Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Kate Jonez
I wish a safe and Merry Christmas to my followers, subscribers, watchers and casual readers. And your loved ones, too. 

You guys are the bridge between me pissing in the wind and having a reason to keep going with this thing. Thank you.

Special wishes to the members of my Facebook group and page. Thank you for your support. To anyone who hasn't joined yet, hope to see you there.

A special Yuletide greeting to my friends, Angie Watkins, Sam, Erin Chapman, Trystan Swale and Matthew Banks. Thank you for your support. I hope Santa rewards you favourably!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Suspended from Posting to Facebook for Three Days

I've just received an announcement from Facebook telling me I'm barred from posting for three days, due to an intellectual property claim issued against me.

A few days ago, I initiated a thread in my Facebook group discussing the recent death of Sylvia Browne, comparing my plight with the one Robert S. Lancaster faced running his Stop Sylvia Browne website:
Not directly related to the Highgate Vampire, but Robert Lancaster is a man I admire and whose delvings into the claims of a paranormalist touches on things I've encountered, myself while writing about the case - the threats to dig up dirt, actual attempts, attempts at discrediting my work through negative rhetoric (Lancaster's website is called "nasty", whereas I am referred to as a "troll" and someone who doesn't ask "genuine questions", etc.) and so on. It's guys like him that inspire me.

And in case you think I'm being tasteless by posting this in the immediate aftermath of Browne's death, it also serves to highlight why we shouldn't glorify the dead who were dodgy in life. Case in point: "And she said, as she says in some of her books, that she will live until she is eighty-eight years old, which is sixteen years from now [2008]." Browne was 77.
Right beneath that post, I posted a link to Hoggwatch, a blog dedicated to stalking me, to illustrate the kind of despicable tactics used to attack me and my research. The blog's byline was formerly credited to "Vebjørn Hästehufvud", who changed his account name to "B .O.S." in the immediate aftermath of my exposé of his dodgy behaviour (which includes using a variety of sockpuppets and stealing the Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society's name).

Overlooking the irony of his action, the true author of the blog opted to report me for posting a link to Hoggwatch—not content from the link, mind you, just the link itself—and in doing so, revealed the actual person behind the sockpuppets:

That's right—Bishop Sean Manchester reported me to Facebook for posting a link to a blog he created, dedicated to stalking me. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the man whose jurisdiction English Old Catholics have placed themselves under. At least, in his own imagination.

I have also taken the liberty of e-mailing Manchester, in accordance with Facebook's request:
Dear Manchester,

Re: you reporting me to Facebook on account of me posting a link to your blog

I am writing in to ask you to restore the content to my Facebook group, i.e. a link to your blog, "Hoggwatch" accompanied by the caption "An example of an attempt at silencing my work". Facebook requests that you email them with your consent, along with the reference number.

I can not fathom why you would report my post for hosting the link, unless you desired to incriminate yourself as its author—in which case, you've succeeded. Well done.


Anthony Hogg
I've done my part. Time for Manchester to do his. I look forward to his reply.

Monday, September 9, 2013


In a recent article for The Spooky Isles, David Farrant reported:
I have been researching stories of ghosts and legends in the area for over 45 years; indeed it was my own letter to a local newspaper in which I detailed a sighting of my own in 1969 which was to inadvertently spark off the vampire hysteria. I described seeing a ghost-like figure through the cemetery gates one night, and within months this had been distorted into a full-blown bloodsucking vampire with which it would forever be confused. This media manipulation was engineered by certain people with no interest in genuine paranormal research, but a very shrewd awareness of the vampire ‘pound’ which was such a lucrative form of currency for freelance journalists and publicity seekers back then – and to the present day.
While Farrant's letter may have "inadvertently" assisted the propagation of the Highgate Vampire legend, Farrant's far from the backseat driver he makes himself out to be. As to "media manipulation", it's true many issues were misrepresented by the press—but Farrant could just as easily be talking about himself.

Firstly, if Farrant has been researching "ghosts and legends in the area for over 45 years"—which takes us just past 1968—he made no disclosure of his prior research when he wrote his original letter to the "local newspaper", actually the Hampstead & Highgate Express. It was published in the paper's 6 February 1970 issue and titled "Ghostly Walks in Highgate." Rather than present himself as a paranormal investigator, he took the tone of a layman—exemplified by his closing statement:
SOME NIGHTS I walk home past the gates of Highgate Cemetery.

On three occasions I have seen what appeared to be a ghost-like figure inside the gates at the top of Swains Lane. The first occasion was on Christmas Eve. I saw a grey figure for a few seconds before it disappeared into the darkness. The second sighting, a week later, was also brief.

Last week the figure appeared, only a few yards inside the gates. This time it was there long enough for me to see it much more clearly, and now I can think of no other explanation than this apparition being supernatural.

I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature.
Even the number of sightings has been distorted—"three occasions", not "one night". 

Second, it didn't take "months" for Farrant's ghost to morph into a vampire. Within three weeks of the letter's publication, Sean Manchester, representing himself as the President of the British Occult Society, proclaimed that the ghost seen about the cemetery was actually a vampire in the Count Dracula mould; a "King Vampire of the Undead, originally a nobleman who dabbled in black magic in medieval Wallachia". Manchester's theory was published as the Hampstead & Highgate Express's 27 February 1970 cover story, "Does a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?"

The vampire angle overshadowed Farrant's ghost. The following week, the paper published another front page story, "Why Do the Foxes Die?" (6 March 1970). This time, Manchester and Farrant appeared together to discuss the connection between dead foxes found in the cemetery in relation to Manchester's vampire theory:
"Several other foxes have also been found dead in the cemetery," he said at his home in Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road, Highgate. "The odd thing is there was no outward sign of how they died.

"Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently learnt all points to the vampire theory being the most likely answer.
"Should this be so, I for one am prepared to pursue it, taking whatever means might be necessary so that we can all rest."
These comments were apparently made to "humour some over-zealous reporter". If his "ghost-like figure" had been "distorted" into a vampire, Farrant was clearly a willing participant.

The events of Friday, 13 March 1970 cemented the Highgate Vampire's infamy. On that night, a large group of people invaded the cemetery in search of the vampire. Shortly before that, Farrant and Manchester were interviewed for ITV's Today program. Here's what Farrant had to say:
Sandra Harris: Did you get any feeling from it? Did you feel that it was evil?

David Farrant: Yes, I did feel it was evil because the last time I actually saw its face, and it looked like it had been dead for a long time.

Sandra Harris: What do you mean by that?

David Farrant: Well, I mean it certainly wasn’t human.
Shortly afterward, mail order clerk, Barry Edwards, 24, stepped forward saying he was the vampire people had been searching for. His role as a vampire—in an amateur film for the Hellfire Film Club—had apparently triggered the sightings (Hampstead & Highgate Express, 20 March 1970, p. 1).

After Edwards' claim—disputed by Manchester and Farrant—coverage of the case died down. That is, until 7 August 1970, when evidence of tomb desecration and Satanic ceremonies was covered in another front page story by the Hampstead & Highgate Express.

On the night of August 17, Farrant was arrested, apparently with the intent to hunt the vampire. The case was trialled at Clerkenwell, but Farrant was acquitted on September 29.

Soon afterward, on October 15, Farrant was interviewed by Laurence Picethly for BBC's 24 Hours. So what did Farrant do after his ghost had "been distorted into a full-blown bloodsucking vampire with which it would forever be confused"? He encouraged it:
David Farrant: We have been keeping watch in the cemetery for … [pauses] … since my court case ended, and we still found signs of their ceremonies.
Laurence Picethly: Have you ever seen this vampire?

David Farrant: I have seen it, yes. I saw it last February, and saw it on two occasions.
Laurence Picethly: What was it like?
David Farrant: It took the form of a tall, grey figure, and it … [pauses] … seemed to glide off the path without making any noise.
The interview was preluded by a re-enactment of what Farrant was doing on the night of his arrest. Watch it from the 2:35 minute mark onward:

The following day, the Evening News published Barry Simmons' story, "Midnight Vigil for the Highgate Vampire." Once again, Farrant romped about the cemetery, armed with cross and stake: "David, 24, was all set, kitted out with all the gear required by an self-respecting vampire hunter. Clutched under his arm, in a Sainsbury's carrier bag, he held the tools of his trade."

In light of these shenanigans, what should we make of Farrant's statement that "media manipulation was engineered by certain people with no interest in genuine paranormal research, but a very shrewd awareness of the vampire ‘pound’ which was such a lucrative form of currency for freelance journalists and publicity seekers back then – and to the present day"?

Well, let's look at a statement Farrant made in 2011:
The worst I did was to go along with another person's innane wild assertions about a 'blood-sucking vampire', but again, this was only because this was the 'angle' the Press and television wanted at the time - 'vampires' apparently selling more newspapers or attracting more interested audiences for TV.
The "vampire 'pound'" is not just a "lucrative form of currency for freelance journalists and publicity seekers"—unless he's lumping himself in that crowd, too. Take a stroll through Farrant's publications and note how many are devoted—or allude—to his involvement in the Highgate Vampire case:

David Farrant - Psychic Investigator

The Spooky Isles article, itself, was obviously written to promote an upcoming talk for London Haunts and Horrors as attested in its postscript. The talk's subject?


While Farrant might lament his association with the Highgate Vampire case, as he recently did after giving a talk at the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena's Seriously Strange Conference—"Unfortunately, the Highgate ‘vampire’ case being so complicated time seemed to slip by so quickly, and there was only time left for two questions at the end"—it's facetious and duplicitous to castigate "freelance journalists and publicity seekers" for chasing the "vampire 'pound'", when he's clearly been doing the same thing for several decades.

Don't get me wrong, though. I've got no issue with Farrant wanting to turn a quid off the thing or enhance his own publicity through it. But at least be honest about it. Don't pass the buck onto others while holding your own hand out, too. Don't bite the hand that feeds.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Release the Tapes!

For several years, Manchester and his sockpuppets have discussed a supposedly incriminating tape in their possession, featuring a discussion between David Farrant and Anthony Arthur "Tony" Hill. It apparently captured Farrant's intent to hoax a ghost story for the local press.

Shortly after covering the controversy on this blog, I confronted Farrant with the claim. He stated that the allegations were untrue, and apparently concocted as revenge for Farrant discussing Hill and Manchester's intent to hoax a vampire story for the press—the one that became the Highgate Vampire case. Considering the magnitude of this allegation, I've wondered why Manchester—or his sockpuppets—have never released the tapes. It'd blow the lid right off their archnemesis, Farrant's, claims and vindicate their frequent, extensive, repetitious and negative commentary about him. To that effect, I also told them to put their money where their mouth was.

Now, Farrant's laid down the guantlet, himself: he's openly challenged Manchester to release the tapes:
Many readers here will be aware of a vindictive claim being desperately circulated on the Internet by a very mentally disturbed person masquerading as a ‘bishop’ and a ‘vampire hunter’ (and who is widely known by the nickname ‘Bonky’ [Farrant's nickname for Sean Manchester] by his friends and enemies alike), that I hoaxed the Highgate Vampire story back in 1970. The fake story being put around by this bonky individual is, that I colluded with one [Anthony] Arthur “Eggmanne” Hill (a close friend and associate of this bonky person) to invent this vampire story and he (the ‘bonky one’) was given a tape recording of myself (secretly recorded by Hill) which could prove this allegation. Well, despite being challenged by many and various people to publish this tape (or tapes) and do just this, the ‘Bonky one’ has declined to do so. Why? - one can only ask! 
Could it be that this is because this tape simply does not exist? Or if there exists such a tape its content is entirely different from the falsified interpretation being circulated by ‘Bonky’? 
People will have to make their own minds up about that if – or when – this alleged recording is ever released. I have no objection to its release. Indeed, I welcome it…But I fear that the only person it could incriminate is the very person who is now admitting to having such a recording.
So, Farrant's given his approval for the public release of these alleged recordings. The ball's in Manchester—and his sockpuppet's—court. If they still refuse to release the recordings despite permission being granted, they should immediately retract their claim, apologise, stop promoting it on various blogs and blog comments, and get off Farrant's back about it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Hand That Feeds

On 1 February 2010, David Farrant wrote:
As to your quip . . . “Without the Highgate vampire case they wouldn’t be talking here at all”, etc, I rather think that relates more to yourself Anthony! You seem unable to talk about little else; notwithstanding its 40-year old history! It is YOURSELF who keeps incessantly referring to this case Anthony – almost like you’ve got some sort of obsession with it!  

I am really not interested in that particular case anymore, Anthony, It is DEAD (excuse the pun!) there are far more many genuine cases of psychic phenomena to be investigated apart from that one!
For someone "really not interested" in the Highgate Vampire case, he certainly doesn't mind cashing off and promoting it, as this item posted on 16 June 2013 reveals:
I gave a Talk on the Highgate Vampire on Thursday evening for the Gothic Valley Women’s Institute (WI) based in North London.  It was at a quiet pub on Hornsey Road where they regularly hold their monthly meetings.  I’m not too sure why they invited myself (although I have heard a rumour that my wife Della ‘loaned’ me to them for the night for an undisclosed sum); but it was probably because I was always considered central to that case when it first broke in the news in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s.  A ‘real life’ vampire lurked in the dark decaying Victorian tombs in Highgate Cemetery – at least, according to some.  Although never to myself.  The British Psychic and Occult Society had only been investigating sightings of a ghost that had been sighted there by several local witnesses: it was certain other people who had approached the local Press at that time claimed that this reported figure was in fact a ‘blood-sucking vampire’, despite them knowing full well that this was a figment of their own imaginations designed to attract the sensationalist Press.
Though Farrant denies association with the vampire theory, he actually presented himself as one of its proponents in 1970. At least, to the "sensationalist Press" he hypocritically chastises:
The worst I did was to go along with another person's innane [sic] wild assertions about a 'blood-sucking vampire', but again, this was only because this was the 'angle' the Press and television wanted at the time - 'vampires' apparently selling more newspapers or attracting more interested audiences for TV. 
The other person alluded to is Sean Manchester. Manchester broadcast the vampire theory in the Hampstead & Highgate Express's 27 February 1970 article, "Does a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?" On 6 March 1970, he and Farrant appeared alongside each other in an article called "Why Do the Foxes Die?":
Tobacconist, Mr. David Farrant, 24, who first reported seeing the ghost last month, returned to the spot last weekend and discovered a dead fox.

"Several other foxes have also been found dead in the cemetery." he said at his home in Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road, Highgate. "The odd thing is there was no outward sign of how they died.

"Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently learnt all points to the vampire theory being the most likely answer.

"Should this be so, I for one am prepared to pursue it, taking whatever means might be necessary so that we can all rest."
The double standard displayed by Farrant regarding his talk to the Gothic Valley Women's Institute was remarked on by Blackorchid AngieWatkins (Angie Watkins):
Yes,well,you have to ignore all that-its part of the Farrants silly affected "false modesty"!I mean the bloke and his wife are publicity mad,so why pretend youre [sic] not?Why not be open and tell the truth about it-if you wish to be in the public eye,come out and say so!Its all phoneyness [sic].
A fair point. Indeed, Farrant's "false modesty" is undermined by the fact that he is: 
  • President of the Highgate Vampire Society
  • A member of "The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society" Facebook group (his wife serves as its co-administrator)
  • The author of Beyond the Highgate Vampire (1991, 1992, 1997), The Vampyre Syndrome (2000), In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire (2009) and interviewed for Return of the Vampire Hunter (2003)
  • Published Patsy Langley's The Highgate Vampire Casebook (2007, 2010) and Don Ecker's Don Ecker's Final Report on the Highgate Vampire (2010)
And the list goes on. It's clear that the Highgate Vampire is Farrant's "bread and butter", so his "false modesty" is duplicitous in the extreme.

Going back to Farrant's 1 February 2010 comment–"You seem unable to talk about little else; notwithstanding its 40-year old history! It is YOURSELF who keeps incessantly referring to this case Anthony – almost like you’ve got some sort of obsession with it!"–obviously applies to Farrant, himself. A classic case of psychological projection

Not only does he still gives talks on the subject, but he's also presently involved in an upcoming film with Kevin Crace called, The Highgate Vampire Chronicles. Indeed, Farrant's comment was made on a forum discussing, yep, you got it: the Highgate Vampire.

This adds another twist to the tale: Farrant's been banking off the Highgate Vampire since 1970. That means he owes his nemesis–Sean Manchester–a huge favour. After all, if Manchester hadn't changed Farrant's ghost into a vampire, would anyone really know who Farrant was? Would he be invited to talks, give lectures, participate in TV shows, documentaries, recycle content in his books?

If Farrant's a victim of the publicity generated by Vampire, he's also the one sticking his neck out for it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Podcast criticism (1)

In the wake of my (first ever!) podcast, criticism's been relatively minor–a good thing, as far as I'm concerned! I believe I presented a fair and balanced assessment of the Highgate Vampire case overall; but I did make a few slip-ups. Nothing major.

However, one long-standing critic–Vebjørn Hästehufvud–suggests my interview was a total disaster. Before I discuss Hästehufvud's criticisms, I'd like to tell you a little more about him.

Notes on Vebjørn Hästehufvud

Likewise, Vebjørn Hästehufvud is my real name, contrary to what a certain person obsessed with the Highgate Vampire falsely alleges. You will not find me using any name other than my real one.
– Vebjørn Hästehufvud, "HIGHGATE! HIGHGATE! HIGHGATE!", 26 February 2013.
Hästehufvud actually writes under several usernames, including "Vampirologist", "Demonologist", "Gothic", "Dennis Crawford", "The Overseer" (not to be confused with my former username) and "Arminius Vámbéry" (Fig. 1; Fig. 2). Not bad in its own right for privacy's sake–except Hästehufvud also pretends they're other people and uses each one to attack critics of Manchester's account. Also, the latter alias was cribbed from a real person.

Fig. 1. Vebjørn Hästehufvud posting under the alias, the alias "Arminius Vámbéry". Source: blog.
Fig. 2. Clicking on the Gravatar profile Hästehufvud used to comment on blog as "Arminius Vámbéry" unravels the deception.

Hästehufvud was a member of "The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society" Facebook group, but was banned for excessive trolling. Soon afterward, he founded his own Highgate Vampire Facebook group called... "The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society". It was co-admined by "Arminius Vámbéry", i.e. himself.

The group is presently administrated by Hästehufvud, "Veritas Aequitas" and Bishop Seán Manchester. Manchester accepted administrative duties, despite knowing its name was stolen.

Hästehufvud describes himself as an "independent researcher", but is strongly pro-Manchester (whom he calls a "friend") and virulently anti-David Farrant. Under his present alias, Hästehufvud writes blogs targeting critics of Manchester's account. I'll highlight two of them.

The first is the The Inhuman Touch, whose title mocks Farrant's blog, The Human Touch. In this case, I use the term "write" very loosely as it's primarily composed of random press clippings supposedly "exposing" Farrant. The entries feature no accompanying text. The scans are reproduced sans citation, context and often incomplete. They were also copied from the Vampire Research Society's "archive".

His other notable blog, Hoggwatch–complete with a picture "found on" my "Microsoft messenger profile" (even though I've never corresponded with with Hästehufvud by email)–is supposedly intended to
monitor this troll's libellous and malicious allegations about Bishop Seán Manchester which appear every day of the year across the internet, invading other people's blogs and forums when he is not posting abuse on his own. Evidence will also be amassed to assist with any future action at law when his location is finally pinpointed to proceed with a prosecution. Any help that could be given in assisting with the locating of Hogg would be greatly appreciated.
Why Hästehufvud needs a blog to "monitor" me is not explained. Hästehufvud's allegation that I post "libellous and malicious allegations about Bishop Seán Manchester" on a daily basis is undermined by the fact that it presently features a single blog entry (30 November 2012) ripe with selective quotes, misrepresentation and deliberate lack of citations, lest the reader appreciate context and double-checking sources. I may address its content at a later time.

In the meantime, I will clarify that the only legal action Manchester has taken against me–even though I've written about the case since 2006–was a string of DMCA takedown notices hypocritically issued against my WordPress blog. Hypocritical in the sense that Manchester frequently violates copyrights, himself.

Hästehufvud vigilantism implies he is acting acting on Manchester's behalf, yet Manchester makes clear that "Nobody is authorised to speak in my stead." Indeed, Manchester has not publicly revealed any desire to pursue an "action at law" against me. Therefore, it's safe to say Hästehufvud has two angles with Hoggwatch: the first is to discredit me through misrepresentation. The second, is to obtain and post personal information about me online. The "location" mention gives the game away.

Hästehufvud has a history of stalking Manchester's critics in this manner, as demonstrated by his blog, The Strange Case of Della Farrant, written under his "Arminius Vámbéry" nom de plume. However, the former approach bears greater relevance to his criticism of my podcast.

Hästehufvud's Criticism of My Podcast

On 5 March 2013, Hästehufvud posted two extensive criticisms of my podcast on Angie Watkins' Facebook group, "HIGHGATE! HIGHGATE! HIGHGATE!". The first will be dealt with in this blog entry. It opens with "On his first and so far only audio interview, Hogg makes no serious criticism of David Farrant and spends his entire time (rather like Farrant himself) attacking Seán Manchester."

Hästehufvud must've overlooked the episode's topic: the Highgate Vampire. Farrant doesn't believe in its existence, despite contemporaneously giving that impression to the press. Farrant's account is also decidedly less-detailed. Manchester, however, promotes it as a real entity. He literally wrote the book on the subject: The Highgate Vampire (1985; rev. edn. 1991). If the interview was skewed in Manchester's direction, that'd be the main reason.

As to "attacking Seán Manchester", Hästehufvud did not clarify what attacks I made–therefore, I can not address the "attacks" directly. His use of the emotive term suggests I vilified him in someway or attacked him, personally. I didn't.

Until he elaborates further, I conclude Hästehufvud confused "attacks" with criticism. I was critical of Manchester's account and credibility–but gave a context for my stance with specific examples. It's a perfectly reasonable approach and entirely consistent with my writings on the case: I critique it.

Let's take the Draculesque elements in Manchester's account and his proclivity for plagiarism as two examples I honed in on. Making references to these traits isn't an "attack": they're criticisms validated by evidence and offered in conjunction with what I was being asked about Manchester's account and credibility. Indeed, at one point, I was asked if Manchester was a "liar". The fact is, Manchester's account is Draculesque and he does plagiarise. It's not an "attack" to discuss facts in context.

Hästehufvud added, "The mistakes Hogg makes are legion. I would need something the size of a small book to address them all." Thing is, Hästehufvud does have "something the size of a small book": his blog, Hoggwatch. I invite Hästehufvud to catalogue the "legion" of mistakes, because his subsequent examples doesn't do the allegation justice.

"For example," Hästehufvud continues, "he talks about the derisory cartoons that feature him without mentioning the somewhat important fact that they are published and distributed by David Farrant and that Seán Manchester is personally and abusively attacked in these self-published booklets under the "BPOS" imprint more than anyone else." This omission wasn't a "mistake". 

I was asked about a character called "Cousin Hoggy" who appears in satirical comic strip, The Adventures of Bishop Bonkers. A mistake implies I slipped-up. I didn't. Instead, it simply didn't occur to me to mention. I was focused on discussing the character on its own terms. The podcast wasn't about a comic book. That said, should I have mentioned that the comic was published through Farrant's imprint, the British Psychic and Occult Society? Maybe. But did I commit a cardinal sin by not mentioning it? No.

There's nothing sinister involved. No cover-up. Hästehufvud may not have known–or deliberately avoided mentioning–that I've previously discussed the comic and its origins on this very blog: "Farrant went onto publish the a 12 page collation of the comics that same year [2007], through his vanity press, British Psychic and Occult Society under the false pretext of 'free speech'. I say 'false pretext' because free speech is not something he adheres to."

"Such details are clearly considered irrelevant by Hogg," Hästehufvud rambled on, "especially as the context of him mentioning the derogatory cartoons occurs during one of his tirades against Seán Manchester." Nonsense. I was asked about a character in the comic; I answered. Hästehufvud suggests that the "cartoons" only targeted Manchester. They don't. Indeed, "Cousin Hoggy" is portrayed as Manchester's sockpuppet; his porcine "Australian cousin" who lives in a billabong. This character is later butchered, eaten by Manchester and Farrant, then gets sent to Hell. If Manchester is treated in a "derogatory" fashion, spare a thought for poor "Cousin Hoggy"!

"Hogg also claims that both Seán Manchester and David Farrant stood as local councillors (being very careful not to identify what they stood for)." Not true. I didn't deliberately avoid mentioning their respective platforms–I offhandedly mentioned their respective standings while discussing the divisiveness of the case; that it's like a "two-party political system" between Manchester and Farrant. Once again, context is important. It wasn't an episode of Meet the Press.

However, if you're curious about what Hästehufvud thinks I should've elaborated on, here goes.

Farrant ran for election under the Wicca Workers Party banner (FoBSM version; Farrant version) in 1978.  As Farrant notes, "One of the main policies in the manifesto was to make Wicca the official state religion.  To this end I called for more power to the Monarchy and a ban on communism, which everyone knows is opposed to any belief in God or religious worship." The FoBSM/Manchester version holds that Farrant's party had fascistic ties.

Manchester, however, stood as an independent under the pseudonym "George Byron". His official aim was to deter development of the South East corner of the Great Northern Cemetery, New Southgate, under the pretext of "conservation" in 1981.

However, according to Manchester's later account, his actual aim was to afford himself more time to locate a suspected "undead lair", "Otherwise, all manner of dilettante would descend upon the place, which would only suspend the young vampire's wanderings and make it dormant until it stirred with some future generation."1 The "young vampire" was (spoiler alert!) "Lusia".

Hästehufvud didn't just take issue with offhand mentions, though. He also tried demonstrating the "paucity" of my "knowledge" about the Highgate Vampire case in my "interview with Trystan Swale (another friend of Farrant)". This–I shit you not–is the actual example he provided:
He claims that Seán Manchester "played sax" at The Woodman, Highgate, in a group called "The Southlanders." Wrong. He played saxophone in a modern jazz group at The Woodman on just a couple of occasions. "The Southlanders" were a completely different bunch of musicians (a showband, in fact) with whom he played regularly at dance hall venues.
Firstly, I'll confess I'm not exactly sure what Swale's relationship with Farrant is, but "friend" doesn't automatically suggest a conspiratorial alliance or lock-step thought process. Swale is not a vocal supporter of Farrant's claims. But if friendship implies collaboration and conspiracy, then Manchester's "friend", Hästehufvud, has a lot to answer for. 

Second, how does Hästehufvud know how many times Manchester played at The Woodman? How does he know that the band Manchester played with at The Woodman wasn't The Southlanders? He didn't say. Then again, neither did Manchester:
It was whilst blowing a long jazz solo on the tenor saxophone in The Woodman, Highgate, where his wife worked some evenings as a barmaid, that Farrant first caught sight of me in 1968. I would remain oblivious to him, however, until the beginning of the next decade. Who knows what went through his mind as he listened to my improvised harmonic structures, accompanied by a perspiring rhythm section, in that dimly lit venue for modern jazz aficionados?2
Until Manchester speaks up, it'll remain unconfirmed. In the meantime, I'll clarify The Southlanders issue. Swale and I briefly discussed the first time Manchester and Farrant met. To elaborate further, Farrant claims Manchester approached him in the late 1960s; Manchester claims he was "oblivious" to Farrant's presence there was while he was blowing his "improvised harmonic structures". However, both agree their paths first crossed at The Woodman while Manchester played gigs there. I said the name of Manchester's band was The Southlanders. That's it. That's Hästehufvud's evidence for saying I barely know anything Highgate Vampire case. You couldn't make this stuff up, folks.

So, what was my Southlanders reference? A picture Manchester captioned "The Southlanders showband for whom I played tenor saxophone" ("The Sixties", Metaphysical Meanderings). Same decade, same sax type. Bit of a leap, sure, but not a huge one. If I'm wrong, no biggie.

Hästehufvud then sashayed from pathetic trivialities to swipes at my geographic location: "If internet users are going to rely on the retelling of history through the voice of somebody on the other side of the world like Anthony Hogg who has never set eyes on England and has never met one person involved in the Highgate Vampire case, then heaven help us all."

Yes, I've never "set eyes on England". I've never met anyone involved in the Highgate Vampire case. Know how I make up for that? Corresponding with people involved and reading what they've written about the case. I also consult various sources (that's a partial list), then compare and contrast what's being said. Weight it up. Seek verification. If needed, I'll also make further queries. It's called "research" and "investigation". Hästehufvud doesn't understand these concepts, as he's content regurgitating pro-Manchester material under various aliases.

Hästehufvud concludes the first round of his criticism with "Anthony Hogg is a complete waste of time. He is someone trying to make a name for himself off the back of public figures already known in their own right."Am I, though?

When I began writing about the case, I didn't seek fame. When I started my own forum on 22 September 2006 I wrote posts as "The Overseer". On the very same day, my forum title was stolen and my username copied. That was the first obvious sign this wasn't gonna be an easy patch of grass to maintain.

Nonetheless, I carried my username and title over to this blog. I viewed the case as a hobby; something to banter about, seek info on, that kind of thing. At that point, interaction was sparse. I'd barely get comments on this blog–I thought I was pissing in the wind. But that didn't matter, because I wrote about this thing out of personal interest. Little did I know how many other people were reading it, too. That became apparent when I installed the "Total Pageviews" gadget. I'd gotten thousands of hits. Even so, I didn't want to relinquish my privacy. I'd still likely be using an alias–if my real name hadn't been publicly revealed under malicious circumstances.

They'd obviously tried–like Hästehufvud and his stalker blog–to deter my investigations into the case by violating something I hold dear: my privacy. It's the Highgate Vampire case version of Scientology's "Fair Game" policy. In this case, you get blogs like Friends of David Farrant and Friends of Bishop Seán Manchester. I'm featured on both. If I'm "trying to make a name" for myself "off the back of public figures already known in their own right", then they ripped me from the bowels of obscurity and cast me into the spotlight. Thanks, guys!

This free publicity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, I'll garner negative attention. Hoggwatch was created to make sure I do. On the other, it means my name gets "out there" and people gain a greater familiarity with my work. Kai Roberts didn't consult some random when he asked me to look over the Highgate Vampire chapter in his 2011 book, Grave Concerns: The Follies and Folklore of Robin Hood's Final Resting Place. Trystan Swale didn't pick me out of a hat for a podcast. If I wanted "fame" for anything, it's the merit of my work. To that effect, what I do is successful.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment of "Podcast Criticism"!

1. Sean Manchester, The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London's Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985), 121–130.
2. Seán Manchester, The Vampire Hunter's Handbook: A Concise Vampirological Guide (London: Gothic Press, 1997), 10–11.

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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My first podcast

Unseen films
On Valentine's Day at 11am, I was interviewed by Trystan Swale for Fortean radio. As you may've gathered from its mention here, we discussed the Highgate Vampire case. It's the first podcast I've ever done–hell, it's the first time I've ever been interviewed about the case.

Apart from nerves, and learning how to use Skype, my main concern with the interview was not having enough to say. 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.

Thankfully, years of reading about this thing prepared me well. It turns out my brain isn't like a sieve; it's just that I'm not used to talking about it 'out loud'. You see, my friends have an idea about what I do–some have read my blogs and are aware of the way I've been stalked on account of my criticisms–but as they're generally not interested in that sort of thing, so I keep mum about it. Most of my discussion about the case is online.

It's even weird saying 'David Farrant' and 'Sean Manchester' out loud, too, like they're hushed words discussed in the darkest recesses of the 'net.

Nonetheless, I think I handled myself well. If anything, I probably had too much to say. There are so many twists, turns and details about the case, I had to try making it as comprehensive, comprehensible and linear as possible. That's hard to do, when you've got two primary conflicting narratives; not to mention a raft of peripheral material to draw upon.

Thankfully, Trystan put me at ease–not only in the lead-up to it, but afterward, too. By that point, I felt like I needed a stiff drink. Anyway, I hope you like it. Here's a teaser. The interview will be out on 1 March. I'll post up the link when it's ready. Stay tuned!

Update (2 March 2013)

The podcast's release is now scheduled for 3 March.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


This blog has been dormant because I decided to concentrate my writings to a WordPress blog, also called Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?. Unfortunately, that won't be happening any more.

While I was on a trip to Adelaide between 5–12 Janaury, I tried accessing my blog, only to be greeted with this:

Let's say, I wasn't pleased by this turn of events. Nonetheless, I was touched by words of support from my readers. One SMSed me (07-Jan-13 12:34am):
Hi Bud, is everything ok, I see the blogs gone.....was it the potty prelate?
To which I replied (07-Jan-13 8:02am):
I'm looking into that but yes it was him
The reader wrote back (07-Jan-13 9:40am),
What a wanker , can you put it back up somewhere else?
I replied (07-Jan-13 9:50am),
I have to count on it being backed up by wordpress or I have to start from scratch 
The reader added (07-Jan-13 1:40pm),
Hope it is mate...the bloke really is a total cock, I honestly dont know how he can be such a blatant hypocrite!
I'm not going to disclose the identity of this 'potty prelate', 'wanker', 'total cock' and 'blatant hypocrite'. On an unrelated note, in the lead up to my blog's closure, I was subjected to repeated DMCA takedown notices issued by Sean Manchester.

It began when I critiqued Manchester's 'Tamás Ország' entry for his blog, Bishop † Seán † Manchester:  questions & answers (21 December 2012). Manchester's entry discussed candidates for the identity of the Highgate Vampire. One of them was 'a Russian immigrant shoemaker/leather worker called Mikhail Oleg Ostrog'.

My critique, 'Jack the Vampire?' (22 December 2012), exposed several anomalies in Manchester's entry: firstly, it had been plagiarised from ProBoards group, The Highgate Vampire. Second, 'Mikhail Oleg Ostrog' is actually Michael Ostrog: a Jack the Ripper suspect; something Manchester hadn't realised. Third, the Ostrog timeline was at odds with the 18th century date Manchester has suggested for his vampire's origins. Fourth, Ostrog's appearance didn't match his vampire, either.

To illustrate the latter point, I contrasted a photograph included in Manchester's book, The Highgate Vampire (1991)1 with contemporary pictures of Ostrog. As the reproduction was smaller than the picture's original resolution, and it was being used for critical purposes, I thought I'd be automatically safe on Fair Use principles. Nonetheless, that picture's inclusion triggered Manchester's initial takedown notice against me (DMCA #1414831).

Shortly after receiving the claim, I noticed some substantial–and undisclosed–revisions had taken place on Manchester's 'Tamás Ország' blog entry. Not only did he now dispute the likelihood of Ostrog's connection to the Highgate Vampire, but he also included the same source (Casebook: Jack the Ripper) and primary image I did in my post, to refute their association! In other words, Manchester was content with not only forcing me to remove and image off my blog–he also stole my findings!

I didn't mince words with my follow-up entry, 'Bishop reports me for copyright violation; then steals my findings' (27 December 2012). To illustrate the difference between Manchester's original entry and the post-DMCA takedown notice version, I posted screencaps of the original and updated notice.

Soon afterward, I received another DMCA takedown notice (#1418569), demanding the two screencaps be removed. Manchester had reported me. Again.

Evidentially, the final straw for came when I included a photograph of Manchester in my 3 January 2013 post, 'Lie detector developments'. The picture was sent to me by Manchester's former friend, Kevin Chesham. It showed Manchester, in a cowboy hat, on his 63rd birthday. Chesham assured me the picture was his copyright.

Despite clearly captioning the photo with relevant copyright info, Manchester issued another DMCA takedown notice against me–which was evidentially one too many for, who promptly suspended my blog.

I should mention that I did try challenging these notices, but I was repeatedly placed a very difficult position: in order to file a DMCA counter-notice, one is required to forward their personal details along (home address, etc.), which is then passed onto the claimant. As much as I know Manchester would love having my details because I'm sure he wouldn't abuse them, I declined. Purely on those grounds, not because I didn't feel I had a right to reproduce any of the imagery discussed.

In the first two instances, I wound up removing the pictures. I also (literally) blacked out the screencaps. Each was overlaid with an explanatory message explaining the reason for removal of the originals.

There wasn't anything I could do with the latest claim, because by that point, my blog was no longer publicly accessible. Even providing Chesham's details in lieu of mine–which he said was ok–wasn't good enough for them.

I suggested handing my details over to a third party ( They didn't go for it. How about removing the Cowboy Manchester pic and refraining from publishing potentially DMCA-violating images in future? No dice.

And that's where we're at: my WordPress blog––which had been active since 2009, is dead. Long live the blog!

My primary concern throughout all this, however, was preserving my content. It's not like I could go back and save the pages, as I do for the items I link to. I really should've done that, in hindsight.

Anyway, through the darkness, a saving grace emerged. It turns out allows a special file to be saved in the event of blog closures. A special file that preserves text (but not pictures unfortunately), should the owner of the blog want their writing hosted elsewhere...

That's why my WordPress blog lives, breathes and jumps again.You can read 'Jack the Vampire?' and 'Bishop reports me for copyright violation; then steals my findings' over there. 'Lie detector developments' is there, too–albeit with no picture. For now.

So, nice try Sean–but you can't suppress the truth. It always finds a way.

1. Photo captioned, 'Pictures showing the vampire in stages of rapid decomposition which were televised in 1990. Only after exorcism was capture on film possible', S Manchester, The Highgate vampire: the infernal world of the undead unearthed at London’s Highgate Cemetery and environs, rev. edn, Gothic Press, London, 1991, p. 144.


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