Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I recently discussed Della Farrant's comments on Kai Roberts' write-up of the Highgate vampire case. She took issue with the coverage Roberts gave to David Farrant's 1970 trial for being in an 'enclosed area for an unlawful purpose', i.e. intending on breaking into tombs [to stake a vampire] at Highgate Cemetery.

I contrasted her criticism—'. . . when referring to David Farrant’s arrest for ‘vampire hunting’ in 1970, Kai omits a crucial point. David was, as everybody will remember, acquitted of this charge. The charge itself was being [caught] in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose'—with what he actually wrote, and quoted a relevant passage.

However, my counter was a bit short-sighted. Roberts wrote more on the case than I realised at the time of writing the blog entry. I should've paid closer attention to his text. My goof. Anyway, here's what he added:
When Farrant's case finally came to trial, he was discharged after his lawyer successfully argued that hunting a vampire was not in itself unlawful and that a cemetery did not satisfy the legal definition of an enclosed space.1
It's this particular definition Della was unsatisfied with, which is why she added:
Kai was apparently misinformed when he summarises that David was acquitted on 2 technicalities, namely the definition of an enclosed area, and the fact that it is not actually illegal to hunt a vampire. This was not in fact the case. The main indictment in that case was the element of unlawful purpose. That was the only reason David was arrested by police who attempted to persuade the court that his purpose was to break open coffins in search of the reputed vampire. The police evidence (again given under oath) was that David had later told the arresting officer that he intended to drive a wooden stake through the vampire’s heart and then ‘run away’ . . . However…David denied making this statement, in court, and the stipendary [sic] magistrate obviously did not believe the police evidence and so the unlawful purpose element was thrown out of court. The conclusion is clear: that David was not acquitted because it is not illegal to hunt vampires, but because the court did not believe that he was trying to do so in the first place. To inadvertently misguide the reader over this important point is regrettable, as it contrasts sharply with many of Kai’s other points which he has investigated thoroughly.
If Roberts was 'apparently misinformed' about this matter, the 'blame' falls squarely on his source: 'Ellis, p26'2, i.e. Bill Ellis' 'The Highgate Cemetery vampire hunt: the Anglo-American connection in satanic cult lore' (1993). Though the source isn't directly correlated with her critique, he does cop a serve—on an entirely different matter: his 'angle regarding the validity of contemporary claims that most of the damage at Highgate Cemetery during the late 1960s and early 1970s was caused by “adolescent gangs expressing rebellion to adult norms or carrying out dares or hoaxes.”'

While her criticism of the way Roberts covered Farrant's acquittal seems reasonable, one can only wonder why she sidestepped Roberts' coverage of the trial's aftermath. After focusing so much on this aspect of the case, you'd think she'd have something to say about it:
Following his acquittal, Farrant made his intention to continue hunting the vampire perfectly clear. The ensuing blaze of publicity saw him holding a nocturnal vigil in the cemetery, accompanied by a reporter [Barrie Simmons] from the Evening News. The article was published on 16th October under the headline "Midnight date with Highgate's Vampire", alongside photographs of Farrant wielding a cross and stake.3
Indeed, Farrant's 10 January 2012 comment to a recent Hampstead & Highgate Express article boasts this event as the first time the cemetery's undead denizen was explicitly labelled the 'Highgate Vampire':
As a matter of interest, the title “The Highgate Vampire” first appeared in an article published in connection with myself in the London Evening News on October 16th 1970. This headline ran “Midnight Vigil for the Highgate Vampire” [sic] and followed a BBC television transmission the evening before which featured myself and my investigation into a ‘vampire-like figure’ that had been sighted in and around Highgate Cemetery.
Roberts mentions the transmission—and Farrant's 'investigation', too:
The previous day, the BBC had broadcast a segment on events at the cemetery as part of their flagship current affairs programme, 24 Hours. It featured reconstructions of both Manchester's exorcism in the vault and Farrant's fateful vampire hunt of 17th August, in which he is once again seen brandishing a cross and stake.4
Farrant's YouTube channel features relevant 'excerpts' from this episode—with Manchester's participation cut-out:

Fortunately, Kev Demant's website provides a full transcript of the vampire segment. Instead of an 'investigation into a "vampire-like figure" that had been sighted in and around Highgate Cemetery', the clip features a much more literal rendering: 'Now, in spite of all attempts by the cemetery owners to bar him Farrant and his friends still maintain a regular vigil (of the ?) catacombs in the hope of sighting either the vampire or the Satanists.' Not the first time Farrant's commentary on contemporary coverage doesn't tally with what's represented.

That said, the Simmons article appears to be the first public source to confirm Farrant's unbelief in vampires. At least in 'the commercial sense of the word'; mainly because Farrant clearly believes in a different type of vampire. This explains why he repeatedly emphasises 'bloodsucking vampires' when ridiculing Manchester's account; to take the heat off his own vampiric allusions and publicity-seeking antics. Perhaps Della's critique should've been asking: who was 'inadvertently' misguiding who?

1. K Roberts, Grave concerns: the follies and folklore of Robin Hood's final resting place, CFZ Press, Bideford, U.K, 2011, p. 96.  
2. ibid., p. 196, n 39. 
3. ibid., p. 96. 
4. ibid.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ja, mein Bischof!

Kevin Chesham - Triathlete
There've long been rumours of a 'nazi room' in Sean Manchester's house. In a comment on his son's blog, David Farrant says: 'The mysterious 'black magic Nazi room' is of course an open secret by now and has been witnessed by many many people, the nazi paraphernalia included.'

However, little has been provided in the way of evidence—no witnesses are named; no photographs shown. Indeed, it's difficult to determine how this rumour began. 

About the best 'proof' I've seen for Manchester's Right-wing sympathies was his involvement in the 'phoney Nazi scandal'—covered by Kev Demant—and his plagiarised blog entry about US President, Barack Obama. The subsequent cover-up didn't help Manchester's case, either.

Until recently, it's been slim pickings, evidence-wise. But the ante's been raised by Kevin Chesham—a former friend of Manchester's—with the publication of the first extract from his upcoming autobiography. His allegations are startling, to say the least:
Sean was a fellow lifeguard and we became friendly. The season at Finchley ended in September and the pool closed. Sean went back to his milk round, but he was sacked and reinvented himself as Lord Manchester, attempting to take candid photographs of passers by, and accosting them for money. He was pitched up on Holloway Road next to a newspaper stall run by a friend of his, known locally as the Eggmane.1 Sean was told by the police to cease this behaviour on pain of arrest; he then came to me (I was now working at Hornsey Road Public Baths) asking if I could get him a job as a lifeguard.
And that's the tip of the iceberg. From thereon in, Chesham's recollections become decidedly more sinister:
He [Sean] was a great coach but a hard taskmaster. If I was not training hard enough he used to shout "Schnell, schnell ...dummkopfen English, eggs and bacon Englishman”, and when he really got angry..."You vill be shot at dawn"... At the time, I thought it was just his strange sense of humour, although I did find it somewhat disturbing, and it was certainly embarrassing as he often shouted this sort of thing in public (at that stage).
We're then lead to the 'phoney Nazi scandal', coverage of his Church's membership and his animosity toward Farrant. Chesham claims Manchester 'was always very reluctant to discuss the Highgate Vampire case at group dinners et cetera', but I'm aware of one notorious exception. What's particularly disturbing, however, is the kind of table talk Manchester (allegedly) would make:
but I do remember that often, just when the conversation was being diverted away, he would find some reason to slip in one of his favourite Goebbels quotes; that is: "If you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." I never had much interest in the vampire business by which Sean made his name, but I do recall that whenever he used this phrase, even in unrelated contexts, he and Eggmanne would smile and exchange knowing looks, which made the rest of the party feel rather left out and uncomfortable through their ignorance.
Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945)—for those not-in-the-know—was the Minister for Propaganda under the Nazi regime and 'one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers'.

It gets worse from there. Chesham claims Manchester implied violent actions should be taken against Farrant, 'as long as there was no actual involvement or come back for him.' There's also a discussion on alleged 'cyber warfare':
He boasted about the list of aliases inscribed upon it, and how he used them regularly in a form of cyber warfare, in that, as he described it, he would search the internet for any forum which mentioned himself, David Farrant, or the Highgate Vampire. His modus operandi as he described it was to create an argument, then argue against it under up to 4 or 5  aliases until the conversation got so heated that the forum was closed down.
This certainly puts Craig Adams' compilation of usernames in a whole new light. In internet lingo, such 'identities' are called sockpuppets; 'online identit[ies] used for purposes of deception.'

At this point, you might be wondering why Chesham still chose to remain friends with Manchester, if these allegations hold water. According to him, the turning point came when he and his wife were visiting Manchester for Christmas dinner in 2007. While there, they were invited to a 'locked room upstairs' and—take a look at the photos in Chesham's extract. You'll see for yourself.

As of this writing, Manchester hasn't commented on Chesham's allegations, but is certainly aware of them. But a blogger named 'Steatoda Nobilis' has risen to the challenge. Previously known for their blog, Friends of David Farrant, a compilation of photographs publicly identifying many of Farrant's alleged friends—many of which have been cribbed from Facebook pages—recently created a blog called Kevin Chesham — Triathlete (not to be confused with Chesham's blog of the same name). It is frequently revised, but clearly intends to give the impression that Chesham, himself, has—or had—fascist sympathies, too.

The anonymous blogger's counter-'evidence', however, is flimsy at best. For instance, one entry states, 'Kevin Chesham paying homage to Adolf Hitler in Berlin, a place he has visited many times', but the only 'homage' shown, is Chesham standing next to a picture of Hitler.

Interestingly, the blogger suggests a personal familiarity with Chesham, even though no such thing is disclosed in their profile or in the blog. Apart from reproducing pictures not found in other online sources, Nobilis is even able to provide dates ('Kevin Chesham posing in a blackshirt alongside Third Reich militaria in 2003') and reproduces a letter allegedly written by Chesham in 1998. Unfortunately, many of the images are tainted by Nobilis's horrible 'photoshop' skills.

Interestingly, Nobilis' profile mentions spiders of their genus are 'have a reputation for biting people, although in truth, this is quite a rare occurrence', adding, 'You would need to be very unlucky, or go out of your way to be bitten. They only bite if mishandled or provoked.' What Chesham—or Farrant's friends, for that matter—have done to 'mishandle' or 'provoke' Nobilis, remains unclear.

Further counter-allegations have been made by a member of the Facebook group I co-admin, The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society. Vebjørn Hästehufvud, despite professing no affinity with Manchester, also makes tends to make claims on his behalf, like the following explanation for the prevalence of Nazi paraphernalia in Manchester's house:
He has militaria from medieval times right up to the two world wars. From what I can see, there is little space given to 20th century militaria by comparison to previous centuries of similar material. Anyone visiting would obviously know that, and pictures taken in most of the larger rooms (which he has uploaded) show the 19th century predominating.
This doesn't explain the silver frames surrounding a picture of Adolf Hitler and an article titled 'One in four Germans admires the Nazis' (Daily Mail, 18 October 2007). Nor does it explain the prevalence of Nazi paraphernalia or books. Hästehufvud's idea of a 'little space' is an entire wall and bookshelf crammed with writings about der Führer; mingled with works on vampirism, horror and the occult, no less.

Interestingly, one of the photographs features a portrait of Manchester wearing an armband representing the Christian Nationalist Movement. 'Raggety', a contributor to Chesham's blog suggests the picture was taken 'opposite the house of Br [sic] Sean’s late parents!' This, despite Manchester's claim that 'at no time owed political affiliation to any party', adding 'I have absolutely no faith in the political system and suspect I would be found unacceptable to most parties making an approach today as my allegiance is not to Caesar but to God.'

In that case, you gotta wonder why Manchester's name appears here, especially as he's also the patron of The English Society, which was 'Inspired by a love for English culture, language, history, heritage and Christian Faith with a sense of pride in all that is unique and wonderful about England and the English people', and lined with alarmist articles.

According to Raggety's comments on Chesham's extract, the final work will be 'a free E-Book', although a publication date has not been set.

1. 'Eggmanne' [sic] is mentioned several times in Chesham's extract. I'm not sure why Chesham sticks to the pseudonym, as 'Eggmanne''s identity was already established in Seán Manchester's The vampire hunter's handbook: a concise vampirological guide, Gothic Press, London, pp. 62–3: Tony Hill [Anthony Arthur Robert Hill]. The book is also cited on Manchester's Holy Grail Church website. See: http://www.holygrail-church.fsnet.co.uk/FarrantFacts.htm 

Demant also discusses the Hill-Eggman connection—see: http://plan9.150m.com/whiteghost.htm—and Farrant refers to 'The Eggmanne' as 'an old friend of mine', see: http://davidfarrant.org/TheHumanTouch/?p=645.


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