The Human Touch Blog - David Farrant - Psychic Investigator

Some Vampire History

Left to right: David Farrant, Colette and Nathalie

Oh dear, sorry it’s been late again, everyone, since the blog last Friday.

In fact, I really have been very busy working on the second volume of “Shadows in the Night”.  Luckily, my friend Gareth was here again tonight, and we got a considerable amount of work done to an unfinished chapter.  Gareth usually comes on a Friday, but unfortunately he had a ‘prior engagement’ yesterday, and was unable to make it.  Actually, he does go to some rather ‘secretive’ places on some Fridays, but on this occasion it was a private ceremony which was for the purposes of healing the planet.  I kid you not!  Gareth is really an environmentalist at heart, and this is reflected in any magical ceremonies that he is invited to participate in.

Anyway, back to the book: as I might have mentioned before, in 1980 I was visited by Jean-Paul Bourre and his then companion Natalie (who was a journalist on a large French newspaper).  Bourre was (then) just about in the final stages of completing his book “Messes Rouges et Romantisme Noire”, and he wanted to include a chapter on myself and my investigation into the ‘Highgate Vampire’.  They turned up unexpectedly one day, and my wife Collette invited them in, because she was also very interested in the Highgate Vampire case.  We chatted in my flat for several hours; Natalie doing most of the translation herself, as Jean-Paul Bourre’s English was not that good.

Later, we went to visit Highgate Cemetery itself, and they were both impressed by the structural architecture of the cemetery – and of course, in the stories that a ‘vampire’ had once lurked there.  We showed them around the cemetery without any hindrance, as, for some reason, on this particular afternoon, the main gates had been left fully open.

We showed them the vault in which it was said the ‘vampire’ had had a ‘narrow escape’ in being ‘staked’ after being discovered by a small group of would-be vampire hunters.  Stories also abounded at the time about a group of Satanists who had been using Highgate Cemetery to perform their evil rites.

Bourre thought this point to be quite amusing, in view of the fact, he said, he was often being described as a Satanist in France, when in fact he was only a Luciferian.  I asked him what the difference was, and he again laughed, and quoted to us an old French satirical joke, which he hoped he said would explain this.

He said that in the 1890s, this was a point of strong contention in France, but in reality Satanism had nothing to do with Luciferianism, and he was only involved in the latter.  The joke he cited, perhaps proved his point . . . one Léo Taxil had published several books regarding this controversy, in which he claimed that the Satanists and Luciferians regarded each other as ‘heretics’.

Bourre sympathised with the fact that both Collette and myself were really Wiccans, and – like himself – were not involved in the somewhat more dangerous practices of Satanism.  During our visit to Highgate Cemetery, we took some photographs; the one which appears above shows myself, Collette and Natalie, and the photograph was obviously taken by Jean-Paul Bourre.

Anyway, the book is going well, and on schedule, and both Gareth and myself have decided that the above photograph will be used among the illustrations.

Hope you will not have to wait so long for another blog, everyone, but as I said at the onset, we have been a little busy!

David Farrant

Left to right: David Farrant, Colette and Nathalie

 Well, sorry it’s been late again, everyone, since the blog last Friday.

 In fact, I really have been very busy working on the second volume of “Shadows in the Night”.  Luckily, my friend Gareth was here again tonight, and we got a considerable amount of work done to an unfinished chapter.  Gareth usually comes on a Friday, but unfortunately he had a ‘prior engagement’ yesterday, and was unable to make it.  Actually, he does go to some rather ‘secretive’ places on some Fridays, but on this occasion it was a private ceremony which was for the purposes of healing the planet.  I kid you not!  Gareth is really an environmentalist at heart, and this is reflected in any magical ceremonies that he is invited to participate in.

 Anyway, back to the book: as I might have mentioned before, in 1980 I was visited by Jean-Paul Bourre and his then companion Natalie (who was a journalist on a large French newspaper).  Bourre was (then) just about in the final stages of completing his book “Messes Rouges et Romantisme Noire”, and he wanted to include a chapter on myself and my investigation into the ‘Highgate Vampire’.  They turned up unexpectedly one day, and my wife Collette invited them in, because she was also very interested in the Highgate Vampire case.  We chatted in my flat for several hours; Natalie doing most of the translation herself, as Jean-Paul Bourre’s English was not that good.

 Later, we went to visit Highgate Cemetery itself, and they were both impressed by the structural architecture of the cemetery – and of course, in the stories that a ‘vampire’ had once lurked there.  We showed them around the cemetery without any hindrance, as, for some reason, on this particular afternoon, the main gates had been left fully open.

 We showed them the vault in which it was said the ‘vampire’ had had a ‘narrow escape’ in being ‘staked’ after being discovered by a small group of would-be vampire hunters.  Stories also abounded at the time about a group of Satanists who had been using Highgate Cemetery to perform their evil rites.

 Bourre thought this point to be quite amusing, in view of the fact, he said, he was often being described as a Satanist in France, when in fact he was only a Luciferian.  I asked him what the difference was, and he again laughed, and quoted to us an old French satirical joke, which he hoped he said would explain this.

 He said that in the 1890s, this was a point of strong contention in France, but in reality Satanism had nothing to do with Luciferianism, and he was only involved in the latter.  The joke he cited, perhaps proved his point . . . one Léo Taxil had published several books regarding this controversy, in which he claimed that the Satanists and Luciferians regarded each other as ‘heretics’.

 Bourre sympathised with the fact that both Collette and myself were really Wiccans, and – like himself – were not involved in the somewhat more dangerous practices of Satanism.  During our visit to Highgate Cemetery, we took some photographs; the one which appears above shows myself, Collette and Natalie, and the photograph was obviously taken by Jean-Paul Bourre.

 Anyway, the book is going well, and on schedule, and both Gareth and myself have decided that the above photograph will be used among the illustrations.

 Hope you will not have to wait so long for another blog, everyone, but as I said at the onset, we have been a little busy!  For now,

 David Farrant

More About Caves Trip

From left: David, Patsy and Gareth at the 'Dark Tower'

Sorry for any delay over this, everyone, but Gareth and I were a little busy last week.  Anyway, he’s here now, and I’ve asked him to give his own account of our trip to the ‘Hell Fire Caves’ and Berkhampstead Castle, that I wrote about here recently.  So, over to you, Gareth:

Firstly, some background about the place: Sir Francis Dashwood was a leading politician of the mid-eighteenth century, and was Chancellor of the Exchequer for about a year (he made himself unpopular by putting a tax on cider, something modern politicians who are proposing to do the same should consider!).  He also organised various clubs, one of which involved several of his fellow politicians: it was known as the ‘Monks of Medmenham’ or ‘The Franciscans’, but became nicknamed ‘The Hellfire Club’, because of their unconventional activities.

In 1748 there was high unemployment in the district (in those days you could not claim ‘job-seeker’s allowance’, you simply starved), and the nearby main road was in a very bad state of repair, so that coaches often overturned.  So Dashwood, who was public spirited, hired some of the local jobless men to repair the road.  (This was at his own expense, though this was no burden since he was very rich.)  Chalk was needed for the road, but to quarry it would have left an unsightly hole in the hillside, so he got them to dig a long tunnel, with chambers here and there which were the main source of chalk, and was afterwards able to use it for parties – orgies, it is generally thought.  Eventually it extended for quarter of a mile into the hillside.  At the far end there are now some waxworks depicting club members and their ladyfriends, though not specifically engaging in immoral activities.

As I have remarked, ‘Hellfire Club’ was a nickname, and the ‘Hellfire Caves’ were so named to attract tourists.  There is not much evidence that Dashwood was a devil-worshipper: he actually paid for the nearby church to be extended, and in later life published an ‘Abridgement of the Book of Common Prayer’, which influenced the liturgy of the Episcopalian Church of America.  Nevertheless, various unseemly rumours went around.  One was that John Wilkes dressed a baboon up as the devil, hid it in a chest, and let it out during a meeting, at which everyone fled, the baboon grabbing the Earl of Sandwich who pleaded to it that he had “only sinned through the vanity of being in the fashion”.  This story, however, derives from a scurrilous novel entitled ‘Chrysal’, not from any factual account.

The Earl of Sandwich was addicted to gambling.  Whereas his fellow gamesters at least took breaks for dinner, Sandwich would have two slices of bread with a piece of meat between them brought to his table, so that he could eat without putting his playing cards down.  For this reason, such comestibles are now termed ‘sandwiches’.  But he did find time to learn that John Wilkes was the author of an anonymous ‘Essay on Woman’, an obscene parody of Alexander Pope’s philosophical verse ‘Essay on Man’.  So he accused Wilkes, in front of the House of Lords, of conduct unbecoming a Member of Parliament.  In the heated debate that followed, Sandwich declared: “You will either die on the gallows or of the pox.”  (By ‘the pox’ he meant syphilis.)  To this Wilkes retorted: “That depends, sir, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”  This and other fallings-out broke Dashwood’s club up.

Now, the notices around the cave assert that it is haunted by a young woman who was murdered there by three local youths.  I did not see anything, but in the ‘Franklyn Chamber’ I had a strange dizzy attack, which I thought might have been caused by some kind of unnatural energy that was present.  It was just above this that Patsy saw a white figure, and David heard footsteps from someone invisible.

Afterwards we visited the St Lawrence’s Church on the hilltop, dedicated to the patron saint of librarians, and as I said extended by Dashwood at his own expense, with a golden ball on top which is very impressive when seen from down in the valley below, including from the Chiltern Railways line.  Far below I could see a cricket match, and though the ball was invisible someone did something that created a round of applause audible from the churchyard.  Also, there were a number of light planes flying around, some of them doing ‘loop the loop’ aerobatics.

Next we went to Berkhampstead Castle, built just after the Norman Conquest around 1070, and occupied until the late fifteenth century, when changes in methods of warfare made castles obsolete.  It is now very near to a railway line where modern electric trains pass every few minutes.  I am reminded of the old ‘stupid tourist’ joke, about an American in Edinburgh (or wherever) who remarked: “It was nice of them to build the castle so near the railway station”.

Finally, we drove to Tring, which I was curious to see because it was the scene, in 1751, of the last known lynching in England of a supposed witch.  Ruth Osbourne and her husband were seized by a mob there, dragged to a lake a little to the north of the town, and ‘swum’, the theory being that a witch would float, but a non-witch sink.  (Those innocent of witchcraft often drowned.)  Ruth Osbourne floated, so they beat her to death.  Uniquely, one of the ringleaders, Thomas Colley, was arrested and hanged for this.  Unfortunately, the town as it is now is largely nineteenth century, apart from the church that looks Elizabethan.  Nevertheless, we went to ‘The Robin Hood’ (probably Victorian) and had a most excellent pub meal.  On the way back, Patsy remarked several times how amazed she had been by the spirit appearing before her.  It is a great pity that the camera failed to capture it.

Gareth J. Medway

David

And So Silent

Sitting here relaxing from things (all right, with a beer!) when suddenly got startled by a huge black moth flying silently in circles around the room.  Have no idea where it came from, as all the windows were closed.   It wouldn’t alight so I could see it properly,  but it was a beautiful creature, and so silent.  Must have been some two inches across.  I watched it intently, especially when it kept flying briefly around my head.  I wondered if it was aware of myself; it almost seemed to be.  Suddenly it flew into the Chinese lantern lamp-shade so I immediately switched this off to stop it burning itself on the bulb.  It was too beautiful to die in that way.  It immediately settled somewhere inside, and I had to find the table lamp to get some light.  It stayed in there for about half an hour until it finally found its way out and started flying round the room once more.  Then it settle on top of some books.  I walked over slowly to try and get a proper look at it, but it had gone.  I presumed it had gone behind the books against the wall.  I didn’t start moving the books in case it got injured, but at least I know where it is for the moment and its safe.  I might start slowly move the books tomorrow, after having open the window, and hopefully it will fly out.  I suppose they do fly in the daytime even if they are nocturnal.

 Got two sandwiches from the store a little earlier.  Been reduced from £2. 30 each to 50P.  They were huge and I thought I could afford that considering I spend much more on wine and beer.  Still got half of one left, . which is more than I can say for the beer!

 Think I said, I’ve finished my written article for America.  Well I since heard from the lady and she seems pleased with it – at least, she didn’t suggest any changes.  Problem is, I’m such a good writer, I rarely have to make any!  And if that sounds conceited, its because it is!  (Well, at least I’m honest)

 No.  I’m not saying more about the article at the moment for obvious reasons.  But I’ll let you all know when its been published.   It’ll also be on line as well as being in newspaper/magazine format.  So I’ll probably put a link up on here, but just have to confirm permission first.

 Well, that’s about it for now.  Having a short break, so just thought I could do another  Blog.

 David

There Is A Little . . .

Not much news really, but I thought I’d do a Blog as there IS a little.

 Firstly, Gareth will be doing his write up of the ghost outing next week now  I saw him earlier, but we just didn’t have time to get that finished.

 But a bit more book news:  “Pact with the Devil” has now been listed on Nielsens and I have had quite a few more orders for that.  Patsy’s book has now completely sold out, the first run of 500 copies just not apparently able to contain its popularity.  But no problem there.  That will be re-printed in the next couple of weeks, to go back on Amazon and elsewhere.  I have had to increase some of the book prices though; not so much for the sake of bookshops or personal orders but because of Amazon’s ‘big cut’ policy.  So her book, “The Highgate vampire Files” will now sell at £6. 95 to account for the new printing costs.  The “MMM” series also has a new price increase.

 But back to the present:  Jamie is well and is visiting with Lauryn again soon.  So another ‘wild night’ there I suppose!  Seeing my friend Claremonde as well before that – so who says a ‘white witch’s life is boring!??

 But onto other matters, I hear my latest Pact book has not gone down too well in certain parts of Yorkshire.  You see I do know people who live in the area which is why I’m able to say.  But I won’t say anymore than that, as don’t want to be accused of ‘spreading gossip’!  There’s enough of that in that part of the country what with “Coronation Street”, “Emmerdale” and “The last of the Summer Wine” for example (that’s if the latter is still running – I wouldn’t know not having a television).

 Its been fairly quiet apart from that.  A few things have happened, but I won’t bore you all with trivialities!

 So for the moment,

 David

Beneath The Hillside

Well, here is the account I promised of our trip to the West Wycombe Caves near Aylesbury and also Berkhampstead Castle.  It took place about a week ago, and on this ‘ghost spotting vigil’ were Patsy Langley (my secretary, her friend Rick, Gareth Medway and myself.

 

The Haunted Well in the Castle ruins
The Haunted Well in the Castle ruins

 

 We started off about11 pm from London en route for the caves; got there in an hour.  It was a warm day, and the sunshine seemed to be more than generous in the London area.   When we arrived, perhaps in contrast to this, the entrance to the Cave was only dimly lit; and the further you progressed, the dimmer it became,

 Inside, it as all just dark and ‘rocky’ – the damp walls almost warning you to go back outside.  But we persevered along the dimly-lit passages;  holding onto the damp chalk walls on some occasions to feel our war way in the semi-darkness. The ground was not slippery at all having been covered throughout with loose gravel.  I don’t think I could have managed the slopes if it wasn’t for this.

 I loaned Patsy my old SLR camera, and told her to just use up the film.  Said I didn’t have much hope of any  coming out as I hadn’t brought the flash.  But I set it on full aperture and delayed speed and said we could just hope for the best.

 The caves covered about half a mile and had been cut into  a rather steep hill back in 17XX.  The chalk excavated from them had been used for a badly needed new road to High Wycombe.  This had obviously all been done by hand; the chalk having been brought out in wheel barrows after having been cut with pickaxes from the hillside.

 It was supposed to have its own ghost; that of a ‘white lady’ who was said to sometimes confront people inside.  Her origins were apparently unknown,  but one of the visitors signs inside the caves attested to her presence.

 Patsy, Ricky and Gareth often got ahead of me, this was not deliberate, but due mainly to the dim lighting combined with my slow speed.  It was not easy to see too far ahead – especially as sometimes the cave wound around dark bends – let alone be aware precisely who was behind you, except by way of their echoing footsteps.  Without looking back, they would not have known if I was 10 or 20 feet behind;  but I always caught up as they frequently kept stopping to read the fairly numerous placards.

 Patsy randomly photographed  some of these information fixtures as these varied along the course of the caves, but about half way along,  I caught up with them again to learn that Patsy had just seen a ‘white mist’, in the form of a figure which had glided noiselessly across the gravel path  as she was taking a photograph of another one of the information placards.  This just seemed to ‘melt’ through the opposite wall of the cave, but from the angle she had taken the photograph, Patsy said it should have been ‘in full view’ of the camera.  No-one else had seen this,  but she was quite convinced this had not been her imagination. 

 A little further on – in fact, after following a loop that led back to the distant entrance – I myself had a strange experience that could not really be explained.  We had become dispersed again and I heard distinct footsteps walking behind me on the gravel.  I was sure they had all gone on ahead, but thought it might be a lone sight-seer who had somehow caught up with me.  The footsteps got closer, so I instinctively stepped aside to let the person pass.  But as I did so, they abruptly stopped, and looking behind, the cave was completely empty of people.  I could see back for about 30 feet, but there was just nobody there.

 I caught up the others a little further on, and told them about the mysterious footsteps.  The combination of these two occurrences (not far distant from each other)  seemed to convey to all of us that perhaps there may be some truth in the stories that a ghost lurked inside the Caves.

 Back outside. the bright sunlight seem in vast contrast to the poignant atmosphere of the Caves.  It was as if we’d left another world which lay in its own denizens beneath the hillside.

 There was a small souvenir shop and cafeteria in the forecourt, so we picked a table and ordered some tea.  We had decided to go next to Berkhampstead Castle, an old Norman ruin about 15 miles away.  I will ask Gareth to continue the story of this outing as he may be better at expressing details than myself (but note the word ‘may’!)   I am still waiting for the film taken in the Caves, but in the meantime, here is a picture of Berkhampstead Castle which we visited later that day.  But that will have to be in the next Blog . . .

 Any other news?

 Well, Patsy phoned me earlier, and I’m glad to say she has now found all the emails requesting her book The Highgate Vampire Casebook, and these are now on their way to Bev.  I will keep you updated here as it seems that, once again, a certain person has been telling lies about what really happened.  I am used to that, but am only concerned in proving the real facts to other people when called upon to do so.

 Talking of which, some more news has reached me from the land of ‘Yorkshire Puddings’!  I have been told that a certain person is most upset over the recent publication of my recent book “Pact with the Devil”.  This basically tells a story about love and betrayal – the ‘betrayal bit’ involving a vicious backlash from a person who considered themselves ‘hurt in love’.  But all is not lost, because the devil comes to the rescue and whispers in her ear, and the ‘path for revenge’ is set.  This is unsuccessful (as told in the story)  but love is not to be so easily thwarted, and the person becomes determined to get her ‘lover’ (rather ‘ex-lover’) before a human Court of law.  “You can do it if you really want”,  the devil mocks – well, he owns her soul now according to the story.  Problem is, there seems no human form of redress for revenge; as even some back street Law Centre would quickly ‘show her the door’.  So what to do next?  But all is not lost, for the devil hatches a plan . . .

 But hey!  I’m giving the story away here, and the book has only just been published.  So you’ll just have to wait – or go out and buy the book!

 We took some pictures of Berkhampstead Castle and I have posted one above.   I will get Gareth to give further details of the trip when next he’s here. 

 But that’s all for the moment – I still have the other book to finish!

 David

Before That . . .

Good looks just run in the Family!

Saw Jamie and Lauryn again yesterday and they stayed the night.  There’s a new bed in the back bedroom now (as I’ve said before) and as its summer now obviously no problem with heating.

 But before that we went to the Woodman for a meal and a drink.  Gareth also came along.  Lauren met another little girl but her name escapes me now (think it was Ellen) They both played outside in the garden.  Met her father as well, a nice guy called Israel.  An unusual name, so I’m hardly likely to forget that!

 Find it a little hard to get around now since I ‘disjointed’ my back, but I managed despite that.  Most people are very kind anyway, and either carry drinks for me, or offer me their seats on the bus.  I’m not really a cripple only just ‘slightly disabled’! 

 We came back to the flat afterwards and chatted and took some photographs, one of which I’ve posted above.  I let Gareth sleep on the floor in the front room as he missed his last bus.  Didn’t expect him to gat a night bus, as It’s a long way.

 Patsy phoned me earlier today and said she’d kept all those emails as I’d asked her, and would send them to Bev.  One of them is especially interesting as the person specifically mentions Bev’s address in Basildon and asks her to post her required book (The Highgate Vampire Casebook) there.  As it happens Patsy sent it to a given Bournemouth address instead.  The person promised to put a cheque in the post for it, but, perhaps not surprisingly, he didn’t.  Well, now Bev will be able to make up her own mind as to who’s lying and whose telling the truth.

 This is only going to be another shortish Blog, as I have other work to attend to now.  Just wanted you to see the picture really.   So for the moment,

 David

Surprise Visit

Well, life is full of surprises!  Just as two or three buses suddenly all come together, things sometimes tend to happen all at once.

 Some nutcase has just taken to ‘attacking’ myself on another large paranormal Blog – or rather some of my books.  Seems he just doesn’t like some of my views on religion – rather his ‘religion’.  He has also used one of my copyright pictures there, so I’ve been forced to get into contact with the owner of that site.

 I also had a ‘surprise visit’ from a lady who lives in Basildon.  An attractive lady with blond hair, which is probably why I asked her in!  But seriously, she was quite insistant, and as I knew all about the matter in question, I thought it should be discussed properly.  Basildon is quite a long way from where I live, but I later learned she attended a literally school in Archway, which is only a mile or so away.

 I learned she  was married to somebody called Kev, and that they were concerned that I’d given their address for the receipt of literally material.

 This was in fact,  not the case as I explained to her.  The address in question had been given to my secretary, Patsy, that much was true; but Patsy had never used it to post anything, only sent the requested material to a ‘church address’ in Bournemouth instead.

 Its quite a long story, but as I always make it a policy not to discuss private matters here (unless these concern myself, as after all, this Blog is supposed to act as a ‘personal diary’ and not a ‘scandal sheet!) I will say no more about the matter.  Suffice to say that I set the record straight.

 What she thought of the state of the place though, was anybodies guess! Her visit had been unexpected and I had not had time to tidy up.

 Anyway, we parted on good terms, and I promised I would get in contact with her if there were any further developments.  I have to speak to Patsy for one thing as I believe she still has the emails giving her the address in question and these could back up what I told her (Bev).  Though I don’t think this will be necessary now.

 Just started to rain here which is a nuisance as I was just about to go out.  Ah well, at least ‘trapped in the dry’! so I thought I’d do this Blog instead.

 For the moment,

 David

In The Meantime . . .

I am a little tired again, (and its only 10 O’clock!) so no long Blog tonight..  Just wanted to say though, last week we went on a ‘ghost hunting’ trip to West Wycombe caves near Alesbury and Berkhampstead (ruined) Castle.  There was BPOS secretary, Patsy, Ricki (her fiancé) Gareth and myself.

 A couple of interesting incidents happened in the caves, which were MAYBE photographed.  I say ‘maybe’ because I have not got the film back yet, and in any event, they were taken without flash and it was pretty dark down there!  I had set the camera to half a second exposure and there was very dim artificial light. But we’ll have to wait and see.  Thought it would make sense to wait for the film just in case and then do the Blog. 

Gareth will be here on Friday.  I’ll have the film by then and I can get him to type it for me so we can compare notes.  Just being lazy of course, but then he is a much faster typist than myself.

 Anyway, we went .on to Berkhampstead  Castle afterwards.  No ghosts, but we did get some really clear photographs and I will definitely post one of those with a description of the day’s events.

 But I’ll wait till Friday, and then do a longer Blog.   In the meantime . . . maybe just one more glass of wine!

 For now,

 David