Summoning a Satanic Force

March 26, 2013
While serving a four years eight months prison sentence, Farrant wrote an article for New Witchcraft magazine (issue 4), in which he states:“In magic, blood is symbolic of the ‘life force’ or ‘spiritual energy’ which permeates the body and in this context is used in many advanced magical ceremonies. It would not be sacrilegious to compare this to the use of wine as symbolic of blood in the Catholic Communion. Accordingly, at approximately 11.45pm, I drew blood.”His lengthy description of summoning a “satanic force” is nothing short of an open admission to his engagement in unabashed diabolism:

“We then lay in the Pentagram and began love-making, all the time visualizing the Satanic Force so that it could – temporarily – take possession of our bodies.”

Farrant skirts around the alleged “invoking” ceremony of September 1971 at Highgate Cemetery in the account about his life which he self-published in 2001. In fact, he makes no mention of it. Closer to the time it was of prime importance; so much so, he reflected on those purportedly recent events from his prison cell in 1975 and wrote a rambling article which he then mailed to Brian Netscher, the editor of New Witchcraft. Here is a facsimile of one of the pages from his article plus a published photograph in the magazine showing him and Martine de Sacy naked:

Farrant is clueless about such things and retreats into his customary mumbo jumbo in order to offer a bogus veneer. He refers to his coven of twelve which he mysteriously calls the “Secret Order of the X.” Seán Manchester investigated Farrant’s so-called “Order of the Black Moon” in the period following Farrant’s release from prison. At that time Manchester made every attempt to gain Farrant’s confidence. His “Order” does was shown not to exist and such photographs proffered to newspapers and occult magazines comprise of nothing more than willing dupes such as Victoria Jervis, Martine de Sacy, John Pope and whomever else he could enlist to pose before his black magic altar. His girlfriend of the moment would invariably feature as his “high priestess” which naturally always obliged her to disrobe while Farrant retained the dignity of his satin dressing-gown which doubled as his occult regalia. These young women knew less about witchcraft and the occult than did Farrant and he knew next to nothing. It made no difference because some of them quite liked the publicity. He also persuaded these females that such exposure would result in a modelling career. It never did, of course, and they soon departed elsewhere. Only Pope, considered to be deranged by some of those who have met him, takes the occult seriously. Pope, of course, is a self-proclaimed Satanist and practitioner of the black arts. He once claimed to be head of the United Temples of Satan. Pope also has a criminal conviction for sexual assault on a minor (a young boy named Blackwell). Farrant threatened the witnesses in Pope’s sex case with black magic. In 1997 he appointed Pope as head of the “junior department” of the so-called “Highgate Vampire Society” created by Farrant in the same year which, like his occult society, barely had a membership beyond those two. These are factors that should be taken on board when considering his “Invoking the Vampire” article in New Witchcraft from which an excerpt follows.“… those who had conducted these Rites were amongst the highest Adepts, for no amateur would be capable of performing the advanced Rite of conjuration … But most important here – and as I stated at that time – the fact that the Cemetery was being thus used by professional Satanists could have had a direct bearing on the frequently witnessed spectre. … It is therefore quite feasible that the Cemetery phenomenon was an evil entity that had been summoned as the direct result of a satanic ritual, or that the Satanists had succeeded in awakening the latter day vampire which had laid dormant for so long. At this stage it became apparent that our investigations could proceed no further on an academic level. I realised that the Forces we were dealing with were malignantly supernatural and so could only be treated by ‘magical’ means. Accordingly I consulted my associates in our Order and we agreed to conduct a magical ceremony whereby we could make psychic contact with the vampire. It is with a view to explaining the animosity and general misunderstanding that later followed this ceremony that I have decided to give some account of it now. Notwithstanding this, I still remain bound by the Oaths of my Grade as High Priest not to disclose certain incantations, the names and sigils used for conjuration and banishment, and the secret form of Ritual. (These are safe-guarded to protect them from misuse or ‘experimentation’ in the hands of the uninitiated).”[1]Farrant does not explain why exactly it “became apparent” his “investigations could proceed no further on an academic level” or what his “Order” represented and why particularly a “magical ceremony” was required to make contact with the vampire. Perhaps he does not feel the need or inclination to explain such mundane things to the “uninitiated” reader of his article. The initiated of his “Order” remain anonymous. What is important is that Farrant had plenty of time to reflect on how he was going to present his beliefs, behaviour and view of the vampire phenomenon at Highgate Cemetery. He had been in custody since the beginning of 1974. These were the revelations everyone with an interest in him and his Old Bailey trials had been waiting to read. What follows, then, is his considered appraisal in his own hand:

“In September 1971, together with twelve members of the ‘Secret Order of the X’ [which Seán Manchester later learned he called the ‘Order of the Black Moon’], we met in Highgate Cemetery to conduct one of the most dangerous magical ceremonies in existence. … Such a task was by no means easy, for in magic darker forces are most potent when evoked to an earthly plane … For the sake of the uninitiated, and to allay any confusion which may arise over this point, a few words should be said here to explain the difference between White Magic and Black Magic … it should be understood that magic itself is neither ‘black’ nor ‘white’ – it is neutral. Further, magic is only a physical element through which ‘outside’ Forces may be evoked, not itself ‘active’ but only a channel through which such Forces may be brought into operation.

“We preferred the ‘communication’ ceremony of High Magic after having taken all these things and more into consideration. According to the magical requirements of this ceremony we ‘worked’ from within a specifically constructed pentogram [sic] (a five-pointed star) and constructed an adjacent (sealed) triangle in which the ‘apparition’ could appear. To the North of the Pentagram but within the Circle that enclosed it an altar was constructed on which most of the ritual objects were placed. These included a vessel of consecrated water, appropriate talismans each member would wear, ritual knives, and the sacred scrolls which contained the necessary form of Ritual. Candles and the corresponding elements of air, fire, earth and water were placed at the respective cardinal points of the Pentagram while the secret signs of evocation and names of God-forms were inscribed at strategic points on the Circle. The triangle was also ‘reinforced’ in like manner by placing a type of burning incense around it. When all was prepared the Ceremony commenced, timed so that the vital part would take place at midnight. The first part of the ceremony was dedicated to the symbolic anointing in oil of each participant [which, as far as can be ascertained, was just himself and Martine de Sacy] and the Calls and incantations necessary to summon forth the apparition. (For the annointment [sic] everyone present with the exception of the High Priest and Priestess, disrobed and remained naked throughout the Ceremony). These ‘Calls’ were made in strict accordance with the form of ritual and served two purposes: to dispel any unwanted elements which may have hindered the appearance of the demonic entity, and to open a channel of psychic force through which the entity could later materialize. When the preliminary part of the ceremony had been completed the actual evocation ritual then began. The intrinsic details regarding this part of the ceremony, however, must remain secret; suffice it is to say here that the entity (in its now omniscient form) was to be magically induced by the ritual act of blood-letting, then brought to visible appearance through use of the sex act. The act of sexual magic was in the ceremony performed by the High Priest and Priestess as being symbolic of total Unity, a ‘oneness’ of the masculine and female principles in magic and a necessary factor when an opposing Force has to be controlled. The act of blood-letting which immediately preceded this was perhaps the most crucial moment of all, for at this stage the invoked Force could now materialize aided by the ‘life-force’ symbolically released through the spilling of blood from the Priestess’s body. In magic, blood is symbolic of the ‘life-force’ or ‘spiritual energy’ which permeates the body and in this context is used in many advanced magical ceremonies. It would not be sacrilegious to compare the use of wine as symbolic of blood in the Catholic Communion. [It would be sacrilegious, however, to compare any of what Farrant is describing as remotely indicative of the Catholic Eucharist.]

“Accordingly, at approximately 11.45pm, I drew blood from the High Priestess by lightly pricking her breast. This blood was then sprinkled into the chalice into the chalice of Holy Water as a symbolic offering to a Deity.

“I now made the most important Calls with the Priestess. These summoned the Deity to our midst in a non-malignant form to ‘take over’ our bodies. When these Calls were over the Protector of the Circle (sometimes called the High Priest) continued to repeat the Holy Names of the Deity. I disrobed the Priestess and myself and, with consecrated blood, made the secret sigils of the Deity on her mouth, breast, and all the openings of her body. We then lay in the Pentagram and began love-making, all the time visualizing the Satanic Force so that it could ¯ temporarily ¯ take possession of our bodies. Suddenly the Protector was silent. The entity was present. We felt our bodies being ‘charged with Power’ and there was now a visual Force all over us.

“The Priestess then had an orgasm which lasted six to seven minutes. I too experienced orgasm during this time which lasted over a minute. (I refer to actual ejaculation not the period approaching climax). The Ritual had worked. I had many strange visions during intercourse and so did the Priestess, but these could never be explained. But most importantly, our bodies had been magically ‘offered’ and used by a tremendous outside Force which could now be materialised to visual appearance in the triangle prepared. The Priestess now lay in the Pentagram staring fixedly toward the triangle while I arose to begin the Commands of manifestation. At this stage the Pentagram turned icy cold and felt as though some ‘warm power’ had suddenly left it. The fire in the triangle was obliterated by a misty ‘smoke’ and simultaneously the candles went out. … I suddenly looked up and at the top of the hazy form I saw two eyes meeting my gaze. … When I saw and felt the tremendous Power which emanated from the two demonic eyes, I went cold and began to lose all sense of my physical being and my faculties. I couldn’t speak, though I received a clear message from some distinct ‘voice,’ and I think fear first came after this when I realized how difficult the demon would be to control, and realised we might never leave the Circle.

“It was rather like having a vivid dream and not being able to control it though one knows the inevitable outcome. … This ceremony performed in Highgate Cemetery finally proved beyond doubt – at least as far as most psychic investigators are concerned – that the majority of sightings and stories relating to the phenomena there were true. Unfortunately, however, such proof will rarely be acceptable to the hardened sceptic; but we had at least succeeded in establishing to our own satisfaction not only that the Highgate Vampire did exist, but the very nature of the phenomenon and those factors which had primarily caused its existence. … With the usual precision of Fleet Street I became an ‘Evil High Priest of Black Magic’ while the phenomenon was again reinstated as a blood-sucking ghoul that might have escaped from some Hammer horror film. Ironically (concerning the latter) the Press Media for once may have been closer to the truth than they originally intended.”[2]

Martine de Sacy poses for Farrant at the scene of necromancy.
How much of “Invoking the Vampire” is fantasy and how much is fact? Only two people have the answer. We have read the relevant portions of Farrant’s account. Martine de Sacy, three years after the alleged ceremony in which she is supposed to have participated, featured in a major Sunday newspaper:“Au pair Martine de Sacy has exposed the fantasy world of David Farrant, self-styled high priest of British witchcraft, for whom she posed nude in front of a tomb. Farrant was convicted last week by a jury who heard stories of Satanic rites, vampires and death-worship with girls dancing in a cemetery. Afterwards, 23-year-old Martine said: ‘David didn’t do these ridiculous things in the cemetery for sex, I assure you. He was a failure as a lover. In fact, I think his trouble was that he was seeking compensation for this. He was always after publicity and he felt that having all these girls around helped. I’m sure the night he took me to the cemetery had less to do with occultism than his craving to be the centre of something. … I don’t think David’s occultism was serious. He was just dabbling in it for the sense of self-importance. He was immature, irresponsible. I see that now’.”[3]In Seán Manchester’s view, Farrant probably managed to attract something demonic through his constant dabbling with things he clearly had little understanding in. It governed the remainder of his life and sent him on a tragic course that bore a negative influence on almost everyone who came into contact with him. Whether it happened in Highgate Cemetery when haunted in September 1971 or the derelict house possessed of evil in December 1973 is impossible to determine. Seán Manchester believes it was probably both. The description of the vampire – described by him as a “hazy form” out of which “two demonic eyes” gazed – bears no resemblance to what he originally claimed he had seen in early 1970 when interviewed on television, and is much closer to experiences described in Seán Manchester’s book, eg “a shrouded thing was materialising before our astonished gaze … an evil-smelling mist [out of which protruded] yellow eyes with blood-red centres.”[4] Evidence confirms that Farrant’s original reports to his local press were bogus, of course, which makes it all the more interesting when we learn of a very different phenomenon in his article penned five years later. Did he really see the “hazy form”? Probably not.

People who knew him remarked that Farrant was not the same person after his release from prison, and would attribute this to his being in jail; not least having to share his cell with an axe murderer for some of that time. Something had certainly happened to alter him, but Seán Manchester believes it occurred prior to his arrest and incarceration, and he was by no means the only one to consider Farrant possessed. The best known exorcist at the time was the Reverend Christopher Neil-Smith. This Anglican vicar of St Saviour’s Church, Hampstead, visited the prison in question early on to “drive out the evil of David Farrant.” But, despite the priest’s best efforts, the evil remained, intensified and spread.

[1] “Invoking the Vampire” by David Farrant (New Witchcraft, issue 4, 1975, p36).
[2] “Invoking the Vampire” by David Farrant (New Witchcraft, issue 4, 1975, p36-38).
[3] “Casanova Witch A Failure As Lover” by Peter Earle, News of the World, 30 June 1974.
[4] The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1991, p136-137).

Hymn to Pan

March 25, 2013


David Farrant and John Pope raising Pan in December 1973.
David Robert Donovan Farrant was born on 23 January 1946 at 34 Shepherds Hill in London. He claims 1964 as the year of his wiccan initiation, but in interviews given throughout the 1970s and 1980s he told reporters he had been initiated into witchcraft by his mother at a much younger age. The age thirteen was sometimes offered which is the age he would have been in 1959, the year of his mother’s death.Farrant tells us he attended Preparatory School in 1955 where he did not make friends:“After only a few days, I realised that I’d entered an altogether hostile environment; within weeks, I’d come to hate everything about the place – including most of the teachers. Most of these were ‘mindless buffoons’ trying desperately (if not largely successfully) to impound worthless drivel otherwise viewed as ‘needed intellectualism’; but the headmaster was particularly bent on applying these principles, and before long we clashed ferociously. He seemed to take exception to the fact that I couldn’t get on with the other boys, as well as my persistent inability to take any serious interest in the lessons. … he eventually wrote an outraged letter to my father (I cannot recall the exact point of contention) demanding the removal of my ‘bad influence’ from his school. I’d finally manoeuvred myself from his clutches.”No reason is provided as to why Farrant hated everything, including teachers and pupils, about this school which was in Hendon, something he omits, apart from his obvious contempt for everything and everyone he encountered. The boarding school in Sussex was Hawkhurst Court, which he also fails to identify. Here he fared no better than before, having to “study meaningless rubbish” and “mix with brain-washed children.” He readily admits: “I ran away twice from my ‘prison’ in Sussex and was expelled again from another school.” This last school, too, remains unidentified by him. It was Thornlow in Weymouth, Dorset. One is obliged to turn to a book by Seán Manchester to discover these facts where it is revealed that “his school career ended two years after entering a private school in Weymouth at the age of thirteen. Attempts to belong to a theatre club in Hornsey ended again with his expulsion.”[1] Farrant makes no mention of the Mountview Theatre Club he joined at the age of fifteen whose director, Peter Coxhead, expelled him within no time for throwing potatoes and dustbin lids at other students.

The telling piece of information in Dark Secrets on that “bleak March day in 1959” in mid-term – while he was still at boarding school – was news of his mother’s illness. Farrant reveals how his “emotions [were] lost in a sea of indifference.” What he fails to properly explain is how he had learned witchcraft from his mother and possibly been initiated by her. After reading only ten pages, starting with chapter one, the reader is already into chapter three which begins in 1963 where in “a large secluded house in Barnet” he tries to convince the reader of his initiation “in the Old Religion of Wicca” by a silver-haired lady who was in her late forties. This was Helen who owned the Barnet house. There is no doubt that Helen existed. John Pope knew her long before he knew Farrant. Whether Helen initiated Farrant after months of instruction in her home where he professes to have “become possessed of potent occult Knowledge” is quite another matter. He claims to have entered the first degree in 1964 where he “later learned that for some reason (which I have never been able to fully understand) that I’d been regarded as some new-found ‘Avatar’ of Wicca).”

He says that “several” were present, but he does not identify anyone besides Helen. Nor does he indicate who exactly regarded him as a new avatar and why they should so regard him? An avatar, after all, is deemed to be a deity in its earthly manifestation. Farrant seriously appears to be suggesting that Helen and the group who were allegedly present at his initiation viewed him as the incarnation of some sort of “god.”

No mention is made by Farrant of him taking the second degree of initiation. We go straight from the first to the third degree in 1966, as he had “advanced considerably in my knowledge and understanding of the secret mysteries of Wicca and Magic” when he “moved into unfurnished accommodation near Highgate, north London, and soon succeeded in forming my own Wiccan Circle, or Coven. I still kept in touch with Helen (indeed, still attended most of the major gatherings at Barnet), but was fast concluding that I had learnt all Helen could teach me and that further Knowledge could only be obtained through ‘experimentation’ with the ‘forbidden’ rituals.” He had only just ceased being a teenager when he decided silvery-haired Helen could teach him no more, and then proceeds to explain “one aspect of magical practice into which I wanted to delve more thoroughly (and one to which Helen had been particularly opposed) was the highly secretive method of using sex during magical ceremonies to ‘summon up’ and communicate with powerful outside entities by using, or directing, sexual energy. … I set about these rituals with fervent determination.”

If he did it was certainly not for another seven years. Nobody knew Farrant especially well in the 1960s. He was something of a loner. Seán Manchester spoke to the majority of those who did know him, including Anthony Hill, and none of them ever heard Farrant make any mention of witchcraft or the occult. In 1966 he was already with Mary Olden whom he met in Bordeaux from where they went to Spain. Here they remained until their wedding at St Joseph’s, Highgate, where Mary gave birth three months later to the first of two sons. Mary denied under oath in court that Farrant and his friends had any occult involvement; something her husband claimed he and his associates had been immersed in since the mid-1960s and earlier:

“Mrs Farrant added that her husband’s friends who joined in the late night jaunts were not involved in witchcraft or the occult.”[2]

Dark Secrets is no more than a fantasy where few truthful statements can be found. Farrant’s first job as an assistant storeman for Woolworths at the age of fifteen (he was dismissed after a fortnight) and other brief occupations he held – a hospital porter, underground train guard and labourer – are completely overlooked. Needless to say, Seán Manchester receives the customary libellous attributions from Farrant who surpasses himself at the opening to a chapter titled “Hymn to Pan” by alleging that Seán Manchester “incurred a criminal conviction for making black magic threats” when, in fact, Seán Manchester has not received a single criminal conviction (or any other kind of conviction) in his life. Indeed, it was Farrant who made the black magic threats to which he alludes. His history of doing so could fill volumes. Furthermore, Seán Manchester has alreadly chronicled this matter in at least two of his published works.[3]

It is nevertheless in “Hymn to Pan” where Farrant reveals: “As luck would have it, around this time, a Society member [John Pope] discovered a large disused mansion that proved ideal … for further ceremonies.”

Farrant had previously explained why Highgate Wood was suddenly out of bounds. John Pope felt inspired to call upon and meet Farrant after reading an article by Sue Kentish in the News of the World, 23 September 1973:

By day, 29-year-old David Farrant is a hospital porter. But at night, he takes on a far less valuable role. … But for the results of his actions, this scruffy little witch could be laughed at. But no one can laugh at a man who admits slitting the throat of a live cat before launching a blood-smeared orgy. Or a man who has helped reduce at least two young women to frightened misery. … I found him totally besotted by witchcraft and the occult and ready to do anything in pursuit of both. Time and time again, he told me he only did what was ‘necessary,’ or ‘demanded.’ Throughout, he maintained he was a genuine witch who did not worship the devil, indulge in sexual orgies or relinquish all standards of good. But his own story, corroborated by others, proves otherwise. … With a shrug of the shoulders he admitted mercilessly pursuing grievances.”

Farrant is then quoted as boasting: “My curses have never failed, as far as I know. Situations have always righted themselves after I’ve put the curse on. Others will tell you how I reduced one man to a mental breakdown and in the end he begged me to remove the curse.”

Seán Manchester challenged Farrant to curse him and do his worst as Farrant left Barnet Magistrate’s Court in November 1972 after he had been convicted and fined for indecent behaviour in the churchyard of St Mary-the-Virgin where he had recently conducted a supposed necromantic Hallowe’en ritual with a female who just happened to be related to the local newspaper reporter who covered the story from the churchyard to the court room. The prosecution justifiably accused Farrant of informing the press and police of what he was doing as a sordid attempt to obtain publicity. Farrant did not accept Seán Manchester’s challenge at first, but later changed his mind and issued threats in the national press to the effect that he intended to “raise a demon” to destroy Manchester by “killing a cat,” adding that “blood must be spilled but the animal would be anaesthetised.”[4] It did not happen. Farrant failed to deliver the curse and refused to confront Manchester in person. Seán Manchester nevertheless tried to persuade him to be exorcised, the first of many such attempts, at Easter 1973. But he was having none of it. Seán Manchester felt even back then that exorcism was the only answer in Farrant’s case and issued many further invitations reaching into the next century.

The arrest of David Farrant and Victoria Jervis in November 1972.
Farrant refers to his churchyard antics in his autobiographical account:“I decided to conduct a ritual in the churchyard at Hallowe’en, the purpose being to see if I could ‘communicate’ with the spectre … I chose an assistant called Victoria Jervis [who] was not personally involved in ‘ghost hunting’ … her lack of experience didn’t really matter. By coincidence, her cousin was a reporter on the Barnet Press.”Also by coincidence, she was Farrant’s girlfriend – something he did not feel worth mentioning.“Midnight was soon marked by the chiming of the church clock, but before the chimes had died away, black-clad figures came charging out of the darkness.” These turned out to be policemen who promptly arrested the couple. “Miss Jervis was visibly shaken by the incident,” Farrant explains. It might have been just another night’s work in pursuit of self-publicity for him, but it was obviously something Victoria Jervis did not bargain for when she allowed herself to be duped into participating in this scandal. Despite her “lack of experience,” naked photographs of her supposedly engaged in occult ceremonies would later appear in New Witchcraft magazine[5] – courtesy of Farrant – by which time she had long since ditched him after recovering from a nervous breakdown. They never met again after the 1972 case.

The next major publicity stunt involved John Pope who was attracted to a derelict house where there had been talk of satanic ceremonies in previous years. It was also now confirmed to be the most significant place of demonic contagion in the Highgate case. Nobody, save those at opposite ends of the struggle between light and darkness, would enter this neo-gothic mansion which locals clamoured to have razed to the ground. It had a sinister history of dark and disturbing forces; so much so that it was eventually abandoned when it was mysteriously gutted by fire in 1971. Strange and terrible things happened in this place which was believed by many to be demonically possessed by a predatory wraith.

Just how Pope came to hear about the house is uncertain. The local press had already featured stories about the house:

“Neighbours talk of strange goings-on at night and mysterious flickering lights in upper windows. … Investigating the reports, Journal reporter Roger Simpson and photographer Ted Stormer came across unmistakable signs in a top floor room of a witchcraft ceremony. … Residents refuse to walk past the house, which looms behind overgrown trees.”[6]

Seán Manchester, too, found those symbols when he investigated. They represented a brand of diabolism originating with Crowlianity. Just as Highgate Cemetery had attracted every type of depraved dabbler in the black arts, so, too, had this new location. Even Farrant and Pope visited the old house after reading about it in the press. Evocations to sinister forces took place in the week following publication in a local newspaper. The ceremony also caused a fire. Police arrested both participants on December 13th and they were each charged with arson, but later acquitted. In that week of sheer lunacy where demons were evoked, they attempted to follow in the footsteps of earlier diabolists who had brought something from Highgate Cemetery to the basement of the house; something predatory and demonic. Farrant’s account three decades later stretches the time scale considerably and embellishes the ceremony. Fortunately, Pope was interviewed closer to the time. What Pope reveals in his recorded interview [available on a CD titled The Black Witch Project] bears no comparison to the description offered by Farrant. “David brought along these newspaper reporters with him,” Pope explained. We also learn that “David cast a circle in a manner [that Pope was] not familiar with.”

What we discover, newspaper journalists notwithstanding, is Farrant and Pope making some sort of attempt to raise a demon using a black magic ritual. Pope, albeit already demonically oppressed, was well versed in the dark arts and occult ceremonial. Farrant might have been participating for publicity, but Pope was in deadly earnest.

Farrant (centre) with Deborah Davis and Pope at the demon-raising ritual.
Farrant’s version of events states:“The ritual was attempted three times; twice without success and the third time with unexpected consequences. To assist, I enlisted the help of a young magician called John Pope and a girl called Debbie – an American singer on vacation who was greatly interested in magic. … Nudity was essential as Pan was a Nature Deity and clothes hampered natural inherent forces within the body; forces that were needed unimpaired to build up psychic energy within the Circle. It was only then, shielded by protective force, that it was safe to intone the evocation, or Hymn to Pan, whereby the Deity could be summoned to appearance. If successful, He would appear in a blaze of greenish light in the form of a golden-haired wraith whose eyes radiated tremendous power and knowledge, at the same time betraying the bestial side of His nature. … On no account must any mortal meet his gaze or look upon His face. … Some of these words were so dangerous to utter that they even had to be written in code form, but under magical Law they had to be answered once spoken.”Farrant insisted: “Nudity was essential.” Yet Pope confirms that throughout these rituals Farrant failed to disrobe. Pope was not so coy and stood completely naked throughout the ceremony.Farrant insists Deborah Davis – a Californian blues singer who was high on cocaine – did not participate in the third ritual because she was “so petrified by the past attempt that she refused to enter the house again.” The place had an evil atmosphere which emanated from the basement – somewhere neither Pope nor Farrant ventured.

Not unlike the Hallowe’en incident at a Barnet churchyard in the previous year, “loud footsteps echoed throughout the house; as if a hoard of demons had run amok and were searching for the two intruders who had dared to defile their sanctuary. The next moment the door was flung open and half a dozen policemen surrounded the Circle. Two of them rushed to the fire and proceeded to stamp it out while another who introduced himself as Inspector John Townsend uttered the greeting ‘Good Evening, Mr Farrant’!”

How many times could Farrant keep getting away with this ploy? It would not be long before the police tired of being used to guarantee him press coverage and a raid on his cluttered flat which housed a black magic altar beneath a vampire image was only weeks away. Farrant – who had no idea what he was doing in terms of ritual magic at the derelict house – nonetheless invited a demon to take possession of him on his last attempt at the ceremony. Seán Manchester reveals in his book The Highgate Vampire that the place was contaminated with a predatory supernatural presence in its cellar and Pope understood how to raise demons. So was this the point when Farrant became possessed? Or was it earlier in 1971? The problem with the earlier incident is that we only have Farrant’s word and the word of his collaborating girlfriend; whereas the December rituals were in the presence of John Pope, Deborah Davis and newspaper reporters.

Farrant skirts around the alleged “invoking” ceremony of September 1971 at Highgate Cemetery in the account about his life which he self-published in 2001. In fact, he makes no mention of it. Closer to the time it was of prime importance; so much so, he reflected on those events from his prison cell in 1975 and wrote a rambling article which he then mailed to Brian Netscher, the editor of New Witchcraft.

It is not difficult to understand why Farrant today might find this article hugely embarrassing. At the time, he felt he had nothing to lose, having been recently sentenced to almost five years’ imprisonment. Like the derelict house ritual in mid-December 1973, this ceremony occurred at an eerie and sinister location where the Highgate phenomenon was also active. Moreover, the ritual Farrant claims to have performed is supposed to have invoked the predatory demonic entity, ie vampire, which existence in 1971 he did not question. This is what he revealed in his article:

“This ceremony performed in Highgate Cemetery finally proved beyond doubt – at least as far as most psychic investigators are concerned – that the majority of sightings and stories relating to the phenomena were true. Unfortunately, however, such proof will rarely be acceptable to the hardened sceptic; but we had at least succeeded in establishing to our satisfaction not only that the Highgate Vampire did exist, but the very nature of the phenomenon and those factors which had primarily caused its existence. Of course, while it could not be irrefutably stated that this demonic entity was the direct result of Satanic activity, it can reasonably be said that such activity was certainly the cause activating some age-old supernatural enigma.”[7]

His New Witchcraft article was accompanied by seven photographs, including Farrant in Highgate Cemetery, Farrant with a naked female before the image of a horned “deity” in his bed-sitting room and more naked females. Two photographs of Victoria Jervis appear which were used without her knowledge or consent. Similar pictures in a national newspaper – accompaning one of Farrant’s concocted witchcraft stories – badly shocked her. One of the photographs in New Witchcraft were of Farrant and Martine de Sacy naked together, apparently kissing in bed. Why this was included is difficult to comprehend, but it is the first and last time an image ever appeared of Farrant without any clothes.

Farrant’s article is so at odds with what he has subsequently stated publicly on the matter of the Highgate Vampire and his pseudo-occult activities at the graveyard in question that it deserves closer inspection. In his article he says that “Bram Stoker was influenced by the Highgate Vampire when he wrote ‘Dracula’ … written with typical Victorian authority.”[8] In the series of pamphlets that began appearing in 1991 he disclaims all belief in vampires in general and the Highgate Vampire in particular. His patronising style adopts some very familiar terms which crop up whenever he writes anything about the subject he knows so little about. For example: “For the sake of the uninitiated” and “I still remain bound by the Oaths of my Grade as High Priest not to disclose certain incantations, the names and sigils used for conjuration and banishment, and the secret form of Ritual” etc. There is a reason for non-disclosure. Farrant is clueless about the occult. There is also a reason why he makes no mention today about his New Witchcraft article.


[1] Reference to Thornlow and Hawkhurst Court in The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester (British Occult Society, 1985, p78). Repeated without naming schools in The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1991, p109).
[2] The Sun, 21 June 1974.
[3] From Satan To Christ by Seán Manchester (Holy Grail, 1985) & The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1997).
[4] Sunday Mirror, 8 April 1973.
[5] Full page photograph of a naked Victoria Jervis in New Witchcraft magazine (issue 4, 1975, p35).
[6] Hornsey Journal, 7 December 1973.
[7] “Invoking the Vampire” by David Farrant (New Witchcraft, issue 4, 1975, p38).
[8] “Invoking the Vampire” by David Farrant (New Witchcraft, issue 4, 1975, p34).

Farrant’s Phoney Witchcraft

March 25, 2013

Farrant found guilty of black magic offences in 1974.
The subject of this blog is a man called David Farrant. Few will have heard anything about him unless they have a particular interest in the dark side of human existence where vampires and demons dwell, and can remember a time when his scandals hit the headlines in England. Beyond brief moments of infamy in newspapers, and latterly other people’s books, he will probably not be recollected. However, nobody is more willing to publicise his notoriety than himself. An example is the following which he posted on his own internet message board on 6 April 2007:“Rev Christopher Neil-Smith was called into Wormwood Scrubs Prison in November 1974 after a man sharing a cell with me and one other became convinced that he had become possessed after we had conducted a séance in the cell one night. He would wake up screaming in the cell and swore that some ‘evil spirit’ had entered him. Naturally, as I was in there for allegedly conducting ‘witchcraft ceremonies’ in Highgate Cemetery, I was held to blame for his condition. He was moved out of the cell, but the next thing I heard was that the Rev Neil-Smith had been called in to ‘exorcise’ him in the prison chapel. A ‘trustee’ was present and I got the full story. The prison governor was present, the prison chaplain and a couple of other people. During this ‘exorcism’, Neil-Smith violently shook this man’s head and repeated several times ‘Drive out the evil powers of David Farrant!’ … This took place at the end of 1974 which was after the publication of Neil-Smith’s book. I’m sure it would have been included otherwise as I doubt the Rev Neil-Smith would have forgotten it!”Immediately one is struck by the use of “allegedly” by him in reference to witchcraft at Highgate Cemetery; something he widely publicised and wrote articles about at the time; indeed, something for which he was sentenced to a not insignificant jail term. In prison he wrote further articles about his witchcraft ceremonies in the graveyard, one such article being published in a magazine. Yet in 2007 these incidents were relegated to having been “alleged” by others to have occurred. This modus operandi of creating scandals, boasting about them for a period and then later denying their intrinsic elements, would permeate his life. First he was a vampire hunter. Then he denied ever hunting vampires. Next he was a necromancer and black magician. Then he denied engaging in necromancy and black magic. And so on. All this in the face of recorded interviews at the time where he can be heard confirming doing what he later denied. There is also television footage which gives the lie to much later revisionism.“I was born in a large Victorian house in Highgate,” Farrant reveals, but not where or when. Such detail he obviously regards superfluous. Self-styled “pagan scholar” and Farrant collaborator, Gareth Medway, is able to shed some light on perhaps why: “David Farrant will not disclose his age, going so far as to state that ‘We don’t believe in linear time,’ but he has told me that he was initiated into Wicca by a High Priestess named Helen, in Barnet, north London, in 1964.” Medway’s comment appeared in 2002 in the sixth issue of a series of malicious tracts bearing Seán Manchester’s surname in their title. Seán Manchester is someone who exposed Farrant’s fraudulent behaviour as far back as 1970.In Seán Manchester’s first complete account of the Highgate case, he tendered the following opinion: “I have found not a single shred of evidence to suggest that the least of these things are true.”[1] The things about which he spoke were Farrant’s self-proclaimed animal sacrifices in bizarre pseudo-occult rituals which were frequently being reported in the press in the early 1970s. Seán Manchester nevertheless became less confident in that view, and accordingly expurgated it from the 1991 edition of The Highgate Vampire. The simple fact of the matter is that he did not know how far Farrant is capable of going, or has gone. Farrant had broken the law before Seán Manchester ever met him, using two British passports – the phoney one being in the name of “Allan Aden Ellson.” To own this passport meant that he had acquired Crown property through deception by falsifying information on the application form. Had it been known at the time by the authorities, he would have been arrested and charged with the offence. Farrant was causing a lot of personal inconvenience and was clearly a sick and depraved individual. But how genuinely into the occult was he?

Two people who have known him longer than anyone else, Anthony Hill and Farrant’s first wife, Mary, are convinced that his witchcraft and occult stunts were utterly bogus, and that he is a complete fraud. Most would concur with that sentiment, but who can opine exactly how far or not he is willing to go in the pursuit of publicity?

The Sun, 21 June 1974, recorded: “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.”

Shortly before and following Farrant’s imprisonment in 1974, Seán Manchester attempted to gain his confidence in order to discover the truth about his alleged “occult” activities. The conclusions he arrived at are published in The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook, a work that covers this area comprehensively:

“My personal view is that he has become possessed by demonic influences. His behaviour, by any standard, is extremely obsessive.” Farrant’s self-styled organisation, rarely consisting of more than one or two members, Seán Manchester deduced, “did not have the same appeal [as other witchcraft groups], owing to the ‘high priest’s’ total lack of occult knowledge and contradictory statements.”[2]

From the very beginning – when most of his acquaintances knew him only as “Allan” – to the final moment Seán Manchester spoke to him,[3] Farrant, in the absence of any corroborating witness, would ridicule witches, occultists and also members of any mainstream religious faith. For him witchcraft and the occult was only a means to an end. The impression Seán Manchester gained was that Farrant actually believed none of it. Farrant saw those who took the occult and certainly the paranormal seriously as being worthy of his contempt. His raison d’être was and remains an agenda where his manufactured publicity masks insecurities that probably stem from childhood. Yet, in Seán Manchester’s view, Farrant dabbling in these dangerous areas opened himself to the very thing he scorns.

“I don’t believe in the existence of the Devil,”[4] he would protest in later years when interviewed. But the Devil, of course, was more than aware of Farrant’s existence.

Farrant in a television studio audience for BBC’s “Kilroy” programme.
 Barring those journalists who will always take advantage of a free meal ticket when a compulsive publicity-seeker offers one on a plate, many who provided Farrant with succour turned out to be apologists for the infamous Satanist Aleister Crowley and were themselves looking for someone to use as ammunition against the Christian exorcist Seán Manchester.


[1] The Highgate Vampire by Seán Manchester (British Occult Society, 1985, p80).
[2] The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook by Seán Manchester (Gothic Press, 1997, p55 & 87).
[3] The last brief meeting, after a gap of five years, took place at London’s Highgate Wood at dusk on 24 January 1987, as recorded in From Satan To Christ by Seán Manchester (Holy Grail, 1988, p73-74).
[4] Farrant quoted when interviewed on the Michael Cole Show (UK Living, 20 December 1998).

“I do not really ‘believe’ in anything.”

March 25, 2013

“Firstly, can I just say (as I have said many times before), I do not really ‘believe’ in anything.”
– David Farrant (James Randi Forum, Thursday, 12 April 2007)

Evil “high priest” unmasked

August 12, 2008

Fantasy world exposed by girlfriend

August 12, 2008

Selection of black magic press cuttings

August 12, 2008

Black magicians duel in Highgate Wood

August 12, 2008

A “satanic force” takes possession

August 12, 2008

Black magician becomes politician

August 12, 2008