October 2012

‘HIGHGATE @ HALLOWEEN’

Photo of David Farrant: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS

[dropcap_1]W[/dropcap_1]ell, just in time for Hallowe’en folks, another video – well two in fact. Hallowe’en is always an incredibly busy time for Della and myself, for various reasons. We have filming projects all day tomorrow, and all Thursday afternoon, as well as things to do together tomorrow evening, so thought I ought to do a Blog tonight incase I don’t find time tomorrow.

So, video number one: I am pleased to announce that Part 5 of my filmed interview with Redmond McWilliams on behalf of the Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society is now online. This is the final part of the main interview, although there is another installment pending, which must for the present time remain ‘shrouded in mystery.’  But in the meantime, you can watch Part 5 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVQyNE22IK8

Onto video number two: My Blog entry described and illustrated the  the ‘HIGHGATE @ HALLOWEEN’ event on 27th October 2012, organised by North London Paranormal Investigations, which took place at the haunted Gatehouse public house in Highgate Village.

The crowd at the Gatehouse (c) NLPI
Mysterious guest - or the Gatehouse Ghost? Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS

I was invited to give a keynote speech for the event, which has now been uploaded to Youtube, and can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxbUWj6E5h0

Other guests included GhostQuest UK; Gillian Trench; Patsy Langley; Ray Shar and Jay Hollis.

You can read more about the event here:

http://davidfarrant.org/halloween-2012-at-the-gatehouse-highgate/

More about North London Paranormal Investigations here:

http://nlpi.co.uk/

And more about the Gatehouse and Highgate’s haunted history here:

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/greater-london/other-mysteries/ley-lines-and-the-highate-vampire.html

And here;

http://www.spookyisles.com/2012/08/ghosts-of-the-gatehouse-pub/

Well still Hallowe’en all day tomorrow, so lots of time for anything else to happen, and will try to post a Blog tomorrow after we get back from our meal out.

So for now (I better get an early night as will be on film for most of tomorrow!)

Adios,

David

 

Hallowe’en 2012 at the Gatehouse, Highgate

After party party chez Farrant

 

[dropcap_1]A[/dropcap_1]nother Hallowe’en performance, but at least this year’s event was more interesting than others.  It was headed by Mickey Gocool, Founder of North London Paranormal Investigations, and took place at the Gatehouse pub in Highgate Village yesterday (Oct 27th). Hallowe’en is not until Wednesday this year, but it was obviously scheduled a bit earlier to enable people to attend at the weekend.

I was invited to give a keynote talk on the so-called Highgate Vampire. Among the other speakers were Patsy Langley (Secretary of the British Psychic and Occult Society and author of the Highgate Vampire Casebook); Jason Hollis who is presently preparing a book on North London ghosts which is due for publication next year; Shar Ray, a private investigator and paranormal researcher who came over from America especially for the occasion, and Mickey Gocool himself who demonstrated some of his ghost hunting equipment and later led a long ghost walk through Highgate, taking in many of the haunted locales in the area.

It was a long but pleasant day, starting at 3pm and not finishing until after midnight. People were invited to wear fancy dress for the last part of the evening, and a mysterious figure, eerily resembling the Gatehouse ghost appeared seemingly out of nowhere at the appointed time.  He/she spoke to nobody, but appeared to be paying close attention to regulars of the pub, seemingly gleaning some information which was found greatly amusing for at some points he/she was observed to dissolve into great thundering guffaws of laughter whilst listening to the locals’ recollections of events in the late 1960s concerning myself – and a generally apparent lack of recollection regarding a certain other individual’s name. Who this mysteriously garbed person was still remains a mystery – although undoubtedly their presence was not entirely coincidental. He/she did not escape the numerous cameras present however, some of which managed to capture this tall, dark figure looming amongst the crowds. I must say, it ‘freaked a lot of people out’ to the extent that many locals were witnessed trying to converse with the silent figure and observed saying … ‘Take that bloody mask off – I don’t like talking to masks!!” It didn’t. The mysterious figure just kept observing and listening in on the renegade locals in question.

Anyway, it was getting on for midnight, at which point an impromptu party was suggested back at our house, which continued until around 4am.

Still getting over that! Well we all had a great time, and it was a day well spent – even if it did freak out a few locals. Well what do they expect living next door to the most notorious cemetery in Europe – and its only once a year these days.

Seriously, thanks to everyone who took part, and my thanks to Mickey Gocool and his team for hosting the proceedings so seriously throughout. In fact, Patsy Langley’s talk and my own were recorded separately with permission and I hope to be able to upload these to YouTube soon.  I understand that Mickey had arranged to have the whole event filmed separately (and there was a lot of media presence there to boot), so this will also be up online in the near future, including the live investigation of the basement and the ghost walk. So look out for all that as it will be online very soon.

So I shall leave you all with the following pictures from yesterday’s Hallowe’en at the Gatehouse, all of which are copyright property of the BPOS who were out in numbers last night, and which might give some indication of the atmosphere of the proceedings.

Enjoy!

David

 

Patsy Langley giving a talk about her seminal work 'The Highgate Vampire Casebook' Photo; Dave Milner (c) BPOS
David Farrant's talk at the Gatehouse Photo; Dave Milner (c) BPOS
The Gatehouse Ghost attempts to ensnare another victim... Photo; Dave Milner (c) BPOS
L-R, David Farrant, Patsy Langley, ? , and Ricky. Photo; Dave Milner (c) BPOS
David Farrant & the Gatehouse Ghost come face to face at last ... Photo; Dave Milner (c) BPOS
The Gatehouse barstaff arrive to diffuse the situation... Photo; Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Jay Hollis giving a talk at the Gatehouse Halloween Event 2012 Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Shar Ray describes her paranormal research at the Gatehouse, Hallowe'en 2012 Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Mickey and Louise Gocool demonstrate some of their group's paranormal research equipment Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
The NLPI Highgate ghost walk gets underway, taking in the Flask public house (we wondered why it took so long for them to get back...) Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Members of NLPI demonstrate the use of their extensive equipment on the ghost walk Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Mickey Gocool demonstrating the use of an EMF recording device in Swain's Lane Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Gareth J. Medway and Shar Ray take a brave peek through the gates of Highgate Cemetery Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Some of the brave 'ghostwalkers' gathered in Swain's Lane Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS
Shar Ray pointing to the place where the Highgate entity has vanished into thin air - through a 15ft high wall Photo: Dave Milner; (c) BPOS

 

Pleased To Announce . . .

Just me again!

I am pleased to announce that the 5th Part of my filmed interview with Redmond McWilliams about the Highgate ‘vampire’ affair that erupted in North London in the late 1960’s, is on time for release for Hallowe’en.  I will put a direct link here on my Blog (as I have done with all the other episodes), so just keep tuned here and you can’t miss it.  Hallowe’en is only a week off after all – so no excuse really for any delays.  For people following Redmond’s interview, I did explain at the onset (before having even seen any of the footage) that it was likely to be a long interview and would have to be divided into parts.  In fact, it didn’t take any clever analysis to work this out, because when Redmond arrived to record the interview on July 21st at 6.30 that Saturday evening, we did not finish recording until 7 am on the Sunday morning.  That’s almost 13 hours; which is quite a long time for a dedicated interview!  But, of course, the point is, it took a lot of time to complete all the long editing which had to be done meticulously to make sure no irrelevant material was left out.  So, last part of Redmond interview coming up for Hallowe’en.

But as well as this interview,  we are still trying to complete the Hallowe’en Special; although I did say in advance I was not sure if this would be ready for Hallowe’en.  It requires a couple of location shots with other people and obviously their arrangements and times have to fit in with each other.  But unlike our first Robin Hood film (which was very serious by nature), this ‘Special’ will really be a ‘spoof’ in that it depicts some of the ludicrous antics of people connected with Robin Hood’s legendary grave at Kirklees.  So please bear this in mind when you come to watch this film and don’t take its content too seriously: unless, of course, you really want to believe in flying elephants!

Though having said that, and to be fair to some events it parodies, some of these are based on real-life experiences, and people who have engaged in them.  Robin Hood himself is played by an actor, of course,  or more precisely, his ‘ghost’ is!

What else?  Well not a lot really.  The usual writing and books to keep on top of, but Della really has been invaluable here.  She always remembers if I have forgotten to do something (and I invariably do!) then ‘nags’ me until I do it!  For example, I forgot to post a book last week even though I put the order aside and it had been paid for.  If it hadn’t been for Della, the poor lady would still be waiting for her book!  (Sorry Sally, but hope you’ve received the book by now which was posted yesterday).

So, that’s really about it for now.  And see you all soon,

David

 

The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society

Just Me!

Oh dear!

It seems that my last Blog has upset my dear friend Anthony Hogg. Well let me reassure you Anthony, nothing has changed and literary differences in opinion should not be allowed to interfere with a beautiful friendship. To clarify: the group which I referred to here yesterday was the Highgate Cemetery Vampire  Appreciation Society, which is a Facebook group run by a mutual friend, Redmond McWilliams and himself.  In fact, both Redmond and Anthony are the moderators of this Facebook Group which was basically set up on October 27th 2011 to explore the myths and legends surrounding the infamous Highgate ‘vampire’ case.  I did not mention the Groups name here – with good reason.  Simply because, earlier this year, a particular person (whom I will not name here for sympathetic  reasons because the person is a little Bonky’!) ‘stole’ the name of their group, and chose to plagiarise most of its comments and ideas, and I did not want to confuse anyone who may be ‘new’ to these facts.  I was therefore loathe to name Redmond and Anthony’s official Group, The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society, thus giving this fake group recognition by underserved default, by people who may not be aware of the true facts.  I happen to be a member of the official Group, and I believe this is something else that might have upset them slightly, as I also neglected to point out this fact.

So, I hope that clarifies my reasoning for Redmond and Anthony.  No ill-intention intended!

David Farrant

 

 

We Aren’t Doing a John and Yoko, Honestly!

 

[dropcap_1]B[/dropcap_1]usy week so far, and its only Wednesday! Della and I were up at 5.30am yesterday to get ready for my interview with Don Ecker’s Dark matters Radio, which you can listen to here, just look for the broadcast day of Tuesday:

http://www.dqrm.com/programs.php

In fact, Don doesn’t know this (well he will now!) but the whole interview was conducted from our bed. We aren’t doing a John and Yoko, honestly. It was just a very uncivilised time of day to be up and about!

We have had quite a few comments about Della’s article posted here yesterday but, amazingly, not from regular readers here, but on a separate forum which seems to be ‘crusading’ for the disclosure of exact BPOS sources to assist another author in the writing of his own book!  I have already made it plain, that the sources the BPOS have uncovered are to aid in the publication of a new chapter in my next book on Highgate, and all the ‘ghosties’ and ‘demons’ associated with its history – as opposed to mine which the autobiographical series has focussed on so far.  It would therefore be highly unlikely for any author to give away details of their private research before this had been published in their own scheduled publications. Its nothing personal or evasive. This is just normal literary procedure.  Any direct questions about Della’s article should therefore be made on the original Forum where it appeared – in this case, here, on The Human Touch.  They can then be answered  normally; probably this conforms with the normal code of practice which I have defined above. In anycase, Della is not a member of the FB group in question, so can hardly answer questions about the article there, should she find the time.

What else? Oh yes, another article in Fortean Times. The current edition has run a piece about the Highgate Vampire case for Hallowe’en, and we do feel that Alan Murdie has done a very good job. He references recent remarks made in the Press by Mickey Gocool, my wife Della, and myself about the ongoing sightings of the Victorian clad entity seen so often in and around Highgate Cemetery. Why does it appear in Victorian or pre-Victorian garb? Well the answer is in the question if you think about it.  In anycase, you can read the article below.

Well that’s it for now folks, and we hope you enjoy the article!

For now,

David

 

The Highgate Vampire vs. Spring Heeled Jack

 

[dropcap_1]A[/dropcap_1]nd now perhaps something different. Let’s get away from the Greenwood for a change, and all the accompanying nonsense! Seriously, as many of you will know, Della has had a serious interest in the Highgate Vampire case for some years now;  but what she has not so frequently made public is her other interests in some rather ‘powerful’ ghost stories which have taken place over the country and in the London area. Among these are the Cock Lane Ghost and the legend of Spring Heeled Jack. She has noticed certain similarities between the latter and sightings of the so-called Highgate Vampire. So I thought I would ask her to write an article giving her opinions of these two cases and how they may be – just maybe – in some way connected.

Well here is her article, and I have great pleasure in publishing it here on my Blog. Hope you enjoy it …

David

 

 

[dropcap_1]W[/dropcap_1]ere the Highgate Vampire and Spring Heeled Jack one and the same? Definitely not. Were (or are) they in any way of the same supernatural origin? Probably not, although I suppose that they COULD just about be spectrally related in some way. Did Spring Heeled Jack take vacations in Highgate when he grew weary of East and South London? Highly unlikely. Moreover –  can the media frenzy surrounding the appearance of  Spring Heeled Jack in 1830s London help us understand more about the genus of the entity known as the Highgate Vampire which allegedly terrorised North London in the 1960s and 1970s, and still makes the odd guest appearance today?

Spring Heeled Jack and the Highgate Vampire are both inextricably linked with London’s occult history, as notorious in their respective eras as the ghost of Cock Lane. Whilst debate continues to rage as to whether the Highgate entity was a ‘blood sucking vampire’, the result of nefarious necromantic rites or an earthbound (or earth) spirit – it has become a symbol of the genus loci of Highgate (at least in the Western sense) and seems set to remain so. Spring Heeled Jack however had a much wider stamping ground, taking in Clapham Common, Peckham, Kensington, Limehouse and even Herefordshire and the north of England when he fancied stretching his diabolical legs.

And diabolical they were, for they appeared to give this widely reported devilish entity the ability to jump vast distances to escape the wrath of his victims. Scaling a church roof was no problem for Jack it seems, nor was clearing a 9ft high wall. And all this after breathing bluish white flames into the faces of and clawing at his terrified victims, usually female serving girls but occasionally unsuspecting men.

One wonders if the bluish light of a gaslit alleyway, combined with an exhalation of hellish breath in the (to be expected) suddenly freezing air could account for the appearance of this phenomenon if, indeed, Jack was a preternatural entity and / or it was not a particularly cold night.

Jack’s media career differs in some regards from that of the Cock Lane ghost, in that he degenerated over time from a genuinely concerning threat into something of a pantomime baddy, whereas poor Fanny seems to have continued to pull the capital’s heartstrings long after the ‘haunting’ at Cock Lane was exposed as at least a partial hoax. The Highgate Vampire’s media career gives Elvis a run for his money in terms of post mortem popularity.

But what has Jack to do with Highgate?

In his 1918 memoirs Charles Meaburn Tatham, Esq., M.A., born in 1828, recalls his childhood and early teenage years at Highgate in the 1830s and 1840s, spent at Merton Lodge …

“built by my Father and situated in a lane, afterwards and now called Merton Lane, leading out on the right from what is now called West Hill, Highgate. The beginning of the Lane was just opposite one entrance to Holly Lodge, the residence of the then Duke of St. Albans.”

Merton House, since demolished, from an original print. Courtesy of John H Lloyd, Hon Sec, Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution. From The History, Topography and Antiquities of Highgate, 1888, pg 356

 

As an incidental aside, Holly Lodge was in the same century inherited by the renowned philanthropist (and socialite!) Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts. In 1844 Charles Dickens (whose parents’ graves can be found in Highgate Cemetery) dedicated his novel Martin Chuzzlewit, much of which is set in Highgate, to Burdett-Coutts. Dickens was not so fond, however, of the spiritualist medium Daniel Dunglas Home, who was known to perform star turns for Burdett-Coutts and other members of Highgate’s high society at private séances in the 1850s and to whom Dickens devoted his scathing short piece ‘The Martyr Medium’.

But to return to Meaburn Tatham’s memoirs:

“About this time people were alarmed at times in the night by the antics of some young nobleman who was known as Spring-Heel Jack, who used suddenly to jump over the hedge where someone might be passing and terrify the passer-by. My brother George and I used occasionally to walk to the Theatre and walk back, a matter of 4 miles each way, after the performance was over, and after perhaps seeing at the Adelphi a weird melodrama (one particular scene I remember in which a villain lay in wait one moonlight night to commit murder) we felt very fearful walking at 12 o’clock at night down Merton Lane, thinking too, perhaps, of Spring-Heel Jack as we went through the short lined avenue leading to the hall-door of our House.”

Clearly although spiritualism and the paranormal have historically appealed to the fashionable and notable of Highgate, this 90 year old aristocrat and Barrister-at-Law preferred to relegate this childhood memory to the superstitious folly of youth. It is interesting that Meaburn Tatham also seems to consider it accepted fact that ‘Spring-Heel Jack’ was a hoaxer of the noble class, and not an apparition to be afforded any legitimacy. To this day there is speculation as to whether Jack may have had a very human origin, although it is fair to observe that if accounts of his agility bear any semblance to truth he would have found it impossible to perform his giant leaps without the assistance of supernatural agency. However Meaburn Tatham does reveal that the residents of Highgate (albeit most likely in common with the rest of 1830s London) were not only aware of but frightened by the rumours of Spring Heeled Jack. This early image of Merton Lane is certainly evocative of the remote and relatively rural aspect which Highgate enjoyed in the nineteenth century, and it is not difficult to imagine nocturnal ramblers feeling the same dis-ease which those passing through Swain’s Lane after dark still experience today. Additionally it is worth observing that although this chapter of his narrative is largely taken up with his domestic life at Highgate, Meaburn Tatham does not make it explicitly clear whether he is referring to the attacks by Jack in parts of London where they are otherwise recorded, or in Highgate itself.

Is it possible that  Meaburn Tatham’s gently self-mocking fear of Spring Heeled Jack was based on rumours which placed the entity in Highgate itself? Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831 – 1894) also spent his boyhood in Highgate in the 1830s, and recollects the following in his 1885 somewhat Pepys-esque manuscript ‘Fifty Years of London Life: Memoirs of a Man of the World’:

“Almost my earliest terror was excited by the narrative of the adventures of ‘Spring-Heeled Jack” – a ghost which had been playing up its pranks, springing onto the women and nearly frightening them to death, and the scene of who’s adventures some of the narrators, knowing the advantage of local colour, had laid in Highgate. I believe there was no foundation for this statement, though it caused a perfect panic among the little boys.”

Again, with the hindsight of age, the author dismisses his childhood fears of the monster as humorous but unfounded trivia. And it is the opine of the author of this essay that he is most likely correct; if Spring Heeled Jack himself was abroad in Highgate in the 1830s, is it not probable that we would have evidence of sightings of this very distinctive entity in the popular press, as with the other recorded incidents of his attacks? We certainly know that the newspapers were having a field day with his exploits in other parts of London. Equally it is likely that people hailing from other ‘unmolested’ parts of London would, in later life, have similar recollections of their childhood fears of the flame-breathing bogeyman.  Jack was known, after all, for traveling between several parts of London (even venturing as far as Liverpool in his later years) in search of young ladies to ‘frighten half to death’.

However the recollections of these two unconnected individuals (who perceivably may have been incidental playmates despite a slight age gap, due to the relatively small population of Highgate at the time) do raise an interesting point. Hodgson Yates’ memoirs give us a tantalising clue as to just how at least the children of Highgate Village concluded that  Spring Heeled Jack was bothering their neighbourhood. He mentions undisclosed ‘narrators’. In all of the multitudinous newspaper accounts, penny dreadfuls and even plays dedicated to the exploits of Spring Heeled Jack, we have yet to come across one which refers to attacks in Highgate (although contributions on this subject are of course welcomed).  The natural conclusion therefore is that the ‘narrators’ in question were local, and that this ‘information’ was passed down orally.

Most of us will have our own childhood memories of being told to eat our greens or comb our hair lest the ‘bogeyman’ gets us. But Hodgson Yates specifically refers to the assault of women by Jack, not children, implying that he and his young friends were frightened of actual accounts of Jack and not of parental threats that he would come and ‘get them’. Meaburn Tatham’s concept of Jack is of an assailant who leaps over hedges, of which the rustic lanes of Highgate were plentiful unlike the urbanised parts of London where Jack preferred to stalk his prey. Alleyways, doorsteps, walls and roofs seem to have been his preferred places to attack in or from, and we find no contemporary accounts of Jack jumping over hedges. Of course it could be simply argued that the tales were homogenised to fit the Highgate landscape by the frightened brothers.

But what if there is more to this theoretical homogenisation? Could the recollections of these two diarists point to something altogether different – that Highgate had its own, home grown spectral assailant, which in the absence of an existing moniker (the term ‘Highgate Vampire’ was not coined until 1970) became translated to roving visits from Spring Heeled Jack?

I began this essay by assuring readers that it is not my intention to suggest that Spring Heeled Jack was abroad in Highgate. There is simply not enough evidence to justify this proposal. However I do believe that there could be some merit in comparing summary twentieth and twenty first century accounts of the entity which has become known as the Highgate Vampire with some of the characteristics of Jack – and that if the entity predates the twentieth century this could account for the fears of Highgate residents who were alive during the 1830s and 1840s that Jack was haunting their locale.

Although it has been sighted at many points along the ley lines which criss cross Highgate, the epicenter of the Highgate haunting is without doubt Highgate Cemetery. The entity, typically sighted in the form of a tall dark figure with red glowing eyes, sometimes sporting a top hat and always cloaked, appears to be especially fond of Swain’s Lane, the steep old droveway which divides the East and West Cemeteries with its foreboding stone walls. It has long been observed that bouts of psychical phenomenon are often triggered by substantial building work or alterations to natural landscape, be it the demolition of an older part of a house or the re-opening of a disused well.

In 2005 a significantly impactive property development known as 85 Swain’s Lane led to the erection of a large house in the modernist style, abutting the cemetery grounds. The Highgate entity seems to manifest in a somewhat cyclical fashion, and around this time incidents of sightings, especially in Swains Lane, began increasing dramatically. It has been proposed in the past by David Farrant that this fresh rash of sightings was  presumably a result of the entity’s displeasure at the disruption being caused to one of his main haunts, and the psychical and energetical repercussions of such disturbance in a such a psychogeographically sensitive location.

Highgate Cemetery was officially opened in 1839, on the grounds of Ashurst Manor House. Substantial landscaping including the creation of sunken tombs and the erection of at least 15 large mausoleums began some years before this, altering forever the geography of the area. It is entirely conceivable, especially in context of 2005’s manifestations, that such intensive changes to the environment could have altered the psychogeography of the vicinity and triggered a bout of psychical activity in the environs of the cemetery and the cemetery itself.  The first alleged sightings of Spring Heeled jack occurred at Barnes Common, South West London, in 1837,  where ‘a businessman, taking a short cut home, witnessed a figure propel himself high over the railings of the adjoining cemetery before bounding away into the darkness (Dr Merlin Coverley, ‘Occult London’, pg 72). This places the popularised career of Spring Heeled Jack in the precise era that enormous earthworks were being carried out in Highgate during the creation of the cemetery.

Spring Heeled Jack’s utter disregard for walls or barriers of any kind also resonates with sightings of the Highgate entity. When David Farrant sighted the entity that life altering night in the winter of 1969, it was located within the locked cemetery gates (known as the top gate). Martin Trent who witnessed the apparition in 2005 describes seeing it glide through the main gates which were also locked at the time. His encounter also took place after nightfall, as have the majority of sightings of both entities under discussion. When sighted in Swain’s Lane, the Highgate entity often appears to vanish without trace in parts of the lane which are lined with 15ft high walls. This was the case when as recalled by David Farrant a young nurse was thrown to the ground there by the entity, which she then saw vanish in the headlamps of an approaching car. Exhibiting rather less athletic prowess than Jack (no prancing about for our entity), it has on occasion been recorded as slithering over the cemetery walls taking the form of a presumably ectoplasmic substance resembling treacle.

Invariably, in common with Spring Heeled Jack, the Highgate entity is not pleasant to be around, with its seemingly compulsive tendency to assault people who cross its path (or more often whose path it crosses). I am only aware of one encounter, in this instance by members of the North London Paranormal Investigations team, in which the entity appeared as psychically communicative in a non-threatening fashion. Although Martin Trent’s encounter did not result in a physical assault, the BPOS files of our various interviews with Mr Trent indicate that he was left feeling extremely unnerved by what he saw – and heard. Indeed some seven years later he exudes a certain uncomfortableness when discussing it, as if recalling with photographic precision something which refuses to fade from memory. Spring Heeled Jack was often unable to contain his glee at frightening – or indeed hurting – his human counterparts, and would apparently often let rip a tremendously evil cackle as he leapt off into the night.  It seems that the Highgate entity, unlike Jack is capable of  comporting itself in a rather more erudite fashion when the mood suits it, as on this occasion it addressed Mr Trent in a well-spoken if somewhat anachronistic manner, with the words ‘Good evening to you sir.’ Even this rare display of civility was tainted with vague menace however, as the entity somehow threw its voice and whispered directly in Mr Trent’s ear from a distance of some 8ft. Mr Trent, perhaps wisely, chose not reply.

Whilst the Highgate entity does not appear to possess the ability to breath blueish white flames in the face of witnesses (perhaps it considers this far too vulgar a display of power), its general M.O. appears to be to attack indiscriminately, both physically (in some recorded cases knocking people to the ground) and psychically by seemingly mesmerising witnesses (assisted by prolonged and intense eye contact, much like the way a wild cat freezes its prey with fear) and then draining them of energy.

The nervous effects of experiencing such a psychic attack do indeed resemble what we know about the rapidly deteriorating health of those who were unfortunate enough to encounter Spring Heeled Jack. Letters from a variety of correspondents recording his attacks, and presented to the public for inspection by the Lord Mayor of London in 1838, recall his female victims being scared into “dangerous fits” and in some cases being confined to bed for a period of convalescence – in the worst scenarios with no anticipated hope of regaining their wits.  It certainly seems to be the case that anyone who genuinely has sight of the Highgate entity is distressed, disturbed and troubled by their experience. In some cases even hospitalisation has resulted, with one witness’hair allegedly turning white over night after he collapsed from shock.

And let us not forget Jack and the Highgate entity’s most distinctive ocular feature. The popular press inspired penny dreadful of the 1860s, ‘Spring-Heeled Jack – The Terror of London’, informs readers that Jack’s eyes ‘resembled red balls of fire’, and this seems to be characteristic of most sightings of Jack. Twentieth century eyewitness accounts of the Highgate entity almost invariably invest it with the red glowing eyes of all one’s better monsters; indeed, David Farrant described the eyes of the entity which he sighted in 1969 as resembling two red points of light. Not quite red balls of flame; but then neither does his stripped down account of his sighting resemble the sensationalist exaggeration of a penny dreadful.

Did the memories of a generation now in their 60s and 70s, including David Farrant, of hearing rumours in childhood of a tall figure vanishing through the cemetery wall, evolve from the popularly held beliefs of TWO Highgate generations preceding them? Or did the entity proper come into existence in the late 1960s as been alleged by some who doubt its antiquarian status? What exactly does Hodgson Yates mean when he refers to his oral narrators ‘knowing the advantage of local colour’ in what he considers to be their transposing of Jack’s activities to Highgate? This could lend itself to the mundane explanation that the story was simply transposed to Highgate by the storytellers in order to frighten the listeners. Equally it could imply the village’s extant reputation as a haunted location. Sadly the author does not elaborate for the benefit of those of us who were not present in 1830s Highgate.

It is beyond the scope of this article to debate the supernatural or otherwise nature of Spring Heeled Jack. Neither have I deliberately ignored what he did NOT have in common with the Highgate entity. It is my opinion that if one had encountered a violent, malignant entity with red glowing eyes which was able to vanish from (or into) confined spaces at will, one would not be especially concerned if it was attired in the rather changeable wardrobe of Spring Heeled Jack or the ubiquitous cloak of the Highgate entity, should one be lucky enough to stumble across a comparative entity, seen by others, which confirmed one’s own sense of sanity.

It has simply been my intention to raise for debate the possibility that the people of Highgate were seeing SOMETHING spectral in the 1830s and 1840s, and that they approximated what they were seeing to the only similar entity which they had heard about elsewhere. There are undeniably many similarities between what we can infer that they were seeing, and what scores of witness in the proceeding two centuries recount. Without this proliferation of sightings, my interpretation of the two diarists’ memories would seem superfluous. But we at the BPOS feel that as we DO have a bulging archive of sightings of a red eyed, dark clad, violent roadside entity, our observation, although it can only remain a subjective matter for conjecture, certainly does suggest ramifications worthy of debate.

(c) Della Farrant 2012

Some Kind Of Albionic Superhero

[dropcap_1]I[/dropcap_1]t would seem that – unbeknownst to me – I am rather popular in Japan: indeed the Japanese seem to see me as some kind of Albionic superhero who has been called in to protect the ancient heritage of Robin Hood’s grave.  At least, that is the latest proposal for yet another Japanese IMAX movie there, whereupon I have been selected to play the hero in the lead role.  I have just been sent a couple of ad hoc graphic proposals for possible approval, one of these I have reproduced above. What on earth will they have me doing next??!!

Anyway, in other news: I am pleased to announce that Part 4 of my interview with Redmond McWilliams has now been completed and published on YouTube earlier tonight. Please see below:

http://youtu.be/0VSBPZyV80w

There is still one more part which we will do next weekend, estimated to be about 45 minutes in length.

Additionally, there is another interview which took place on the next night in which I answer direct questions about other people who claimed to have been involved in the Highgate ‘vampire’ case;   the release details of this, however, are yet to be discussed. It will no doubt prove to be very controversial, and inevitably certain parties will seek to silence the Truth (as they have already tried to do). So it may well be that this interview, complete with extensive illustrative content (both audio and visual) would be best distributed on DVD for the benefit of serious collectors. That said, it is so easy for such releases to go ‘viral’ these days; what with the popularity with P2P file sharing etc;  so who knows where it will end up? But one thing is for sure it WILL go viral (most likely) as soon as it is in the public domain, one way or the other. But of course, I have to seek agreement with Redmond, as he has certain rights regarding our interview, for its release in the first instance, so you will all have to wait just a little longer for that I am afraid.

As many of you will have gathered from reading my Blog yesterday, our Hallowe’en comedy spoof  has also just been released; at least the trailer has, and can be viewed below:

http://youtu.be/Y8fyY0KW4J4

Well, I think that’s quite enough for tonight; Della is asleep and I think I will join her (for sleep I mean, what else! Well you never know your luck! Although it is 4.05am now…)

So adios amigos,

David

Gearing Up For A 'Dickipoggy' Hallowe'en

[dropcap_1]V[/dropcap_1]ery tired tonight, so haven’t really got time for a long Blog. Hopefully my interview with Redmond McWilliams, titled ‘In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire’, will be up in the next couple of days (part 4 that is). OK, that might be the fourth part, but because of its length, there will be a few more extracts to go before we get the whole interview completed.

In the meantime, we’ve also been working on another short film relating to ‘Robin Hood’s Grave’ – or so it is said – up in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. That is almost completed now, and will be released in time for Hallowe’en. It has an unusual cast of characters, some familiar faces (and possibly voices),  and some  new stars!  Anyway, here is a short trailer for this forthcoming extravaganza – and there’s lots more where that came from!

http://youtu.be/Y8fyY0KW4J4

Well I shall leave you all with that for the time being because as I mentioned am very tired tonight; partly because of all the demands from the Japanese investors. They have slightly modified their vision for the film we have working on with them, and now seem to want me to play the role of a supernatural action hero – modelled on  myself of course – guarding the grave from despots and unwanted people! Not sure of their exact plans yet, but here is an a preview picture released recently in Japan for the company.

Don’t really want to be a ‘hero’, as such, as always consider myself to be a very humble person, just writing on psychical events and disturbances. Still, these things have a strange way of escalating of their own accord, and I suppose someone has to save the damsels in distress of Calderdale from the medieval spirit of Red Roger – at least,  according to the Japanese interpretation anyway.

So until tomorrow all,

I bid you adieu.

David

Just Released Part 3 …

[dropcap_1]J[/dropcap_1]ust a quick Blog for now everyone, as Della and I have to go out tonight – important appointment and we’re running a bit late.

But just wanted to tell you all that part 3 of Redmond McWilliams’ interview with myself   “In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire”  has just been released.  Sorry for the short delay, as this was scheduled for Sunday, but things can often be subject to slight delays in this business. Here is the link, and hop you enjoy it!

For the moment,

David

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JDsQOWjpvU

The Wicked Witch Of The North Comes Down South

[dropcap_1]L[/dropcap_1]atest news on the film; that is the third part of Redmond’s interview with myself about the Highgate vampire case. We really have nearly finished the editing now, in that it has all been put together and just needs some final tweaks.

With regard to the new Hallowe’en Special, we have had a couple of auditions with people wanting to be involved. Unlike ‘Robin Hood’s Grave Revisited’, released just recently, the Hallowe’en Special will only be a spoof, to get interested people into the spirit of Hallowe’en.

Della is at a party tonight in Mayfair, and I told her not to take the car, even though the traffic is pretty quiet on a Saturday, and she’ll be getting a taxi back. So here I am, left on my own to tell you a little more about the Hallowe’en Special film. You will remember that I explained that I could not give ‘too much away’, but Della has seen my last entry with the picture of Gareth at Robin Hood’s grave, and she says that was OK. So I better respect her wishes as I’m really not meant to say too much and don’t want to upset ‘mine to honour and obey’; in other words mustn’t upset the ball and chain! So I’ll have to be a little guarded about the film’s content here, except to say, as I believe I already have, it focusses around Robin Hood’s ghostly grave at Kirklees and its reknowned reputation for the intervention of evil forces.

Gareth is obviously in it, shot on location with ‘dispicable (sic)’ Della as his glamorous assistant, as is that old rogue Red Roger, and a budding actor (not named yet) who insisted on playing Robin Hood. And of course, little old me. I play the ‘sensible one’ in the story with my narration, but I can’t really speak for the others as I’m really not sure if they were acting or playing their normal selves!

And of course, we have not forgotten the ‘wicked witch of the North’, who puts in an appearance to show her affections (or should that be affectations?) for the ghost of the long dead Red Roger.

Well I met her yesterday, and she really is ideal for the part. I can’t name her yet, but she did allow me to take a photograph, so I could publish it to help her in her futile bid for stardom. Yet I’m not so sure about the latter. I mean, you only have to look at Margaret Hamilton, who played the wicked witch in the famous Wizard of Oz film to see that playing the part of an evil villain/ess can sometimes be very lucrative!

So therefore I decided to publish her picture, but of course she will be in disguise for the film.

I think I’ve said enough now or Della will murder me when she gets back; well only joking of course. She makes a beautiful little wife really.

I’ll keep you all updated folks, really, and part 3  of the Redmond Mcwilliams film should be up by tomorrow.

Well that’s all for now everyone, so sleep tight, and try not to have nightmares!

David