Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Did a vampire really haunt Highgate Cemetery? No. Of course it didn't.

If you have the sort of memory that retains the details of two year old blog posts, then you may recall that back here I wrote of how my attempts to get on a Highgate Cemetery walking tour, in order to see the parts of the site that were used for location filming in Taste the Blood of Dracula, were thoroughly rebuffed by the stuffy chap at the gate.

Taken out of context, there's something a bit silly about the phrase Taste the Blood of Dracula, and saying it in public on a sunny Sunday morning in Highgate when there are people about walking their dogs and throwing bread to the ducks only makes it seem even sillier.
So I had initially said that I had wanted to see the grounds because they were used in "a film".

That's all the guy needs to know, right? I'm a film enthusiast, soaking up my country's artistic heritage. He probably doesn't know anything about that side of things anyway.
"Which one?" he asked, immediately zeroing in on my embarrassed evasion, his eyes darting across my face, as if looking for an exposed point through which to bore into my brain.
"Taste the Blood of Dracula," I said.
Perhaps I should have said "Taste the Blood of Dracula, sir," because at that moment his face hardened and I felt like I'd just gone into George Woodbridge's pub and asked him if he knew the way to the castle.
"Oh," he said, "We don't mention that."
And that was that.

At the time I put his attitude down to distaste at the idea of this splendid London landmark being recalled purely for its use in a tawdry 'orror movie. But an interesting comment I received a little while ago from a chap called Anthony Hogg suggests an alternative explanation:

The likely reason why the tour guide didn't want to speak about the movie is because of the vampire association.
The Friends of Highgate Cemetery aren't keen on 'exploiting' that aspect of the cemetery's history, because of the vandals the Highgate Vampire media coverage attracted. Indeed, the FoHC was formed to clean up the mess they left behind.

I followed the link to Mr Hogg's name and found myself being dragged, stage by jaw-dragging stage, into one of the weirdest and most embarrassing sagas of mass-crankery I had ever encountered: the strange case of The Highgate Vampire.

How could it have been that I had never heard all this before?
I had lived in the area involved for over five years. I knew that Stoker had set the vampirised Lucy loose on nearby Hampstead Heath in Dracula, and had name-checked The Spaniard's Inn, one of my locals. (As, incidentally, does Dickens in The Pickwick Papers and Dennis Wheatley in The Forbidden Territory.) I knew of Lizzie Siddal and her ghostly hair that supposedly still grew after death, filling her Highgate Coffin.
Come to think of it, I was even familiar with one of the actual protagonists in the Highgate Vampire affair, the eccentric fantasist and Van Helsing-for-hire Bishop Sean Manchester. I remember reading a review of one of his books in which it was pointed out that what he described as a "remarkable photograph of a vampire in the final stages of dissolution" was in fact a shot of the special effects make-up created for a tv movie version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

But somehow I had completely missed the fact that my neighbourhood, in the early 1970s, had become the focus of national media attention over a fabricated mass-delusion whipped up from literally nothing that did considerable damage to the historic cemetery and resulted in criminal prosecutions over grave violations and lifelong feuds between the main protagonists.
It's one of those utterly compulsive stories of human folly, like the Hitler Diaries, or the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? coughing scandal.

Another scoop for 'Sun Reporter'

It all kick-started in 1970 when a paranormal investigator called David Farrant (the other key player in the story besides Manchester) wrote a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express saying that he had been passing by the cemetery and seen a grey, supernatural figure. He ended his letter by asking if any of the newspaper's readers had seen anything similar.
The request brought forth a plethora of earnest first hand accounts,  all telling totally different stories of totally different otherworldly encounters with totally different spectral entities, no two letters alike. According to Wikipedia, they included "a tall man in a hat, a spectral cyclist, a woman in white, a face glaring through the bars of a gate, a figure wading into a pond, a pale gliding form, bells ringing and voices calling."
So either Highgate Cemetery was a sort of nightclub for ghouls of all nations, a bit like in the film The Monster Club, or it was obvious from the get-go that this was a story with no foundation but a potentially hazardous appeal to exhibitionists and oddballs.

As if to prove the point, it was at this stage that Manchester stepped in. He told the Hampstead and Highgate Express, without any cited evidence, that a Romanian nobleman-occultist had come to England 150 years before, been buried on the site of Highgate Cemetery and was now "a King Vampire of the Undead", operating from the grounds of the cemetery.
Lest readers might begin to worry that Manchester might be a few shillings shy of the grand total, he showed his reasonable side by explaining that he would like to solve the borough's vampire problems in "the traditional and approved manner: drive a stake through its heart with one blow just after dawn, chop off the head with a gravedigger's shovel and burn what remains." The only snag in the plan, he acknowledged sadly, was that it would be illegal. Bloody red tape.

Despite the fact that a Romanian nobleman-occultist in fact hadn't come to England 150 years before or been buried on the site of Highgate Cemetery, and therefore was in all likelihood not now "a King Vampire of the Undead" operating from the grounds of the cemetery, the story began to attract interest outside of the normal circle of bored North Londoners who made up the general readership of the Hampstead and Highgate Express. 
Further confirmation came when the paper reported that a number of dead foxes had been found in the area. "This was puzzling," Farrant later wrote, "because there were no outward signs betraying the cause of death."
This just about clinched it. As everyone who has ever read their Bram Stoker or watched a Hammer film knows, the first sign that there might be vampires in the vicinity is all the dead foxes they leave lying around.

The stage was set for The Mass Vampire Hunt of 1970.

Why do the foxes die? Let me guess. Vampires?
David Farrant investigating the case of the mysterious 30 mile an hour sign
Sean Manchester: Is that a skull on your altar or are you just pleased to see me?

Already by this time, a territorial rivalry was growing between Farrant and Manchester, who each considered themselves the Peter Cushing of the hour, and resented losing any of the spotlight in favour of some little pipsqueak Michael Gough. (Farrant later described Manchester as "a somewhat theatrical character dressed in undertakers' clothes who had been pestering local newspapers looking for publicity".)
The first sign that the two protagonists were splintering into rival factions came when Manchester announced  an "official" vampire hunt at the cemetery on a forthcoming Friday the 13th and didn't send Farrant an invite.
Friday the 13th was carefully chosen as the ideal night for a vampire hunt because it was an especially spooky night of the year, making it therefore more likely that the vampire would appear. Even a widely-publicised vampire hunt wouldn't keep him indoors: the date was just too spooky for him to miss.
That evening, ITV broadcast interviews with both men, along with some of the other whackos who had attached themselves to the saga, and by nightfall a seething mob of nutters had assembled from all over London intent on ransacking the cemetery and staking the vampire. Police had to be called in an effort to contain them.

According to his later account, Manchester managed to slip past the police in all the confusion and enter the cemetery, where he made straight for a tomb he considered an especially likely location for the king vampire of the undead, having previously been led there by "a psychic sleepwalking girl". Manchester was all for entering the cursed chamber and confronting its hellish occupant, but unfortunately the door was stuck, so he did the next best thing and dropped some onions through a hole in the roof.
A few months later, police discovered a burned and decapitated corpse not far from the same tomb that had so fixated Manchester, and shortly after that discovered Farrant prowling around the cemetery in the night with a crucifix and a wooden stake. He was arrested but let off with a caution by a magistrate called Christopher Lea.
Farrant insists that what was described as a stake was in fact "merely a pointed piece of wood used with string to cast or measure out a magical circle." (I love that 'merely'.)

A few days after that, according to his own testimony, Manchester returned to the cemetery, and to another vault indicated by the same sleepwalker who had picked out the previous one. Whether she was wrong the last time, or the vampire had moved, or perhaps had a number of desirable properties dotted around the site Manchester does not tell us, but the important point in favour of this one was that the door was easier to open. So in he went, found a coffin that he decided had been supernaturally transferred there from the previous tomb (just say if you want me to go slower), ripped the lid off and prepared to drive a stake through the remains inside. Sadly, he was prompted to desist by his companion at the time, who perhaps feared the legal consequences of a deranged weirdo defiling the dead in an internationally famous burial site. Once again, he was forced to rely on the temporary measure of filling the coffin with bulb plants.
But, undeterred, he rediscovered the fiend three years later in the cellar of a house in Hampstead and this time, he assures us, he really did impale and burn it, which perhaps explains why the number of vampire attacks in the Highgate area have fallen to a reassuring annual average of none, as opposed to the none reported during the peak years of the Highgate Vampire scare in the early 1970s.
And, as a former resident of the area accustomed to the sight of shredded bin bags and rotting food strewn all over the pavements in the morning, I'm pleased to say the local fox population is recovering too.

Farrant, meanwhile, had not given up on his own quest to solve the Highgate mystery, and the increasingly outlandish claims being made by Manchester were hardly helping matters. To settle things once and for all it was announced in 1973 that the two would take part in a 'magicians' duel' on Parliament Hill. Just like in an exciting film, neither man turned up and fuck all happened.
Farrant was, however, still intent on putting an end to the Highgate fiend's reign of terror, and in 1974 was again caught in the cemetery in the middle of the night with his Van Helsing kit, charged with damaging the memorials and disrupting the remains, and imprisoned. Farrant vehemently denied the charge, as he continues to do on his website, claiming the damage was the work of Satanists, and expressing uncertainty as to whether the Highgate apparition actually was a vampire in the first place. I know. Go figure, as they say on Buffy and suchlike.

And still it goes on today.
Farrant and Manchester are still active, still arch-rivals, and safely ensconced in that corner of the internet where literally anything is taken seriously, each earnestly supported by large, arch-rival cliques.
Manchester's take on the affair can be found here, under the banner of his Vampire Research Society. Look no further if you want purple prose, photo-montages of dissolving vampires and nice candids of ethereal-looking women reclining on tombs, all served up on a black screen with cute graphics of flapping bats.
Among the many quotes he has included to show how serious and respectable a fellow he is is this one from Paul Spencer Vickers, from the Department of English literature at University College London: "Sean Manchester's literary style is refreshingly reminiscent of the Gothic genre."
He's not the first to have noticed. Manchester's writings are full of ideas and even whole phrases lifted neat from Stoker's Dracula.
It has also been alleged that he has a framed photograph of Hitler on his wall, along with many more items of Nazi kitsch.

Meanwhile Farrant's Highgate Vampire Society can be visited here, where we are told (presumably by Farrant himself, despite writing in the third person) that "it remains a fact that David Farrant well and truly (albeit inadvertently) put Highgate Cemetery and stories about vampires there 'well and truly on the map'. He regrets that much, but again I suppose he had no choice in the matter."
We also learn that "David Farrant decided to form the Highgate Vampire Society in order that it should become a repository for all the oral history and written data concerning the Highgate Vampire while at the same time take off some of the pressure from the British Psychic and Occult Society who literally had its hands full with dealing with numerous psychic investigations."
Farrant runs both organisations, you see.

David's account: too much to tell in one volume 
Sean's account: 50% Bram Stoker, 100% bats

The most interesting thing about all this from our corner is the revelation that Highgate Cemetery might have links with not one but two Hammer Horrors.
According to Professor Bill Ellis, the furore directly encouraged Hammer to produce Dracula AD 1972, any unease they may have had over audiences swallowing the idea of a vampire in present day London having been thoroughly swept away by the behaviour of the credulous loons making their nightly way to Highgate in the hope of seeing one.

Meanwhile the appalling destruction and desecration caused by vandals and day-tripping occultist nut-jobs to the historic site led directly to the formation of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, who helped restore it and now charge for guided tours - on which Hammer freaks are most definitely not welcome.

And quite right too.


James Gracey said...

Fastastic post, Matthew. I wasn't aware of any of this stuff at all. I visited Highgate Cemetery several years ago, and just fell in love with the place. You can bet the next time I go I'll be thinking of this article. Viva la Vampyre!

PS I love your new banner. ;)

James Abbott said...

Fascinating post! When I went to Highgate a few years ago, we had a great female tour guide you provided the standard greeting. When she asked for questions, I said I wanted to see the sites where Taste the Blood of Dracula were filmed. She looked as if I had just stuck a handful of wolfbane in her face. Fortunately, I handily recognized them myself, and spent much time telling other people on the tour all about it. She was not happy...

Anthony Hogg said...

Hi Matthew,

Cheers for the props! I just stumbled across your post while Googling about for stuff to add to the Facebook group I co-admin, The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society.

See: http://www.facebook.com/groups/thcvas/

Fellow readers will soon be aware of how many twists and turns this case features. One of my favourite write-ups can be read here:


As to the Nazi room allegations, they're derived from Kevin Chesham, a triathlete and former friend of Manchester's. It can be read here:


Manchester's rebuttal:


That should cover it for now.

Vampirologist said...

Is Anthony Hogg still trolling the internet? This young Australian spends all his waking hours posting acrimony about Bishop Seán Manchester and the latter’s investigation into the goings-on at Highgate Cemetery (which occurred on the other side of the world at a time before Hogg was born). This Facebook group (link below) is the official one because its contributors include the author of “The Highgate Vampire” and members of the Vampire Research Society (the organisation that took part in the case at the time). Hogg’s similarly named group does not include a single person involved in the case.

See: http://www.facebook.com/groups/374986335886535/

It should be added that there is no malevolent presence or supernatural disturbance akin to the Highgate Vampire of more than four decades ago remaining at Highgate Cemetery, which might explain why those in charge of this Victorian graveyard would not want its memory exhumed.

Also, there is no evidence that “ley lines” – assuming you can find any evidence for “ley lines” existing in the first place – played a part in the case. This was just someone clutching at straws in a revisionist attempt to blot out the vampiric outrages long after they had ceased. There is no longer a vampire in the Highgate area today, but there is the terrible memory of a vampire contagion from almost half a century ago, as recounted in Bishop Seán Manchester’s excellent book which I thoroughly recommend to anyone with an interest in this fascinating piece of supernatural history.


Anthony Hogg said...

Ah, it was only a matter of time before 'Vampirologist' showed up. And still using the old 'I wasn't around then' chestnut.

I wasn't around during the American Civil War, either, but I'm free to comment on it. Interestingly, 'Vampirologist' never discloses his own involvement in the case, whether he's appearing under his usernames, 'Dennis Crawford', 'Gothic', 'Demonologist' or 'The Overseer' (a username he ripped off from me).

The Highgate Vampire is public domain, not intellectual property. So, there's no 'official' group dedicated to it, unless Vampirologist is conceding it's a fictional character created by Manchester.

Manchester's investigation can not be considered 'official', because it was not instigated by the owners of the cemetery.

Indeed, the cemetery's general foreman, had this to say about Manchester and Farrant's 'investigations' at the cemetery:

'I think they're nutcases actually. That's my opinion. These sort of people who come and do this sort of thing, I mean, well, you can't really put into words what they're really trying to get at. I think the best thing to do when you catch one of these people, to stop this nonsense, is to get one and put them in one of these tombs and lock them up and leave them here all night, and see if in fact they can find a vampire.

See: http://plan9.150m.com/24hrs.htm

Matthew Coniam said...

I'm afraid I am unable to take seriously anybody who actually believes in the existence of vampires.
(And Manchester's assaults on reason, of course, extend far beyond this fundamental absurdity.

The Highgate saga's a cracking good yarn, though - albeit one with rather dispiriting things to tell us about human nature.

Anthony Hogg said...

It's the assaults on reason (and people's character, I might add) that I find far more objectionable than belief in vampires.

By the way, Matthew, regarding '. . . where we are told (presumably by Farrant himself, despite writing in the third person)', the source of the HVS intro comes from Catherine Fearnley - David's former girlfriend/secretary.

At least, it's attributed to her in The Highgate Vampire Casebook Files, no. 1. However, she does allege she used to write things on his behalf, so he wouldn't have his name on them.

Vampirologist said...

Is it not interesting that Anthony Hogg invariably links to an illicit website (on a server which, according to Bishop Manchester, defies multiple DMCA notices) created by a London anarchist member of the underground, illegal Class War (Kevin Demant) who is one of David Farrant's more vocal lackeys?

Even Hogg has in the past conceded that without Bishop Seán Manchester there would be no account of the Highgate Vampire for others to bandwagoneer. Hogg, of course, has merely become one more in a long line of compulsive bandwagoneers.

What he doesn't quite grasp is that there is a world of difference between commenting on a case which occurred almost half a century ago and pursuing a vitriolic obsession with its principle investigator whom he relentlessly stalks and attacks daily, and has been doing for many years.

I would have thought that any group including the principle investigator and others involved at the time in the topic under discussion makes that group bona fide and official in comparison to one which concentrates on personal attacks and perpetual malice.

Anyway, enough of this troll.

Vampirologist said...

You are free, Matthew, to take seriously whomsoever and whatsoever you like. That is your perogative. Just as it is the perogative of others who make it their choice to accept various supernatural occurrences and those who give testimony to them.

What you are less entitled to do is get your "facts" wrong and publish them about a living person. That is called misrepresentation and in some instances libel. Quoting an erroneous source is no excuse either. You are simply compounding the offence.

You start of by using the troll Anthony Hogg as your source, a man who, despite his protestations to the contrary, is waging his own personal vendetta against Bishop Seán Manchester. This has turned him into a Farrant apologist. His co-admininstrator (on at least three Facebook groups and one blog) is a personal friend and supporter of David Farrant. Hogg is also a friend of Farrant's eldest son who has decided to support his father's malicious vendetta against Bishop Seán Manchester. Indeed, almost the entire Farrant clique are somehow associated with Anthony Hogg. They inevitably all participate in an anti-Bishop Seán Manchester hate campaign. By comparison, nobody personally associated with Bishop Seán Manchester has been befriended by Hogg whose agenda is to annoy and irritate those sympathetic to the bishop wherever he can.

Next, Mathew, you introduce the author of "The Highgate Vampire" as "the eccentric fantasist and Van Helsing-for-hire Bishop Seán Manchester," which in itself is a defamatory statement.

You then falsely state that Bishop Seán Manchester "described as a 'remarkable photograph of a vampire in the final stages of dissolution' was in fact a shot of the special effects make-up created for a tv movie version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray." What is actually written in the caption of the image in question on page 142 of the first edition of "The Highgate Vampire" (British Occult Society, 1985) is "A representation of the vampire in its final moments of dissolution."

"Representation," Matthew, means "an artistic likeness or image."

Completely ignoring the early 1967 origin of Bishop Manchester's introduction to the vampire phenomenon at Highgate, you state that Farrant's 1970 letter in a local newspaper "brought forth a plethora of earnest first hand accounts" without acknowledging the fact that a fair number of those writing these alleged "ghost" sightings were personal friends of Farrant who had been put up to it, or, at the very least, allowed Farrant to adopt their names and addresses for the purpose of submitting spurious witness accounts.

See: http://highgatevampire.blogspot.co.uk/

Vampirologist said...

Next you trot out the journalistic embellishment "King Vampire of the Undead" which Bishop Seán Manchester never uttered, has denied making umpteen times since and refutes in his published concise vampirological guide "The Vampire Hunter's Handbook" (Gothic Press, 1997).

Then you make the error of claiming that "Manchester announced an 'official' vampire hunt at the cemetery on a forthcoming Friday the 13th and didn't send Farrant an invite." The fact of the matter is that Bishop Seán Manchester did not "announce" anything of the kind. His pursuit was independent of the public search following a television broadcast in which several people were interviewed about the vampire. One of these people was David Farrant and Bishop Manchester warned against freelance hunters like Farrant for their own safety and not to put the ongoing investigation into jeapordy. He had also issued the same caution in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 March 1970. Farrant nevertheless went ahead some months later and was arrested for this trouble after being found in Highgate Cemetery with a sharpened stake and a large cross. It stands to reason that Farrant was not "invited" because he was not part of the investigation and certainly not a member of the British Occult Society or the Vampire Research Society.

Your catalogue of error continues with "it was announced in 1973 that the two would take part in a 'magicians' duel' on Parliament Hill. But in the event both men pulled out." It was widely announced in the press by Farrant (who did not turn up). Bishop Seán Manchester, who was quoted as relying solely on "divine power" to prove Farrant's wichcraft boasts were impotent in one national newspaper (even though he gave no interview), did turn up with twelve of his associates. A massive crowd awaited the appearance of Farrant. It did not happen. Farrant "cried off," according to the Hampstead & Highgate Express and various other newspapers.

Interestingsly, you quote the only person whose concern was Bishop Seán Manchester's "literary style," and ignore the many others who acknowledge his expertise in the matter at hand.

Vampirologist said...

For example:

"His lectures at universities and organisations led to my inviting him to address members of the Ghost Club Society which he duly did. We met at that time at the Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury and the President of the Vampire Research Society arrived, suitably attired, and gave a memorable and in many ways remarkable lecture. Certainly we had had nothing like it before and have never had anything like it since; not a few members at the crowded meeting revised their opinion on vampires and vampirism after that evening.” ~ Peter Underwood, President, The Ghost Club Society, London, England

“Seán Manchester is to be congratulated on this fine piece of research work which I confess to enjoying to the extreme.” ~ Professor Devendra P Varma, vampirologist & author, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

“One of the most notable figures to visit the haunted site under cover of darkness was Seán Manchester, whom Green has called one of Britain’s foremost vampire hunters and exorcists.” ~ Craig Miller, associate editor, Fate Magazine, Minnesota, USA

“I believe Seán Manchester is this country’s only genuine vampire hunter.” ~ Nicole Lampert, journalist, features department, The Sun newspaper, London, England

“Britain’s foremost vampire hunter [is] Seán Manchester.” ~ Len Markham, author and researcher of the paranormal, Yorkshire, England

“Ever since I became aware that Highgate Cemetery was the reputed haunt of a vampire, the investigations and activities of Seán Manchester commanded my attention. I became convinced that, more than anyone else, he knew the full story of the Highgate Vampire.” ~ Peter Underwood, ghost hunter & author, The Ghost Club Society, London, England

“The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester is a most interesting and useful addition to the literature of the subject.” ~ Reverend Basil Youdell, Literary Editor Orthodox News, Christ the Saviour, Woolwich, England

“This book [The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester] will certainly be read in a hundred years time, two hundred years time, three hundred years time ~ in short, for as long as mankind is interested in the supernatural. It has the most genuine power to grip. Once you have started to read it, it is virtually impossible to put it down.” ~ Lyndall Mack (aka Jennie Gray), Udolpho (magazine of the Gothic Society), Chislehurst, Kent, England

“I am very impressed by the body of scholarship you have created. Seán Manchester is undoubtedly the father of modern vampirological research.” ~ John Godl, paranormal researcher and writer, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Matthew Coniam said...

You must understand that I have no need to 'get my facts right' about an affair as ludicrous and hilarious (albeit with sad undertones) as this.
I have certainly stressed aspects of my account for comic effect, which is all they deserve.

However, I must absolve myself of the charge of using Mr Hogg as "my source".
I do not know Mr Hogg and would never have heard of him if he had not made his intital comment alerting me to the story.
The account I relied on is the standard issue Wikipedia one.
The only correspondence I have ever had with Mr Hogg, and therefore the only information he has ever furnished me with, is that which appears here and in the earlier post linked to above.
If Mr Hogg is indeed an apologist for Farrant he has kept the fact entirely hidden from me, and has not opted, in his replies here, to object the fact that I take the mickey out of Farrant and Manchester equally. Indeed, he gives the impression of sharing that perspective. Whether he does or does not in reality is no concern of mine.
Certainly I have no vendetta against Manchester, or Farrant. I just find them amusing, and equally so. Though Manchester may perhaps be very slightly the nuttier of the two, it's a close call.

Specific points:

1. "Ecentric fantasist" seems to me a perfectly valid description of anyone who claims to have personally destroyed a vampire in London.

2. Regardless of your nitpicking over the difference between a photograph and a representation, the fact remains that what Manchester describes as "a vampire in its final moments of dissolution" is a shot of the special effects make-up created for a tv movie version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

3. My reference to the plethora of first hand accounts received by Farrant was not intended to suggest support for his fantasies: I meant - and I think made clear, to be honest - that they came from people as nutty as he was.

The rest all comes from Wikipedia and my 'catalogue of error' is rather a selection of bits of published information, chosen for their comic value.
I'm delighted to hear that Manchester in fact did turn up for the Magician's duel: the story is even funnier that way.

Your final blizzard of quotes is quite irrelevant: Manchester is a man who believes a vampire haunted Highgate Cemetery, and claims to have personally destroyed one.
The year is 2012 and the matter is not one that can be debated by reasonable people.

Anthony Hogg said...

Bloody hell. I wasn't expecting that bombardment to follow. You'll find that huge chunks of it have been copy-and-pasted, too: the usual modus operandi of 'Vampirologist'.

But no surprises there, as his 'leader' is a blatant plagiarist, too. See:


Matthew, I am far from a Farrant apologist. I've been critical of him, too. See:


You will find that a process of, most likely, deliberate polarisation occurs in this case. They can not accept that one be open-minded about the case - or mutually critical. You're either for or against! No middle ground.

So, at various points, I've been labelled 'Manchester's Australian cousin' or one of Farrant's 'fiends'.

I'm sure that rhetoric may be familiar to fellow readers.

And lastly, note the aspertions on my character give no context to what I actually write about. I invite readers to make their own conclusions.

Anthony Hogg said...

P.S.: I apologise for not formally introducing myself, Matthew.

When I commented on your other blog entry, it was just as a passer-by. I don't know how that makes me a 'troll', as Vampirologist suggests.

But yes, I've looked into the case for several years. I've got two blogs on it (both called 'Did a wampyr walk in Highgate?') and, as mentioned, co-admin a forum.

I'm most certainly not here to troll your blog, so I hope I'm not leaving you with that impression. I don't think I'm 'stirring' by directly referring to content in this blog entry, and providing my own elaborations.

If that makes me a 'troll', however, then I've grossly misunderstood the point of a comment section.

In the meantime, I hope the links validate my 'place' here.

Vampirologist said...

So, Matthew, you say the account you relied on is "the standard issue Wikipedia one," as if that automatically gives it some credence. Has it not occurred to you who the author(s) of that particular entry might be? Wikipedia in my experience is notoriously inaccurate when it comes to dealing with topics outside its comfort zone.

Chief among those who disseminated misinformation in the new century are Bill Ellis of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and Jacqueline Simpson of the Folklore Society. Ellis met Farrant. Simpson did not, but relied on Ellis as her source. Neither Ellis nor Simpson met Bishop Manchester, but they did exchange limited correspondence for a brief period.
Jacqueline Simpson, born in 1930 and a resident of Worthing, Sussex, was president of the Folklore Society from 1993 to 1996 and is currently its honorary secretary. She published exceptionally misleading and grossly inaccurate statements in The Lore of the Land, having placed reliance on her American colleague Bill Ellis whose flawed material in Raising the Devil is even more defamatory and damaging. Some of the press cuttings referred to in his book are wrongly attributed and what he has to say is incredibly biased. Ellis wrote the following response when Bishop Manchester brought to his attention irrefutable evidence - in the form of copies of original reports - of his many errors:

“We agree that the contemporary press handling was often inaccurate, and that most subsequent discussions were even more distorted. ... Mr Farrant, since he brought the matter into the papers and was repeatedly arrested for his activities in and around Highgate, clearly was 'central to events' in this sense. Credible, I don't say: I give his explanations for what they're worth and expect that most readers would also recognize that a judge and jury found them unconvincing.”

Jacqueline Simpson’s terse response to Bishop Manchester's concern over her damaging errors being repeated in a pending second edition of The Lore of the Land appeared on the internet:

“Wording changed to 'young people' and 'young man'. Name of organisation dropped, Farrant referred to simply as a 'member' of 'a group of young people interested in the paranormal.' Words 'which the paper called' inserted. No reference now to who did the challenging. Instead, neutral phrasing in allusion to press reports: 'rumours spread that a magical duel ...' The other points are rejected, and no changes will be made there.”

This is how some “scholars” apparently operate. The paperback edition contained an incorrect date for a crucial newspaper article about the mysterious death of foxes even though it had been supposedly cleared up well in advance. All reference to Bishop Manchester's episcopal standing, albeit not entirely accurate in the first edition, was completely expurgated in the second. Factual accuracy suffers when a version like the one Ellis put into circulation is then adopted by other scholars who, despite evidence thrust at them, stick to their agenda.

Jacqueline Simpson is entirely responsible for the Wikipedia entry about the Highgate Vampire case. What she has written online reflects the catalogue of error identified at the link given below. Those with an interest in the case often innocently provide a link to her Wikipedia article without realising just how misleading and factually inaccurate it really is.

See: http://www.holygrail-church.fsnet.co.uk/RaisingDevil.htm

Vampirologist said...

You ask me to understand that you have "no need to get your facts right about an affair as ludicrous and hilarious (albeit with sad undertones) as this."

I'm afraid you are wrong about that, Matthew, because there are laws concerning misrepresentation and defamation about which you either appear at best ignorant or at worst unconcerned.

Defamation law places necessary restrictions on what we are able to say about other individuals. Defamation involves making a statement which is likely to lower other people’s opinions of an individual. There are, of course, limitations on who can claim for defamation, because the statement has to be specific enough that it is likely to cause harm to their reputation.

Libel involves a lasting publication of the defamatory comments, and this is where you might very well qualify.

English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements which are alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of him.

I hold the opinion, Matthew, that your statements about Bishop Seán Manchester are exceptionally libellous and could be actionable.

Matthew Coniam said...

Anthony -
No problem at all! If it weren't for your comment I would never have heard of this business, so thanks very much. I wasn't trying to distance myself from your input, merely stressing that I haven't been influenced by any particular side in a race in which - to put it mildly - I have no horse running.
Thanks again for looking in, and please continue to do so if the mood strikes.

Vampirologist -
I didn't mean to imply that the Wikipedia entry was especially reliable, merely letting you know that that was where most of what I wrote came from, not from correspondence with Mr Hogg.
You are still missing the point with your wearying array of quotes and citations. I am not ignorant of the law regarding defamation, but am in this case, as you so rightly suspect, most definitely unconcerned. If someone wants to take me to court for calling a man who claims to have killed a vampire in a basement in Hampstead a fantasist they are more than welcome to do so.
Please recognise that this is not a debate about the likelihood or otherwise of the Highgate Vampire being real, still less any place for a partisan view of the participants or the actions.
What we are doing here is having a good laugh at both sides, and at anybody capable of taking the existence of vampires seriously. If that includes you, you are wasting your time here with your endless lists and grumbles.

Vampirologist said...

It is a complete waste of time addressing Hogg. He just likes to argue for argument's sake. Hogg jumped on the Highgate Vampire bandwagon for a free ride almost a decade ago. He wants to be noticed, but is obviously getting frustrated because nobody is really much interested in what he has to say. He is either seen as a pipsqueak in search of his fifteen minutes of undeserved fame or an unwelcome troll who has an issue with a member of the clergy who is more than twice Hogg's age whom this irritating Australian has never met or had dealing with. Not a day passes without Hogg posting negatively about this man.

Hogg, who lives in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, has been stalking and harassing Bishop Seán Manchester on the internet ever since he was expelled from a forum several years ago for refusing to stop posting about David Farrant whom the membership wanted to hear no more about. Hogg, who always hides behind a demonic mask, immediately began to attack the bishop after the expulsion and started opening numerous forums, blogs and boards with a common aim, which is to do injury to Bishop Seán Manchester and his ministry.

My best advice to anyone confronted by this man when he arrives uninvited on a blog, forum or message board is to completely ignore him. He won't go away and will insist on having the last word even though the discussion doesn't involve him.

Hogg is like the demonic thing he always hides behind. Unless you exorcise him straight away, he will infect and possess the forum he has found and turn it to his own negative agenda.

Anthony Hogg said...

Thanks, Matthew. As to the Wikipedia write-up, you'll find that it's a very balanced view of the case.

That's why at no point in Vampirologist's 'grumblings', does he actually dispute its contents. Instead, he has latched onto the person who wrote it.

Unfortunately, you'll find that he has a bit of an obsession with 'character', 'assassination', then linking the too. He does this all the while hiding behind various pseudonyms, which, as I've pointed out, include 'Demonologist', 'Gothic' and 'The Overseer' - a name he once hijacked from me.

He sees no irony in complaining that I 'hide' behind a mask (note, it's to avoid stalkers like himself) - while having no pic or name of his own. He is a malicious person.

The hints at legal action are par-for-the-course with Vampirologist's output. They're intended to silence critics. At least, those who have no familiarity with the law.

As to referring to Manchester as a 'fantasist', yes, I'd be surprised if that held up in court, should he ever consider taking you to the cleaners. But I can tell you that Manchester once lodged a complaint to Ofcom after he was dubbed a '1970s weirdo' on a TV program.

The 'weirdo' tag was upheld:

'Ofcom found no unfairness in the programme’s implication that Bishop Manchester was one of a number of “1970’s weirdos” given the light-hearted nature of the
programme and taking into account that the majority of people would not consider vampire hunting to be a normal activity.'

See: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/pcb37/issue58.pdf

However, if Vampirologist is truly concerned with upholding the law, then he should focus on the illegal acts Manchester's claimed he's done, including:

- breaking into burial vaults
- setting a coffin alight with human remains inside (after allegedly staking a vampire)
- leading a mass vampire hunt on Highgate Cemetery, 13 March 1970

Anthony Hogg said...

You'll also note that Farrant was arrested on similar charges. The difference is, he was incarcerated; Manchester wasn't.

Farrant maintains that the charges against him were a 'stitch-up', i.e. the police looking for a scapegoat to pin the graveyard desecrations on - which, as I mentioned before, intensified after Farrant and Manchester bandied about their vampire theory to the media.

Farrant's constant publicity-seeking didn't help matters (for instance, he said he posed with stakes and crosses for pictures and television because 'they told him to'), but there is a good case for his wrongful imprisonment.

See: http://plan9.150m.com/19%20witch%20trials1.htm

Meanwhile, Manchester walks free despite blatantly admitting to committing acts that the same court would have regarded as criminal.

I'm sure Vampirologist will find a way to brush off that double standard, though.

Matthew Coniam said...

Thank you for your "best advice", 'Vampirologist'.
However, I welcome "uninvited" commenters. All commenters here are uninvited, as were you.
That's not a problem, and I will decide whom I do and do not choose to respond to, and in what way.
What I find irksome about your contributions is your insistence that I should take this affair seriously, and worse, that I should take sides.

Good to see you've dropped your hilarious warnings of legal action. Except when lamely threatening me for exercising my right to a post-enlightenment world view, you too are welcome to comment here any time.

Vampirologist said...

Hogg is a twat and a troll, in my opinion, and discussions are made all the more tedious and unpleasant by his irritating presence.

Hogg claims: "You'll also note that Farrant was arrested on similar charges. The difference is, he was incarcerated; Manchester wasn't."

This is a perfect example of the ludicrously stupid nature of Hogg's endless stream of sinister allegations against Bishop Seán Manchester.

Farrant went to Highgate Cemetery to "summon a vampire" (or "satanic force," as he described it in an article from his own hand) and he did so in the dead of night by allegedly cutting a naked female's breast with a ritual dagger and using her blood to invoke the vampire. (See "New Witchcraft," issue no. 4, article written by Farrant and, according to the magazine's editor, the article totally unedited). See http://www.gothicpress.freeserve.co.uk/Archive_files/image005.jpg

Farrant later confirmed under oath in the High Court that this is what he did. See press cutting beneath title “An attempt to summon up a vampire” at http://theinhumantouch.wordpress.com/page/2/

Bishop Seán Manchester's motive for his actions was to exorcise the malevolent entity and cause the supernatural disturbances plaguing people in the area to cease. To do this he employed crucifixes, candles, holy water etc — not a naked female accomplice from whom blood was drawn, according to Farrant, to summon a satanic force (or vampire) using black magic means.

Bishop Manchester was on extremely friendly terms with the cemetery owners (at that time Highgate Cemetery was privately owned) who granted him all manner of permissions to do what was necessary to put an end to all that was troubling visitors.

Matthew Coniam said...

For THE VERY LAST TIME, I am NOT REMOTELY INTERESTED in what you or anybody else considers to be the truth behind the events I have described in the account above.
If possible I AM EVEN LESS INTERESTED in your personal opinion of Anthony Hogg.

My interest in this subject begins and ends with the fact that it took place near where I used to live, concerns vampires (fictional creatures whose appearance in films and other media is a source of much entertainment to me), and provides much amusement for those of us who find the idea of anybody actually believing in them irresisitibly amusing.

Again, I must stress that my acquaintance with Mr Hogg is limited to the exchanges you see published here, but any further abuse of the sort with which you kick off your latest comment will not be tolerated, any more than it would be from him, or anyone.
I might also add that it sits ill with someone so sensitive about Manchester's reputation that you make veiled threats of legal action when I merely describe him as an eccentric fantasist, a charge I am happy to restate here, with knobs on.

Vampirologist said...

"There is a good case for [Farrant's] wrongful imprisonment," claims Hogg.

So what is it?

Hogg would have less idea about this than the man who was found guilty by a judge and jury; the man who was sent to prison; the man who was sentenced to a jail term of four years and eight months. Not that you would think so listening to "know it all" Hogg who wasn't born when all this happened and has never met any of those involved.

Farrant, upon his release, launched an appeal against his convictions ... AND LOST.

So much for the Australian's Hoggwash.

Quite why Hogg is always attempting to whitewash a man who engaged in theatrical Satanism while at the same time trying to blacken the name of a Christian bishop is something many will find baffling, especially as Hogg himself claims to be a Christian (Baptist), one no less who allegedly believes in the existence of demons despite always appearing as a demon himself (wearing a demonic mask).

The answer to the riddle is that Hogg is deceptive and devious, as well as being despicable. He is no more a Christian than is Farrant who, at least, does not make such a claim and whose openly diabolical tomfoolery has fooled nobody.

Matthew Coniam said...

Tap ... Tap ... Tap ...
Is this thing working?

Vampirologist said...

Fooled nobody, that is, apart from Anthony Hogg!

Should my rebuttal comments be unwelcome here, I would recommend anyone wanting to have an open and free discussion about all matters pertaining to the Highgate Cemetery Vampire case to join the Facebook group where questions can be put directly to the author of "The Highgate Vampire" and others with a serious interest at:


Matthew Coniam said...

Your "rebuttal comments" are not so much unwelcome as falling on stony ground.
My post was for people who do not actually believe in vampires, and who find the idea of people who do going to a cemetery and trying to exorcise evil spirits, and then claiming that they had in fact staked a vampire, simultaneously fascinating and hilarious.

Endless dispute between pro-Farrant and pro-Manchester positions is similarly amusing, but not something I am able to engage in with you, since my position, as I have made perfectly clear, is that both men are ludicrous.

What's your favourite Dracula film?

Vampirologist said...

Your sense of humour is not so much unwelcome as falling on stony ground where people like me are concerned. I find it difficult to laugh at people's lives being made a misery by a malicious prankster who engages in nasty games and threatening people. I also find little humour in the death and mutilation of animals and people, all of which occurred during the Highgate case.

My rebuttals are not necessarily for people who believe in vampires, but for those with an interest in accuracy where reporting of the case and those involved is concerned.

Dispute between conflicting positions is of no interest to me or, might I add, to Bishop Manchester whose advice is to ignore the antagonist Farrant.

I have absolutely no desire to engage in such disputes with you, but if you insist on publicising what you deem to be a feud between two camps then you are bound to hear from either or both sides who will want to set the record straight from their perspective.

I do not personally have a favourite Dracula film, but I am sure others might have one. I prefer the novel to cinematic interpretations, all of which attempts fall woefully short of Stoker's atmospheric story.

Anthony Hogg said...

'My rebuttals are not necessarily for people who believe in vampires, but for those with an interest in accuracy where reporting of the case and those involved is concerned.'

If that is, indeed the case, Vampirologist, I can only wonder why you spent a substantial amount of your posts slagging people off.

For instance, rather than dispute the content of the Wikipedia article, you targeted its author.

Second, it's obvious you're not the only one who appreciates Dracula.


You may want to mention at this point that you're actually the International Secretary for Manchester's Vampire Research Society. If that's been mentioned already, my apologies.

Matthew Coniam said...

I must stress my complete and unequivocal agreement with you, Vampy, on one point.
I find no humour whatsoever in "the death and mutilation of animals". Indeed, there is little I take more seriously, or condemn more unforgivingly.
Alas, it seems to go hand in hand with a world view in which vampirism is deemed possible.

The people who believe in vampires, however, are hilarious to me. And people who claim to have actually dispatched one, in Hampstead, while still professing to be a Christian Bishop, are a laff riot.

Arminius Vámbéry said...

"It’s rich of Arminius to use a pseudonym (not just any, but that of a real person). Another aggressor playing the victim." - Anthony Hogg (June 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm on DemonFlyOnTheWall)

He forgot to mention that Arminius Vámbéry was a real person who died in 1913.

So Anthony Hogg reported me to Facebook for not using my real name despite a good proportion of others on Facebook doing the same thing.

Hence my Facebook account has been permanently disabled because subscribers are not supposed to use a name other than the one they are born with.

However, the original "Arminius Vámbéry" would have been in trouble had he used that name on Facebook because his real name was actually Hermann Bamberger.

Hogg would doubtless be trolling Hermann Bamberger for calling himself "Arminius Vámbéry" if he was still alive today!

The reason I used a net name was for self-protection from stalking trolls like Anthony Hogg who has unwisely made yet another enemy he could well do without.

It is also a violation for a Facebook member to have more than one account and Anthony Hogg has two in his name.

He should prepare to lose both!

Matthew Coniam said...

I don't know if you're familiar with the brilliant little-old-lady actress Irene Handl, but there's a lovely story about her appearing on a television programme that was using colour separation overlay, then a new and amazing technique.
During a gap in production, one of the effects technicians decided to explain to her how this miracle of technology worked.
Handl listened patiently for a while and then politely interrupted him. "Excuse me," she said sweetly, "but I think you're confusing me with someone who gives a fuck."

Anthony Hogg said...

Matthew, brilliant!

Also, Arminius knows I know where he stole his name from, which is why I often refer to him as an 'undead Hungarian'. ;)

In the meantime, here's a sample of our undead denizen's work:

A blog filled with plagiarism and character assassination. Most of its contents were regurgitated from Manchester's old blog, Aftermath of the Highgate vampire:

An attempt to hunt down David Farrant's wife:

And it probably goes without saying, but Armi is 'friends' with our pal, 'Vampirologist'.

Vampirologist said...

And it probably goes without saying that Hogg is "friends" with so many people in the Farrant clique that to list them here would far outnumber the characters allowed for posting comments.

Hogg characteristically ignores the fact that he had someone removed from Facebook because he disapproved of that person's outspoken opinions of Farrant, and did so on the technicality that Arminius (who, incidentally, I do know) used a nom-de-plume and not his own name. This is apparently outside of Facebook's rules.

Meanwhile, he has two Facebook accounts of his own in the name of "Anthony Hogg." This, too, is outside of Facebook's rules for members of that social network site.

Hypocrisy is Hogg's stock-in-trade. No wonder he's soft on Farrant and all the pseudo-occultists and Satanists who give Farrant their blind support.

Matthew Coniam said...

Needless to say, dear readers, what we are seeing in microcosm here is the exact same pathology that makes Catholics and Protestants hate each other, and Sunnis and Shias, and Trotskyists and Leninists...
Two sets of people arguing over which is most entitled to authority in the most ludicrous imaginable beliefs.
And while it may seem ridiculous to us, it is unwise in the extreme to underestimate how much it matters to them. This drivel may look and smell like the distant past, but I fear it will be an increasingly important part of our future as a species, however short that may be.

Vampirologist said...

I completely respect people with different opinions and beliefs to my own. That is not the bone of contention here.

A growing number of people have become sick and tired of being stalked on the internet by Hogg.

That is the argument I am having.

Hogg is a self-righteous busybody who sticks his nose where it is not wanted (I believe he is known as a "sticky-beak" in his own country) and causes flame wars wherever he manifests.

His solution on blogs and forums he administrates is to ban any dissenter from expressing an opinion. He will excuse this by describing such persons as the very thing he is, ie trolls.

People are obviously entitled to hold whatever opinion they want on anything, including the supernatural, but Hogg resorts to stalking and linking up to hate sites - all with one thing in common, ie Bishop Seán Manchester is the focus of all the malice!

That really tells you where Hogg is coming from.

Anthony Hogg said...

Are you applying that to me, too, Matthew?

Matthew Coniam said...

I'd have to know more about you. On the evidence presented thus far, I'd say no.

But I must stress that I haven't followed up any of the billion links that have been urged on me here.

I'm all for examining this business as a lively piece of social history.
What I'm talking about, obviously, is that which you have stressed to me you are not a part of, merely a chronicler of: the intense and obsessive rivalry between two cliques, both of whom believe their guru has genuine supernatural experiences and/or powers.

Anthony Hogg said...

Lol fair enough. I posted them cos I thought you'd find their content intriguing. Plus, didn't want to post a slab o'text on your blog.

A 'chronicler'? I like that. That's pretty on the mark. In fact, one of my aims with this thing is to establish a cohesive narrative. Or, at the least, a proper record of 'who said what'.

Matthew Coniam said...

I meant the links thrust upon me by your enemies, to demonstrate what a cad you are.

Vampirologist said...

Hogg has made plenty of enemies, and the word I had in mind for him is a somewhat stronger than "cad."

What you have to ask yourself is why exactly is he so disliked by so many people on all sides of the divide.

By the way, before you get carried away with your love-in with Hogg, he actually says he believes in demons. So this has nothing to do with differing opinions and beliefs. I, too, believe in demons. You're the odd one out, Matthew, in the belief stakes.

What I find objectionable is the fact that ultimately Hogg is a stalker who trolls his way onto people's forums to disseminate anti-BSM propaganda (but seldom, if ever, anti-DF material) with links to nasty sites where hatred is incited against Bishop Seán Manchester.

That's what this is all about. It has nothing to do with cliques or sides, as you appear to think, Matthew.

Far from being a "chronicler," Hogg is a bandwagoneer who seized the Highgate Vampire case as a vehicle to earn him his fifteen minutes' worth of fame.

So far it has failed, of course, but he's a persistent little bugger who needs the flick before he infects the internet any further.

Matthew Coniam said...

There is no love-in.
Mr Hogg might be all the things you say and more. But in my dealings with him so far he has presented himself as one with no particular axe to grind, and he did not leap to the defence of Farrant as you did with Manchester when I described both of them as weirdoes.
You are clearly a Manchester devotee; if Mr Hogg is equally partial he has not yet burdened me with evidence of it.

If people want to believe in demons that's up to them. Act on that belief, however, and go flouncing round Highgate pretending to exorcise them, and I reserve the right to laugh.

Anthony Hogg said...

My mistake, Matthew!

Ah, it's the usual copy-and-paste drivel, really. However, I find myself in the position of having to refute it.

Especially when I've got these clowns on my tail.

But it's true I believe in demons. I'm a Christian, after all. Doesn't mean I can't approach things logically. Although I'm sure you might find that debatable. lol

I've already pointed out the nonsense behind the 'bandwagoner' notions; the case is, after all, public domain. Plus, isn't it odd that Vampy never discloses what his involvement is? Food for thought.

Anthony Hogg said...

Thanks for that, Matthew. I'm glad you've seen through that ruse.

As I said before, they can't handle someone not taking their side (which is why they've jumped down your throat, too).

It's hard to say whether they're too 'blind' to realise what they're doing, or it's part of a deliberate and malicious campaign.

The character assassination thing actually has a purpose - so suggest some sort of conspiracy. Of course, this gives them a free ticket to absolving themselves of being abusive, dodgy, etc.

It's all someone else's fault. Never their own.

Indeed, Manchester believes there is a conspiracy to silence proof of vampirism. The fact that he can't prove it, himself, is neither here nor there.

As to my belief in demons, that's the thing - I'm not imposing it on anyone. I'm not saying a demon haunted Highgate. I'm not saying I have solid proof of their existence. That's not my take on this thing.

My take is, what evidence have they provided? Does it hold up to scrutiny, etc. Especially as they're still turning a quid off it. Despite Vampirologist/Arminius' whingings, I think it's reasonable to impose such expectations on it.

Hell, it got you sucked in too! :P

Vampirologist said...

Anthony Hogg is a totally manic troll who is obsessed with two of the people associated with events that occurred on the other side of the world before he was born. One of them is obviously Bishop Manchester. The other is David Farrant. Anthony Hogg is not just pathologically obsessed with Bishop Manchester and the bishop's adversary, but is also too stupid to resist Farrant's machinations despite being the subject of ridicule in comics distributed by the latter. Thus Hogg allows himself so easily to be drawn into doing precisely what Farrant wants, ie violating Bishop Manchester. David Farrant is clearly a lost cause and beyond help. One could almost pity such a pathetic creature. Anthony Hogg is someone totally outside the forty-year-old Highgate Cemetery saga who decided to insinuate himself into latter-day arguments long after the history itself had reached a conclusion. He allows himself to be manipulated by the Farrant clique which is something only a fool would do. In being manipulated by them, Hogg posts libellous abuse about Bishop Manchester which is equal to anything the anti-BSM cronies resort to at the height of their malice. In fact, Hogg frequently uses antipathetic sources and seems to take immense pleasure regurgitating David Farrant's unsubstantiated garbage about Bishop Manchester. On a Facebook group comprising only David Farrant sympathisers which Anthony Hogg administrates in tandem with Redmond McWilliams (a friend of David Farrant), Hogg describes Bishop Manchester as "a despot" and "a fuckin' lowlife." On a blog elsewhere he boasted: "Trust me, that's not the worst I could've said." When asked to explain himself, however, he failed to do so. There is something deeply disturbing about Anthony Hogg who is patently a stalker with malicious intent and clearly someone with deep issues, possibly a narcissitic personality disorder, ie an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others.

Matthew Coniam said...

Do you prefer Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee?

Vampirologist said...

"If people want to believe in demons that's up to them. Act on that belief, however, and go flouncing round Highgate pretending to exorcise them, and I reserve the right to laugh." - Matthew Coniam

You apparently have no problem with people holding beliefs just so long as they do not act upon those beliefs?

So what is the point in believing if you then ignore the instructions that accompany the belief system in question?

"In My name shall they cast out demons." - Jesus Christ (Mark 16: 17)

Matthew Coniam said...

You can hold any belief, but only reasonably act upon a true one.

A man who thinks a vampire lives in Highgate Cemetery is an eccentric.

A man who goes blundering in, despoiling the site and violating the tombs, and then claims to have actually dispatched a vampire in a basement in Hampstead, is a menace.

Vampirologist said...

I would agree with you if what you are saying was actually the case.

Bishop Manchester, however, did not go "blundering in" anywhere; nor did he "despoil" or violate" anything. Had he done so he would have been condemned and possibly convicted because afterwards he discussed what had happened.

The fact is that he was on excellent terms with the private cemetery owners (United Cemeteries Ltd who were previously the London Cemetery Company) and not only did they give him consent for the spoken exorcism he performed, but they also allowed the BBC to film a reconstruction of that tomb exorcism soon afterwards. It was transmitted on BBC television on 15 October 1970.

People have believed in the existence of vampires for a great many centuries. Those who have acted upon that belief in order to rid an area of the pestilence comprised largely of Christian clergy.

I cannot see how Bishop Manchester is any different to his historical predecessors and traditional counterparts?

Matthew Coniam said...

Me neither.

Vampirologist said...

Then ,at least, we can agree on something.

Hip hip, hooray!

Matthew Coniam said...

A somewhat Pyrrhic victory, wouldn't you say?

Vampirologist said...

There is neither cost (to me) or a sense of "victory" over you.

Merely something on which we are agreed.

Matthew Coniam said...

I'll abandon my attempts at whimsy then.

I was saying that historical precedent does not persuade me. Vampires have never existed, and those who believe otherwise, however numerous they be in one era relative to any other, are always wrong.

Vampirologist said...

I suppose you must consider believers in any supernatural event to be wrong ...

The Resurrection, for example?


Hauntings, possessions, apparitions?

You are therefore bound to dismiss vampires, as any non-believer would.

It is, however, illogical to single out vampires for special treatment, as appears to be the case.

Matthew Coniam said...

Er... not if that's what the article is about.

Vampirologist said...

The article is about ...

"Did a vampire really haunt Highgate Cemetery?"

To which you append ...

"No. Of course it didn't."

You might just as easily have asked:

"Was Lazarus really raised from the dead by Jesus?"

To which the answer will always be "no, of course not" from those who dismiss the supernatural out of hand.

Which makes your article's questioning title academic because you have already decided what the answer will be due to your own feelings towards the supernatural.

It then becomes a hook on which to hang personal attacks on those who do believe in the supernatural.

The exercise could have been applied to any other supernatural incident.

Matthew Coniam said...

You're right: I might just as easily have asked:"Was Lazarus really raised from the dead by Jesus?", but it would be an odd thing to ask in a blog about horror movies, and certainly were I to do so readers might reasonably assume that it would be an article about Lazarus, not vampires, and one in which speculation on vampires would therefore be irrelevant.

As you noted, this article is in fact called "Did a vampire really haunt Highgate Cemetery?", and therefore about vampires, not Lazarus.
I'm not sure if you're truly not following this or just trying to make the top of my skull open and smoke come out.

You are right about my personal opinions of miracles, ressurections and the rest.
But - though I'll admit I can't immediately construct a cogently Darwinian explanation of why - I think most people would nonetheless agree that there is something especially silly about believing in vampires.

Vampirologist said...

Yet I can discern no real difference between Lazarus rising from his tomb through the power of God and a vampire rising from his tomb through the power of the Devil.

Why would one be more "silly" than the other when both are achieving the same outcome through supernatural intervention?

Matthew Coniam said...

Well I did stress that they are both silly to me personally, and that I would have difficulty making a logical case why one seems sillier than the other.
And that was my point: that it just seems sillier. And that I think most people would agree.

Foolish for us to argue over what most people would think besides ourselves, of course, nonetheless, I do strongly feel that even if you only polled Christians, or even only Christian clergy, the majority would say they do believe in Christian miracles and not in vampires.
And if you polled every person in the country, the majority would say that anyone who seriously believes in vampires is a kook.
Of course, that's just speculation until someone does the research, but you surely must concede that anecdotal evidence is in my favour.

Perhaps part of the reason is down to the historical element of Christian lore: It all happened in very special circumstances long ago, and so on.
Nobody who believes in God would say their faith is threatened by the fact that they don't see him anymore, though he's always popping up and saying hello in the Bible. But vampires, if they ever existed, have no reason to be less active now than at other times, yet the evidence for them is precisely zip.

And if the Bible claimed that Lazarus's ressurection was carried out not by Jesus in first century Palestine, but by a kook in Highgate in 1970, I suspect there would be a greater and wider degree of scepticism over that, too.

Vampirologist said...

Down the centuries it was Christian clergy who predominantly chronicled cases of vampirism and carried out vampire exorcisms.

That is still the case today.

Many Christians, incidentally, still believe God manifests to them personally today. And not just God, but also the Virgin Mary.

Quite a number of contemporary clergy say they have exorcised vampires in the traditional manner. A television documentary made by Daniel Farsons in the 1970s immediately comes to mind where an Orthodox priest exorcised a vampire in Eastern Europe using the tried and tested procedure.

Apart from Bishop Manchester, we also have the Rt Rev Montague Summers and the Reverend Christopher Neil-Smith (who was an Anglican vicar in Hampstead) who categorically state they exorcised vampires. Of course, most others are naturally coy about making such admissions public because of the implications. Yet behind closed doors they do lay claim to pursuing and exorcising vampires.

Bishop Manchester has said during radio interviews that he is often approached by other clergy in the Roman, Anglican and Orthodox churches for assistance in dealing with suspected vampire contagion.

When asked, Bishop Manchester confirmed that vampires are no less common now than they were in centruries past. Montague Summers said pretty much the same thing.

Matthew Coniam said...

Surely if you've learned anything here, it's that I'm not going to have my world view shaken too profoundly by any paragraph that begins "Bishop Manchester has said..."

Likewise the fascinating but equally up the pole Montague Summers.

I don't doubt you can point to many dozens of people, perhaps more, who through either illness or mischief have claimed to have had similar experiences to Manchester's.
My point remains that as a percentage of a world population of seven billion, they remain a microscopic minority.

Anthony Hogg said...

Firstly, Vampirologist - do you actually hold any religious beliefs? If you're arguing in favour of Manchester's spiritual views, but not advancing any of your own, then I'd expect you to have some empathy with them.

Second, you're operating under the presumption that belief in vampires is synonymous with Christian belief: it's not.

You're making out Church views on the undead to be far more widespread than they actually were - and misrepresenting the vampire 'types' in the process.

For instance, you haven't mentioned that well known vampire scholars - both Catholic churchmen, no less - Dom Augustin Calmet and Giuseppe Davanzati, were skeptical of the belief. Even more so in Davazanti's case. He believed the belief was being exploited by greedy priests who reaped the money derived from such exorcisms (prayers weren't always free!).

A Pope outright condemned the belief - Prospero Lambertini.

Christopher-Neils' concept of 'vampirism', is not the corporeal undead forum you're defending here. Instead, he was alluding to a sort of ghostly possession.

And Montague? Well, he was a little 'eccentric'. He also believed the Croglin vampire case was real, despite its very clear parallels with 'Varney the vampire'.

Lastly, Vampirologist, were you personally involved in the Highgate vampire case? You're trying to speak with a sense of authority, but it keeps boiling down to - as Matthew's pointed out - 'Bishop Manchester has said'.

Vampirologist said...

Matthew Coniam's blog concerns the case of the Highgate Vampire. The person who investigated that case from start to finish is Bishop Manchester who also wrote a book about it and has appeared in countless film documentaries where he discusses the case. Thus I bow to the bishop's superior knowledge on this matter as it is first-hand and carries the weight of someone now widely regarded as the UK's foremost demonologist and exorcist.

However, I am not going to be lectured to by someone who hides behind a demonic mask, befriends occultists similarly disposed as himself towards the bishop and is well known for the incredible hostility he reserves for anyone even vaguely sympathetic to Bishop Manchester.

Anthony Hogg said...

You call yourself a 'Vampirologist' - yet you either don't know these basic facts or you've deliberately suppressed them in favour of Manchester's views.

You introduced a religious angle...without professing any religion, yourself.

You said, 'Matthew Coniam's blog concerns the case of the Highgate Vampire': I asked whether you had personally been involved in the investigation especially as you've used my 'age' and 'distance' against me.

If you're going to defer to Manchester's point of view and post huge chunks of copy/paste text in the process, I would've thought there'd be substance to your argument. Clearly, it's just hot air.

If you're going to follow me around the 'net to 'refute' my points, then bring something meaty to the table. Not half-baked 'Manchester saids'.

Vampirologist said...

I do not give account of myself to a pipsqueak who reported my colleague to Facebook for not using his real name despite many others doing the same.

Arminius Vámbéry's Facebook account has been permanently disabled because of Hogg.

The original "Arminius Vámbéry," however, would have been in trouble had he used that name on Facebook because his real name was actually Hermann Bamberger.

Hogg would probably be trolling Hermann Bamberger for calling himself "Arminius Vámbéry" if he was still around today!

Arminius used a net name to self-protect from stalking trolls like Anthony Hogg who so-called "facts" are selected nit-picks twisted to serve his agenda which is to harass and stalk anyone sympathetic towards Bishop Manchester.

Hogg will be back. You can place money on it because, like trolls everywhere, he must have the last word.

It is also a violation for a Facebook member to have more than one account and Anthony Hogg has two in his name. Perhaps Facebook should be informed?

Matthew Coniam said...

Well that certainly absolves you of those cut and paste allegations.
(See comments for June 6th and 7th)

Anthony Hogg said...

I think I broke the record player, Matthew! He's gone into repeat mode.

Oh, forgot to mention: he's also a spammer.

See: http://demonflyonthewall.wordpress.com/about/#comment-420

Vampirologist said...

When it comes to spam nobody can match Anthony Hogg who spams links to his anti-BSM hate bogs at every opportunity all over the internet.

Like I said, he always has to have the last word on everything.

That's what you get with trolls ...

Anthony Hogg said...

No answer? Interesting.

logicfish said...

Hogg is a really strange person - some kind of pervert by all accounts.

Matthew Coniam said...

ALL accounts?
Three months after I thought this post had finally coughed its last, along comes a logical fish to tell me that Anthony Hogg is "some kind of pervert" - and BY ALL ACCOUNTS!
Be more specific!
What kind?
You disinterest me strangely.

Matthew Coniam said...

In case you thought I wasn't showing the right kind of scientific spirit, I followed Mr Fish to his extensive and eclectic list of blogs, and there, among a mere 19 blogs, including one called 'Quality Classified Photo Ads at Bargain Prices!', and - for some odd reason - TWO called 'Targeted Traffic Today!' we find one called 'David Farrant the Obscene Deviant'.
According to this delightful site, Farrant is "a kind of creepy weirdo who mucks about with corpses in cementaries".

Anthony Hogg said...

Hi Mark Fisher ('logicfish')!

I see that instead of answering up to your blatantly deceptive posts about me, you're continuing your pathetic smear campaign beyond the walls of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society Facebook group!

Matthew, I've written about this character twice before. See:



His 'pervert' line comes hot on the heels of Catherine Fearnley's vague insinuation about myself. Fisher's already demonstrated that he doesn't have much of a mind of his own. Here's what he had to say to Kai Roberts - author of the brilliant 'Grave concerns' (2011). When Roberts confronted him on the nasty things Fisher was posting about him, Fisher responded:

'hrm - I don't know what you've done to upset barbara and catherine, and I don't need to know - the account is setup to support their side of the campaign, and I'll follow their advice.'

Source: http://www.facebook.com/groups/122097327935767/permalink/124092881069545/?comment_id=125265517618948&offset=0&total_comments=28

That thread is a real eye-opener.

'By all accounts' actually refers to himself and Fearnley. By all means, try and get him to clarify what he means by 'pervert' - he'll probably be stunned into silence, as not even he knows: he's just copying her vague insinuations about me.

Oh, and nice work digging up his other blogs. About from being a total looney toon, he's also a bloody spammer! Ugh!

David Farrant said...

I really don't want to intrude here, but as my name has been so persistently been mentioned by one 'vampirologist' (aka Mr Sean Manchester),I feel obliged to do so.)

It would seem that 'vampirologist', is just continuing a long obsessive hate campaign he has against myself just for saying that I do not believe in 'blood-sucking' vampires which he apparently believes in, and has stated publicly in his self-published books on the Highgate case; indeed, which he has stated on television.
I do NOT accept that he (Mr Manchester) has ever 'staked' two vampires: one which he claims to have tracked down to a deserted gothic mansion in 1973 and 'staked through the heart (after 'photographing' it and after setting fire to its coffin with petrol; the ot6her a 'disciple' of this 'King Vampire' which promptly changed into a 'giant spider' after Mr Manchester claims to have confronted her in a lonely London cemetery just near to his home in North London. These are not my words, but Mr Manchester's own as he describes in the book in question. Yes Sean (sorry 'vampirologist of course!) it was YOURSELF who made these claims, not myself!
But the question that really remains, is why do you keep attacking me with such verocity?
I have never said I believed your claims for one moment - but, again, perhaps this is the real reason why!
Sean; why don't you give everyone a break and start putting posts under your own name, as opposed to inventing a lot of silly aliases which all but a child can see through?
I am a psychic investigator who simply doesn't believe this story!
I don't really care what you believe in, but please stop trying to ascribe all your silly tags of 'Satanism' and black magic to myself. I have known you a long time Sean and believe me you are not fooling anyone - only perhaps yourself!
David Farrant, President, The British Psychic and Occult Society.

Matthew Coniam said...

Seriously? I have been talking to Manchester himself all this time?
A man who not merely believes in vampires but claims to have destroyed two of them? No wonder he was such a crosspatch.

David Farrant said...

Yes Matthew,
I am afraid you have really been 'taken in'. 'Vampirologist' does not really exist - except as Mr Manchester himself writing under under under one of many of his numerous psuedo names. There IS nobody else except Mr Manchester writing all this ridiculous stuff. He never dares to put his real name to his own posts - probably because he realises they are so vindictive.
But I do, and that is really the major difference!
David Farrant

Ramsey Campbell said...

' What is actually written in the caption of the image in question on page 142 of the first edition of "The Highgate Vampire" (British Occult Society, 1985) is "A representation of the vampire in its final moments of dissolution." '

Or to put it another way, it's an uncredited reproduction of a Dick Smith makeup for Dorian Gray. Was the use of this copyright material cleared with the copyright holder? We must hope so, given the author's well-known concern for copyright protection!

Matthew Coniam said...

Thanks for looking in, Ramsay. I remember it was your article(in Shock Xpress, was it?) that alerted me to this amusing piece of Manchester legerdemain...

Ramsey Campbell said...

It was indeed in that august publication, Matthew, despite a number of odd letters to the publishers that advised them not to print my review of Mr Manchester's book.

Matthew Coniam said...

Odd letters, eh? Hmmm. Not like anything I might recognise, of course ...

Ramsey Campbell said...

Mr Manchester objected to being reviewed by “a pulp fiction writer… a bizarre and singularly appropriate reviewer… a hack like Campbell”. One Barbara Green wrote “I think you should in all fairness to Sean Manchester, have someone to do the work who will employ resious research on the subject” rather than “a paperback writer of fantasy horror stories”). Keith Maclean of Reading protested “Ramsey Campbell is not exactly Shakespeare and his major motivation is undoubtedly to make as much money as possible… What do you think would have happened to Sarah if it were not for Sean Manchester?” and there was a postcard from “BG” (“…a fiction writer with no understanding of the real occult has no right to review this type of work").

Matthew Coniam said...

Ha! Yes, oddly familiar...
There's certainly a lot of pent-up passion going nowhere here.

Not exactly Shakespeare are you, Mr Campbell. Tut tut.
Who possesses the stature to comment on Sean Manchester? It's Shakespeare or nobody, I'm afraid. Love it.

Possibly you knew what you were in for when you first reclined on this bed of nails? I was totally unprepared, but the eighty or so comments above your own represent a fascinating educational journey on my part!

Ramsey Campbell said...

You should see what Bill Ellis had to put up with, Matthew. Me, I was entertained by the stuff I attracted.

Matthew Coniam said...

What's the betting that this little exchange is going to bring 'Vampirologist' out of the woodwork for a fresh round of foot-stamping, I wonder...

Ramsey Campbell said...

I came to wonder if the writers of the letters and the postcard were actually unhappy that the book would be reviewed by someone with a lot of knowledge about horror fiction and horror films.

Matthew Coniam said...

A good point, yes, given SM's 'love' shall we say, for Stoker's prose!

Ramsey Campbell said...

And by gum, here's the very representation of the vampire, displayed by my old friend Forry.


Matthew Coniam said...

There he is! Thanks, Ramsey.
The route by which this ended up endorsed by Manchester as something he had actually physically encountered is a delicious one to contemplate.
Did he just clip it out of a magazine and assume nobody would notice, or care?
The alternative - since the retaliatory claim, above, seems to be not refusal to accept that the image is what it is, but rather that the caption does not claim otherwise - is even better: he saw it and thought: "Incredible! That Dorian Gray design looks EXACTLY like a vampire in the final stages! What are the odds! I must put that in my book!"

Anthony Hogg said...

'Vampirologist' conveniently disappeared - as he, and his innumerable guises tend to do - once they've been rumbled and run out of attacks and copy-paste bombardments.

As to what Ellis had to put up with, I presume it was more than just this: http://www.holygrail-church.fsnet.co.uk/RaisingDevil.htm

I've got to say, I'm quite surprised to see Barbara Green's name tossed in... especially if you're familiar with her work as the President of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society. I can also tell you that she certainly changed her tune with Manchester.

Keith Maclean's name might be familiar - he's featured in Manchester's story. He's now 'Brother Keith' in Manchester's church. Although, Manchester's former friend, Kevin Chesham, paints a very different view of their relationship.

See: http://kevchesham.blogspot.com.au/p/tales-from-bunkerlow-part-2.html

The whole blog makes for very interesting reading.

Ramsey, a bit of a longshot, but do you happen to still have any of those postcards or letters?

Anthony Hogg said...

'Vampirologist' - and his innumerable usernames - tends to flee when he's been rumbled.

The anticipatory criticism of Ramsey's excellent chapter (also featured in Ramsey Campbell, probably (2002) was most amusing.

There were a few interesting names there. Firstly, I was surprised to see Mrs. Green's name turn up, especially if you're familiar with her work as the President of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society. But at the time, she supported Manchester - who was her society's then-Patron.

They had a falling out, however - and let's say she went 180 on him.

Keith Maclean - also known as 'Brother Keith' (because he's also a member of Manchester's autocephalous church) - will be familiar to folk here as one of the supporting players in Manchester's book. At one point, he was also the Vampire Research Society's Regional Area Secretary.

However, Manchester's former friend, Kevin Chesham, has a very different overview of their friendship. See: http://kevchesham.blogspot.com.au/p/tales-from-bunkerlow-part-2.html

As to Ellis, Ramsey - how bad was it? About the worst I've seen is this: http://www.holygrail-church.fsnet.co.uk/RaisingDevil.htm

Oh, and would you happen to still have any of those letters or postcards?

Vampirologist said...


"I do not judge people by their beliefs, opinions and ideas. It is how they behave and how true they are that matters most. If I appear to be attacking Kevin Chesham it is not because of any beliefs or opinions he holds. It is because of his behaviour, which includes bearing false witness against me and lying in the full knowledge that he is lying. His actions, therefore, are made a thousand times worse because he does not believe in his own rectitude. Had I known what I have come to know about him and his wife in recent years, I would obviously not have provided either of them with character references for employment. Neither are especially intelligent. Kevin Chesham is poorly educated and his employment at local government leisure establishments has not been anything to really become much concerned over, but the thought of Beverley Mason teaching children, much less being a head teacher, is enough to send a shudder down anyone's spine.

"For the record, I have at no time owed allegiance to any political party. The only time I stood as a prospective candidate in the political process, which was at local government level, was on an independent platform on the single issue of preserving a woodland cemetery that formed part of the Great Northern London Cemetery. This did not involve party politics; though I was supported at the time by the then Ecology Party which later evolved into the Green Party, and various individuals of all political backgrounds. My other campaigning against nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, the arms trade and such wars as my country deemed fit to engage itself in attracted people from all parts of the political spectrum and none. I have personally known people, even leaders, at both extremes of party politics and quite a few in the middle. All attempts to involve me in party politics in the past have utterly failed. I have absolutely no faith in the political system, a view held more now than ever before by many people, and suspect I would be found unacceptable to most parties making an approach as my allegiance is not to Caesar but to God. Moreover, I would not want to be found acceptable to those who are driven by power, greed and corruption as I believe are the majority of politicians. This has always been my position all along.

"We are probably all 'political,' however, in the sense that we hold opinions that make us so, but this is a far cry from belonging to a political party. I was physically attacked by National Front thugs on Christmas Eve in 1981 whilst holding a 'Fast for Peace' vigil at Finchley, London. Kevin Chesham and his wife would have folk believe I canvassed for the National Front. This is a falsehood fed to him by David Farrant who has been making that false and malicious allegation for the last decade. Anyone checking the record will find no evidence of me ever having supported or belonging to the National Front or, for that matter, any other political party.

I have always opposed bigotry and ultra-nationalism such as evinced by those who hate other races for no other reason than they belong to that race. Not every single person in such a party is necessarily a racial bigot, but many are, which I personally find unaccepatble. I love people of all races and enjoy the diversity of mankind. I also want to preserve and protect my own culture and heritage, not least its Faith."

See: http://kevin-chesham.blogspot.co.uk/

Vampirologist said...

Bishop Seán Manchester's comprehensive rebuttal to Kevin Chesham's malice and the motives behind it can be found at this link:


"I personally believe a turning point for Kevin Chesham was him having a stroke just prior to his time in New Zealand and association with Kerry Bolton. Strokes can cause complete and often devastating changes in personality. This certainly happened where Kevin Chesham is concerned. I hardly recognised him from the person I had known, meeting him only very occasionally, down the years. Had anyone asked me if I thought Kevin Chesham was an ideological Fascist or a National Socialist in the first three decades of my knowing him, I would have said definitely not, but if the same people were to have asked me the same question in the last handful of years, I would have been obliged to answer in the affirmative." - Seán Manchester