Sunday, 13 December 2009

One, Two or Three Vampire Sightings?

"For a start, my letter to the Ham and High in 1970 badly misquoted myself (not deliberately I concede). I did not say that I had seen the figure (ghost) ‘on three occassions’: I was describing a figure that I said ‘had been seen on at least three occasions’. This is true – it had. But on these occasions, the witnesses were other people whom I had witnessed by this time." - David Farrant (Arcadia, 12 December 2009)

Is it really plausible that Farrant's letter was so monstrously altered by the editor of a highly respectable newspaper to mean something quite different to what he had actually written? Is it likely that Farrant would not have insisted on having such a tampered version corrected in the following week's issue if this had really happened? There is no record of him having asked for any such correction. There is no record of an amendment appearing even though his contact with that newspaper remained ongoing for the next few weeks. There are records of Farrant sticking with his personal "three sightings" account until October of that year when it suddenly reduced to "two sightings." Now it has become "one sighting." One is bound to wonder whether a further passing of time will establish "no sighting"?

What certainly exists as evidence from early 1970 is what Farrant wrote in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 February 1970:

"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. The second sighting, a week later, was also brief. Last week, the figure appeared, only a few yards inside the gate. This time it was there long enough for me to see it much more clearly."

The next month Farrant stated to Today interviewer Sandra Harris on British television: "The last time I actually saw its face." Does this not suggest there was a time previous to the one he is referring to in that interview? I sense it does. But there is more. There is the BBC's 24 Hours interview broadcast on 15 October 1970.

Laurence Picethly’s interview with Farrant for BBC television was sandwiched between footage of the President of the British Occult Society that had been filmed at the society’s north London headquarters and on location at Highgate Cemetery. The man representing the British Occult Society was obviously not Farrant even though the latter would fraudulently adopt that title two years later. In fact, the British Occult Society had distanced itself from what Farrant was doing as far back as March 1970. The interview Farrant gave in late 1970 is important, however, because there are no editors for him to blame for altering what he had written in published correspondence to a newspaper. In the BBC programme he is seen speaking to the interviewer and the viewing public. The words can be heard from his own mouth and there is no escaping what he said.

Here is the 24 Hours television interview Farrant gave in October 1970:

Laurence Picethly: “On August the seventeenth, Allan [known locally as ‘Allan’ - his correct name being ‘David’] Farrant decided to pay a midnight visit to the cemetery to combat the vampire once and for all. At the cemetery, Farrant was forced to enter by the back wall [footage shows Farrant entering via the rear of the cemetery], as he still does today. He armed himself with a cross and stake, and crouched between the tombstones, waiting. But that night police, on the prowl for vandals, discovered him. He was charged with being in an enclosed space for an unlawful purpose, but later the Clerkenwell magistrate acquitted him. Now, in spite of attempts by the cemetery owners to bar him, Farrant and his friends [no friends were discovered by the police or subsequently identified by Farrant] still maintain a regular vigil around the catacombs in hope of sighting either the vampire or a meeting of Satanists.”

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.”

Farrant's interview ends at this point. It is reproduced above in its entirety.

Farrant was acquitted of the charge that had led to his arrest, it being that he was found in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. Highgate Cemetery is obviously not “an enclosed area” and that is all he was charged with in August 1970. The BBC report now returns to the President of the British Occult Society.

Three things are of significance in that BBC television interview from October 1970.

The reconstructed footage of what Farrant was doing on the night of 17 August 1970 clearly shows him hunting a vampire with a rosary around his neck, a large cross in one hand and a sharpened wooden stake in the other hand. There is no ambiguity about what led to his arrest in this report where he is featured reconstructing what he was doing at the time of his arrest at midnight in Highgate Cemetery. The image above is taken from the 24 Hours programme as Farrant reconstructs the actions which led to his arrest.

The second thing of significance is that when Laurence Picethly asks whether Farrant had ever seen the vampire, Farrant dis not attempt to correct the person interviewing him by saying it was something other than a vampire. Nor did Farrant make clear that he did not believe in vampires, or that what he witnessed was not a vampire. Indeed, this section of 24 Hours was titled Vampires.

The third thing of significance is that when asked if he had seen the vampire Farrant responded: “I have seen it, yes. I saw it last February, and saw it on two occasions.” He can be heard saying that he had two sightings of the vampire in early 1970, but in the interview he gave Andrew Gough for Arcadia Farrant states that he had only one sighting and this was in December 1969, not February 1970 as stated by him in his BBC television appearance some four decades ago.

So was it one, two or three sightings Farrant had in 1970 of the infamous Highgate Vampire? He nowadays tries to disingenuously convince everyone that he never claimed any belief in vampires and did not attempt to hunt one in Highgate Cemetery with a cross and stake. Images of him from newspaper articles at the time tell an entirely different story. A small sample appear below:


Sunday, 6 September 2009

He Avoids Ugly Ones

In this 1994 News of the World report about David Farrant are claims about his prowess as a "High Priest" of witchcraft. Yet today Farrant states he abandoned wiccan beliefs and ceased to be a witch as far back as 1982. He is also described as "a High Priest of the British Occult Society." The British Occult Society had no "High Priests" and existed purely to examine hidden phenomena. Furthermore, David Farrant owed absolutely no association with the British Occult Society who were quick to refute his fraudulent claims wherever they appeared. (Click on these press cuttings to read them more easily).


Friday, 28 August 2009

Prison Correspondence from Lone Vampire Hunter

Prison correspondence (with the envelope in which it arrived that was sent care of an address where David Farrant had been ensconced in a coal bunker belonging to its occupant, Tony Hill, in Archway Road) from "A D Farrow" (a pseudonym given to police by Farrant when he was arrested in Highgate Cemetery on the night of 17 August 1970) to Seán Manchester, president of the British Occult Society, an organisation for the study and research of hidden phenomena.

"speak for me. I don't know if they have" [missing words from top line]

Below is a signed note written a week prior to the prison correspondence that was hand-delivered by David Farrant to the north London office of the British Occult Society for the attention of its president.

And below is a much later sample of David Farrant's still very recognisable handwriting in 2005 as it appears on the label of unsolicited mail sent to Keith Maclean care of the "Holy Grail Church."