Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Series of Peculiar Events

Some very interesting things have been taking place during my absence. Very interesting indeed.

Firstly, as Lone Stranger reports, Bishop Manchester has a new blog. Here's what he has to say about its intended purpose:
This blog exists for those matters which can be discussed openly. Irrespective of the manner delivered, send your question, query or concern and I shall do my best to answer it.
Amusingly, it's latest post requests that commentators
refrain from posting links to other sites and sign off with your real Christian name ~ or your name in full should you prefer ~ rather than post anonymously.
The amusing thing about this, of course, is that its only current followers (as of this writing) are notorious for hiding behind usernames.

And they're bloody VRS members.

Which, of course also means that they won't even be able to post on their Prez's blog! Heh heh.

The next item of interest, also covered by Lone Stranger, was a blog entry talking about an "informal dinner party" at the Bishop's "spacious retreat on the south coast of England". Mr. Stranger claims that this was actually the Bishop's birthday celebration.

I suppose it's possible. You see, even though the entry is dated "Friday, 13 February 2009", the picture under the heading gives the date as "July 2009". Obviously, the blog's author has taken to recycling old posts rather than writing new ones.

Even more amusingly, part of the "informal" discussions that took place there concerned David Farrant. Naturally, Arminius (who doesn't state whether or not he was actually present for this "informal dinner") makes this the focus of his blog entry. This is in spite of TFO's recent protestations:
Seán Manchester understandably wants to deny Farrant the oxygen of publicity and knows that anything he might say will only add fuel to the fire. He feels the argument against Farrant was won decades ago and only the publicity-seeking charlatan will stand to benefit from its continuance.
For the record, the Bishop's birthday was on July 15.

That's not secret info, by the way. You can see the Bishop's entry in International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004 (p. 366).

Friday, July 10, 2009

And Speaking of Harassment...

After writing "Manchester and the Law", I came across this:
I have not been in "conversation" with DF [David Farrant -ed.] indirectly or otherwise. The comments are made about him and not TO him there is a difference. All harassing comments made by DF have been forwarded to the relevant authorities.
It deals with a series of YouTube comments posted by Mr. Farrant regarding Manchester and co.

The best part?

It was written by the same "Catherine" [Fearnley] mentioned in the case of the alleged "Police restraining Orders" filed against Manchester!

And so the plot thickens...

Happy Hundredth!

Yep, this is the 100th post on DAWWIH!

Can you believe it?

the seed from which this tree grew.

And now, time for the goodies.
Don's gave coverage to a thread he's posted over at The Paracast forum, on his blog, Dark Matters Radio:
Oh, I almost forgot so let me tell you now before I do. Another show I uploaded to the Paranet is one titled “VAMPIRES & Tits and Ass.” It is concerned with the Highgate Vampire Case I’ve talked about before, right here. There are some absolutely hilarious website out there dealing with this case.
Yep, you read right: "VAMPIRES & Tits and Ass". You can read the thread here. In the meantime, here's a snippet:
I pissed this bunch off by trying to conduct an investigation into the claims that a genuine vampire stalked the London landscape back in the late 60’s and early 70’s looking to turn all of us into happy meals! Boy, did they take off after me. First they attacked me as a “war monger” because of my military service in Viet Nam, then they attacked all of America as “Imperialists” warmongers, etc. ad nauseum. Over many years they have managed to scare folks away from asking about this case by threats, internet stalking and various other means. I refused to be intimidated and began to crack the case.
Incidentally, my blog gets a mention on both.

To toot my horn a bit more, did you know I was given an "award for Best Retorts to Bonky" from Lone Stranger of Net Curtains Lurkers? Here's what he had to say in "Game, Set, Match – To The Overseer", regarding my debating tactics with "Demonologist":
Those of you watching the sparring between the “Demonologist” and that saucy Aussie, “The Overseer,” I have to declare the guy from down under the winner. While Deme keeps trotting out the same tired lines, it’s clear he’s run out of anything new to say. The Overseer, however, is articulate, concise and relentless.
I've also padded out my Blogger profile page with some background info in "About Me", listed a few of my "Favorite Movies", "Favorite Music" and "Favorite Books".

As a wrap-up treat, have a read through "The Highgate Vampire" thread over at the Unexplained Mysteries Discussion Forums. Predictably enough, it didn't take long for a faceless VRS rep to wade into the scene.

Thanks to my readers and casual browsers and here's to many hundreds more!

Manchester and the Law

During his usual game of dodging my questions, David decided to provide some interesting info on Sean Manchester over at Net Curtains Lurkers:
But also remember, such proof also came from the hi-tec department of the police. Two complaints were made to the police in 2004 and 2006 respectively: one on behalf of from Catherine, Kev and Chrissie Demant, Gareth J. Medway and myself for harassment by posting malicious material about other innocent people on the Internet: the other from Patsy for Bonky [David's nickname for Sean Manchester - ed.] sending her malicious emails to her place of work (before he discovered her address). Police thoroughly investigated both these complaints and Bonky (on threat of arrest) was made to sign two Police restraining Orders. He signed both these Orders after the Bournemouth police had visited him at his home in Bournemouth.
David subsequently offered me Sean Manchester's home address to verify this information with "the Yorkshire Police (Dewsbury) and the Feltham Police (Feltham Police in London)".

Could this be proof that the good Bishop has been engaging in acts of harassment?

We shall have to wait and see.

If it does prove to be true, I guess they'll have something else in common: run-ins with the law and the use of aliases to cover their tracks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Mystery of Luisa, Pt. 3

In "The Mystery of Luisa, Pt. 2", we saw how certain parallels can be drawn between Sean Manchester's The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London's Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985) to Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897).

I also concluded that article thusly, "Indeed, as we shall see, the mysterious Luisa and her vampiric manifestation has further parallels to another work of fiction."

Now we're going to take a look at that other fictional work: Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out.

Originally published in 1934, it proved to be a best-seller in its day. And, most significantly for this article, it was adapted into an eponymous film by Hammer in 1968.

The following video clip is a scene from the film. It is mostly based on Chapter 27 of the book, "Within the Pentacle". The section I'd like to draw attention to, occurs at 8:15-10:00.

Here, we see Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) and his friends beseiged by demonic manifestations, while under the protection of a magic circle.

One of these manifestations takes the form of a giant spider.

What does this have to do with Manchester's account?

If we read page 145 of The Highgate Vampire, we have a peculiar manifestation of the undead "Luisa" taking place. After Manchester has summoned her through a necromantic ritual, he sees this:

It was the most enormous spider imaginable. In that light it appeared to compare to the size of a full grown cat amd was slowly edging towards the rim of charcoal powder.
After recovering his senses from this ghastly sight, he sees fit to throw a "burning torch at the monstrous black arachnid."

This doesn't quite stop the demonic spider though:

Slowly it reached the edge of my protective circle; then, quickening its pace, it scurried back and forth in the most terrifying manner around the perimeter.
He demands it to "be still" and, amazingly, it stops "in its tracks".

The opportunity is then used to stake this foul creature and, as Manchester asserts, "Something wet and glutinous oozed stickily as I pressed the stake still further."

As dawn arrives, he looks to see "Luisa" embedded with the stake, in the spot where the spider had been.

Do you see the similarities between Manchester's account and the scene from the movie you have watched?

But how can we back up this assertion? Is this a mere coincidence? Well, let's go back to Wheatley's book.

Interestingly, no spider manifests itself in the demonic assult on the magic circle. Instead, they are presented with something far more horrifying.

The following passage is taken from the Row Books/Arrow Books Ltd 1970 reprint:

A dim phosphorescent blob began to glow in the darkness; shimmering and spreading into a great hummock, its outline gradually became clearer. It was not a man form nor yet an animal, but heaved there on the floor like some monstrous living sack. It had no eyes or face but from it there radiated a terrible malefic intelligence.

Suddenly there ceased to be anything ghostlike about it. The Thing had a whitish pimply skin, leprous and unclean, like some huge silver slug. Waves of satanic power rippled through its spineless body, causing it to throb and work continually like a great mass of new-made dough. A horrible stench of decay and corruption filled the room; for as it writhed it exuded a slimy poisonous moisture which trickled in little rivulets across the polished floor. It was solid, terribly real, a living thing. They could even see long, single, golden hairs, separated from each other by ulcerous patches of skin, quivering and waving as they rose on end from its flabby body-and suddenly it began to laugh at them, a low, horrid, chuckling laugh.
So, the book can be pretty much ruled out for the giant spider manifestation. But, do we have any other proof for the movie being a possible source of "inspiration"?

If we turn to page 140 of The Highgate Vampire, we see a still from a 1968 movie, along with the following caption:

This scene from The Devil Rides Out depicts the use of a Magic Circle to withstand attack by a Satanic force, much like the protective barrier cast by the author and many others throughout history
Coincidence, or a knowing wink to the reader?

You be the judge.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Trained and Seasoned Researcher?

"Arminius Vámbéry" uses his MySpace page to describe himself as
a trained and seasoned researcher of the arcane, the paranormal, and especially those dark areas of humanity where few dare to venture, namely vampirism and demonolatry.
The same dire self-description appears on his Blog Talk Radio page, where he goes under the username, "Vampirologist". Interestingly, the same username TFO has recently reverted to.

The "trained and seasoned researcher" malarkey also appears in his Blogger profile.

Shame he forgot to mention being versed in the ancient art of plagiarism.

He's also the copy-n-paste admin of the (defunct) British Occult Society Facebook page. His post, "Origin of the British Occult Society" is remarkably similar (hint: plagiarised) to "Genesis of the Vampire Research Society" (Vampire Research Society).

Arminius also sees fit to reproduce Sean Manchester's rebuttal to a review of David Farrant's autobiography in Fortean Times. Here's one of the stand-out paragraphs:
My aversion to superfluous and sensationalist publicity has been partly responsible for David Farrant filling the void where the Highgate Cemetery happenings are concerned, despite his involvement being spurious. Others genuinely caught up in the case and the investigation thereof understandably share my distaste for sensational newspaper elaboration. Not so David Farrant who has been repeatedly described by the judiciary and the media as a shameless publicity-seeker.
Which is funny, considering that the BOS's Facebook photos page consists of images...all relating to Farrant!

Even more amusingly, 9 out of the 10 links featured on the BOS Facebook page relate directly to...yep, you guessed it: David Farrant!

Bravo, Arminius! Talk about fueling the fire!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Something You Should Know About Arminius Vámbéry (VRS)

This quote from Arminius Vámbéry's MySpace blog entry, "Something You Should Know About Steve Genier (SOPS)" brought a smile to my face:
Much nonsense is claimed about the Highgate Vampire case on the internet by those who copy and paste manufactured twaddle from elsewhere.
It's hard to tell if he's taking the piss or not. There doesn't seem to be a hint of irony in what he's saying, even though he's pretty much referencing himself.

For those not in the know, I've previously exposed Arminius as a blatant plagiarist.

He also happens to be one of the admins for the VRS's Facebook page.

I enjoyed reading his unabashed statement so much, that I've now incorporated into this blog's very first tagline:

If the VRS can keep producing comedians like Arminius, then maybe they're still in with a chance!

The Mystery of Luisa, Pt. 2

In the previous installment, we focused on Manchester's insistence on keeping Luisa's true identity a secret.

The question is: why?

I'd say the most obvious answer is her unusual fate, as depicted in Manchester's The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London's Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985), p. 145.

After summoning her vampire-corpse through a necromantic ritual (she is previously said to have "died quite suddenly almost seven years ago from a form of leukaemia", p. 120), he is confronted by "the most enormous spider imaginable" while under the protection of a magic circle.

He commands it to be still and surprisingly, it obliges. He takes the opportunity to dispatch the undead being:
Within the same moment I seized a sharpened stake and thrust it with all my might through the centre of that hideous black shape, using the blue sulphurous light to assist my aim. This was accompanied by the most heart-rending screech I have ever heard; it will haunt me for the rest of my days.
The "enormous spider" metamorphoses back into Luisa:
It was poor Luisa — no longer the devil's undead, but God's own true dead. Even as I looked, the years of decay, which had been eluded by her vampire sleep, were returning almost instantaneously.
Which strangely echoes a similar pronoucement in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). After Arthur Holmwood has staked his beloved, vampirised fiancée, Lucy (Luisa?) Westenra, Prof. Abraham Van Helsing tells him:
Kiss her dead lips if you will, as she would have you to, if for her to choose. For she is not a grinning devil now, not any more a foul Thing for all eternity. No longer she is the devil's Un-Dead. She is God's true dead, whose soul is with Him!
The Draculean connection might not be so far-fetched.

On page 113, we have Manchester staking the original Highgate Vampire in an old manor. He is accompanied by a man named "Arthur". The scene follows thusly:
I raised the mallet in my right hand and as I did I thought I could hear voices chanting on the wind. All the trees around seemed to bend and sway as the air itself filled with sustained chords from a world beyond our own. I clutched the wooden stake in my left hand.
"In God's name strike!" cried Arthur.
With a mighty blow I drove the stake through the creature's heart, then shielded my ears as a terrible roar emitted from the bowels of hell. This died away as suddenly as it had erupted and all became still.
Compare it to the scene in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), in which Arthur Holmwood stakes Lucy in her coffin:
"Go on,"said Arthur hoarsely."Tell me what I am to do."

"Take this stake in your left hand, ready to place to the point over the heart, and the hammer in your right. Then when we begin our prayer for the dead, I shall read him, I have here the book, and the others shall follow, strike in God's name, that so all may be well with the dead that we love and that the Un-Dead pass away."

Arthur took the stake and the hammer, and when once his mind was set on action his hands never trembled nor even quivered. Van Helsing opened his missal and began to read, and Quincey and I followed as well as we could.

Arthur placed the point over the heart, and as I looked I could see its dint in the white flesh. Then he struck with all his might.

The thing in the coffin writhed, and a hideous, bloodcurdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions. The sharp white champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. But Arthur never faltered. He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it. His face was set, and high duty seemed to shine through it. The sight of it gave us courage so that our voices seemed to ring through the little vault.

And then the writhing and quivering of the body became less, and the teeth seemed to champ, and the face to quiver. Finally it lay still. The terrible task was over.
It should be noted that after the Highgate Vampire disintegrates, Manchester and Arthur burn its coffin and remains outside, intoning a prayer consigning the foul being to Hell.

Indeed, as we shall see, the mysterious Luisa and her vampiric manifestation has further parallels to another work of fiction.

Demonologist Changes Robes

After being repeatedly rumbled over at Net Curtains Lurkers, VRS member, "Demonologist", went into a sabbatical, as covered here by Lone Stranger.

I ended up checking out Deme's Blogger profile page for any activity and was somewhat amused by what I found.

I hurriedly reported my findings to Mr. Stranger's blog entry:
It looks like Deme’s slipped off his moniker.

Check out his profile page. He’s gone back to referring to himself as “Vampirologist”!
This prompted Mr. Stranger to write "Demonologist Changes Name – Connects Himself to Manchester!" due to my tip-off.

He also added:
Hey and he forgot himself and linked this screen name directly to his real identity!

Slipping up old boy?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Mystery of Luisa, Pt. 1

"Luisa" is the pseudonym given to a victim of the Vampire in Sean Manchester's The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London's Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985).

Manchester warns us, early on, about the use of fake names (p. 19):
My task would have been easier and more comprehensible to the reader if it was possible to disclose everything in its entirety, but there must be limitations where confidences are involved and I have to omit using names in full where requested.
The smoking gun to the falsity of Luisa's name appears on pp. 45-46:
Among the many people who contacted me as a direct result of this public pronouncement was the sister of a beautiful twenty-two-year-old woman, whom I shall call Luisa.
The attempt to preserve her anonymity is somewhat tempered by photographic depictions of her. Thus, on page 30, she appears seemingly naked from behind, arms outstretched to the ceiling and captioned:
This remarkable picture shows Luisa somnambulating in the dark hours at her Highgate flat
On page 31, she is shown standing amidst some rubble at Highgate Cemetery:
Luisa points to the spot where her sleep-walk ended - before the large iron door which could not be opened but beyond which lay three empty coffins
She is also shown in sultry close up, cleavage exposed and wearing an Iron Cross around her neck on page. 32. The caption, somwhat amusingly, reads:
Luisa, beautiful and innocent as a child, who fell prey to the undead
On page 59, she is shown crouched and pointing at a pentagram drawn into the ground:
Luisa inside a protective circle cut into the ground outside the catacombs feared to be the resting-place of the vampire
She's shown standing with a group including Manchester and Reverend Pauley on page 64:
Reverend Pauley with Luisa and other participants at the purification of objects defiled by Satanists. The chalice and tabernacle can be seen on the table to the left of the picture
Her image is superimposed over the top of an 18th century themed masquerade Manchester can be seen participating in. It gives the illusion of her giant head floating in mid-air (p. 101):
Luisa's image haunted the masquerade - as certainly as some substantial body is perceived in the dark though it cannot be discerned
She gazes into the camera, in front of a tombstone (which she is quite possibly superimposed on top of) on page 141:
The last recorded photograph of Luisa
And lastly, her role was obviously so integral to the case, that a variant of the image on page 32, appears on the front cover. The title page even labels her "Luisa".

I think we can agree that the woman depicted in the photographs was quite clearly meant to be the mysterious Luisa in question.

Except for one problem: it's not her at all.

The VRS's "Luisa" page samples some text from Sean Manchester's Stray Ghosts, an unpublished memoir. Most tellingly, it reveals the following:

She is someone who has never been identified — a photographic model, and much later an actress, portrayed Lusia in representations of her in the case. This was due to the tragic outcome, and a need to preserve her identity in perpetuity.
The question is, why wasn't this bit of disclosure revealed in the original book? Why go to the lengths of "representing" a woman whose identity was meant to be a secret?

And most importantly, why was the model/actress repeatedly labelled "Luisa" if it wasn't actually her?

Talk about deceptive.

However, readers, it looks like Manchester has dispensed with the notion of preverving her identity in "perpetuity".

In his "Luisa" entry for Metaphysical Meanderings, he reproduces an oil painting her made of her "from memory" as well as a photograph of the real-Luisa-deal:

Lusia has never been identified by her real name and, until now, a photograph at the time of my knowing her has not been published. Sufficient decades have perhaps passed to permit one.

Straight from the Cubicles

It seems that the Lone Stranger and his Cubicle Posse have settled into their new surroundings quite nicely.

They've even garnered a mention on Eric Nuzum's blog. He's the author of The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula (2007).

Of particular interest, is Lone's coverage of the VRS Facebook page:
I guess the old boy is watching from somewhere, but is still too much of a coward to post. However, finding himself thoroughly rumbled on Facebook, he’s changed his share link photo to something more generic and pestered Blogger until the altered cover image was taken down.
The picture originally featured on the VRS Facebook page was an inexplicably edited version of the cover of Sean Manchester's The Highgate Vampire (1985).

As Lone notes, it's since been changed.

In my comment to Lone's blog entry, I mentioned that the image they've changed it to, is a colourised version (?) of William Mortensen's "The Vampire" (1936). I've previously dealt with that picture elsewhere.

And, last but not least, Lone has also chronicled the strange "disappearance" of Demonologist from his blog. See: "Monday Morning Clean Up & the Demonologist Vanishes" and "The Demonologist/Sean Disappears – Rumors Fly".

Will Deme surface again? Will he be wearing a new disguise? Only time will tell...


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