly on friendly terms, Mr. Manchester was
already plotting behind my back. If I would announce something that was supposed to appear in my next newsletter he would quickly send some kind of "spoiler"
article to be published by a competing vampire fanzine. This is no speculation, I do have letters that prove it. And I only wish that I can ever forget the
absolutely outrageous things that have happened after our contact ended and Mr. Manchester sent me that message stating that "Those who are not with me are
against me".
The cause of our break ? Mr. Manchester had heard that Mr. Farrant had published a book about the case. And - for obvious reasons - he did not want to order
a copy himself. So he asked a friend of mine to order a copy for him. Obviously, my friend, who at the time was also interested in the case, ordered a copy
for himself as well. And he also told me about it. So I too ordered a copy. I received a very decent letter from Mr. Farrant. Which came as a surprise.
Because Mr. Manchester had always been suggesting that Mr. Farrant was some kind of subhuman satanic monster, living in a coal cellar, feeding on raw fish.
So, after receiving Mr. Farrant's letter, I expressed my surprise to Mr. Manchester about receiving Mr. Farrant's letter. Mr. Manchester instantly went
completely beserk, accusing me of God knows what. Well, after one or two of those ridiculousletters I decided that enough is enough, and I ended my
correspondence and contact with Mr. Manchester then and there.

4. Are you a member of an organisation affiliated with either David Farrant or Sean Manchester?

No I am not. I once payed money to subscribe to one of Mr. Manchester's publications. I paid for 4 editions, but after 2 editions he suddenly sent me a
statement saying that his club had been infiltrated or some other paranoid story, and that the magazine would go underground or whatever. I was sent no
further editions, although some of my correspondents assured me that the newsletter was still being distributed to them, and even sent me copies of it. There
were no attempts whatsoever to send me back the money that I had paid for the two remaining newsletters. What's the name for that, fraud ? theft ? I am no
legal expert... Anyway, at the time, against all odds, I was still hoping that there might be some truth in Manchester's Vampire story, so I did not think
that it would serve my purpose to turn this into an issue and end our contact there.

5. Sean Manchester publicly cites Reggie Naus, a Dutch correspondent of his, with the claim that you appeared on a television show proclaiming that a
vampire can only "drink fresh blood from virgins". Is this quote accurate?

Never mind the pathetic Naus person, who once wrote me an extremely slimey letter. No, no, no. His report on that television appearance is a complete
travesty of the facts. They first asked me a couple of rather stupid and superficial questions and that was it as far as my presence was concerned, and then
they interviewed the 2 British so-called "vampires". Not the other way around, as Mr. Naus has it. The guy who hosted this rather sensationalistic talkshow
did indeed mention something about virgins and their blood. Me, I most certainly did not. Hey, if you doubt my words, please have a look at my website. My
only interest is in historical cases of vampirism. Serious stuff. Not vampire fiction. I leave that kind of thing to Mr. Manchester and his not so merry band
of men. I do have the whole silly show on tape somewhere. So in case there are any doubts...

6. Your review for David Farrant's Beyond the Highgate Vampire on your Shroudeater website is surprisingly glowing. Do you uphold the claims Farrant makes
in that book, to be an accurate version of events - supernatural or otherwise?

Glowing ? I don't know about that. So what is the surprise ??? After falling out with Mr. Manchester, the few meetings that I have had with Mr. Farrant were
like a breath of fresh air. Unlike Mr. Manchester, Mr. Farrant seemed very open and willing to answer every question that I had. His book too, seemed like a
much more plausible account of the happenings. A little bit dull, perhaps. Less sensational. But an awful lot more credible than Mr. Manchester's exciting
fairytale version. For the record, as I have now completely lost my interest in the Highgate Hoax, I have not been in touch with Mr. Farrant for years and
years. Last rumor that I have heard is that he might be under "new management" in a matter of speaking. But if his story has changed, I am unaware of it.
All I can say is that Mr. Farrant has always behaved as a gentleman to me. While we knew each other. And after we knew each other. Unlike some.

7. Do you believe that any paranormal phenomena - be it vampiric or otherwise - took place at Highgate Cemetery? If so, what evidence convinces you of
this possibility?

On the one hand, I do know from my own experience that paranormal (I hate that word !) phenomena appear to exist. Having said that, I willingly admit that I
am a convinced skeptic and sometimes unwilling to admit the things presented to me by my own senses. I have gone through loads of material about the Highgate
case. I have read the old newspaper articles, the complete versions (not the selected highlites by Mr. Manchester), I have talked to others who were there at
the time, I have read police reports, and other rather interesting material. And I can not exclude the possibility that there may have been something unusual
going on. But a vampire ? A real vampire corpse that has been destroyed by Mr. Manchester ? Come on, get real !

8. What is your advice for people who wish to delve into the Highgate Vampire Case?

Please think twice (maybe more than that) before you decide to get in touch with Mr. Manchester and his associates. They are ok for as long as they think
that they can somehow use you for their purposes. But the moment they decide that you are not on their side, may the Good Lord help you. If you do not
believe me, there is a very easy way to find out. In that case, I do wish you the very best of luck. Believe me, you are going to need it !

¹ Source: Rob Brautigam. "RE: Beyond the Highgate Vampire Review". Thursday, 24 April 2008 9:57:46 PM. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Another One Bites the Dust!

Looks like my interview with Rob Brautigam ruffled some feathers.

I signed into my e-mail account today and was greeted by this wonderful message in my inbox:

Dear FreeWebs User,

On [May 12, 2008], Freewebs received written notification that your website contained allegedly defamatory content.

After reviewing your site, Freewebs determined that the content was in fact defamatory or otherwise objectionable. Accordingly, pursuant to the Freewebs Terms of Service, Freewebs has suspended your website pending the removal of this content.

If you believe that the website was suspended mistakenly, and wish to have the content restored, please provide us with the following:

1. your name, address, phone number, and written or electronic signature;
2. identification of the material that was removed and its location before removal; and
3. a statement explaining under penalty of perjury that the material was removed mistakenly.

Upon receipt, Freewebs will review your explanation and, in its sole discretion, will determine whether to restore the website.

Best Regards,

It seems that someone wasn't just content with having my Windows Live Spaces blog shut down, but wanted to go for my website too.

And I've got a pretty good idea who it was.

You see, on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 3:06 AM, I received an e-mail subjected, "Shroudeater Lies! - Rob Brautigam's False Allegations" from a mysterious source named "Friends of Bishop Seán Manchester". It was a copy-and-pasted version of my interview, with their "INTERPOLATED COMMENTS IN RED".


Either way, the anonymous sender has since been added to my Block List.

Anyhoo, I've written back to FreeWebs, in the hope that they'd recognise the concepts of "right of reply" and "free speech":

Good afternoon FreeWebs,

I'm writing in regards to your claim that my website is guilty of defamation.
I strongly contest this claim.

Firstly, the website you cite as being in violation is actually an interview with a public figure - a Dutch vampirologist named Rob Brautigam - who is, in turn, discussing another public figure - a famous English vampirologist named Sean Manchester.

The claims Brautigam makes is in regards to perceived fraud on the part of Manchester...who claims to be a vampire hunter. Yes, an actual vampire hunter. The vampire hunter's website can be accessed here:

Secondly, the interview was conducted as a response to public claims made by Manchester against Brautigam! (You'll note that the interview in question, cites these claims).

I would like to know what grounds you have, in regards for suspending my site, to claim that Brautigam calling an alleged vampire hunter a fake is grounds for "defamation".

What part of Manchester's character did the man assault?

Are you also validating that one position of a public disagreement is allowed to perpetuate allegations against one party...but that the other may not reply with their version of the story?

It looks like your service has been fooled in a tactical manner, by biased parties who refuse to allow criticism on their part.

In fact, I'd be almost certain that the person who reported my website for perceived "defamation" did not even sign as the person being "defamed", i.e., Sean Manchester!

If you can specifically cite which portions of my interview were "defaming", I will happily address them.²

I eagerly await their response.

¹ FreeWebs Tech Support. "Site suspended due to defamation [dawwih]". Thursday, 15 May 2008 11:42:31 PM.
² Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate Manager. "RE: Site suspended due to defamation [dawwih]". Friday, 16 May 2008 12:56:01 PM.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Brautigam Interview

I've finally added some decent content to the DAWWIH website.

Rob Brautigam - webmaster of the excellent vampire resource site,
Shroudeater - served as my first interview subject on the Highgate Vampire Case.

I corresponded with him in regards to a perceived bias found in his review for David Farrant's Beyond the Highgate Vampire: A True Case of Supernatural Occurrences and "Vampirism" That Centred Around London's Highgate Cemetery (3rd rev. ed., 1997) and he agreed to answer a series of questions I put to him. His responses were rather frank and candid, and you can read them

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Temporary Setbacks, or, the Phoenix Risen

I admittedly created this blog because my Windows Live Space page, Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?: The Official MSN Space Site, has been experiencing some technical problems.

Namely, that it not longer seems to exist!

This sorry state is directly related to recent complaints made against it for alleged copyright violations. It seems that Windows Live Space Customer Support staff decided to ignore evidence that revealed me having permission to reproduce certain materials being complained about!

The matter is still currently being discussed with them, so I'll keep you posted on further developments.

However, this blog itself wasn't established in vain. I'll continue to use it to share my thoughts, whether the outcome of the Windows Live Space dispute is ruled in my favour or not.

But I guess I should also take this opportunity to divorce myself from my opening rant and explain just who I am and what this blog is about!

I'm "The Overseer" and I founded an MSN Groups forum in 2006 called
Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate? to discuss the Highgate Vampire Case. It later spun off the aforementioned Windows Live Space blog in 2007.

The Case has attracted a fair level of criticism, mingled with claims and counter-claims by the persons involved. But it's also managed to draft in a large amount of "outsider" views.

Like mine.

Some choose to take sides in the matter; I personally prefer a stance of neutrality, balance and skepticism. Either way, I am in favour of open discourse on the subject. And that, fundamentally, is the motive behind establishing my forum and blogs.

From time to time, I'll comment on, or point out available resources on the topic. Readers are also encouraged to share their own thoughts and opinions...provided they aren't laced with abuse (things can get pretty heated at times).


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