Isaac Ben Jacob’s Statement

March 31, 2013

Official Statement About David Farrant and “Della Farrant”

Official Statement sent by Isaac Ben Jacob to Seán Manchester regarding David Farrant and the person variously calling herself “Della Maria Vallicrus” and “Della Escarti” and “Della Farrant”:
“Me and my wife have discovered with a lot of surprise the existence of several blogs where we are notably being associated with David Farrant and his wife or girlfriend (I don’t know if she is his wife or his girlfriend), whereas we have absolutely no contact with him, and we absolutely do not share his ideas.
“I wish to underline that my wife met David Farrant once or twice during meetings, and that it was David Farrant who started to talk to her, whereas she didn’t know anything about him or his past. We recently found out that the reason why David Farrant initially made contact with my wife was in order to manipulate us, and to make you believe she was Della. If you look closely at the pictures of Della [posted in blogs], you will notice that the Della shown on the photos is always hiding her face, and that she always takes a posture which does not allow anyone to determine exactly how tall she is.
“I have attended a meeting myself three months ago, and I have seen Della and David Farrant together at this occasion. And when I tried to take a picture of them, Della immediately threw herself at me and my wife in order to force us to delete the photo from our camera.
“We do not have any relation or contact with Della and David Farrant, and we don’t want to be associated with these two persons in any way, shape or form, because they have a sulfurous past, they have a reputation of being Satanists, and they are acquainted with people like Jean-Paul Bourre, whom I don’t want to hear about.
“I know you have done research about me, and consequently you know I am an earnest academic researcher who uses scientific methods. Therefore you also know that I reject and condemn all magical practices, heretical deviancies, and obviously, people such as David Farrant, who have practised Satanism.
“I think that you and I have been manipulated in this case, and that you could help us reestablish the truth.”


David Farrant’s black magic altar.

Luciferian Lunacy

March 29, 2013

David Farrant

David Farrant aka Allan Farrow (Muswell Hill, London), twice divorced, not in a relationship, claims up until 1982 to have been a practitioner of witchcraft, but has subsequently been regarded by his Luciferian friends such as Jean-Paul Bourre and Marcos Drake to be a Luciferian.

Farrant posing at his black magic altar with the Devil’s image.

Farrant captioned as a Luciferian on French television.

Farrant having a drink with John Pope in November 1973.

John Pope, once the head of the United Temples of Satan, and a self-styled successor of Aleister Crowley, supports ritual human sacrifice, but settles for animal sacrifice. David Farrant has claimed as far back as 1973 to support animal sacrifice in the Hornsey Journal, 28 September 1973 and Hornsey Journal, 31 August 1973. In the latter he stated when interviewed by Roger Simpson: “Hundreds of years ago a naked virgin would have been sacrificed, but obviously we couldn’t do that now so we had to have an animal for the important ritual.”

David Farrant’s close friend since December 1979, Jean-Paul Bourre, a self-proclaimed Luciferian, also has a predilection for killing defenceless animals, usually in deserted graveyards, to fulfill the depraved requirements of a satanic ceremony. Bourre can be seen doing so on a French television programme at this link:

Jean-Paul Bourre’s Bourre’s Luciferian friend Marcos Drake interviewed David Farrant on French television. The interview can be seen at this link:

What do we know about their brand of Luciferianism? David Farrant informs us in a magazine article called “Witch Report” (Penthouse [UK], Vol. 8, No. 8, 1973, page 19): “Satanists worship Lucifer, the supreme power of evil, whereas witchcraft is a neutral thing — it’s only evil if practised for an evil purpose.” Like several of his Luciferian acquaintances, Jean-Paul Bourre amongst them, David Farrant, who has stated that he abandoned witchcraft in 1982, describes himself as someone who “accepts Lucifer as an important deity” and that he “worships Lucifer.” His words can be heard on The Devil’s Fool CD (Gothic Press) which comprises thirty-two interview extracts of David Farrant.

And what of Jean-Paul Bourre? Farrant is quite explicit in his earliest self-published pamphlet from which the photograph and caption, below, appear. According to Farrant, his longstanding friend Jean-Paul Bourre is “a leading Satanist” and in the picture Bourre is seen attempting “to invoke the Devil.”

Wicca Workers Party

March 28, 2013
John Pope in his Nazi attire in the 1970s.

David Farrant repeats the same libel he has been hawking for decades to whoever is daft enough to provide him with a platform, including such dupes as Kevin Chesham, Kevin Demant, Don Ecker, Trystan Swale and Anthony Hogg. Farrant employs every piece of incitement against Seán Manchester that he can dream up. This includes the malicious allegation that he was once was a member and canvassed for the National Front. The aforementioned named were not slow to seize upon whatever libel comes their way without requiring a shred of evidence.

Seán Manchester’s position is quite clear. He has no interest in party politics and has at no time in his life been a member of any political party. False claims to the effect that he has been a National Front member, and indeed canvassed for them, stem solely from David Farrant; the same David Farrant who attempted to stand as a WWP candidate in the 1978 British General Election; the same David Farrant who recommended that potential voters should switch to the National Front when he stood down when he was disqualified for having a criminal record; the same David Farrant who has sought and received support from Nazi-minded individuals with far right associations to attack Seán Manchester.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Seán Manchester was the North London Regional Co-ordinator for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and an active member of Pax Christi. His peace campaigning was supported by such eminent figures as Lord Fenner Brockway, often resulting in media coverage. When Seán Manchester led the “Fast for Peace” one Christmas he was joined by the elderly Lord Brockway and other peace campaigners. On that occasion thugs believed to be neo-Nazis attacked him and others who were fasting. This was reported by local newspapers at the time. So the suggestion by Farrant that Seán Manchester is, or ever has been, a neo-Nazi is not only risible but ludicrous in the extreme.
David Farrant prepared to stand as a candidate in the 1978 British General Election. He launched what was described as the “Wicca Workers Party” to the cry of “Wiccans Awake!” Journalist and editor Peter Hounam wrote a front page story for the Hornsey Journal, 30 June 1978, that thundered:
He became more confident and published a letter in the Hornsey Journal, 21 July 1978, which stated:
“It is not my intention to use your letter columns to promulgate the views of the Wicca Workers Party or to become involved in futile argument with any of your readers, but having seen the opinions expressed in the letter columns of the Journal, I feel that I should set the record straight. In fact, the WWP is a serious political party and has growing support from people all over the country; including other political groups with whom we are now amalgamated.”
Farrant’s Wicca Workers Party poster (below) 
with an identical slogan to one also used by the
League of Imperial Fascists on its flyers and leaflets.
A section of the League of Imperial Fascists’ poster
(below) with identical slogan and same Nazi eagles.

The Thorne-Farrant Conspiracy

March 28, 2013
Frank Thorne
A series of articles written by the photographer Seán Manchester, which had begun to be syndicated by the Times Group Newspapers – owner of titles such as the Barnet Times, Finchley Times, Hendon Times and Borehamwood Post etc, – came to an abrupt halt when Frank Thorne ran a spoiler in the Sunday People, a tabloid specialising in sensationalism and at that time still part of the Mirror group of newspapers.
David Farrant
Frank Thorne’s sensationalist piece in the Sunday People, 9 October 1977 was based on his collaboration with David Farrant who, then as now, is exceptionally antipathetic toward Seán Manchester. Farrant had not long been released from prison when his collusion with Thorne took place. The Sunday People article came about when Seán Manchester refused to collude with Thorne on an investigative piece he had begun to have published as a commission with the Times Group Newspapers. This resulted in Thorne harassing the photographer’s parents on the doorstep of their Islington home. Seán Manchester asked the journalist to desist on the grounds that his parents were not involved, nor responsible for any story he might be looking to find in order to spoil the original, and that one of them, his father, was unwell. Thorne ignored such pleas and Seán Manchester was obliged to meet the journalist, albeit briefly, at the offices of the Sunday People on 5 October 1977 in order to prevent any further harassment of his parents. Such is the blackmail exerted by some tabloid journalists. This meeting confirmed the photographer’s worst fears. It became apparent that Thorne, who suffered from a serious alcohol problem which eventually cost him his job with the Sunday People, was in contact with David Farrant who was naturally willing to go along with anything the newspaper wanted which might cause Seán Manchester distress.

Thorne wrote in his spoiler:

“[Seán Manchester] claimed to have investigated this new Nazi threat which advocated recruiting children at schoolyard gates. Pictures showed black-shirted youths wearing Nazi insignia. More sensational still was a photograph of a man in Nazi officer’s uniform, complete with swastika, iron cross and sadistic-looking riding crop. In the article Manchester described this somewhat theatrical character as ‘The Commander’ – in charge of a para-military ‘task force’ and parts of an underground national group known as ‘Column 88.’ All rubbish. Although the Commander is clean-shaven he bears a striking resemblance to the now bearded Mr. Manchester. And having done someme investigation myself I say that he faked the whole episode. When I challenged him he could not verify one detail of his so-called investigation. Unable to name one name, or nail one Nazi. This is hardly surprising. As we discovered after tracking down one of the swastika-sporting men in his pictures, taken outside a schoolyard. This man, I found is a 24-year-old labourer called John Pope. Pope is a Satanist who prefers his own ‘fancy dress’ of black magic robes to the Nazi gear Manchester persuaded him to wear. He admitted that Manchester provided him with a swastika armband to pose for the picture. ‘This was all Sean’s idea,’ said Pope at his home in Barnet. ‘I’ve not even heard of the League of Imperial Fascists. I want nothing to do with the resurrection of Hitler. I thought it would help Sean with a good story. But he’s made me out to be a Nazi recruiting officer. He conned me’.”

John Pope afterwards complained to the Press Council about everything attributed to him and about him by Thorne. The following signed and witnessed statement transcribed from his original taped recollection was made at the insistence of Pope’s father, Fred Pope, who resented his son’s treatment by the newspaper:

“On the evening of 6 October 1977, two men called at my home at [address deleted], Barnet, Hertfordshire, and without identifying themselves demanded to see me. My father thought they were police detectives by their manner. When invited to come inside, they refused and insisted that I accompany them to a nearby car. That is when they first revealed themselves to be working for the Sunday People. One, calling himself Frank Thorne, tried to make me say that a photograph of a man in a Nazi uniform was Seán Manchester. They showed me a copy of the Borehamwood Post and tried to make me say that the article called ‘The New Nazis’ was false. But they would not let me read any of the article and did not refer specifically to the ‘League of Imperial Fascists.’ They told me that I would be guaranteed future mention in their newspaper if I co-operated, but I was not prepared to let them use me in this way. The following evening I telephoned the Sunday People and asked to speak to the News Editor. I complained to him about his reporters’ methods, especially Frank Thorne, and reminded him that I belonged to a survivalist group that had political connections, further about which I did not wish to elaborate. I did not seem to get any satisfactory replies, so I spoke to him again on the telephone on Saturday morning, 8 October 1977, by which time I had been told by Seán Manchester what Frank Thorne had alleged I said on Thursday evening, which I knew to be false. I did not identify any person in the photographs shown to me.”

A statement (ref; CFW/SP/P6282/6/3/78) issued by Mike Clarke, editor of the Borehamwood Post, was noted by the Press Council. This greatly respected newspaper editor denied all the remarks attributed to him by Frank Thorne in the Sunday People article. He underlined the fact that he had most definitely not said the words, nor anything similar, to the effect of “I’m afraid I’m left with egg on my face. I shall be taking legal advice.”

The following complaint was lodged by Seán Manchester with the Press Council:

“The Sunday People newspaper concocted an inaccurate article about me which they did not correct when presented with Mr John Pope’s statement and other evidence which showed none of Frank Thorne’s allegations against me to be true. Photographs belonging to me were used in an article without my permission. I was, however, promptly paid a sum of money for their use, which, unwisely, I accepted as compensation for what amounted to copyright theft. From the start I had made clear to Frank Thorne that I had no wish to ‘collaborate’ on the Nazi story as (a) it was my work, and (b) the Sunday People’s ‘treatment’ of my work, as proposed by Frank Thorne to me, was one I found to be unacceptable. Frank Thorne then threatened to use my material with or without my permission. None of the quotes attributed to me are true. I did not state to Frank Thorne that the ‘Nazi recruiting picture of John Pope’ was ‘faked.’ I did identify the person in the picture [of the ‘Commander’]. This was ignored by Frank Thorne.”

A compelling piece of evidence presented to the Press Council was Frank Thorne’s complete reliance on collusion with David Farrant. Nobody other than Farrant was able to “identify” the neo-Nazi Commander in the stolen photograph. For legal reasons, Thorne fraudulently added John Pope’s name to the identification, but Pope absolutely denied making any such identification as his signed statement of 9 December 1977 attests. Furthermore, Pope, off the record, claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Thorne and the accompanying journalist when they took him away from his home for interrogation in their car.David Farrant made a statement of his own in view of its enormous publicity potential, which he duly signed on 2 January 1978. It was lodged with the Press Council. Farrant’s statement follows:“I received a ‘phone call from Trevor Aspenal of the Sunday People who enquired about my relationship with Seán Manchester and the British Occult Society. I told him there was no change and that we were still strongly opposed to each other. I then spoke to Frank Thorne of the same newspaper who asked me if I could identify Seán Manchester in a picture. I told him that I would be able to. He then arranged for me to attend the Sunday People’s offices where I was shown a photograph of someone in a Nazi uniform. He then showed me a number of other photographs of men and women in Nazi uniforms. I identified one of the men as John Pope. I agreed with Frank Thorne that the original picture shown to me could have been Seán Manchester.”
In fact, Seán Manchester gave Frank Thorne the name “John Kane,” which is the name he had been given by the Commander.
Six months after publication of the spoiler, it was time for the journalist to reward Farrant with some promised publicity for his co-operation. Thorne accompanied Farrant on a train journey to Grimsby where he was photographed with “fiancée” Nancy O’Hoski outside a church for a half-page feature about their proposed wedding. Published in the Sunday People, 16 April 1978, Thorne’s article opens with the following words:“Self-styled witch king David Farrant – the man jailed for desecrating a tomb and threatening detectives with voodoo – has a new shock in store. What’s more, Britain’s best-known Prince of Darkness is dreaming of a traditional white wedding.”The article quoted Farrant as saying; “I want to put my ghoulish past behind me now. Either I give up witchcraft or Nancy.”
Soon after the story was printed, Farrant gave up Nancy O’Hoski, a speech therapist (Farrant suffers from a nervous stammer). They obviously did not get married. This was a cruel stunt played by Farrant on Miss O’Hoski and the public. Then came a very curious turn of events. Within days of the publicity generated by his abandoned wedding plans in the Sunday People, Farrant prepared to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming British General Election. He launched what was described as the “Wicca Workers Party” to the cry of “Wiccans Awake!”Journalist and editor Peter Hounam wrote a front page story for the Hornsey Journal, 30 June 1978, that thundered:“A new peril for candidates fighting the marginal Hornsey constituency emerged this week with news that some of their supporters who indulge in witchcraft may switch their votes to the ‘Wicca Workers Party’ in the General Election. David Farrant, who lives in Muswell Hill Road, is fighting under the slogan ‘Wiccans Awake’.”
Farrant became more confident and published a letter in the Hornsey Journal, 21 July 1978, which stated:“It is not my intention to use your letter columns to promulgate the views of the Wicca Workers Party or to become involved in futile argument with any of your readers, but having seen the opinions expressed in the letter columns of the Journal, I feel that I should set the record straight. In fact, the WWP is a serious political party and has growing support from people all over the country; including other political groups with whom we are now amalgamated.”John Pope continued with his neo-Nazi associations, and published articles in the journal of the south-western branch of the National Front, an organisation with overtly neo-Nazi views. He has belonged to survivalist groups and has always managed to maintain contact with some of the most extreme movements to have existed on the far right. He still resides at the London home of his late uncle, Bill Binding, who was in the news in 2001 when he attempted to join the Conservative Party:
“Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith says he will be looking at whether action is needed over reports that a former deputy leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Britain has joined the Tory party. Bill Binding, 76, from Clapton, east London, who stood for the far-right British National Party (BNP) in the 1997 election, told the Guardian he had left the Klan four years ago after deciding different races were genetically alike.”
William Binding’s nephew John Pope nowadays runs Jack the Ripper tours in East London. On his website, Pope describes himself as “a master of the black arts, a third degree witch and Odinist … a natural shaman and master of Yoga and other preternatural mysteries and systems.”  He also claims to be a descendant of Robin Hood, as well as being of “blood line to Jack the Ripper and Dracula.”  For decades he and his close associate David Farrant have been openly hostile toward Seán Manchester. Pope, who nowadays styles himself “Pope-de Locksley,” is dubbed on his website as “The Scariest Man in London.”
Kevin Chesham
David Farrant has a long history of association with people holding neo-Nazi ideology. He connects, for example, to names such as Philippe Welte and Jean-Paul Bourre, two Frenchman who greatly admired Hitler at the time Farrant was in collaboration with them in the 1980s. Farrant’s self-published pamphlet Beyond the Highgate Vampire includes a photograph of Jean-Paul Bourre whom he describes in the caption beneath as “a leading Satanist attempting to invoke the Devil.” What  he fails to mention is his close friendship and collaboration over many years with Bourre. There are others with whom Farrant has been associated who have far right views and connections. Kevin Chesham, someone closely associated with the neo-Nazi Satanist Kerry Bolton of New Zealand, has more recently been a collaborator in David Farrant’s longstanding hate campaign against Seán Manchester.

The Meeting Discrepancy

March 27, 2013

Farrant indicates where he allegedly saw a vampire in
this picture of his first meeting with Seán Manchester 
in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970.
David Farrant claims that he first met Seán Manchester in “late 1967.” Seán Manchester assures that he first met Farrant in “early 1970.” Farrant conveniently slips all manner of unsubstantiated allegations into this three years discrepancy. For example, Farrant has latterly claimed he was entertained with a screening of an 8mm horror movie made by and starring Seán Manchester, and that the papier mache vampire he claims appears in the movie is what also appears in photographs of the corporeal shell of the exorcised vampire in Seán Manchester’s published account The Highgate Vampire (Gothic Press, 1991) and in television programmes featuring images from that book. Seán Manchester strenuously denies this and invites anyone who saw such a movie as described by Farrant to come forward and be identified. He states that no such movie was made; that Farrant was not someone he would have considered entertaining in his home; and that, even when they did eventually become acquainted in 1970, he only visited Farrant at Anthony Hill’s coal bunker in Archway Road and later at Farrant’s bedsitting room in Muswell Hill Road.
This is what Farrant alleged in 2009:
“I first met [Seán Manchester] in late 1967 in a pub called The Woodman in Highgate. I had brought Mary back from Spain to London in March 1967 after she had discovered that she was pregnant. We got married in a Roman Catholic Church in September 1967 and it was around this time that we used to frequent The Woodman pub just across the road from where we were living in Highgate. Mary had become friendly with a young mother nicknamed ‘Zibby’ who was married to a man named Tony [Hill] and sometimes the four of us would go into The Woodman and spend a few hours there. Now, at this time, a small trio jazz band used to play in the Saloon bar from a make-shift wooden platform at the back. There was somebody on drums, an electric guitarist and another individual [Seán Manchester] who played the saxophone.”
There is no mention of them meeting so far. In Farrant’s self-published “autobiography,” however, which first made its appearance in 2009, Farrant claims: “I learned that he had an avid interest in ‘ghosts’ and the supernatural, although he was later to say that his ‘speciality’ was vampires. He suggested that we must all meet up again when he wasn’t playing, and have a chat about the subject.”
This claim is contradicted by Mary Farrant who denies her husband’s interest in the supernatural at this time or indeed him knowing Seán Manchester in person even if he heard Anthony Hill mention him. She might eventually have become aware of Seán Manchester from whatever Hill told her when they spent six months living together. She met him only once when Hill and Mary called on Seán Manchester when they first “eloped.” They wanted him to put them up for the night, but Seán Manchester would not become involved. He was also acquainted with Elizabeth Hill and did not want to feel compromised.
Farrant could have learned of Seán Manchester’s paranormal interests from Hill with whom Farrant was only superficially acquainted at the time due to Hill’s increasing interest in Farrant’s wife who worked as a barmaid in the evenings at The Woodman; though Hill would have known nothing about any case his old employer was involved in. Seán Manchester was neither acquainted with Farrant or Farrant’s wife, Mary, but knew Anthony Hill from the time Hill worked part-time in Seán Manchester’s darkroom up until 1968 when the latter ran a photographic studio. Hill was also employed in the mornings as a milkman in North West London.
Anthony Hill and Mary Farrant became an item and “eloped” for six months. Seán Manchester did not personally know David Farrant, but was vaguely aware of having seen Mary work as a barmaid and met her just once when Hill ran off with her for six months. When Hill returned to his wife and Mary returned briefly to her husband it was not long before Farrant was declared bankrupt and became evicted from his flat. By which time Mary Farrant had left her husband with her two children and returned to her parents in Southampton where she remained. The next time Farrant saw her was at the Old Bailey in June 1974 when she was called as a defence witness on his behalf. Mary confirmed under oath that her husband had no interest in ghosts, witchcraft or the occult, and that Farrant’s visits to Highgate Cemetery were for “a bit of a laugh and a joke and to look round.” Court reports published in newspapers at the time can be found at the foot of this page.
Seán Manchester’s version of events is recorded in his introduction to The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook (Gothic Press, 1997):
“It was whilst blowing a long jazz solo on the tenor saxophone in The Woodman, Highgate, where [Farrant’s] wife worked some evenings as a barmaid, that Farrant first caught sight of me in 1968. I would remain oblivious of him, however, until the beginning of the next decade. Who knows what went through his mind as he listened to my improvised harmonic structures, accompanied by a perspiring rhythm section, in that dimly lit venue for modern jazz aficionados? It was not his kind of music, but he mentioned it when I interviewed him in 1970.”
On pages 62-63 of the same book, Seán Manchester reveals:
“His alleged sightings of the vampire were to coincide with the time when he was ensconced in [Anthony Hill’s] coal cellar. His wife was gone and so were the people who had helped him squander his money. His interest was not the occult at this time, but pub-crawling and the collecting of exotic birds; mostly cockatoos, parrots and macaws. This earned him the nickname ‘Birdman.’ Ironically, Hill had the nickname ‘Eggman.’ Relishing the attention he was now receiving, following his alleged sightings of a vampire, he took foolish risks and ended up being arrested in August 1970 for being in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. His ‘vampire hunting’ days were over.”
The Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970, (pictured at the top of this page), records the meeting of David Farrant and Seán Manchester on its front page, under the banner headline “Why Do The Foxes Die?”
The newspaper recounts:
“David Farrant … returned to the spot last weekend and disovered a dead fox. ‘Several other foxes have also been found dead in the cemetery,’ he said at his home in Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road, Highgate. ‘The odd thing is there was no outward sign of how they died. Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently learnt all points to the vampire theory being the most likely answer. Should this be so, I for one am prepared to pursue it, taking whatever means might be necessary so that we can all rest.’ The vampire theory was suggested last week by Mr Seán Manchester, president of the British Occult Society. … Mr Farrant and Mr Manchester met in the cemetery at the weekend.”
The British Occult Society (1860-1988) was an investigation bureau which existed solely for the purpose of examining occult claims and alleged paranormal activity. It gave birth to the Vampire Research Society, which still survives, on 2 February 1970. Farrant carried out his threat to “pursue [the vampire], taking whatever means might be necessary” and was arrested on the night of 17 August 1970.
The Daily Express, 19 August 1970, reveals Farrant’s explanation: “My intention was to search out the supernatural being and destroy it by plunging the stake [found in his possession when arrested in Highgate Cemetery by police] in its heart.” The report continues: “David Farrant pleaded guilty at Clerkenwell, London, to entering St Michael’s churchyard, Highgate Cemetery, for an unlawful purpose. Farrant told police he had just moved to London when he heard people talking about the vampire in Highgate Cemetery. In a statement he said that he heard the vampire rises out of a grave and wanders about the cemetery on the look-out for human beings on whose blood it thrives. Police keeping watch for followers of a black magic cult arrested him. He was remanded in custody for reports. Last night, Mr Seán Manchester, leader of the British Occult Society, said: ‘I am convinced that a vampire exists in Highgate Cemetery. Local residents and passers-by have reported seeing a ghostlike figure of massive proportions near the north gate’.”
View Farrant’s latter-day self-revelations in a French television interview he gave in 2008 here: <CLICK>.
The video begins with a French diabolist who befriended Farrant in 1980. Together they concocted all manner of skullduggery for media consumption and their own self-aggrandisement. The shambling shell of Farrant shuffles onto the screen some minutes into the video as he nervously speaks from outside the gates of Highgate Cemetery. Next is a scene at his Muswell Hill bedsitting room where viewers are shown photograph albums containing naked females he had duped into his malefic publicity stunts involving phoney witchcraft and pseudo-occultism. One of these wretched creatures is Martine de Sacy whose nude image in a mausoleum containing satanic symbols became vital evidence for the successful prosecution of Farrant at London’s Old Bailey. This pathetic man appears oblivious to the implication of what he is displaying on screen and is clearly without any remorse. An arch-deceiver who always attempts to turns everything into something it is not, David Robert Donovan Farrant might make an interesting case study for the psychiatrist in search of a project concerning narcissistic personality disorders, or a priest specialising in the examination of demonic possession brought about by compulsive dabbling in pseudo-occultism for publicity, but is otherwise exceptionally tedious and boring.
Seán Manchester’s belief in predatory demonic entities known as vampires is Farrant’s excuse for branding him “Bishop Bonkers.” Farrant even wears a T-shirt in public carrying the infantile slur emblazoned across it, and employs the term on his and other people’s blogs. Extremely hypocritical as this is, it masks something significantly more malevolent about Farrant which, coupled with a history of deceit and degeneracy, leads Seán Manchester and some others to reach the conclusion that Farrant is unbalanced and possibly possessed.
The Evening News, 29 September 1970, referred to the would-be “vampire hunter” as “Allan Farrant” in the above caption because he had given police the false name of “Allan Farrow” when arrested in Highgate Cemetery on the night of 17 August 1970. He was known locally as “Allan” among his acquaintances for reasons only understood by himself, but it was not his real name. Some newspapers reported him as being “Allan Farrow” while others adopted hybrids like the one above. Some, of course, managed to unearth his correct name, ie “David Farrant.” One or two bizarrely chose to publish his second name by referring to him as “Robert Farrant.”

Farrant published on his personal blog, 2 July 2009: “I first met [Seán Manchester] in late 1967 in a pub called the Woodman in Highgate.” On the same blog one week later, 9 July 2009, Farrant claimed: “You asked how I first actually spoke to [Seán Manchester] … I believe it was in early 1969.” Such revisionism and the layering of one falsehood on top of another falsehood reminds me of Farrant’s self-proclaimed sightings of the vampire phenomenon at Highgate Cemetery. His earliest published statement was in the form of a letter he wrote to the editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express which appeared on 6 February 1970. In that published letter, Farrant claims to have witnessed “a grey figure” no less than three times:

“The first occasion was on Christmas Eve. … The second sighting, a week later, was also brief. Last week, the figure appeared, only a few yards inside the gates. … I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature.”

If we roll forward some thirty years and read Farrant’s self-published pamphlets, forum messages and blog comments, we discover he claims to have had only two sightings. Now roll forward almost four decades from that first letter to a local newspaper and listen to an interview Farrant gave on blogtalk radio in 2009. Lo and behold, Farrant now apparently claims to have had only one sighting of what became known as the Highgate Vampire. That, at least, is what he told Steve Genier when interviewed in 2009. The reality is rather more prosaic. Farrant probably had no sightings and merely boarded what he perceived to be a convenient publicity bandwagon.

Let us return to Farrant’s blog of 9 July 2009 because in it he continues when he allegedly met Seán Manchester in “early 1969” (having suddenly revised his “late 1967” claim from a week earlier):

“He [Seán Manchester] said that the ‘ghost’ I had been reported as witnessing at Highgate Cemetery might indeed be one such ‘real’ vampire!”

Yet David Farrant first “reported” his ghostly apparition in February 1970, not late 1969. And he did so to the Hampstead & Highgate Express. This was his overture in the press before which he had not reported anything to anyone. The casual observer is obliged to agree with Seán Manchester. They first met in March 1970.

The Dastardly Demant

March 27, 2013
Kev Demant during a pub outing with David Farrant.
The gangly spectre of Kev Demant, “an avowed Seán Manchester supporter,”[1] posted fan mail for three years before turning unpleasant. Much of his correspondence referred to his drab high-rise council block existence in East London’s Whitechapel area, his infrequent excursion to this or that morbid place, failure to catch transmissions of Seán Manchester on television and radio, and the inane ramblings one might expect from a self-proclaimed obsessive. Demant and his wife, Christine, met Seán Manchester just twice – each time at a public event where they chatted very briefly before the occasion itself demanded Manchester’s full attention. The couple also caught the back of Seán Manchester’s head at a third venue during an ecumenical gathering in Westminster Cathedral, but without tickets they could not sit close enough to make contact. Seán Manchester had no reason to question the Demants’ motives beyond their very obvious enthusiasm shown toward his books. In common with Jennie Gray, the managing editor of Udolpho, and others – including their pal Rob Brautigam – The Highgate Vampire was to become the Demants’ favourite book of all time:
“I am constantly reading books on horror and the supernatural and can quite honestly say that no book has ever had quite the same effect on me.”[2]
When the revised and updated edition was published in the summer of 1991, Demant immediately wrote:
“The definitive edition of The Highgate Vampire now holds pride of place in the Demants 1,200 plus ‘library.’ I hope you will excuse my lapsing into unashamed fandom for a moment to tell you I love the book – an intriguing, beautifully produced masterpiece of the supernatural. Nobody is producing anything like it in the present day – from the cover onward it looks and is unique … I hope I’ve not been too gushy, it is just that I truly admire and respect you and your work.”[3]
Demant at the time he was a fan of Seán Manchester.
When the Demants met the managing editor of Udolpho, Jennie Gray, in July 1991 at the first get together of Gray’s Gothic Society, the occasion was recorded and transmitted by BBC Radio Four’s Kaleidoscope on the last day of the month. Demant’s voice was picked up, out of those present, to be heard protesting:
“Actually, we’re not really in with this lot; we’re more into Seán Manchester.”
The following week, he described Gray’s society as belonging to an “older age group, very middle class etc. We looked, felt, indeed were totally alien in such surroundings.”[4]
The Demants nevertheless formed an association with Gray and Brautigam, who were already in contact with each other. Seán Manchester recognised the potential in Christine’s talent for line drawing, and offered to showcase some of her illustrations in a couple of his published works. One of these was his first novel for which Manchester provided photographs to direct and influence the outcome of her drawings; most of which proved to be almost facsimiles of the originals. Her line drawings also feature in the most recent edition of The Highgate Vampire. Most people agree that these two books portray the very best of her work.
The Demants would sometimes sign their correspondence “Kev and Chrissie (friends and fans)” – and their praise was not reserved for merely one topic. Demant proclaimed From Satan To Christ to be “a valuable exposé of present-day Satanism and the charlatans who lure the innocent onto the Left-hand Path.”[5]
This last statement is worth remembering in view of what came to transpire in the period ahead where a total about turn occurred, and these two works became targets for their vilification.
Not wanting to lose a unique opportunity for her specialist magazine, Gray commissioned Demant to conduct an interview with Seán Manchester who was gradually persuaded and hesitatingly consented. Manchester’s schedule, however, prevented a face to face interview, which obliged Demant to ask questions on Gray’s behalf via correspondence and Seán Manchester answering them through the same medium.
“This is certainly a strange way of conducting an interview,” he wrote. “Jennie sets the questions, you do all the hard work and I get my name to the results! … I hope I can do you justice.”[6] A week later, having received Seán Manchester’s answers, Demant replied: “You have not balked at the more ‘difficult’ questions.”[7]
When he saw Gray’s expurgated eventual outcome in print, Demant was quite obviously less enthusiastic:
“To be honest, I don’t know what to feel about the article, a somewhat sanitised version of the material submitted. Many of your responses have been truncated while my own contribution has been edited, certain sentences have been rewritten (badly in my opinion and without my consent) and ultimately censored. … I wonder what all these aesthetes, decadents, intellectuals and yuppies who constitute the readership are going to make of it all!”[8]
It did not take long to discover want they made of it all. Within a month all six hundred copies sold out. Gray ordered an unprecedented extra hundred copies. Her magazine had reached its peak. On December 14th, Demant wrote: “Somehow I think it is your prestigious interview which had much to do with the favourable response.”
Brautigam at the time he was a fan of Seán Manchester.
Kevin Demant had also peaked. Having made innumerable scathing criticisms (some in print – often his correspondence containing the addendum “you can quote me on that”), he launched an astonishing attack out of the blue, and lauded David Farrant whose illicit pamphlet Beyond the Highgate Vampire he suddenly approved and advertised, albeit confessing that he had turned into one of the “quislings” who were “beating a path … to [Farrant’s] door.”[9]
In the same article, Demant now described and promoted himself as “Britain’s premier vampirologist.” This last claim was the most bizarre because it had been apparent throughout his correspondence with Seán Manchester that neither of the Demants knew anything much about vampirology.
Demant had provided an account of his only “practical” experience to Seán Manchester:
“I visited St Mary’s churchyard, Harrow-on-the-Hill, last Thursday for the first time in over a decade. The cemetery is still magnificently gloomy and atmospheric, indeed it hasn’t changed at all. When I was a kid my friends and I used to think it was haunted – it certainly looks as though it ought to be. There was a lot of vandalism and spray-painting on the tombstones – and I can’t recall whether it was satanic or not. My friend and I decided to have a look around there after dark, but were unfortunately dissuaded from doing so by the arrival of a bunch of rather ugly looking bikers. So ended my ghost-hunting days. Not exactly Montague Summers, I’m afraid.”
In the same letter, Demant also mentioned Farrant’s Beyond the Highgate Vampire:
“The pamphlet hardly seems to have made a ripple, not surprising really … Having quoted [without consent] those two extraordinary sequences from your book in their entirety I thought he might have given you a few new customers.”[10]
But for the efforts of Demant, Gray and Brautigam in the years to follow, the home-produced pamphlet would have sunk without trace.
Brautigam’s first meeting with Seán Manchester in 1991.
Rob Brautigam had also now started to blow his own trumpet without any real justification, describing himself as “the only vampire expert in the Netherlands.” This preposterous claim, something of a revelation to Seán Manchester at the time, appeared in the Dutch Sunday tabloid Zondagsnieuws in 1992. Reggie Naus, a Dutch correspondent whom Seán Manchester knew, wrote:
“About a year ago he appeared on a Dutch talk show alongside Chorondzon Vanian, a vampiroid in a black tuxedo, wearing sunglasses inside a studio, with long sharp fangs in his mouth. After Vanian told the audience he would live forever, Rob Brautigam told them a vampire would go out at night and ‘drink fresh blood from young virgins.’ I find it rather curious that a ‘vampire expert’ would believe a vampire can only drink the blood of virgins.”[11]
Naus would reveal a disturbing development: “Brautigam’s website seems to have become a meeting place for vampiroids, with contact advertisements of people claiming to be 450 years old and similar nonsense.”[12]
A visit on the internet to Brautigam’s website at the turn of the century revealed links to other sites that were overtly satanic, promoting Aleister Crowley and such like. Farrant’s squalid pamphlets were now on offer courtesy of Brautigam’s advertising.
Demant and his two associates in “fandom” probably became treacherous and disloyal because they desperately wanted the quick fix of immediate gratification – not unlike the gutter press – whereas Seán Manchester has always been an extremely private person, a lesson learned early in life when he awoke and found himself plastered across newspapers. He would always be willing to answer technical queries in response to correspondents; otherwise general fan mail was dealt with by one of Manchester’s secretaries. Demant and Brautigam managed to pass through the net. Farrant, meanwhile, courted attention and colluded with absolutely anybody willing to play his game. Perhaps frustrated by Seán Manchester’s aloofness and need for privacy, Demant and Brautigam slowly turned to Farrant for their fix.
Close friend of Seán Manchester – French actress Sylvaine Charlet.
Just a few of months earlier, Demant had declared: “I’m just somebody who admires you and your work which I think is important and never less than interesting.”[13] He assured Seán Manchester in private correspondence: “To my mind the best work has been done by Montague Summers and yourself – two Englishmen!”[14]
Demant’s correspondence ended abruptly in December 1993. He and Brautigam were now gaining succour for their Highgate Cemetery obsession from Farrant. In the meantime, some observers were becoming aware of anomalies in Jennie Gray’s treatment of Seán Manchester and his published work in her magazine. Writing under the pseudonym of Lyndall Mack (Peter Mack was her father), Gray described Manchester in 1994 as an “arrogant Sherlock Holmes of the spirit world … [who] recounts [Farrant’s] ludicrous incompetence with fierce disdain,” adding, “all the rest are fumbling amateurs, mere sightseers, gawping at what they cannot possibly understand.”[15]
The text contained misrepresentation of the facts and potential defamation. Gray’s replies in private were nothing less than polite, but she ignored the falsehoods drawn to her attention: “I think you have entirely missed the point. … The Highgate Vampire as a book [is] an A1 classic which will be read for hundreds of years to come. I think if you had taken better note of the general content of Udolpho you would not have fallen into the error which you have of interpreting the article as a vitriolic attack.”[16]
Three years later, Gray wrote an article that tells of her childhood in the late 1950s in Highgate, London, before she was relocated in the early 1960s by her parents: “A great deal of the charm of Highgate Cemetery was precisely that it was forbidden territory. I understand entirely why the vampire hunters kept going back there a decade later. … I am only sorry that my family left Highgate too early – and that, as a consequence, I missed the party.”[17]
Missing the party seems to be the bone of contention, source of sour grapes and latent resentment turned malignant evinced by Gray, Brautigam and the Demants. Seán Manchester felt they should be grateful they missed the “party”: “That truly nightmare scenario is something they cannot possibly begin to comprehend.”
Demant, prior to his radical shift in loyalty, published that Manchester had a “reluctance to suffer fools gladly,” adding, “that he is genuine in his beliefs is, I think, beyond question.”[18]
As the flame of the old century flickered, and first-hand memories of the case dimmed, the hunger to re-invent those times attracted fools like moths to a candle that had almost spluttered its last. Supposed “fans” who later transformed into mean-spirited malcontents have been relatively small in number. The experience of Seán Manchester nevertheless serves to underline the necessity for a moral agenda. The Demants were not involved in the occult, certainly not at the time of their correspondence with Manchester. They were anarchic members of Class War with an almighty chip on their shoulder against anyone they deemed to be grand. Gray and Brautigam were fascinated by decadence and subversive behaviour. They failed to recognise their spite – so immersed were they in it – all of which conspired to some small extent to make Seán Manchester even further remote and inaccessible.
The more they consorted and colluded with Farrant, the more their material became sick and twisted. Christine Demant turned to producing semi-pornographic and profane illustrations designed to be as unpleasant and defamatory as possible. The only persons interested in her efforts were similarly dysfunctional individuals with an axe to grind. One of her drawings, produced in 1995, depicts Seán Manchester grotesquely bloated in episcopal attire. In the top right-hand corner is an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus making a two-fingered gesture. Blasphemy would become her stock-in-trade; her husband resorted to parodying all that Manchester represents, and, in a transparent piece of sour grapes in the second issue of a smutty newsletter he was now editing for Farrant, referred to Sylvaine Charlet as having been included in Seán Manchester’s Highgate account “for the opportunity of regaling us with photographs of himself in the company of a beautiful French superstar” when, in fact, there are no pictures of Sylvaine in the Gothic Press edition.
People slowly become the sum of their choices, and are influenced by what they allow themselves to absorb. Many Seán Manchester encountered along life’s journey were not aware, or, at least, refused to acknowledge, that they had chosen the Left-hand Path. The illusion is that theirs is a more exciting and rewarding journey because imaginary evil sometimes is romantic and varied. But evil in reality is gloomy and monotonous, barren and boring.
Sylvaine has remained a valued colleague and friend of Seán Manchester with whom exists an affinity which transcends time. Back in the 1970s they played lead rôles opposite each other – as a couple who were madly in love – for a French film dramatisation which attracted a cult following with art-house audiences[19]. Sylvaine Charlet and Seán Manchester have always remained close friends as well as colleagues; each to the other providing inspiration and encouragement in an increasingly uglier world.
[1] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 8 October 1991).
[2] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 20 May 1990).
[3] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 13 August 1991).
[4] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 5 August 1991).
[5] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 17 February 1991).
[6] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 20 February 1992).
[7] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 27 February 1992).
[8] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 7 September 1992).
[9] “Suspended in Dusk” by Kevin & Christine Demant (Udolpho, Summer 1997, p32).
[10] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 23 March 1992).
[11] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Reggie Naus, 21 March 1996).
[12] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Reggie Naus, 15 May 1999).
[13] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 19 August 1993).
[14] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Kevin Demant, 14 August 1992).
[15] “The Highgate Vampire Revisited” by Lyndall Mack (Udolpho, September 1994, p30).
[16] Correspondence to Seán Manchester (Jennie Gray, 9 November 1994).
[17] “Growing up by the Boneyard” by Jennie Gray (Udolpho, Summer 1997, p6).
[18] The Ghost Story Society Newsletter (issue 7, 1990).
[19] Beren directed by Guy Godefroy (Lancelot Productions, France).

The Dutchman and the Devil’s Fool

March 27, 2013
Rob Brautigam when he was a fan of Seán Manchester – framed images
of whom can be viewed above Brautigam’s right shoulder (left of picture).
In June 1990, Rob Brautigam of Amsterdam, Holland, wrote to Seán Manchester at the International Society For The Advancement Of Irrefutable Vampirological And Lycanthropic Research (aka Vampire Research Society) to apply for membership in that organisation. He subscribed to a strong belief in the existence of real, ie supernatural, vampires and, moreover, their control. He had not yet embarked upon any newsletter or magazine production of his own; though that would soon alter. His correspondence was directed to the exorcist c/o the ISAIVLR (VRS) Highgate address in London, England. (This address became redundant at the turn of the century and initial contact is only now possible via extant members of the Society).
Rob Brautigam wrote: “It has been with the greatest interest and admiration that I have occasionally read about your activities over the years. … It goes without saying that I would very much like to join your Society. So could you please tell me if it is possible for me to be a member of the ISAIVLR?”
Over the following year and a half, Seán Manchester arranged three meetings with Brautigam. By the second and penultimate rendezvous it was transparent that the Dutchman was not suitable membership material. In the interim Brautigam had launched a home-produced magazine titled International Vampire. Brautigam went out of his way to compliment Seán Manchester on his “truly magnificent The Highgate Vampire which the Dutchman described as “a masterpiece of vamirography.” Brautigam continued: “I have been rereading the book ever since I got it. And I am impatiently looking forward to the moment when the revised edition will be on the market” (Correspondence to Seán Manchester, 22 August 1990).
When the updated and revised edition was published some months later, Brautigam enthusiastically sang its praises in International Vampire and elsewhere. By this time Rob Brautigam had made contact with Kev Demant who also admired the same author’s work. They described themselves as “fans of Seán Manchester.” Demant would later apply for ISAIVLR/VRS membership. His application was also rejected. By his own admission, Kev Demant had nothing to contribute to vampirological research, having hitherto read fiction on the subject. Despite being refused membership, Brautigam and Demant nevertheless maintained a regular and amicable correspondence with Seán Manchester until the end of 1992. Some of this was to solicit contributions for Brautigam’s magazine, but the direction being taken by the Dutchman witnessed a certain reluctance on Seán Manchester’s part to provide further material for International Vampire. Thus, by the end of 1992, the relationship had begun to sour. At the beginning of that same year, Brautigam revealed interest in David Farrant, a dishevelled character living in a London bed-sitting room who was sentenced to almost five years’ imprisonment in 1974 for desecration and vandalism linked to pseudo-occult rituals at Highgate Cemetery and sending black magic threats through the post. The Dutchman would refer to his “growing David Farrant File of Shame” and attributed the adjective “simpleton” to Farrant.
The book Brautigam referred to as “a masterpiece.”
The Dutchman’s exchanges with Seán Manchester ended abruptly on 20 December 1992 with confirmation that he had entered into a correspondence with Farrant, while also giving the impression that this contact was now over. “As to my brief correspondence with Farrant,” wrote Brautigam, “you can start breathing again, for there is no point now in continuing it any longer. … I still admire you as a most gifted writer, and nothing can ever change that. I will continue to think of it as a privilege that I have had the pleasure of meeting you and corresponding with you” (Correspondence to Seán Manchester, 20 December 1992).
Seán Manchester wrote further, but gained no response and was never to hear from the Dutchman again. The puzzle was solved some time later when it became clear that Rob Brautigam had entered into an alliance with an emissary of the very dark forces to which the Dutchman had alluded in April 1991.
Brautigam started to describe himself as a major vampirologist; indeed “the only vampire expert in the Netherlands,” which to many came as something of a surprise to those who were genuinely expert. This sudden claim, something of a revelation to Seán Manchester at the time, appeared in the Dutch Sunday tabloid Zondagsnieuws in 1992. Reggie Naus, a Dutch correspondent in contact with Seán Manchester, wrote:
“About a year ago he appeared on a Dutch talk show alongside Chorondzon Vanian, a vampiroid in a black tuxedo, wearing sunglasses inside a studio, with long sharp fangs in his mouth. After Vanian told the audience he would live forever, Rob Brautigam told them a vampire would go out at night and ‘drink fresh blood from young virgins.’ I find it rather curious that a ‘vampire expert’ would believe a vampire can only drink the blood of virgins” (Correspondence to Seán Manchester, 21 March 1996).
Naus would reveal a disturbing development: “Brautigam’s website seems to have become a meeting place for vampiroids, with contact advertisements of people claiming to be 450 years old and similar nonsense” (Correspondence to Seán Manchester, 15 May 1999).
Farrant who was jailed in June 1974 for “black magic” crimes.
David Farrant’s fraudulent claim that he was somehow part of a serious investigation into the supernatural goings on at Highgate Cemetery are exposed to the light of day when anyone who actually knew him at the time is heard. Farrant’s first wife, Mary, was certainly around and she gave testimony as a defence witness under oath at her husband’s trials at the Old Bailey in June 1974. This is what was recorded in a national newspaper by a court reporter: “The wife of self-styled occult priest David Farrant told yesterday of giggles in the graveyard when the pubs had closed. ‘We would go in, frighten ourselves to death and come out again,’ she told an Old Bailey jury. Attractive Mary Farrant — she is separated from her husband and lives in Southampton — said they had often gone to London’s Highgate Cemetery with friends ‘for a bit of a laugh.’ But they never caused any damage. ‘It was just a silly sort of thing that you do after the pubs shut,’ she said. Mrs Farrant added that her husband’s friends who joined in the late night jaunts were not involved in witchcraft or the occult. She had been called as a defence witness by her 28-year-old husband. They have not lived together for three years” (The Sun, 21 June 1974).
The concensus view four decades ago was that Farrant amounted to nothing more than a lone publicity-seeker in search of a convenient bandwagon to jump on. This opinion was reached due to the plethora of first-hand evidence from his contemporaries who knew his claims to be bogus. His publicity stunts nevertheless landed him in jail with a prison sentence of four years and eight months.
“Farrant was a fool. Fascinated by witchcraft … he couldn’t keep his interests to himself. He was a blatant publicist. He told this newspaper of his activities, sent photographs and articles describing his bizarre activities” (Peter Hounam, Editor, Hornsey Journal, 16 July 1974).
Another newspaper reporting on a court appearance where Farrant had apparently orchestrated his own arrest (this time in a churchyard, where witchcraft had supplanted vampires as his vehicle for publicity) recorded: “Mr P J Bucknell, prosecuting, said Mr Farrant had painted circles on the ground, lit with candles, and had told reporters and possibly the police of what he was doing. ‘This appears to be a sordid attempt to obtain publicity,’ he said” (Hampstead & Highgate Express, 24 November 1972).
Soon after his brief stint as a lone “vampire hunter,” Farrant hung up his cross and stake and replaced them with pentagrams, voodoo dolls and ritual daggers. This led to more arrests and a stiff prison sentence. Far from showing any remorse for his behaviour, Farrant has exploited his criminal past to the full in a life devoted to phoney witchcraft and malicious pamphleteering.
Brautigam, however, states on his Dutch website that Farrant has been “investigating the phenomena in Highgate Cemetery from the very beginning.” But this is impossible, even if it is plausible, which it patently is not. When the vampiric spectre was first being sighted at Highgate Cemetery, Farrant would have been a mere teenager. He was living on the Continent when the phenomenon reared its head to two convent schoolgirls which brought it to the attention of Seán Manchester. Indeed, France was where he met his Irish wife, Mary. Newspaper reports, court records, and various interviews on tape at the time, confirm that Farrant only learned about the rumoured vampire when he drank in local pubs in early 1970. He somewhat unconvincingly claims to have seen it himself around this time, and wrote the following to a local newspaper:
“Some nights I walk home past the gates of Highgate Cemetery. On three occasions I have seen what appeared to be a ghost-like figure inside the gates at the top of Swains Lane. The first occasion was on Christmas Eve. I saw a grey figure for a few seconds before it disappeared into the darkness. The second sighting, a week later, was also brief. Last week, the figure appeared long enough for me to see it much more clearly, and now I can think of no other explanation than this apparition being supernatural. I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature.” (“Letters to the Editor,” Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 February 1970.)
Farrant wrote to Seán Manchester prior to his arrest in August 1970 and also during his remand at Brixton Prison. What he wrote is completely at odds with his later claims and certainly supports the recorded facts according to Seán Manchester, ie that Farrant was nothing more than a lone, would-be vampire hunter who acted solely to achieve self-publicity in the media; someone who had absolutely no connection whatsoever to the investigation already in progress into the supernatural happenings at Highgate Cemetery.

Meek but not so Mild Charlatan

March 27, 2013

Farrant with holy water in one hand and a stake in the other.

David Farrant married his pregnant girlfriend, Mary Olden, in a Roman Catholic Church on Highgate Hill in August 1967. She gave birth to a son three months later. The Roman Catholic Church might appear to be a strange choice for a self-professed wiccan. However, when Mary appeared as a defence witness during Farrant’s Old Bailey trials in June 1974 she affirmed that she had no knowledge of him having any interest in witchcraft or the occult. His Highgate Cemetery antics were described by Farrant’s wife under oath as being nothing more than “a bit of a laugh and a joke.” In the early months of 1970, when he began his attention-seeking shenanigans, Farrant was often photographed for newspapers in attitudes of prayer before Christian crosses. He posed wearing crucifixes, rosaries and holding holy water. He was still doing so in August 1970, six years after he was supposed to have been initiated according to the latest date offered by him for this dubious and almost certainly manufactured ceremony. A photograph taken in 1970 shows Farrant holding a wooden stake in one hand, a bottle of holy water in the other and wearing a cross around his neck. It can be found on page 54 of Seán Manchester’s The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook. These are strange accoutrements indeed for a pagan and a witch. From the autumn of that year, according to Dr J Gordon Melton, Farrant turned to something more diabolical to hold the media’s interest.Melton records: “In the summer of 1970, David Farrant, another amateur vampire hunter, entered the field. He claimed to have seen the vampire and went hunting for it with a stake and crucifix – but was arrested. He later became a convert to a form of Satanism.”[1]

Farrant in “vampire hunting” mode in 1970.

Graham Bond was an orphan, adopted from the Dr Barnardo’s home, who came to prominence in 1962 at the Marquee Club in London as a featured musician with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. In 1963 Bond formed a trio, then a quartet, before founding in 1964 the Graham Bond Organisation. It was during the following period that he took an unusual interest in the occult and the works of Crowley. He was not alone in that respect. David Bowie and Mick Jagger each became fascinated with the diabolist’s writings, and the singer Sting apparently used to read Crowley’s books when touring. Yet Bond went much further and became a practicing Thelemite. From that moment his fate appears to have been sealed. He renamed his band the Graham Bond Initiation; its final appellation being Holy Magick (adopting Crowley’s perverse spelling of the word “magic”). In the early days, Bond was noted as being a silent, humble figure with a plastic alto saxophone; always on the outskirts of what was going on, never part of it. The thing about him was that he was not noticed. This would change. The versatile keyboard player and saxophonist, who also did some vocals, steadily developed an obsession with the occult, especially the brand of Satanism, devised by Crowley and known as Thelema, imitated by Pope and Farrant. Like his mentor, he also became seriously addicted to drugs and alcohol. According to the posthumous biography The Mighty Shadow, written by Harry Shapiro, Graham Bond sexually abused his stepdaughter. Pope would claim to be Crowley’s “spiritual successor” – employing the title “Son of the Beast” – but Graham Bond went one better. He claimed to be an illegitimate son of Aleister Crowley.On 8 May 1974, Graham Bond fell, or perhaps jumped, in front of the wheels of a London Underground train at Finsbury Park station, and died. In the previous year, he had been called upon by another rock star, “Long” John Baldry of Muswell Hill, London, to help in an “exorcism,” as the media insisted on describing it. Baldry had been receiving threats and curses from Farrant, who confirmed this to be the case in repeated boasts published in his local newspapers at the time, eg the front page headline story of the Hornsey Journal, 28 September 1973. Baldry believed that his missing cat Stupzi had been sacrificed by Farrant in a witchcraft ritual. Whilst not denying the ritual sacrifice of cats during this period, Farrant maintained that the one he killed in Highgate Wood was not Stupzi, but a stray. On one occasion, Baldry and Bond arrived at Farrant’s bed-sitting room to confront the sender of voodoo threats, but only found Pope whom Farrant had been using to deliver the clay effigies with accompanying menacing poems (as confirmed by Pope in later interviews). Farrant himself was out at the time, or possibly in hiding. When the rock star met with his unfortunate death, Pope immediately claimed that he had killed Graham Bond with a black magic curse; something he reiterated in a recorded interview with Seán Manchester.Mystery has always surrounded the untimely demise of Graham Bond and many commentators in the media have looked for simple answers, sometimes erroneously describing Bond as a “white magician.” There is nothing “white” about the magic that springs from Aleister Crowley. Seán Manchester spoke to Baldry in person, following a live television programme they both appeared on concerning the dangers of the occult, to assure him that Farrant was bogus and Pope was deranged. Baldry nevertheless grew ever more terrified of the curses he had received and quit England for Canada, never to return. Farrant issued witchcraft threats to all manner of people throughout 1973 culminating in him being investigated by Scotland Yard detectives. They discovered an altar with black candles beneath an image of the Devil in his bed-sitting room. He was arrested in early 1974 and held on remand until his trials in June, resulting in a four years and eight months prison sentence. Pope remained free to pursue his undisguised brand of evil. Bond died a month before Farrant faced his own fate in front of a judge and jury.

John Pope intended to “form a new coven that will rule the world” and “abolish the system whereby children are forced to learn Christian worship,” according to an interview he gave Reveille magazine, 21 November 1975. When this failed to happen, he became increasingly unstable, declaring direct blood descent from Jesus Christ, Dracula, Robin Hood and Jack the Ripper. Farrant would frequently refer to Pope behind his back as a “silly little imbecile.” Today Pope provides “horror tours” to paying voyeurs who want to see the haunts Jack the Ripper in London’s East End where Pope now resides, and the house of the sexual pervert and serial murderer Dennis Nielson, which is located just around the corner from the Muswell Hill attic bed-sitting room occupied by Farrant since his release from prison on parole in 1976.

Pope during a demon raising ritual in which Farrant participated.
By no means did everyone end up dead, deranged, or demonically possessed. Anthony Hill grew out of his youthful admiration for Crowley, becoming sceptical in retrospect about his past experiences and regard for things occult. His first marriage ended in divorce, and his next wife, a non-practicing Jewess, did not receive from him a hakenkreuz silver necklace as had the first. In the new millennium he quit England to live abroad with his second wife, only occasionally returning for visits.Everything worth recording about the real investigation of the Highgate Vampire has already been written by Seán Manchester, and we have no intention of trawling through this well documented case. Seán Manchester has recounted his thirteen year investigation many times in interviews, written books about it and made numerous television film documentaries. The interviews he has given on this case alone must run into literally hundreds. Even so, the amount of false and misleading commentary in print over the last decade or so from those totally unconnected to the case is truly astonishing and the ultimate source is invariably always Farrant.A massive vampire hunt at Highgate Cemetery on the night of 13 March 1970, following reports in local and national newspapers, plus Seán Manchester’s television appearance at 6.00pm, led to a huge crowd of concerned people gathering outside the cemetery gates. Seán Manchester had made an appeal on the Today programme requesting the public not to get involved, lest they put in jeopardy the investigation already in progress. Not everyone heeded his words. Over the following months a variety of freelance vampire hunters descended on the graveyard only to be frightened off by its eerie atmosphere and what they believed might have been the vampire. Those seeking thrills served only to endanger all concerned and frustrate the investigation. Simon Wiles and John White armed themselves with a crucifix and a sharpened stake, and set off to see if they could locate the vampire’s tomb. Like others who followed their example, Wiles and White were soon arrested by police patrolling the cemetery who found a rucksack containing an eight inch long wooden stake sharpened to a fine point. White later explained at Clerkenwell Court: “Legend has it that if one meets a vampire, one drives a stake through its heart.” He was wearing a crucifix round his neck and Wiles had one in his pocket. They were eventually discharged. Thus began an unwelcome trend.

Alan Blood on the night of Friday 13 March 1970.
One man, fortuitously named Alan Blood, was a 25-year-old history teacher from Billericay. He descended on Highgate after seeing the Today report on television, but at least had the good sense not to enter the graveyard. Though described by the Evening News, 14 March 1970, as a “vampire expert,” Blood, in a later interview given to the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 20 March 1970, stated that he was no such thing. “I have taken an interest in the black arts since boyhood, but I’m by no means an expert on vampires,” he admitted. Following a drink in the Prince of Wales where he spoke briefly to Farrant, Blood joined the crowd outside the cemetery’s north gate. But he did not enter. Farrant remained behind in the pub with his drink.By 8.00pm on the night of 13 March 1970 scenes of utter pandemonium were taking place as people gathered in large numbers along the steep lane running alongside Highgate Cemetery. Police leave was cancelled to control those arriving, but it was an almost impossible task. By 10.00pm an assortment of independent amateur vampire hunters had joined the onlookers. Alan Blood was among the crowd. Matthew Bunson, as recorded in his The Vampire Encyclopedia (1993), felt Blood was a significant player in this publicised case. Bunson, an American who had no contact with Blood, or indeed anyone else contemporaneous to events at Highgate, relied on another American – Jeanne Keyes Youngson of the New York Count Dracula Fan Club which is nowadays known as simply as Vampire Empire – who, in turn, relied on Farrant for her stream of misinformation.An authentic account of Alan Blood’s part in the affair is given in Seán Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire (pages 77-79) from which the following is revealed:

“By 10.00pm the hundreds of onlookers were to include several freelance vampire hunters, including a history teacher, Alan Blood, who had journeyed from Billericay to seek out the undead being.”

He had seen the report on television some hours earlier and immediately set off for Highgate. On his arrival in Highgate Village, he entered the Prince of Wales pub on the High Street for a drink, whereupon he recognised an unkempt individual who had been one of several alleged witnesses interviewed by Sandra Harris. By this time Seán Manchester was already inside the cemetery with his research team. Blood thereby was obliged to settle for Farrant quaffing pints of ale in the Prince of Wales. He listened to bizarre claims of “a seven foot tall vampire that hovered by the cemetery gate,” and wanted to be shown exactly where this occurred. Oddly enough, Farrant declined and continued to drink his ale. Blood left the pub to join the steadily growing crowd of several hundred people in Swains Lane. When the pub eventually closed, Farrant also joined the throng outside the cemetery’s north gate, but, like Blood, made no attempt to enter.

It was while in Swains Lane, wearing a Russian-style hat, that Blood was noticed by an Evening News photographer and a reporter. They spoke to him, and also to 27-year-old Hampstead resident Anthony Robinson who had ventured to the north gate “after hearing of the torchlight hunt.” Robinson is alleged to have told the reporter: “I walked past the place and heard a high-pitched noise, then I saw something grey moving slowly across the road. It terrified me. First time I couldn’t make it out, it looked eerie. I’ve never believed in anything like this, but now I’m sure there is something evil lurking in Highgate.” Yet it was Blood, who saw and did nothing, whose photograph was to appear on the front page of next day’s Evening News. Farrant must have been livid. Blood is described at the head of the report as “a vampire expert named Mr Blood who journeyed forty miles to investigate the legend of an ‘undead Satan-like being’ said to lurk in the area.” Alan Blood, of course, claimed nothing of the sort, and would confirm in a more soberly conducted interview that he was “by no means an expert.”

Farrant taking his “investigating” seriously as a “ghost” at Highgate Cemetery.
None of which prevented American Matthew Bunson publishing some twenty-three years later:“The focus of the media attention turned to David Farrant and Allan [sic] Blood, vampire experts who led the search. Both were convinced that a vampire was sleeping in one of the vaults and were determined to find it and kill it. While blamed for the desecration of tombs and arrested for trespass, Farrant was acquitted on the grounds that the cemetery was open to the public. As is typical of such incidents, stories based on rumour and on unconfirmed sightings soon spread, and the tabloids and newspapers ran exploitative reports. No vampire was ever publicly discovered.”[2]Apart from the reference to press exploitation, not one single statement in Bunson’s entry for “The Highgate Vampire” is accurate. The focus of the media did not turn to David Farrant and Alan Blood. The latter, after the night of 13 March 1970, completely disappeared off the scene, having indicated that he was not expert enough to deal with it. Farrant was to become infamous for publicity-seeking by the end of the vampire panics, by which time he had repudiated the “vampire theory,” as he would come to describe it. Yet, save for his letter to a newspaper editor in February 1970, he was not a “focus” with regard to the investigation, which promptly dismissed his allegations of sightings as unsafe and his behaviour unwise. Blood never stated that he was “determined to find and kill” the vampire. Farrant, of course, did, but later revoked this ambition. Nor was Farrant arrested for “trespass.” He was, in fact, arrested for being in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. And Farrant was not merely “blamed for the desecration of tombs” in Highgate Cemetery. He was actually charged, tried in a criminal court and found guilty of malicious damage to tombs. Farrant received a substantial prison sentence. Sightings of the alleged vampire were confirmed, documented, and recorded by Seán Manchester and members of his research team. Sightings were also confirmed by countless independent witnesses.

Seán Manchester would add in The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook (pages 66-67):

“Interestingly, Jeanne Youngson’s name crops up in Bunson’s acknowledgements as having assisted with this book [The Vampire Encyclopedia]. Why does that come as no surprise? Peter Hough follows in Bunson’s errant footsteps in Supernatural Britain (1995) and repeats the misinformation that David Farrant ‘teamed up’ with Alan Blood (something neither ever claimed) whilst ignoring the actual investigation. When contacted through their respective publishers, neither deigned to reply. Their publishers also refused to answer any correspondence on the matter.”

Bunson and Hough were followed by Liverpool disc jockey and freelance journalist Tom Slemen whose paperback Strange But True (1998) erroneously claimed that “Alan Blood organized a mass vampire hunt that would take place on Friday 13 March, 1970. Mr Blood was interviewed on television. … The schoolteacher’s plan was to wait until dawn, when the first rays of the rising sun would force the vampire to return to his subterranean den in the catacombs, then he would kill the Satanic creature in the time-honoured tradition; by driving a wooden stake through its heart. … In an orgy of desecration [the crowd] had exhumed the remains of a woman from a tomb, stolen lead from coffins, and defaced sepulchres with mindless graffiti.”[3]

None of which is true. Blood did not “organize a mass vampire hunt.” Blood organised nothing at all. He was just an interested onlooker. It was not the “schoolteacher’s plan to wait until dawn.” This was the supposed plan of Farrant. There was no “orgy of desecration” etc. No damage whatsoever occurred on the night of 13 March 1970. What Slemen is referring to is an entirely different incident that took place five months later, as recorded on the front page of the Hampstead and Highgate Express, 7 August 1970, where the discovery of the headless body together with signs of a satanic ceremony were made by two fifteen-year-old schoolgirls as they walked through the graveyard on a sunny August afternoon. Police viewed this desecration to be the work of diabolists and investigated it as such. Weeks later, Farrant was arrested prowling around the graveyard at night.

These misleading reports by Bunson, Hough and Slemen contaminated some other accounts, needless to say, but few would be as inaccurate as Leonard R N Ashley’s in The Complete Book of Vampires (1998). This self-styled occultist and colleague of Jeanne Youngson stated: “A typical, if overblown, time was around 1970, when David Farrant got in trouble charged with disturbing the neighbours if not the corpses and trespassing.” Referring to Seán Manchester as “the now late Seán Manchester,” Ashley falsely describes his presence in the cemetery as being “attended by as many press and television reporters as he could muster for the event.” He added: “I never met Seán Manchester.”[4]

For the record, neither did Bunson, Hough, Youngson, or Slemen. None of these people communicated with Seán Manchester in any form, not even through a medium, which, if Leonard R N Ashley is to be believed, is the only way possible. No newspaper or television reporter attended anything Seán Manchester conducted in Highgate Cemetery on that or any other night. Moreover, Manchester’s reluctance to deal with the media is precisely what led to the more unscrupulous among them resorting to Farrant and his publicity stunts. Ashley unsurprisingly sings the praises of his collaborator and source Youngson on the same page.

The tomb of the vampire was located in August 1970, as revealed in the 24 Hours programme – a BBC television film documentary transmitted on 15 October 1970 – and later confirmed in Peter Underwood’s anthology The Vampire’s Bedside Companion (1975) and Exorcism! (1990), plus J Gordon Melton’s The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead (1994), and Seán Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire (1975, 1976, 1985, 1991). Three years and three months following the BBC documentary, the primary source was effectively exorcised with the help of Manchester’s research team. Several 35mm photographs, some of which are reproduced in The Highgate Vampire book, were taken of the corporeal form in its final moments of dissolution. These images were later transmitted and discussed on various television programmes in the UK.


[1] The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead by J Gordon Melton (Gail Research, 1994, p298).
[2] The Vampire Encyclopedia by Matthew Bunson (Thames and Hudson, 1993, p121).
[3] Strange But True by Tom Slemen (Paragon Books, 1998).
[4] The Complete Book of Vampires by Leonard R N Ashley (Souvenir Press, 1998, p80-81).

Sign of the Beast

March 26, 2013
John Pope giving the “sign of the beast” in Farrant’s home, 1973.
In 1973, David Farrant joined forces with John Russell Pope who to this day gives the clear impression that he is as much a black magician and diabolist in his latter years as ever he was as a young man. On his London Horror Tours website, Pope is unambiguous in how he sees himself, ie “a master of the black arts, a third degree witch and Odinist.” Standing in masonic regalia, complete with apron, next to what is claimed by him to be the “Grand Master, Forsyth Lodge, American Freemasonry,” who, in actual fact, is a certain A H Marriott, Pope informs visitors to his website that he “is a blood relation to Jack the Ripper and Dracula.” No less disturbing, perhaps, is the inclusion in his self-professed profile that he “served his apprenticeship with the now deceased gangland boss Andraus Nickifaru from 1968 to 1988.”This unsavoury link to London’s criminal underworld, bearing in mind Pope’s boast of having killed the rock musician Graham Bond by means of a black magic curse, brings the story full circle when the life and death of Joe Meek is examined.
Duncan Campbell, a senior staff reporter for City Limits magazine, before he moved to The Guardian newspaper, took an unusual interest in Farrant during the 1980s. The journalist assisted the charlatan from time to time in gaining publicity, appearing strangely sympathetic to the disingenuous campaigns run by Farrant to curry favour with an increasingly hostile public. Campbell appeared ready to promote Farrant’s stunts, as if they were somehow worthy. But, of course, as revealed by Seán Manchester: “Campbell had an interest in the criminal underworld … [and] later published a book about criminals and the environment in which they operate.”[1]
Seán Manchester spoke to this liberal left-wing journalist just once, only to discover himself seriously misrepresented and indeed misquoted by Campbell. Farrant somehow managed to convince Campbell that Manchester belonged to the old guard of illiberal-minded reactionaries. Such folk were already by that time an endangered species, but it was enough to alienate Campbell against Manchester.
Joe Meek’s penchant for the occult has been revealed on the “Meeksville” website where his mysterious death is examined in great detail. This source provided the following information about David Farrant:
“There is some evidence that Joe was playing around with the ‘black arts,’ particularly from Margaret Blackmore, who saw a lot of Joe in his last few weeks. She claims that Joe told her that she was like Lady Harris who was, according to Joe, one of Aleister Crowley’s girlfriends who painted a set of tarot cards and was alleged to be very beautiful. Although a Lady Harris indeed worked with Crowley to create their famous Thoth Tarot deck, she was in fact a lady of mature years who was also the wife of an eminent British politician. Later on, Pamela Coleman Smith and A E Waite tried to repeat the experiment and created the equally famous Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Smith, as far as can be made out, was a rather attractive and somewhat dramatic-looking woman. Joe’s account sounds like an amalgam of the two; whether Joe got his facts wrong or whether Blackmore has her recollections muddled up isn’t clear, but certainly someone didn’t know very much about some historical facts which were very easy to check, and that may be true in general of Joe’s interests in that direction. More frightening is the fact that Joe supposedly knew David Farrant. Again, the source in the book is not named; I have been in contact with someone else who knows Farrant independently of any Joe connection, and has stated that Joe met Farrant a couple of times. Having said that, I can’t confirm it, as I have no way of proving whether my contact genuinely asked Farrant about it or not. Farrant was (and probably still is) a self-styled High Priest of Satan, and is still feared in some parts of North London, where he can still be seen wandering around the Archway area occasionally. He allegedly led the Highgate Cemetery desecrations in the early 70’s, and most people who have encountered him say that he is at first charming, but you quickly realise he’s not the kind of guy you really want to hang around too long.”
Yet before Farrant fully boarded what became a black magic bandwagon, he was yet to disembark from his vampire bandwagon. Curiously, his lieutenant John Pope would not set foot near Highgate Cemetery and, during the alleged vampire contagion, steered well clear of the infamous graveyard. His collaborations with Farrant took place in lonely woods and a derelict house notorious for its diabolical history. But Highgate Cemetery remained off limits for Pope. Not so Farrant who ventured into that Victorian graveyard to first hunt the vampire and then to summon it using black magic.

The above photograph of Farrant with wooden stake raised above his head and wearing a rosary plus a crucifix was published in the Evening News, 29 September 1970. On 19 August 1970, along with most other newspapers, the Daily Express reported the case of “Allan Farrow”:
“Armed with a wooden stake and a crucifix Allan Farrow prowled among the tombstones of a graveyard. He was hunting the vampire of Highgate Cemetery. And 24-year-old Farrow told a court yesterday: ‘My intention was to search out the supernatural being and destroy it by plunging the stake in its heart.’ Farrow pleaded guilty at Clerkenwell, London, to entering St Michael’s Churchyard, Highgate Cemetery, for unlawful purposes. Farrow told police he had just moved to London when he heard people talking about the vampire of Highgate Cemetery. In a statement he said that he heard the vampire rises out of a grave and wanders about the cemetery on the look-out for human beings on whose blood it thrives. Police keeping watch for followers of a black magic cult arrested him. He was remanded in custody for reports. Last night Mr Seán Manchester, leader of the British Occult Society, said: ‘I am convinced that a vampire exists in Highgate Cemetery. Local residents and passers-by have reported seeing a ghost-like figure of massive proportions near the north gate’.”
In August 1970, Farrant reverted back to calling himself “Allan Farrow” in the media, a name he was known by locally, but when he first sought publicity six months earlier he had employed his real name. By the time American vampire aficionado Donald F Glut came to have True Vampires of History published in the following year, he referred to “Allan Farrow who was arrested for trespassing in a London Graveyard.”[2]Seán Manchester received a signed note just prior to Farrant’s arrest on 17 August 1970, which, in the light of what would follow, goes some way to explain Farrant’s eventual denial of ever hunting a vampire with a crucifix and wooden stake. In the following decades the would-be interloper would protest that he did not believe in blood-sucking vampires. His extraordinary note, received at the north London office of the British Occult Society and marked for Seán Manchester’s attention, claimed:
“Certain people have approached me and offered a sum of money if I declare the Highgate Ghost or Vampire (which I really have seen) to be a fake and that I have been part of a hoax. These people, whom I fear will stop at nothing, have diabolical reasons for covering up the truth and I hope that I retain my sane judgement and do not fall prey to their debase demands.”
Despite the note being signed and written in Farrant’s familiar handwriting, when questioned about its authenticity more than a quarter of a century later by Gail-Nina Anderson before an audience at the Fortean Times UnConvention, 20 April 1996, Farrant denied ever writing the note. It is “a phoney,” he told the audience. He was, of course, lying.

The note (shown above in facsimile) is absolutely authentic, as any comparison with Farrant’s correspondence demonstrates. Below is another facsimile, this time of a letter on headed prison notepaper from Farrant (now returned to calling himself “A D Farrow”) to the president of the British Occult Society, Seán Manchester. Farrant’s prison correspondence contradicts and gives the lie to later claims, not least those about his relationship with Seán Manchester and the British Occult Society.Written three days before it was posted on 21 August 1970 from Brixton Prison where he was being held on remand for psychiatric reports, Farrant’s own statements leave no doubt where he stood in relation to what was happening. The psychiatric reports would prove inconclusive. It could not be agreed whether he was sane or not. He was nonetheless judged fit to appear in court. According to the scores of tracts and pamphlets self-published by Farrant from 1991 until the present-day, he claimed to have “founded” the British Occult Society in 1967, and by 1970 his “investigations” were supposedly three years old. This is clearly not the case when reading his prison correspondence of August 1970.Farrant’s letter explains that his arrest was the result of not listening to Seán Manchester’s public warning to him, and others engaged in similar behaviour, to not interfere with the ongoing investigation being carried out by the British Occult Society. Farrant then claims to have information about a cult meeting in Highgate Cemetery. This did not prevent him entering it with a cross and stake, however, which he overlooks mentioning. He apparently wanted “to find some further evidence of [the cult’s] existence.” He admits going against the wishes of the Society and Seán Manchester. Then he promises to forward all the facts about his lone escapade; something he apparently did not do. Farrant reveals that he has now changed his plea to the court from one of guilty to not guilty, and requests Seán Manchester’s appearance as a character witness to speak on his behalf. He expresses concern over how the court might react when they realise he sought publicity in connection with Highgate Cemetery over the six months prior, and now wants Seán Manchester in court “to say you have warned people” about the very behaviour he had engaged in. He claims to appreciate that Seán Manchester is “a busy man,” but nonetheless would like Manchester to visit him, or, at least, send somebody else. He then asks for Seán Manchester’s advice, concluding his letter with the following statement: “Well that’s all, please forgive me for being in this trouble and having to ask your help. I would be grateful if you could write immediately.” Seán Manchester did not write, nor did he allow himself to be exploited for Farrant’s court case with the inevitable media coverage to follow, but he did visit Farrant at Brixton Prison.

The visit left Seán Manchester in no doubt that Farrant was trying to rope him into some sort of dubious attention-seeking scheme, and wanted it to be made all the more plausible by what might be seen as Manchester’s seal of approval. He was told in no uncertain terms that it was not going to happen. The case against Farrant on this occasion was dismissed because Highgate Cemetery, in the strict sense of the wording of the charge, is not an enclosed area, and Farrant had been accused of being found in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. Thereafter the compulisve publicity-seeker continued to seek attention and make a general nuisance of himself.
In 1991, Farrant started to publish and circulate his home-produced pamphlets. The first of these devote seventeen pages to the Highgate affair, beginning:
“March 1969, and wide reports were coming in to the British Psychic and Occult Society [sic] concerning a tall black apparition that had been seen lurking among the tombs of London’s Highgate Cemetery.”[3]
But, as we know, Farrant was still with his wife in March 1969, albeit awaiting bankruptcy and eviction, and she would later state under oath that nothing of the kind occurred. The prison letter sent in 1970 is further evidence that Farrant’s self-serving claims are utterly fraudulent. His first pamphlet contains fifty stolen lines of text from Seán Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire, a trend Farrant would continue in his future tracts where further text and photographs stolen from Manchester’s books are unlawfully reproduced. This would expand to theft from glossy magazines and internet websites from which source images of Seán Manchester would be reproduced without permission and then given false attributions alongside poisonous fabrication which occasionally strayed into areas that can only be described as truly bizarre. Farrant invented a completely non-existent history; including anecdotes that often mutated and contradicted previous claims.
Only recipients who require absolutely no evidence were at risk of being influenced by Farrant’s endless stream of malice, and it is perhaps surprising to learn that these include some members of the James Randi Educational Foundation Forum, academics attached to universities, and journalists.
That notwithstanding, Peter Hounam, a respected journalist and editor of the Hornsey Journal, reported in his newspaper on 19 July 1974:
“As a lad, David Farrant was ‘a little devil’ some of the time. As a teenager, he was ‘a bit of a terror.’ But as a man he caused the most trouble – because of his wicked witchcraft activities.”
In the previous edition, Hounam wrote:
“Farrant was a fool. Fascinated by witchcraft, which he learnt from his mother, he couldn’t keep his interest to himself. He was a blatant publicist.”
This appraisal was reached after the journalist met Farrant to interview him on a couple of occasions plus Hounam’s own newspaper’s coverage of Farrant’s trials at the Old Bailey.
Seán Manchester came to know Farrant in the 1970s better than any journalist and, albeit fully aware he was an arch-deceiver, learned enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is for that reason his writings on Farrant are an excellent resource.
Others who met Farrant in person were equally unconvinced. Robert Irving, reporting on the Fortean Times’ Unconvention, 20 April 1996 – where Farrant spoke to a small audience interested in the Highgate Vampire case – observed how “Ian Simmons barely recovered from the ordeal of coaxing the Highgate Vampire story from a foetally-hunched David Farrant.”
Trying to coax anything out of Farrant is nothing less than an ordeal. Andy Pryce of Birmingham met Farrant last century and recorded the following in a communication to Seán Manchester dated 19 February 2001:
“I have spent most of my life studying accounts of vampirism, and have indeed visited Highgate Cemetery on numerous occasions. How it has changed over the years! I am interested in research into any accounts of actual vampirism, from the writings of Dom Augustine Calmet through to modern day accounts. I have a copy of The Highgate Vampire which I found very interesting. I remember the events at the time they happened and the various newspaper reports. It was then that I first came across the name ‘David Farrant.’ I met him once in a pub near Highgate and found him to be a compulsive liar and there was something shifty about his mannerism. I have since warned many people to stay clear of him.”
Most who have actually met Farrant have similar comments, which makes it all the more baffling when some people take him at his word without doing any proper research. When tackled on this they merely shrug their shoulders and say that they did not have access to the relevant documents.Questions nonetheless remain as to whether Farrant is just “a little devil” or the Devil Incarnate (the term means evil personified and not the Antichrist; though, in Seán Manchester’s view, Farrant definitely fits the description of “an antichrist” in the sense that he is against Christ), although he prefers in Farrant’s case the description Devil’s Fool rather than Devil Incarnate because Farrant always strikes people as being too pathetic to be a real threat. He is still an inveterate liar who does not believe in his own rectitude and his negative influence is quite obviously harmful.
Seán Manchester has opined on innumerable occasions that Farrant became demonically oppressed in 1971, developing two years later into possession where he betrayed a wasting of the frame, aggravated and irritable moods, a peculiar complexion and features which evince hatred, anger, insult and mockery combined with associated facial contortions and grimaces. His nervous stammer existed prior and is not directly attributable to his demoniacal state. He has a weak bladder, requiring a rubber sheet for his mattress. This, too, existed well in advance of his dabbling in the occult and has no relevance.
So what does Farrant himself claim about his early life and that infamous period when he invited a satanic force to enter him while conducting a necromantic ceremony with Martine de Sacy in the dead of night at Highgate Cemetery and undertook to raise demons with black magician John Pope in a house reputed to be possessed of evil?He self-published in 2001 an autobiographical booklet titled Dark Secrets which can be used to draw upon for Farrant’s version. Even so, the paucity of detail on pivotal events leaves us knowing less about him after reading his autobiography than before, requiring researchers to look elsewhere to discover Farrant’s comments on crucial matters. Some key figures do not get mentioned at all while Seán Manchester, inevitably, attracts the mandatory catalogue of misrepresentation, defamation and fabrication.
[1] The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1997, p89).
[2] The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1991, p105) quotes Donald F Glut’s use of the Reuters report.
[3] Beyond the Highgate Vampire by David Farrant (British Psychic and Occult Society, 1991, p5).

Fake Ghost & Phoney Vampire Hunter

March 26, 2013

The Highgate Cemetery “ghost” pictured in March 1970.
David Farrant was about to meet his arch-nemesis in whose shadow he would always dissolve despite every effort to cultivate a notoriety which Seán Manchester believes is undeserved (though not everyone would agree with that appraisal) because Farrant is little more than an attention-seeker trying to compensate for deep-rooted inadequacies.
Following six months in the company of Anthony Hill in 1968, Mary Farrant returned to her husband only to depart soon afterwards to take up residence with her parents in Southampton two days after giving birth to her second son in August 1969. She eventually filed for a divorce. Hill returned to his wife at their ground floor flat in Archway Road. The bizarre twist to this episode is that Farrant, now having been made homeless following his eviction from his flat just up the road from Hill, sought refuge in Anthony Hill’s coal bunker, one of several in a communal cellar. Partial to alcohol, Farrant would later be arrested and held on remand at Brixton Prison for shenanigans not entirely unrelated to his drinking. He was found by police to be in possession of a cross and a stake in Highgate Cemetery close to midnight on 17 August 1970.A handful of months before the arrest, Farrant wrote to his local newspaper, at the behest of Hill, falsely alleging to have seen a ghostly figure some nights as he “walked home past the gates of Highgate Cemetery.” Thus he became one of a number of people Seán Manchester interviewed. Due to his arrest and accompanying claims he was also interviewed by newspaper journalists and appeared briefly on a television programme along with various other witnesses in March 1970.Seán Manchester immediately noticed an obvious flaw in Farrant’s overture to his local newspaper. It is fairly obvious that to “walk home” from any of the pubs Farrant frequented in Highgate Village and pass by the cemetery gates in Swains Lane was a physical impossibility. A map of the area confirms his cellar lodgings in Archway Road to be located in the opposite direction. Farrant, of course, was not the least bit serious when he wrote his letter of 6 February 1970 to the Hampstead & Highgate Express. It was a hoax. The exercise was nothing more than an attention-seeking prank. To that end it succeeded. These facts would years later be confirmed by the contents of an envelope pressed into the hand of Seán Manchester by Anthony Hill. The envelope contained a cassette tape whereon the voices of Hill and Farrant could be heard conspiring to concoct a counterfeit ghost story for local newspapers. Hill now wanted closure and here, finally, was the evidence in the form secretly recorded conversations made at the time.It would appear that Farrant had discussed faking another news story with Hill who certainly showed some interest, but only up to a point. It was decided between them that they invent a story about the escape and recapture of Farrant’s macaw, Oliver, now in the care of someone else due to Farrant’s bunker residence being unsuitable. This was hardly original. Goldie the eagle had escaped from London Zoo in 1965, only to be later recaptured. This became a major news story at the time. Farrant believed he had found a bandwagon on which he could catch a ride. Meanwhile, Hill, unimpressed with the Oliver story, jokingly suggested a fake suicide attempt from Archway Bridge with a no less fraudulent “rescue.” This, too, was unoriginal because a piece about the actor and comedian Peter Sellers dissuading a depressed person (about to jump off Archway Bridge) from committing suicide had also made the news headlines. While Farrant was thinking about how best to go about manufacturing one or possibly both stories, he happened to hear rumours of an alleged vampire in Highgate Cemetery on his visits to the Prince of Wales and various other pubs in the vicinity.The escaped bird and fake suicide attempt stories were immediately ditched. Farrant, helped initially by Hill, now decided to exploit the five-year-old word-of-mouth tales that had been circulating of a vampiric spectre in Swains Lane by writing a spurious letter to the editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express in early 1970, ending with the frank admission: “I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature.”Readers of the newspaper were quickly ready to confirm plenty of sightings, but it was apparent from the audio cassette transcribed covertly in December 1969 by Hill that Farrant plotted to use his friend Nava Grunberg’s address in Hampstead Lane along with a certain Kenneth Frewin’s council flat address on North Hill to write bogus letters using pseudonyms about sightings of a ghost. These fake letters are easily spotted with hindsight, and one of Farrant’s collaborators – someone who did not use a nom de plume – is instantly identifiable as Frewin.

The Highgate phenomenon was nevertheless a story about to snowball. This had the unfortunate side effect of dragging Seán Manchester into the forefront of something he had hitherto decided to keep a lid on. Hence Manchester felt it incumbent upon himself to make some sort of statement in view of all the press speculation created by Farrant and others. Thus, on 27 February 1970, following batches of readers’ letters, Seán Manchester appeared on the front page of the Hampstead & Highgate Express to summarise the findings of the British Occult Society, an organisation which investigated paranormal and occult activity. It did not make easy reading for a lot of people; especially as some of his comments were embellished by the newspaper. Two weeks later, he featured on Thames Television’s Today programme for the same purpose.

Farrant (photographed by Anthony Hill), Highgate Cemetery, 1970.
Farrant also made an appearance on the same programme along with several youngsters who allegedly witnessed a vampiric spectre at Highgate Cemetery. The televised report was about an alleged vampire and not a ghost even though the term “ghostly figure” was used once by Sandra Harris who, interviewing Farrant, asked: “Did you get any feelings from it? Did you feel that it was evil?” Farrant replied: “Yes, I did feel that it was evil because the last time I actually saw its face and it looked like it had been dead for a long time.” Sandra Harris asked: “What do you mean by that?” Farrant answered: “Well, I mean it certainly wasn’t human.”[1]
This was his entire contribution to the Today report on the Highgate Vampire. Like the letter to his local newspaper, Farrant employed his true nomenclature. He was captioned “David Farrant” – his real name – and made no claim to any association with (or indeed membership of) the British Occult Society. Needless to say, David Farrant (sometimes known as “Allan Farrow”) was not a member, associate or participant in the activities of the British Occult Society, which existed purely for the purpose of studying supernatural phenomena and testing occult claims. It did not countenance nor engage in witchcraft, magical ceremonies or occult rituals.
The following year found Farrant fraudulently claiming membership. The claim was immediately refuted in the media by the British Occult Society. Before long Farrant was absurdly claiming to be both “president and founder” of the British Occult Society. Disclaimers followed press reports whenever he was so described, invariably with the editor adding the prefix “self-styled.” In 1983, weary of being exposed in the press as an interloping charlatan who had hijacked the name of an extant organisation along with the title of its current president, Farrant altered the name of his non-existent “society” to the “British Psychic and Occult Society.” Nobody was fooled.
Farrant had spoken in the media about his “thousands of followers” (Hornsey Journal, 23 November 1979), and even went so far as to proffer the notion of a number as high as twenty thousand members (Finchley Press, 22 February 1980). In the same report the following appeared:
“On Monday, Seán Manchester, president of the British Occult Society, disclaimed any connection between Mr Farrant and the society. Questioning Mr Farrant’s claim to have 20,000 ‘followers,’ … Mr Manchester believes that Mr Farrant’s activities – including the libel action [which Farrant lost] – have been publicity-seeking.”
This was Seán Manchester’s assessment in early 1970 when he first made Farrant’s acquaintance while interviewing witnesses to the increasingly reported Highgate Vampire. It was the conclusion of virtually everyone.
The eminent researcher Peter Underwood commented in a book published five years after Farrant had launched himself from obscurity to infamy:
“Publicity of a dubious kind has surrounded the activities of a person or persons named Farrant and his – or their – association with Highgate Cemetery. … Mr Allan Farrant was caught climbing over the wall of Highgate Cemetery carrying a wooden cross and a sharpened piece of wood. … According to the Daily Mail Allan Farrant saw ‘an apparition’ eight feet tall in the cemetery that ‘just floated along the ground’ when he was on watch one morning waiting ‘for the vampire to rise.’ He believed that there had been a vampire in Highgate Cemetery for about ten years. … Less than a month later a Mr David Farrant was guiding Barry Simmons of the London Evening News on a night-tour of Highgate Cemetery armed with a cross and wooden stake which he carried under his arm in a paper carrier bag. In fact the whole project seems to have been a somewhat dismal and depressing effect – even the cross, created from two pieces of wood, was tied together with a shoelace.”[2]

Press photographs of David Farrant brandishing his cross and stake.
Incredibly, in a home-produced, stapled pamphlet, somewhat unimaginatively titled Beyond the Highgate Vampire, self-published a quarter of a century later, Farrant strongly denied ever engaging in vampire hunting with a cross and stake. He merely wanted to measure out a circle, he rather unconvincingly claimed, with the wooden stake and a piece of string. He protested that he had never in his life claimed to believe in the existence of vampires, much less hunt them. He protested too much.
Pictures of Farrant clutching his “vampire hunting” tools had been appearing in the British press since 1970. A nine inch tall photograph of him, holding a cross in one hand and a stake in the other, appeared on the front page of the Hornsey Journal, 28 June 1974, beneath a banner headline stating: “The Graveyard Ghoul Awaits His Fate.” The picture’s caption: “Farrant on a ‘vampire hunt’ in Highgate Cemetery.” The report begins:
“Wicked witch David Farrant, tall, pale and dressed all in black, saw his weird world crumble about him this week. Farrant, aged 28, the ghoulish, self-styled High Priest of the British Occult Society [sic], was found guilty by an Old Bailey jury of damaging a memorial to the dead at Highgate Cemetery and interfering with buried remains. … Mr Richard du Cann prosecuting, accused Farrant of ‘terrible’ crimes and at one stage described him as a ‘wicked witch.’ … One of the witnesses for the prosecution was Journal reporter Roger Simpson. Farrant had given him a photograph of a corpse in a partly-opened coffin. Because of the nature of the picture, the paper decided not to publish it, and it was handed to the police.”
This was the beginning of the end of Farrant’s phoney occult career and fraudulent claims regarding the British Occult Society. His only known “member” and also his “right-hand man” in many of his black magic publicity stunts eagerly reported in the British newspapers was John Russell Pope, a deranged diabolist who merits closer scrutinty when exploring the truth about David Farrant.
[1] The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1997, p58).
[2] The Vampire’s Bedside Companion by Peter Underwood (Leslie Frewin, 1975, p77-79).