August 2015

Highgate Vampire Symposium - Introduction and Keynote Remarks

Symposium Part 1 Audio-enhanced Release

Hello all. Re: the recent YouTube release of the Highgate Vampire Symposium: Introduction and Keynote Remarks. We have received feedback to the effect that my microphone was not picked up very well (this was addressed soon after!). We have therefore edited the video and re-uploaded, for the final time!

As the video record of this event is so important for posterity, we have re-recorded my audio and dropped that in.So here it is!

In the meantime, perhaps the following transcript may help people who were not there on the day get a feel for the proceedings:

Paul Adams: David, what would you like to get out of today’s event?

David Farrant: Well . . . I think it is an unique opportunity. Most people in London, or all over the world for that matter – thanks to the Internet – know about the Highgate Vampire. I’d just like to say, very quickly, right at the beginning – and I always say this at the beginning of any Talks I happen to give, and if people don’t like it I say . . . Well I won’t talk then!, but they usually say ‘go ahead’. But all I’d like to say is . . . I do not accept the existence of ‘blood-sucking vampires’. Psychic phenomena, (‘ghosts’ if we must call them that), phantoms entities, unseen apparitions . . . YES. But that is a completely different matter. I don’t deny the existence of those or I wouldn’t be running the BPOS but I do deny the existence of ‘blood-sucking vampires’. So what I’d like to get out of it really [the symposium] is for people to first try to understand, and stop associating my name with ‘staking vampires’ and all that sort of nonsense. And to try and understand that what appeared in Highgate Cemetery IS genuine, I’m not dismissing that. Its something that has been seen there for many, many decades – even generations, and I’d like people to understand that.

Paul Adams: Good, good. Now you’ve said that you don’t believe in blood-sucking vampires but we’re going to watch a clip now and some people in the audience might be confused by that statement. We’re going to watch a short clip from a BBC television programme “24 Hours” which was broadcast in August 1970. Now, this gives a real feel for the climate of Highgate in former times . . .

[Clip from BBC 24 Hours shown].

Paul Adams: David you said you don’t believe in vampires. Explain yourself in 20 words or less!

David Farrant: Well that last bit doesn’t really need a comment! I don’t accept the existence of bloodsucking vampires, no.

Paul Adams: But there was a reason for you being on that program?

David Farrant: There was a reason, but it wasn’t hunting a vampire. I went to court in 1970, the police charged me with hunting a vampire. I was acquitted of that charge. The press picked it up, branded me as a vampire hunter, which I’m not. I’m just a humble psychic investigator. That’s all. And even that film – when I was acquitted the BBC wanted me to reconstruct what the police said I was doing, which I wasn’t doing, which was vampire hunting. And so I agreed. And that – look – I’m no more a vampire hunter than the late Christopher Lee was a vampire, anymore than Peter Cushing, the late Peter Cushing, again, was a vampire hunter. That is what the BBC asked me to do for their film, which was about my court case. So that’s reason I was holding the stake and the cross, but people still think I was hunting vampires.

Paul Adams (to audience): So if you think the Highgate Vampire is basically what you have just seen on the screen – it’s not. The purpose of today is to go beyond the Highgate Vampire, and break down what this case is all about. So we move into our first slot …

All the best everyone, and part 2 will be up very soon!

David

First Session of The Highgate Vampire Symposium Now Online

Firstly, thank you to all our viewers for their patience as we upload the film clips from July 19th 2015 – the day of the first ever Highgate Vampire Symposium!

Highgate Vampire Symposium - Introduction and Keynote Remarks

This first clip features our host, and owner of the theatre Upstairs at the Gatehouse, John Plews. We did promise that John would say a few words about the theatre’s resident ghost, Mother Marnes. He did – but you will have to wait until The Big Ghost Debate is uploaded to hear his thoughts!

This clip also features our compere, paranormal author and researcher Paul Adams, myself, and an introduction to Redmond McWilliams, founder of the Highgate Vampire Cemetery Appreciation Society – our first speaker.

We do hope you enjoy it, and watch the rest of the day as it the footage is uploaded to the web.

Footage from an October 1970 broadcast of “24 Hours” © BBC TV – used with permission.

LINKS:

Information about Paul Adams’ paranormal research, including his 2014 work Written in Blood which covers the Highgate Vampire in depth can be found here: http://pauladamsauthor.co.uk/ and here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Adams/e/B003W3MWQW

See: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thcvas/ for more information about Redmond’s Facebook group.

And you can read more about The Highgate Vampire Symposium’s organiser, Della Farrant, at her own website http://hidden-highgate.org and via her book, Haunted Highgate at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunted-Highgate-Della-Farrant/dp/0750958316/

David! That day we had a chat . . . Gareth Davies.

Well at long last, the long-awaited Highgate Vampire Symposium which shook the very foundations of sleepy old Highgate together with its ‘vampire myths’, has been and gone – and perhaps this would be a good place for me to answer a barrage of queries that have been coming in asking if there is to be another Symposium next year. Without wishing to disappoint the many people who missed this year’s event, I am afraid at this stage the answer must be ‘no’. We simply do not have the time or facilities to spare to organise another event for next year; but it is highly probable that we will be able to do so in 2017. I’ll keep you all posted on that, of course, but should point out that this year’s event in July took no less than five months of dedicated preparation to make it the success that it was.

But all is not lost! This year’s event is presently being transposed to film to be released in relevant sections, and these WILL be available very soon so people will be able to view the proceedings via the Internet. Eventually, these episodes will also be available on DVD for those who perhaps prefer a more ‘personal momentum’. But, as I said, I will keep everyone posted on the film’s progress, as all all that remains now is to immortalise its contents on film.

For Highgate old Village is deserving of some immortality. As many will know this exclusive village has an unique pedigree having long been associated with stories of witchcraft, murders and other political intrigues. And, of course, it harbours on its fringes the infamous Highgate Cemetery which, in more recent times, became the subject of somewhat more bizarre stories involving a ‘blood sucking’ vampire that was supposed to sleep within a coffin within the walls of this Victorian cemetery and which was even said to wander the surrounding area by night, infecting the living with its lethal bite so that these, in turn, became ‘blood-sucking vampires’ too! Or so the story goes . . .

Such was the effect of this story that as recently as the 1970s (at least in the course of a far wider time scale) it was taken seriously enough to be given air-space on national television channels and fill the pages of some sensationalistic newspapers. But most of these claims were theatrical stories and almost certainly influenced by Hammer Horror films who had filmed many of their popular vampire films on location in Highgate Cemetery throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

One of the people who had followed the ‘vampire saga’ from its infancy was the American writer and radio Broadcaster Gareth Davies. Based in Los Angeles, Gareth also ran the highly popular Mind Set Central and discussion forum Para Talk which often includes cases of UK hauntings in its agenda.

Gareth spent the entire day at the Highgate Symposium in July interviewing attendees, and himself took part on a panel which hosted The Big Ghost Debate at the end of the day.

I agreed to be interviewed by Gareth at my home the following day and perhaps understandably, the events most fresh on his mind were those from the Symposium the previous day.

I have re-published Gareth’s short interview here; mainly to give everyone ‘something to go on with’ until the main filming is ready for release here.

Enjoy everyone! David Farrant.