Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Vampire and the Satanists.

Both David Farrant and Sean Manchester have made allusions to secret black magic ceremonies at Highgate Cemetery (West), and that it had played a large part in the alleged spectral phenomenon that had occurred there. Both men have claimed that they had found evidence of diabolical and necromantic activity such as chalk circles with occult symbols and burnt black candles. Add to that there was ample evidence of staked corpses and desecrated tombs during this rather turbulent period in the cemetery's history. For example, on the 1st of August, 1970 a decapitated and burnt corpse of a woman (who had believed died in the late Nineteenth century) was found not far from one of the tombs. The police had suspected that the corpse had been used in a black magic ritual [1].

In Manchester's narrative he suggested that it was Satanists that helped bring a 'King Vampire' to our shores, and had provided him with accommodation in a fine house; only then to move him at some point to the cemetery that was erected in the house's grounds following it's demolition. All this supposedly happened in the early nineteenth century and in the wake of a vampire epidemic that had engulfed much of continental Europe. Now considering that the cemetery had opened in 1839 that leaves us with some 130 years of relative inactivity before the events of the now infamous vampire flap. Just what was his vampire supposedly doing during this time? Where did he go after his home (Ashurst House) was demolished? Did he find other lodgings? Or had he been abandoned by his secret coven, with his remains later discovered and interred into one of the new cemetery's vaults; only to be 'awoken' by another group of more contemporary occultists sometime in the mid to late sixties?

Farrant however contends that the spectre was not a vampire at all, but was either an earth bound spirit or some sort of malevolent psychic entity that had either been manipulated or conjured via occult means by a local coven of black magicians. With such magic being further enhanced by the tapping the energies from an ancient ley line that passes through the cemetery and much of Highgate village.

So what are we to make of all this? Was there a genuine occult element to this case or was most of  the desecration that had taken place merely the work of mindless thugs and vandals? If on the other hand it was a genuine supernatural phenomenon, was the vampire/spectre/entity either awoken or summoned by human hands? And if so were these shadowy individuals amateur or expert occultists? Did they employ white or black magic in their rituals? And to what end?

Or was it all just the inevitable (and collective) result of the public's appetite for media stories on black magic and the occult, the rising popularity of the hammer horror movies and a renewed interest in alternative religions? A media incited public hysteria or flap? Alternatively, were they all the right ingredients with which to a perpetrate a well orchestrated hoax?

The occult and supernatural aspects of this case will incidentally form the basis for my two prospective book projects. One will be a non-fictional, layman-friendly examination and appraisal of all the issues and questions that I have raised in this very blog entry. Whilst the other, a Dennis Wheatley- inspired horror novel, will provide an 'alternative', fictionalised account of what really happened in Highgate during the period of the so called 'vampire' flap.

However I must stress at this point that both books are in their very early stages of preparation and I do not yet have any firm idea yet about where and how they will be published. All in all this is a five year plan, but I will of course keep you all updated on any further developments, and as and when they happen. I will certainly be devoting more time to this blog from now on while I undertake more background research. So I hope to share with you some of my findings along the way.

But for now I will wish all my loyal readers a very belated Happy New Year!


1.  'That vampire back again?' - The Hampstead and Highgate Express, August 7, 1970 (p. 1).

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